Paula Sliefert Joins City Parks Alliance Board of Directors

Paula Sliefert Joins City Parks Alliance Board of Directors

City Parks Alliance welcomes Paula Sliefert, senior marketing manager at The Toro Company, to the board of directors. For more information about The Toro Company, visit   

What drew you to the board of directors of City Parks Alliance?

The Toro Company is a huge believer in the reciprocal value of industry relationships.  Involvement at a high level in the industries we serve is considered fundamental to the Company’s long-term success and helps to make us unique from others in the industry.  Companies, like The Toro Company, choose investments in the development of product solutions that serve the park and recreation industry – as well as the many other industries we serve.  The voice of suppliers is paramount to helping support the health and evolving needs of the industry.  I was motivated to bring the supplier perspective to City Parks Alliance and conversely to bring the City Parks Alliance perspective to the “supplier side” of the industry, so that we can work together toward better outcomes for CPA members and many others that stand to benefit from more collaboration.  I also believe that my serving on the Board will further help CPA and its members better bridge that gap of knowledge and insight.  By adding this diverse and global perspective, I believe that I can serve an important role to help strengthen the Board in its vision and mission to enhance the park and recreation market which it serves, and also bring perspective of sport fields and golf courses within its various park systems.

What are you excited to share with the other board members and the broader CPA membership?

Giving back to our communities has long been a part of our culture. We are committed to sharing our success through financial, volunteer hours, and in-kind product donations. Around the world, our employees actively volunteer their time and talents to nonprofit organizations and civic projects that support the beautification and preservation of outdoor environments, water conservation, community health and housing, and youth enrichment activities, just to name a few. Toro’s Land. Water. Thrive. philanthropic initiative furthers our efforts to help our communities enrich the beauty of the land for the health, well-being, and enjoyment of everyone. We accomplish this through the energy and talents of our people with a focus on revitalizing parks and green spaces, enriching the outdoor environments of our neighborhoods and schools, educating about the efficient use of water, and supporting sustainable agriculture in developing countries. At The Toro Company, we believe we can make a difference by leveraging the expertise and assets of our company and business partners around the world to advance the interests of the industries and customers we serve.

Additionally,  at The Toro Company, we believe our best performance comes when our teams are diverse. We strive for diversity, equity, and inclusivity throughout our organization to elevate collaboration, spark innovation, and unleash excellence in all that we do. Reflected in our core values, it is important to respect what makes us each unique, so that all employees have the freedom to be their best selves at work and feel a genuine sense of belonging.

Pictured Above: July 2017, Toro CEO Rick Olsen and Executive Director of City Parks Alliance Catherine Nagel present the Toro Urban Park Innovation Award to Michael Hahm, Director, Saint Paul Parks and Recreation, and Jayne Miller, Superintendent, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.

What makes Toro unique?

With roots dating back to 1914, The Toro Company was built on a tradition of quality and caring relationships. Today, the company is a leading worldwide provider of innovative products and solutions for the outdoor environment including turf and landscape maintenance, snow and ice management, underground utility construction, rental and specialty construction, and irrigation and outdoor lighting solutions. Through a strong network of professional distributors, dealers, rental stores and retailers in more than 125 countries, we proudly offer a wide range of products across a growing family of brands. Together, these global brands are trusted by golf courses, professional contractors, underground construction professionals, groundskeepers, agricultural growers, rental companies, government and educational institutions, and homeowners – in addition to many sports venues and historic sites around the world.

Specific to urban parks, The Toro Company partnered with City Parks Alliance starting in 2015 and established the Toro Urban Park Innovation Award, which recognizes innovation in park management and practices. The funds from the Toro Urban Park Innovation Award support specific projects that enhance larger park renovations already underway.  The urban park system that earns the privilege of hosting the Greater & Greener conference is the recipient of the funds and a project selection is then discussed and mutually agreed upon with focus on helping investments in underserved communities.

Do you have a signature project that is addressing (pick a topic: equity, green infrastructure, transportation, recreation, resilience, underserved community)?

Investing in sustainability.  The Toro Company has a long-standing commitment to protecting the natural environment and using the Earth’s resources wisely, because we believe these practices and guiding principles rest at the core of creating long-term value for all of our many stakeholders, including the global communities in which we live and work. Throughout our history, using innovation to solve customer problems has been a hallmark of our success. As we commonly say, we work on solving problems, not just producing products. Unique to the industry, our Center for Technology, Research & Innovation (CTRI) focuses on developing products that increase productivity, save water, reduce fuel consumption, and improve growing conditions. This group, comprised of leading agronomists and engineers, also lays the foundation for future innovations in robotics, fuel cells, advanced battery technologies, and smart-connected products. With a deep focus on water stewardship, we understand the importance of water in producing food and other crops, and in supporting functional recreation areas and landscapes. We strive to innovate industry-leading irrigation solutions that apply water more efficiently to turf, landscapes, and agricultural crops. In addition to designing sustainable manufacturing processes, we are committed to adopting, building and maintaining sustainable features at many of our facilities. As we construct, expand or renovate our sites, we seek to integrate green building systems and practices to reduce our operational environmental impacts. On a broader scale, we want to help the world do more with less.


  • Apr 9, 2024

    Explore Act Passes the House; Nonprofit & Business Groups Urge Swift Action by Senate


    Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bipartisan Expanding Public Lands Outdoor Recreation Experiences (EXPLORE) Act. This bill contains the Outd…

    Read more
  • Mar 29, 2024

    Looking for More Federal Civic Infrastructure Funding? We’ve Got Ideas.

    City Parks Alliance

    Caption: Town Branch Commons in Lexington, Kentucky transformed a previously car-centric corridor into a multi-modal, environmentally responsive greenway. Ima…

    Read more
  • Mar 12, 2024

    Seattle’s Rainier Community Center Garden Wins the 2024 Toro Urban Park Innovation Award

    City Parks Alliance

    Seattle’s Rainier Community Center Garden Wins the 2024 Toro Urban Park Innovation Award$50K grant to support innovation in urban food systems and workforce de…

    Read more