Trustees President & CEO
2012 - Present
Barbara J. Erickson is the fourth President and CEO in The Trustees’ 125-year history and the first female to hold the position. The Trustees is the first land preservation non-profit in the world and Massachusetts’ largest conservation organization. The Trustees “hold in trust” and care for properties, or “reservations,” of irreplaceable scenic, cultural, and natural significance for the public to enjoy.
Since joining in 2012, Barbara has been leading The Trustees to move the mandate of its founder and open space visionary, Charles Eliot, another step forward to engage a broader constituency in healthy, active living and a stronger connection to community, local food, and culture. In doing so, she has focused on transforming The Trustees and expanding its impact as a leading conservation and preservation non-profit dedicated to enriching the lives of Massachusetts residents and visitors, using the organization’s 116 natural, cultural, and agricultural properties located throughout the Commonwealth to engage nearly 2 million people annually. As a result of her leadership, The Trustees has experienced the highest income, visitor, and membership growth in the non-profit’s history.
During her tenure, Barbara’s many accomplishments have included significantly expanding and enhancing The Trustees’ public program offerings, visitor services, strategic partnerships and enterprises, and membership and development programs to involve more constituents in The Trustees’ mission-critical work. In addition, she has guided The Trustees in its efforts to acquire important new properties and conserve critical lands that contribute the fabric of Massachusetts, adding seven new reservations and thousands of protected acres. She has also focused on restoring and reinvigorating many of The Trustees’ cultural properties and collections through a successful five-year, $26.6 million “Bringing our Stories to Life” campaign, completed in just four years.
In the past two years, Barbara has expanded the organization’s leadership role in Boston proper where it was originally founded in 1891, serving as a key leader in advancing open space along the waterfront, and as a founding partner of the Boston Public Market where The Trustees oversees educational programming for the Market’s state-of-the-art teaching KITCHEN.
Before joining The Trustees, Barbara was a senior executive at the global children's charity, Save the Children, one of the top five non-profits in the world. While with Save the Children, she was responsible for leading the organization’s fundraising and engagement functions, raising a record $200 million in philanthropic revenues. Her many professional achievements have consistently resulted in strategic growth and increased impact for the organizations in which she has worked, including Earthwatch Institute, Bank of America, and Boys & Girls Clubs.
Barbara currently serves as an overseer at the Boston Ballet, a council member of the Land Trust Alliance, a member of Mayor Martin Walsh’s Boston Creates Leadership Council and a member of the Zervas Elementary School Council. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Westfield State University in 2015 and holds a BA in Arts & Letters, English from Northern Arizona University. Barbara lives in Newton with her husband Peter and two children.