David Regan, director of retail and guest experience

You made a career change from high-end retail to the Botanical Garden. What motivated the switch?

I had been looking for the last 6-8 months and when this opportunity came up it kind of brought me back to moments from my childhood and being in public gardens and how that impacted me as a young person. As a grown up, almost every time I travel, I find myself in beautiful garden spaces. After interviewing for the position, we came up with a hybrid job description from my skill set—event planning and processing, retail leadership and high-touch guest service experiences—and the Botanical Garden’s needs.

Tell us about that “high-touch guest experience” and what that means for visitors who come to the Botanical Garden.

It’s not just one clientele—it’s a broad audience. When someone comes to the Botanical Garden they are already in a great place. We want them to feel like family and to visit again. For me engagement and personal touch—like asking people what their favorite part of the garden was—reinforces their visit. We want them to become more involved with us.

What’s your favorite part of the garden?

I love the water garden. I’ve always lived near rivers and lakes. There’s this connection with water that runs through my life. I’m not quite sure what that means, but I’ve either lived on it or by it. I experience a calmness when I cross over the boardwalk.