The Greenway Conservancy’s New Director of Programs and Outreach, Eileen Ong

22, Feb, 2024

If you read our most recent press release, you’ll know that the Conservancy promoted Eileen Ong, former Assistant Director of Programs, to Director of Programs and Outreach. Eileen has been with the Conservancy for more than seven years in a variety of roles, starting in 2016 as Earned Income Manager.

We asked her a few questions to get to know her more and what she is looking to accomplish in this new role.

Photo courtesy of Anthony Crisafulli


Tell us about your history with the Greenway Conservancy.

I learned about the Greenway Conservancy and The Greenway through an informational interview with a former Director of Programs and Planning, Laura Jasinkski (now Executive Director of the Charles River Conservancy). At the time, I was living in Houston, TX, working for ExxonMobil, and looking to transition my career to focus on social impact. 

I was really excited to have this interview because Laura had also pivoted her career. I was eager to learn about her experience and the work she did at the Conservancy. I didn’t know that a career working for or managing a public park was even possible. I was a fan of the TV show Parks and Recreation but I didn’t know anyone that did this in real life! I loved hearing about all the great things the Conservancy was doing for downtown Boston and the community, and was very inspired after speaking to Laura. A few months later, I thought to check the Conservancy website and found a job opening for the Earned Income Manager role. I applied, and months later I moved to Boston and started my career at the Conservancy!

The Earned Income Manager role was a new position for the organization, with the purpose of growing revenue and supporting the funding of our non-profit. I did this by expanding our food vending program, developing experiential marketing opportunities, and introducing new entrepreneurial activations like beer and wine gardens. I am very proud to have contributed to bringing the first outdoor beer garden to Boston. It is great to see how that inspired many more outdoor beer and wine gardens to pop-up throughout the city. From here, I had the opportunity to take on greater responsibilities such as developing forecasts, managing Requests for Proposals, leading a small team, etc. and became the Assistant Director of Programs. 

Trillium Beer Garden. Photo courtesy of Greenway Conservancy Staff


As part of the Programs team, you quickly learn how to adapt and plan for all possible scenarios. However, nothing prepared us for the COVID-19 pandemic. After growing our revenue forecast each year to $1.4M in 2020, we were at risk of losing a majority of this. In addition, our small business partners’ livelihoods were threatened. I was constantly challenged to make impactful decisions regarding our programs while grappling with a lot of unknowns. I analyzed and projected revenue data, spoke with partners and listened to feedback, collaborated with my team, and remained dedicated to the community and our mission. 

We are still rebuilding from the impacts of the pandemic as downtown Boston recovers. Our food vending program, which was the largest source of our earned revenue, may never be what it was with hybrid work schedules now the norm. However, our artisan market is thriving, the Greenway Carousel continues to be a much-loved destination, and after a year-long development process, we saw a major programmatic initiative come to life in 2023: Momentum Greenway Dance Series, presented by Amazon. We have also seen the number of event applications and new proposals increase over the past few years. This includes interest in activating during the winter months so our programming season has extended, which is thrilling to see and experience. 

As Director of Programs and Outreach, I am looking forward to this continued interest and building upon our successes. 

Momentum Greenway Dance Program, photo courtesy of Olivia Moon Photography


What do you like about working for the Conservancy?

I love the people that work at the Conservancy. Everyone is so passionate and dedicated to the work that they do, and I love that it is a multidisciplinary team. I studied civil engineering and work with people that have backgrounds in landscape architecture, design, film, urban planning, art, etc. It is so wonderful collaborating with people that have different perspectives and skill sets, especially when managing such a dynamic place like The Greenway. 

I also love working with a variety of partners – entrepreneurs, national brands, other non-profit organizations – to bring unique events and experiences to The Greenway that everyone can enjoy. Organizing events and programs in an open, public space in a city comes with quirky challenges and requires a lot of creative problem-solving, which I find exciting and engaging. Every day is different on The Greenway, and it is hard, fun and rewarding work. 

What is your vision for Programs and Outreach at the Conservancy?

I hope to continue providing a welcoming, fun, and memorable experience in a beautiful public space. The Programs team prides itself on providing novel and innovative programming to The Greenway. We like to say we are a “testing ground”. This winter we welcomed outdoor saunas to the park – another first for Boston – and I’d love to bring the next big idea/trend to The Greenway. 

I would like The Greenway to be an example and set the standard for other public green spaces and cities. One way to convey this is through our outreach. It is important that we continue to hone our engagement and create effective branding and accessible messaging. My vision this year for Outreach is to streamline our internal processes, experiment with advertising strategies to connect us to broader communities, and share our stories about all aspects of The Greenway – from the incredible work of each department to the experiences of our park visitors. 

Are there any initiatives you are particularly excited about?

For Programs, I am always excited about the prospect of new ideas, events, programs, and partnerships. I would love the interest in activating during the winter months to continue for future winter seasons! The Greenway, and Boston, should be enjoyed all year round.

From an Outreach perspective, I am really looking forward to our new Dewey Square Mural coming later this year and the campaign we will be working on to support this new Public Art installation. We are looking to experiment with different advertising and outreach avenues to connect to a broader audience and showcase the diversity of offerings The Greenway has to offer to all. I am also excited about supporting our Rangers and highlighting all the great work they do for our park and downtown Boston!


To read Eileen’s complete bio, visit our Team page!