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Lucinda R. Sanders Honored with LAF Legacy Award

OLIN CEO and Partner Lucinda R. Sanders, EdD, RLA, FASLA, has been selected as the recipient of the 2024 LAF Legacy Award.

The LAF Legacy Award was created in 2023 by the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) to recognize and show appreciation for past members of the LAF Board of Directors who have provided extraordinary service and contributions to the organization and its legacy. The 2024 Legacy Award will be presented at the LAF Awards Dinner on June 6 in Washington, DC.

Lucinda Sanders has served LAF in so many formal and informal ways—too many to exhaustively list here—and was one of the most transformative board members in LAF’s recent history. 

“Since joining the Board, Lucinda has always stepped up and said, ‘yes’ to taking on big challenges and exploring big ideas,” said LAF CEO Barbara Deutsch. “Her leadership took LAF to new places it had never been before. LAF is so grateful to Lucinda for her generosity of time, talents, resources, and passion.”

Lucinda served on the LAF Board of Directors from 2008-2016, holding several positions, including Vice President of Finance and President. Joining at a time when many companies and organizations were facing financial difficulties and precautionary constriction, her bold leadership was instrumental in keeping LAF secure and open to growth. From 2008-2009, Lucinda served on the LAF Transition Team and Executive Search Committee, whose work resulted in the hiring of current CEO Barbara Deutsch, who has grown LAF’s capacity from a less than $500,000 annual budget to $2.5 million in 2024.

In 2013, Lucinda took on the role of Vice President for LAF’s new Leadership Committee, charged with developing a strategy for partnerships and leadership. This work led to the creation of the LAF Fellowship for Leadership and Innovation, an opportunity for landscape architecture professionals to dedicate the equivalent of 3 months’ time over the course of one year to nurture emerging ideas and to think deeply about their work. Lucinda wanted to carve out space for the bright minds of landscape architecture to work on the big ideas that may have been laid aside for the day-to-day realities of their jobs. 

The development of this new program drew heavily on Lucinda’s experience as President and CEO of OLIN, her experience as an educator at the University of Pennsylvania, and her doctoral studies in transformational leadership. When the first cohort of LAF Fellows started their journey in 2017, Lucinda and MMVA’s Laura Solano served as Lead Facilitators. Lucinda has continued to lead the program in partnership with Laura. In June, they will welcome the LAF Fellowship’s eighth cohort. Landscape architects who participated in the Fellowship have gone on to become effective leaders on some of the most pressing issues of our day, developing tools for sustainable design, using landscape architecture to address recidivism, advocating for neuroinclusive design, and so much more.  

Even before joining the Board, Lucinda was an active supporter of leadership at LAF in the form of LAF’s Olmsted Scholars Program. She represented OLIN on the Olmsted Scholar jury, and as a board member, she looked for opportunities to strengthen LAF’s engagement with these rising leaders, increase their visibility, and help build their network. In 2014, she helped introduce a “Leadership Conversation” as part of the in-person recognition events for each year’s group of Olmsted Scholars, and she continues to facilitate that session every year.

Applying her unique approach to leadership, Lucinda empowers the people around her to become their best selves. She asks insightful questions, challenges her peers and students to challenge themselves, and always leaves time for reflection. She is a compassionate leader, exuding confidence while giving each situation her full presence and effort. Lucinda pushes her students and the Fellows to improve their work and themselves, and she lives out her advice with a continual effort at personal improvement and growth. LAF is immensely grateful to Lucinda for all she has done for this organization and the discipline.

LAF is grateful to the many individuals and organizations that provide financial support towards fulfilling our mission to support the preservation, improvement, and enhancement of the environment.

Much of what LAF is able to accomplish would not be possible without the thought leadership and financial investment of our major supporters, including ASLA, which provides over $125,000 of in-kind support annually.