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ABC Announces New Development Director

Austin, Texas (June 26, 2008) The American Botanical Council (ABC) is pleased to announce a significant new addition to its staff. Denise Meikel joined ABC in May of 2008 as the organization's new director of development. She brings with her 20 years of extensive development and nonprofit experience, which includes collaborating with individuals, foundations, government agencies, and nonprofit partners.

Ms. Meikel came to ABC from her position at the American Youthworks (AYW), a highly effective nonprofit organization serving at-risk youth in Austin, Texas. For 15 years she served AYW in multiple capacities, for the first 12 acting as the organization’s development director, and the last 3 years as its deputy CEO. In the latter capacity, she supervised the AYW development director, finance director, chief operating officer, program director, and director of human resources. Denise has also served as the director of development, marketing and communications for Bat Conservation International (BCI) where she learned "bat wrangling." BCI is an Austin-based international organization devoted to conservation, education, and research initiatives involving bats and the ecosystems they serve.

“We are indeed most fortunate to have someone of Denise’s experience and skill set,” said ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal. “Her many talents will help ABC grow to a new level of delivery of our educational mission and a higher degree of organizational excellence.”

Denise has some passionate outside interests. She has served on the Board of Directors for Balcones Council Camp Fire USA for 7 years, and she currently serves as its vice-president. This Camp Fire group serves the youth and families in 5 Central Texas counties.

A native Texan, Denise is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, with a degree in English (minor Biology). She is also an alumna of the 2005-2006 Leadership Austin (LA) class, which she proclaims the "Best LA Class Ever." Since 1979, individuals selected to participate in LA’s 8-month program get the rare opportunity to collectively explore and discuss critical community issues while developing and honing the leadership skills necessary to serve the Austin community. She was also part of the Bank of America's 2007 Emerging Leaders training, a key benefit of the bank’s national Neighborhood Builders Excellence Awards. The training spanned one year and took Denise to Boston, San Francisco, and Charlotte. Denise said that her training and collaborating on key issues facing nonprofits with individuals from 82 other organizations from across the nation was one of the most enriching experiences of her professional career.

In her new role as ABC’s director of development, Denise will be responsible for leading and expanding ABC’s development efforts, helping members and others find mutually beneficial ways to successfully engage in ABC’s vital educational mission. Denise is looking forward to working with the passionate people involved at ABC from trustees and advisory members who give selflessly of their knowledge, talents and time, to the amazing staff committed to quality, integrity and the effective communication of ABC’s herbal knowledge with its members and the public.

“ABC is a unique organization -- one that is committed to the overall health of its employees and the planet," said Denise. "It is set in a serene environment surrounded by organic gardens and the workplace is casual and relaxed. So, even though we’re working a ‘mile a minute,’ stress levels stay low. That is a balance most organizations want and very few achieve."