A new gem has moved into one of Akron’s most beloved old settings. Linda Conrad was appointed president and executive director of Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens in October.
Conrad got her feet wet, literally, her first day on the job at the very rainy opening of Ohio Mart. Her 11-year-old schnauzer Bentley made his first visit to Stan Hywet that week too.
“Learning and listening” is Conrad’s first priority in her new role at Stan Hywet. “Creating a vision and strategy for the future” is soon to follow, she adds.
Conrad wants more people to view Stan Hywet as a part of their daily lives—not just a museum or a place for a one-time visit. Its motto, Non Nobis Solum (Not for Us Alone), “guides us well,” she says.
Before coming to Akron, Conrad served in executive positions in operations, brand management and business development at Walt Disney World. Most recently, she headed up the retail and attraction division for Coca-Cola leading in operational development and implementation of the 92,000 square-foot World of Coca-Cola Museum, which opened in 2007.
The daughter of Michigan Christmas tree growers and teachers, Conrad is delighted to be part of Stan Hywet’s “Deck the Hall” celebrations this year. In addition to the treasured collections inside the mansion, the event includes musical performances and ice carving demonstrations on selected nights and an elaborate array of outdoor decorations and lights. It’s “sure to put us and everyone who visits into the holiday spirit,” she says.
A design aficionado, Conrad enjoys fashion and had her own interior design studio in the Blue Ridge Mountains. An avid gardener, she has a love of all kinds of flowers as well.
Relocating from North Carolina to Northeast Ohio is a homecoming of sorts for Conrad and her husband of 30 years, Ed. The couple lived in Westlake from the late 1970s until 1991 while she worked in the Cleveland area for Higbee’s and he worked with Conrad’s, his family’s tire and car care business. That company’s long-term affiliation with Goodyear is another coincidental link between Conrad and the mansion’s former residents.