Laurel Rematore, executive director of Mesa Verde Museum Association in Colorado since 2008 and director of membership and development at Yosemite Association prior to that, has been named to take over the helm at Great Smoky Mountains Association.
Rematore steps in to the leadership role at GSMA as its current executive director, Terry Maddox, is set to retire at year’s end after 26 years.
“The Great Smoky Mountains Association board of directors is very excited and pleased to announce Laurel Rematore as our next executive director,” said its chair, Cheryl Light. “While we had many excellent candidates from diverse backgrounds and skill sets, Laurel was our unanimous selection for her passion for our mission, her knowledge of national parks and cooperating associations, her consensus building skills, and her strong financial background.
“We are excited to move forward with Laurel’s leadership and hope to grow in our support of Great Smoky Mountains National Park,” Light continued.
Rematore brings to Great Smoky Mountains Association some 15 years executive and senior management experience in the partner to public land association arena. Her experience includes seven years as executive director of Mesa Verde Museum Association and at Yosemite Association for nearly the same span of years.
“I am humbled by the opportunity to lead Great Smoky Mountains Association, a true innovator in the nonprofit cooperating association world,” said Rematore. “Terry Maddox and his board and staff have created a remarkable partnership with Great Smoky Mountains National Park to benefit the park and its visitors. It will be an honor to build on Terry’s legacy of creativity and collaboration.”
Rematore describes herself as one who takes “calculated risks”; she considers cooperating associations the “agile and responsive partner” to the National Park Service, which is often more restrained by federal requirements. While at Mesa Verde and with other organizations, she has demonstrated a forward-thinking approach as a strategic planning leader. Her skills include encouraging idea generation across an organization’s staff, and she is known to lead the decision-making process for assessing and prioritizing new ideas and approaches. She brings to GSMA a perspective that is collaborative with NPS, Friends organizations, and local communities in exploring new ideas.
“I look forward to meeting our members, exploring the park’s many natural and cultural resources, and to working with the gateway communities and the other park partners to strengthen our collective stewardship of our nation’s most-visited national park,” she said.
While at Mesa Verde, Rematore led that organization’s management team in developing operational plans to achieve strategic goals; developed an annual $1.2 million budget; and managed the association’s operations, including three year-round and two seasonal store locations and an online presence. She served as the face of MVMA to maintain supportive and productive relationships with the National Park Service, the Mesa Verde Foundation, the Association of Partners for Public Lands and other essential partners. During her years at Yosemite, Rematore directed the association’s membership program, which generated $3 million in revenue, as well as its fundraising and volunteer efforts.
“Laurel will undoubtedly bring great leadership skills and experience from the Mesa Verde Museum Association to Great Smoky Mountains Association, and I look forward to working closely with her as we continue to provide exceptional educational products and services to visitors,” said Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent Cassius Cash. “Laurel’s creativity makes her a perfect fit as the new executive director and a partner for this park, especially as the National Park Service moves into its next century of service.”
A non-profit partner of the national park since 1953, Great Smoky Mountains Association has given more than $34 million to support the preservation of Great Smoky Mountains National Park by promoting greater public understanding and appreciation through education, interpretation and research. Great Smoky Mountains Association derives its support for the park primarily from sales of ranger-approved educational products at its nine visitor center locations in and around the national park. In addition, those who wish to enrich their Smokies experience are encouraged to “Get Rooted in the Smokies” through membership.
For more information about Great Smoky Mountains Association, visit www.SmokiesInformation.org or call toll-free 888-898-9102.