Meet the Team: Ajah Maloney

Local author and Hoyt Arboretum neighbor Phyllis Reynolds interviews Hoyt Arboretum’s staff to introduce you to the people who make up Hoyt Arboretum’s team. This week, we’d like to introduce you to Ajah Maloney, Development Director at Hoyt Arboretum, who started working at the Arboretum in the spring of 2022.

A recent addition to Hoyt Arboretum, Ajah (rhymes with Asia) was born in Washington, DC, and reared in New Hampshire.  After living in these two places for a number of years she came to Portland in 2005.  She loves Oregon—it’s mountains, ocean, and trees.  “It’s a lot like New Hampshire, only more dramatic.”  She, her husband and 10-year-old son, Magnus, live not far from Grant High School.  They have a two-year-old chocolate lab:  Moses.

A graduate of Wheaton College in Massachusetts, Ajah studied at the University of Bologna for two years, where she plopped right in to taking all her classes in Italian.  She has a degree with a triple major in Women’s Studies, Russian Arts & Culture, and Italian Studies.  She has not been back to Italy since but hopes for a trip next year.

Previous jobs include working for a Representative in Congress, where she met her future husband who was also working there, and 6.5 years in Development Trinity Episcopal Cathedral here in Portland.

Things she likes to do aside from work:  spending time with her family, playing tennis and golf, and hiking.  Hoyt was a life-saver during Covid Time.  It was a place her family could come and walk and learn.  Ajah was delighted when Hoyt offered her the opportunity to work in such a marvelous setting.

What would she do for the arboretum with a magic wand?  She would create a space where visitors could come and learn more about what is offered—a place to see tree parts, see and feel cones, to put people’s interest into gear—a learning center that could also be a place for meetings.  Clearly the Visitors Center is way too small.

About the Author

Phyllis is a Portland native who has written two books about Portland trees and a history of Hoyt Arboretum. She has a PhD in Clinical Psychology.

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