Welcome New Board Members

Karen Clay, David Jay, and Valerie Burns / Meg Muckenhoupt
Karen Clay, David Jay, and Valerie Burns / Meg Muckenhoupt

At COGdesign’s annual meeting in May, the board elected three new officers: Karen Clay, President; Valerie Burns, Vice President; and David Jay, Treasurer. COGdesign also welcomed five board members: Jean Krasnow, who returns to the board after a three-year sabbatical, and new members Valerie Burns, David Jay, Holly Owen, and Steven Smith. Thank you for joining us, David, Holly, Jean, Steven, and Valerie! We know you will do great things.

We would like to thank Jon Pate, ASLA, for his six years of service on the COGdesign board. Jon’s energy, cheerful attitude, and his perspective as a landscape architect has been invaluable. Thank you, Jon, for sustaining COGdesign—and for designing Symphony Park. You have changed Boston’s landscape. We would also like to thank Barbara Elfman, who has left the COGdesign board to devote more time to her new job as Executive Director of the Waterworks Museum in Chestnut Hill. Congratulations, Barbara!

And thank you to our outgoing co-presidents Karen Longeteig and Terese D’Urso for their dedication and service. Karen and Terese have graciously agreed to continue serving on the Board. Thank you, Karen and Terese! And thank you to Jeanne Van Orman, who continues on the COGdesign Board


President: Karen Clay

Karen Clay has been a member COGdesign’s Board of Directors since ????. A seasoned nonprofit professional, Karen is the Project Manager for Rebuilding Together Boston, an organization which transforms the lives of low-income homeowners by improving the safety and health of their homes and revitalizing their communities. Prior to coming to Rebuilding Together Boston, Karen worked as a Project Director at WGBH and EDC.

Karen has served on numerous boards and volunteer committees. She was President of Roslindale Clean and Green and a Board member of the South-West Corridor Community Farm (Jamaica Plain) and the Newston School Garden Planning committee. Karen completed the Master Gardener program at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society and took courses at the Landscape Institute, and her garden was featured on the Roslindale Garden Tour. Karen finds that gardening connects people with a space and gives time for reflection, renewal, and quiet observation. She lives in Roslindale.

Vice President: Valerie Burns

Before joining COGdesign’s board, Valerie served as President of the Boston Natural Areas Network( BNAN) for twenty-five years. Under her leadership, BNAN’s organization achieved ten-fold growth, built a recognizable trusted brand, secured multi year national foundation and federal grants, and initiated and guided projects resulting in over 120 acres of protected land in environmental justice communities. In honor of her work, Valerie was granted a Barr Foundation Fellowship and a Justine Liff Spirit Award, US E.P.A. New England Region Environmental Leadership Award, and a City of Boston Environmental Leadership Award.

Valerie is a consultant to nonprofit organizations providing a range of services including capacity building, strategic planning and development. In addition, she serves on the boards of Light Boston, the Friends of East Boston Greenway and the Friends of the Public Garden, serving as chair of the Boston Common Committee. Valerie lives in Boston’s Fort Point neighborhood with her husband, photographer George Vasquez.

Treasurer: David Jay, ASLA

David Jay, ASLA, is Principal of Weinmayr/Jay Assoc. Inc., a landscape design firm he joined in 1998. Under David’s leadership, since 2004 the firm has changed its focus from public housing renovation and commercial land development to health care, eldercare, and sustainable sites. David is an LEED accredited professional with more than 20 years of experience in incorporating sustainable practices into his work. He provides all phases of landscape architectural services including land planning, site design, construction documents and construction observation. He has also worked as an instructor at the Wentworth Institute Department of Architecture, teaching site design and site engineering.

Jean Krasnow

Jean first became involved with COGdesign through her Landscape Institute courses and served as President of COGdesign 210-2013. In 2016, Jean has returned to the COGdesign board and currently serves as Projects Chair. Jean retired as Associate Director of Education Programs in the School of Education at Northeastern University in 2006 after spending a career teaching high school and college. In her active retirement, Jean has chaired the Advisory Board of the Trinity Excellence in Education Program serving Boston students in grades 7-12, and taken on volunteer leadership roles in The Food Project’s Urban Farm Roxbury, Build and Grow Program. Jean lives in the North End of Boston with her husband Jordan.

Holly Owen

Holly graduated Cum Laude from Detroit’s Wayne State University with a BS in Business Administration, and worked in Marketing for 7 years. She also worked as an Executive/Personal Assistant to C-level executives before joining Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage as a Realtor. Prior to joining COG’s Board, Holly was a member of the Junior League of Boston and worked with fifth and sixth grade girls, mentoring them on the arts and personal development. Holly also supports The Trustees of Reservations, The MSPCA, and On The Rise. She lives and works in Cambridge.

Steven Smith

Steven Smith has worked in the landscape trade for more than 35 years. He is currently a general manager at A. Bonadio and Sons in Waltham. Steve helps to organize Bonadio’s Summer Saturdays volunteer program, when the firm provides labor, equipment, and materials at cost to nonprofit groups on summer Saturdays. He holds an associates degree in fine art. He lives in Waltham.