Members of the Conservancy’s Board of Trustees represent a wide range of backgrounds, professions, and communities of San Diego. Roger Conlee, a longtime board member, recently surveyed his fellow Trustees to learn more about who they are, their skills and experience, and why they are so devoted to preserving and enhancing Balboa Park. The following summary of their responses to Roger’s questions illustrates the diverse and dedicated group they are.
What is one of your first memories of Balboa Park?
My fellow Trustees’ responses ranged from childhood picnics to seeing the charred remains of buildings after the disastrous fire of 1978. Other first memories included visiting the park during summer vacation while outside of San Diego, attending performances at the Old Globe Theatre, enjoying a breather at the Moreton Bay fig tree while serving in the Navy, taking kids to Christmas on the Prado (before it became known as December Nights), visiting the park while in San Diego for the Super Bowl, and enjoying Art Alive at The San Diego Museum of Art.
What is your hometown?
Surprisingly, not one of the respondents said they were born in San Diego, although many have lived here most of their lives. The Trustees surveyed originally hail from the American Midwest, Atlantic Coast states, the San Francisco Bay area, elsewhere in California, and even other countries.
Where else do you volunteer in addition to the Conservancy?
What a dedicated group of volunteers we are, serving in many varied and deserving areas of concern. These include educational and social-justice organizations; Asian-American nonprofits; local universities; other Balboa Park entities; the San Diego Foundation; Girl Scouts; Tijuana home building; various charitable boards, and food delivery programs for homebound seniors.
Why are you passionate about the Conservancy?
Several mentioned the Conservancy’s potential to speak as one strong voice for the park. Others were excited about our potential to create a lasting legacy, to provide a refuge for future generations, our ability to offer a superior visitor experience, and the Conservancy’s strategic, macro view.
What skills or strengths do you bring to the Conservancy?
As a group, the Trustees bring so many different things to the table to support the park, including consensus-building skills; contacts with social, civic, and educational organizations; information technology expertise; connections in the region beyond the City of San Diego; extensive law experience; relationship with various ethnic groups; fundraising and marketing experience; as well as writing and editing skills.
If you could ask your fellow San Diegans to do one thing to help the park, what would it be?
Here are their topline suggestions: get to know the Conservancy; advocate for park funding; volunteer; seek charitable and government commitments; dedicate more time and money to the park; leave the park better than you found it.
Many thanks to all Trustees who participated. As your compiler and summarizer, I’ve found this project enlightening and enjoyable. – Roger Conlee