Lesley S. Hoffarth, P.E., has served as the President & Executive Director of the nonprofit conservancy Forest Park Forever since January 2010. In this role, Hoffarth has been leading the organization through strategic growth and a transition of its mission. While the organization was initially focused just on helping restore Forest Park after decades of deterioration, the conservancy has expanded its mission to partner with the City of St. Louis to sustain the Park forever, as well as improve the visitor experience.
In 2011, Hoffarth successfully negotiated a first-in-the-nation innovative agreement with the City of St. Louis that forms a true partnership in caring for the Park, secures City funding for ongoing Park maintenance and builds the next phase of capital projects. Between 2013 – 2017, Hoffarth and her team undertook Forever: The Campaign for Forest Park’s Future, the most ambitious fundraising initiative in Forest Park history. The conservancy met and exceeded its $130 million goal, raising more than $139 million in gifts and pledges for the Park.
Before joining Forest Park Forever, Hoffarth — a 20-year veteran of the Missouri Department of Transportation — led the $535 million New I-64 project to completion one month ahead of schedule, $11 million under budget and with a 95% public satisfaction rating.
Hoffarth earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Missouri at Columbia and is a Missouri-registered professional engineer. She is an alumna of the CORO Women in Leadership Program and was recognized in 2008 as one of the CORO Leaders of the Year for St. Louis. She is also a distinguished member of the MU Academy of Civil Engineers and was recognized by the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri as a 2009 Woman of Distinction. In 2014, Hoffarth received the Woman of Influence Award from Webster University and the Trailblazer Award from the St. Louis Forum. In 2016, she was named one of the St. Louis Business Journal’s Most Influential Business Women.
Hoffarth is considered a leader within the field of park conservancies and management, meeting regularly both regionally and nationally to facilitate the sharing of best practices, collaborate on solving shared challenges and elevate the profession of urban park management.