Anne Olson is President of Buffalo Bayou Partnership (BBP), an organization overseeing beautification and revitalization activities along Houston’s historic Buffalo Bayou. Over the past 19 years, Anne and the BBP board have raised and leveraged over $150 million in private and public funds for the waterway’s redevelopment. During her tenure, Anne has overseen the award-winning $1.3 million Buffalo Bayou and Beyond master plan, and developed a comprehensive bayou enhancement program that includes land acquisition, trail and park development, robust programming, and permanent and temporary public art. Currently, the organization is spearheading a $58 million enhancement project that has been made possible by a $30 million catalyst gift from Houston’s Kinder Foundation, one of the largest private gifts in the history of Houston’s park system. Under Anne’s leadership, Buffalo Bayou Partnership has received more than 20 national, state and local planning and urban design awards, including the American Society of Landscape Architects Award of Excellence (2009), Urban Land Institute Award of Excellence: The Americas Finalist (2008), International Waterfront Center Honor Award (2006 and 2002), Central Houston’s Allen Award for Civic Enhancement (2006), and Houston Business Journal’s Quality of Life Award (2006). Anne has been the recipient of Houston’s Park People Leadership Award (2002), Citizen Environmental Coalition’s Founder’s Award (2009), and Houston’s first Alchemy “Catalyst” Award for “her commitment to public art, steadfast and effective work in community development, and far reaching impact that has changed the perception of Houston’s birthplace bayou” (2008).
Using her marketing and special event skills, Anne created and produced the first “Lights in the Heights,” a festival of music, entertainment and Woodland Heights residents’ open houses. The event, which began 26 years ago, attracts thousands of Houstonians and has become one of Houston’s most beloved Christmas holiday celebrations.
With masters’ degrees in journalism and library science, Anne served as Director of Public Relations for Houston Public Library where she managed marketing, programming and exhibitions. Immediately prior to joining Buffalo Bayou Partnership, she was Executive Director of Houston’s East End Area Chamber of Commerce.
Anne is a senior fellow of Houston’s American Leadership Forum and a former board member of the Cultural Arts Council of Houston/Harris County (now Houston Art Alliance).