When the leaders of the Garden Club of Jacksonville needed to hire someone with expertise in all areas of facility management and building client relationships, one person jumped to the top of the list.
Garden Club Executive Director Denise M. Reagan had one name in mind when she learned the nonprofit won a grant from the Jesse Ball duPont Fund for the position: Damien Lamar Robinson. She met Robinson for lunch during her second day on the job. A few weeks later, it was official.
“Damien is a Renaissance man,” Reagan said. “He brings a lifetime of experience that will help the Garden Club achieve its goals.”
Robinson’s background in banking, finance, graphic design, web development, nonprofits, fundraising, and the arts provides a wealth of knowledge to draw from for this new position.
“I’m looking forward to being a part of an organization that has such a rich in history in the community and a clear vision for the future,” Robinson said. “Civic engagement, beautification, and my love for nonprofits have been a rewarding part of my career over the last 10 years.”
Robinson was one of the original team members for Friends of Hemming Park, serving as operations manager and director of office administration where he oversaw daily events, managed vendors, coordinated capital improvements, and supervised the park’s ambassadors. Previously, he worked for Fidelity National Financial as a legal assistant and accounts payable specialist. Robinson also worked for First Union Bank as a corporate services analyst and at Bank of America, where he was a post-closing mortgage specialist. Robinson also ran his own web development and management company for four years, serving small businesses and nonprofits.
Reagan and Robinson have served together on the board of PB&J Jacksonville for five years. PB&J, which stands for Party, Benefit & Jam, is a nonprofit that builds social impact by curating engaging events to provoke meaningful discussions that benefit our community. Their signature events, the PB&J Jam Sessions, educate attendees about issues facing the community through fast-paced presentations.
“Damien and I have developed a close relationship over the last several years,” Reagan said. “Together, we will make an invincible team to increase the Garden Club’s reach throughout the community.”
Many people recognize Robinson as the host of WJCT’s “Taste Test,” which he launched in 2017 to encourage audiences to broaden their musical palate and redefine urban radio. “Taste Test” can be heard on WJCT at 11 p.m. Saturdays and Tuesdays and as a monthly podcast with cohost Blue Franswa and MJbaker which features exclusive tracks and interviews from several artists. Robinson is a singer, songwriter, and sound designer who often performs with his band Neon Motherboard.
The Garden Club invites the public to an Open House at 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday, September 10, to meet Reagan, Robinson, and the Governing Board and hear about the nonprofit’s renewed vision for the future.
“I can’t wait to help make the Garden Club an even more beautiful and welcoming space,” Robinson said. “We look forward to attracting diverse members of all ages, a wide range of community events, and organizations that share our mission.”