Forest Park Forever Leadership
Meet the team leading Forest Park Forever's efforts to restore and sustain this magnificent treasure.
Our Forest Park Forever team — from fundraisers to horticulturists to educators — is passionate about our mission and focused on Forest Park's past, present and future. With approximately 30 staff members located in the Visitor and Education Center and the Land Management office to the south, our team keeps a comprehensive daily eye on everything that's happening here by working in the present, but also planning well into the future
Lesley S. Hoffarth, P.E., has served as the President & Executive Director of the nonprofit conservancy Forest Park Forever since January 2010. In this role, Hoffarth has been leading the organization through strategic growth and a transition of its mission. While the organization was initially focused just on helping restore Forest Park after decades of deterioration, the conservancy has expanded its mission to partner with the City of St. Louis to sustain the Park forever, as well as improve the visitor experience.
In 2011, Hoffarth successfully negotiated a first-in-the-nation innovative agreement with the City of St. Louis that forms a true partnership in caring for the Park, secures City funding for ongoing Park maintenance and builds the next phase of capital projects. Between 2013 – 2017, Hoffarth and her team undertook Forever: The Campaign for Forest Park’s Future, the most ambitious fundraising initiative in Forest Park history. The conservancy met and exceeded its $130 million goal, raising more than $139 million in gifts and pledges for the Park.
Before joining Forest Park Forever, Hoffarth — a 20-year veteran of the Missouri Department of Transportation — led the $535 million New I-64 project to completion one month ahead of schedule, $11 million under budget and with a 95% public satisfaction rating.
Hoffarth earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Missouri at Columbia and is a Missouri-registered professional engineer. She is an alumna of the CORO Women in Leadership Program and was recognized in 2008 as one of the CORO Leaders of the Year for St. Louis. She is also a distinguished member of the MU Academy of Civil Engineers and was recognized by the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri as a 2009 Woman of Distinction. In 2014, Hoffarth received the Woman of Influence Award from Webster University and the Trailblazer Award from the St. Louis Forum. In 2016, she was named one of the St. Louis Business Journal's Most Influential Business Women.
Hoffarth is a considered a leader within the field of park conservancies and management, meeting regularly both regionally and nationally to facilitate the sharing of best practices, collaborate on solving shared challenges and elevate the profession of urban park management.
Frank Kartmann leads Forest Park Forever’s Park Operations division, overseeing the organization’s Department of Land Management (horticulture, nature reserves) and Department of Planning & Projects (capital projects, hardscape maintenance),
Kartmann joined Forest Park Forever in spring 2016 after a 26-year career with Missouri American Water Company, including six years as its President. He was a founding member of the Metro Water Infrastructure Partnership (MWI Partnership), a regional water and wastewater infrastructure education organization based in the St. Louis metro area that has been cited as a national model by the Water Environment Federation. Kartmann's community awards include the World Bird Sanctuary’s Wildlife Conservation Award, Fete du Feather (2015), and the Missouri DNR Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence (2014). He is a registered professional engineer, licensed in the state of Missouri.
John O’Gorman leads the ambitious fundraising operations for Forest Park Forever. Since joining Forest Park Forever in January 2012, O'Gorman has overseen the growth of the conservancy's annual fundraising from $2.2 million to more than $3.2 million, as well as the successful completion of a $130 million capital and endowment campaign, the most ambitious in Forest Park history.
Prior to this role, O'Gorman was an executive with a national fundraising consultant firm. He served as counsel to civic, cultural, educational, healthcare and religious organizations throughout the Midwest and East Coast, managing transformational campaigns that raised more than $600 million for the firm’s clients.
O’Gorman is a member of the St. Louis Chapter of the Association for Fundraising Professionals and has served on its Programming board.
Tamara Sheffield leads the organization’s Finance and Administrative Services functions. Prior to joining Forest Park Forever in April 2011, she had both financial and operational leadership roles spanning various sectors including biotechnology, retail and financial services. In this capacity, she has managed complex projects and organizational growth for multi-billion-dollar public and private international companies.
Sheffield is a native of St. Louis, but has traveled throughout her career. She received her BS from Saint Louis University. She is a certified public accountant and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM). Sheffield has served on several nonprofit Boards for arts and social organizations. In 2015, she was named a CFO of the Year by the St. Louis Business Journal, a ‘Challenger’ in the 2015 class of the Greater Missouri Leadership Challenge and the Non-Profit Executive of the Year by the St. Louis American Foundation.
In order to be the best stewards possible of the Park's 1,300 acres, Forest Park Forever has assembled a terrific team of trained, experienced and passionate horticulturists and gardeners who care for the grounds year-round.
While you've likely seen members of this team on your Park visits, we invite you to learn more about their experience and interests.