By Carly Kwiecien
Long-time real estate broker and sales enthusiast, Dale Maher, has been involved with Friendship Botanic Gardens ever since her move here full time two years ago.
Maher was born and raised in the Chicago area and in 1990, she purchased a summer home in Long Beach.
“I’ve always been involved in some organization or another wherever I have lived,” Maher said. “When I moved here, I read a great article about John Leinweber and Jim Laughlin in the Lakefront Magazine. Since I was new to the community, I thought getting involved with the Gardens would be a great way to integrate myself.”
For six months, Maher volunteered her time in the Garden’s welcome cabin, greeting new visitors and learning more about the Garden’s rich history. She enjoyed meeting the people who visited the Gardens and was especially interested in visitors from other countries.
“I especially liked talking with the people who came from Europe and made Friendship Botanic Gardens a destination when visiting the area,” Maher said. “I had lived in London for a few years and loved spending time in Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park. I often see similarities Friendship Botanic Gardens shares with some of the fabulous European Gardens, so I liked to hear what European visitors had to say!”
After spending a few months working in the cabin, volunteering for Garden events and after getting to know John better, he asked Maher to become a member of the board. “I was thrilled and gladly accepted,” Maher said.
Back in the city, Maher was on the board of the Children’s Memorial Hospital Service Board for 10 years as well the Western Springs Historical Society.
“At the Historical Society, I began a preservation award that recognizes owners for restoring and preserving their homes while maintaining the historical integrity and beauty of the structures,” Maher said. “I gained some fundraising experience serving on several different committees of the Children’s Service Board’s Gold Coast Fashion Awards Show and also raising money for Western Springs Historical Society.”
At the Gardens, Maher was the chair of the third annual fundraising gala, “Moonlight in the Gardens Ball,” which took place at Blue Chip Casino on June 16.
“In the past, I have been the chair of several different charity committees, but I have never chaired an event the size of the gala. I gladly accepted the challenge,” Maher said. “It was a lot of fun and everything seemed to fall into place. John is a tremendous fundraiser and advocate for the Gardens, and several of the board members served on the Ball committee as well as some friends I had recruited. With about 325 people in attendance, there was an incredible amount of time and effort put into the gala, and the event was a huge success.”
Maher thought the Ball was fabulous. “We got help from so many wonderful volunteers and board members who tirelessly dedicated their time and talents to help make the Ball a success and a memorable occasion for all who attended,” Maher said. “I am extremely grateful for everyone who came to the event and who now have an interest in helping the Gardens grow.”
Since her time as a Board Member for the Gardens, Maher loves seeing the changes being made.
“The progress that has been made due to all of the fundraising efforts and donations from the community has been absolutely incredible,” Maher said. “In my short time here, I’ve seen such tremendous growth and I love hearing John Leinweber’s ideas and vision for the future of the Gardens. The newest addition to the Gardens, the Horizon Bank Labyrinth Garden is unique to the area and the ArcelorMittal Children’s Garden has become quite the family attraction for local residents, some families are here every weekend!”
While Maher volunteers her time at the Garden’s events, her true passion lives in real estate.
“I got into real estate over twenty years ago because it was a good combination of sales, which every job I’ve had involved some type of sales, and architecture and design,” Maher said. “I love that real estate brings it all together.”
She recently began working for the Line Mullins Group at Coldwell Banker Real Estate.
In her spare time, Maher loves spending time with her four children, who are all in their 20’s and live in Chicago.
“My kids are my greatest accomplishment and I enjoy them so much,” Maher said. “They have been coming to our Long Beach home their entire lives and when they are here, I am in heaven! Two of my kids are now engaged to be married, and I look forward to them having children so I can have another generation of kids who will visit the place my kids call our ‘Cation House. I have truly been blessed and my wonderful children and my involvement with Friendship Botanic Gardens has contributed to the reason why I love my life!”