最喜欢的撤退：Kiawah, South Carolina.
在湖景中最喜欢的地方：At the top of Section 3, where Jeptha Wade, the cemetery’s first president, is buried. It’s a very high point in the cemetery with sweeping views of the lake. “You can see why we were named Lake View.”
Lake View Cemeterylong has been part of Katharine Goss’ life.
When Goss was a little girl, she and her father would go to the cemetery on Memorial Day and plant geraniums on their ancestors’ graves, and her dad would tell her about the family history.
“That was my early, early exposure to Lake View Cemetery. I think as early as I can remember,” she said.
And now Goss is running the treasured, historic cemetery. Though she took an unusual route to get there.
After getting a degree from Rollins College, the Shaker Heights native worked in retail early on and later as an investment adviser, including work at Merrill Lynch and KeyBank. She then was a founding partner at Cedar Brook Financial Partners.
But in 2010, after serving on the board of the Lake View Cemetery Association for years, she made the unexpected jump to the Lake View Foundation to spearhead much-needed fundraising efforts. Then in 2013, Goss became the president and CEO of the association, where she is responsible for the management and operations of the sprawling 280-acre cemetery.
“I came in and I felt like this is my turnaround story,” she said. “The (cemetery) had been around for a little more than 140 years at that time, and I used to say to the trustees, ‘This is like a startup, only it’s 142 years old.”
With her breadth of experience, Goss realized that Lake View had to be viewed not only in a historical sense but as a forward-moving business. She looked at trends in the industry, such as the increasing popularity of cremation. She expanded all of the cemetery’s product lines and services, including more preplanning and making Lake View more of a one-stop shop by selling granite headstones and providing interest-free payment programs.
She also tackled what she called misconceptions about Lake View: that it was full, that it was just for elite people and that it was too expensive. Quite the contrary on space: Goss said there’s room for 75 more years of burials.
Goss’ efforts resulted in a marked increase in sales, which sit at over $6.1 million every year.
Part of making Lake View a place for the living is bringing folks into the cemetery. Goss said she worked to take the site’s programming to a different level with themed tours, concert series and 5K runs.
Though now a lively place, Lake View still is a place of historical significance and Goss is charged as its steward, including maintaining some of its most cherished sites, such as the Garfield Memorial. The cemetery just finished a $5.2 million phase of restoration, but work remains. In a couple of years, the cemetery hopes to refurbish the terrace level after raising “a couple of million dollars” to do so.
Ann Zoller — senior adviser, Strategy Design Partners, who has known Goss for years and worked as a consultant for the cemetery — described her as the “perfect person” to run Lake View.
“She’s just so smart and capable,” Zoller said.
— Sue Walton