Sue Ann Levin Schiff ’69 is a lawyer and former head of San Francisco Botanical Garden (SFBG). She grew up with a love for gardens, inspired by her parents, but her path to leadership of a major botanical garden was anything but straight-line. At Smith, she majored in Latin American Studies and then went to law school, graduating from Berkeley Law in 1976.
Over her 40+ years of post-J.D. professional life, she worked in the corporate, higher education, and nonprofit arena, initially practicing law and then taking on leadership positions of increasing responsibility. Unifying every step of her diverse career was her passion for the work involved and its underlying public purpose. In her 17 years as a nonprofit executive, she grew a small local legal advocacy organization to national prominence and impact in the gun violence prevention movement, and oversaw youth, family and recreation programs at a large community center, before leading SFBG.
At SFBG, Sue Ann took daily inspiration from both the expanding role of botanical gardens in protecting biodiversity and their power to connect people of all ages and backgrounds to plants, the natural world, and each other. She is honored to help Smith’s Botanic Garden realize its exciting potential by serving on the Friends of the Botanic Garden Leadership Council.