Festival Pulls From its Ranks to Continue Forward Momentum Following Pandemic Years
Marilyn Clint, Rose Festival Chief Operating Officer, has been named Chief Executive Officer by the Portland Rose Festival Foundation Board of Directors, replacing the departing Jeff Curtis. A familiar figure in the special events world, Marilyn was named Portland's Parade Queen by proclamation of Mayor Charlie Hales in 2015 after decades of managing Rose Festival events, including the festival's iconic Grand Floral Parade. A Certified Festivals & Events professional since 1997, Marilyn is familiar with all aspects of Rose Festival's operations, and is considered the logical choice by its board to continue to lead the festival forward.
“In Marilyn Clint, we have a leader who has been an integral part of the stability and expertise that are hallmarks of the Rose Festival Foundation," said Dave Todd (Rose Festival President). "Longevity, festival expertise, dedication and leadership skills all mark her tenure with the Festival. Jeff and Marilyn worked together for nearly two decades to see the Rose Festival through countless changes and challenges, and we have confidence she is the perfect choice for carrying us forward in partnership with the Board and Officers of the Foundation.”
Jeff announced in May that he would step away from Rose Festival after 18 years at the helm. Jeff said of Marilyn: "Marilyn is the ideal successor. Her passion, vision and leadership capability will combine with a unique skillset formed over four decades of hands-on special events work. I am thrilled the board selected her as Rose Festival's CEO, and I take great comfort in knowing Rose Festival is in such capable hands."
Marilyn is known in the festival industry for her creativity and innovative programming, building award-winning programs like the Rose Festival's Cleanest & Greenest Festival parade cleanups, Living History Program and the Rose Festival Clowns. She is the Executive Producer of the annual Grand Floral Parade telecast, and in 2007 she was the Executive Producer of Rose Festival's award-winning centennial documentary, 'From One Rose.'
Marilyn's educational background includes Roosevelt High School in north Portland, Portland State University and Purdue University, where she received her CFEE. A writer, speaker and history buff, Marilyn was the architect of Rose Festival's successful Centennial Celebration in 2007, when the festival received its first Grand Pinnacle Award from the International Festivals & Events Association as the designated Best Festival in the World.
"I've had the best job in the world for decades," says Marilyn, who describes herself as a "hard-worker, above all else." She points out the challenges facing legacy events like Rose Festival, saying, "even before we were stopped short by the pandemic, the world's great events were faced with incredible challenges when it comes to economics, safety and human resources. Making a successful comeback in 2022 was a hard-earned victory, thanks to our fantastic supporters, loyal sponsors and our committed board of directors and staff." She goes on to say, "Rose Festival is a people organization, full of passion and positive energy. I will always do what's best for the festival, and at this time, it's best that I take this new leadership role."
In 2017, Marilyn was honored with the Ceiling Breaker award from the Portland Business Alliance for her mentorship of other female professionals. Her board service includes the Portland Sapporo Sister City Association, Roosevelt High School Alumni Association and Face-to-Face PDX. Marilyn lives in Kenton with her sister Charlie (well known Rose Festival volunteer), and her two cats, Jonnie and Janie. When she takes time away from Rose Festival, she and Charlie love taking road-trips around the Northwest, playing ukulele and listening to music—especially the Beatles.
The Rose Festival's annual fund raiser, the 2022 Red Carpet Reunion Dinner & Auction, is scheduled for Thursday, October 13, with online auction bidding open for public participation October 6 - 13. The Portland Rose Festival 2023 opens Memorial Day weekend with the theme "Focus on Fun." "We've all been working very hard," says new Rose Festival CEO Marilyn Clint. "It's time we focused on the fun of coming together again."