Kelsey Harlan is a member of GPN's 2024 Class of Forty Under 40 honorees
40 Under 40, Class of 2024

Kelsey Harlan


The Pinery

Job Title

Chief executive officer


What professional and/or personal accomplishments are you most proud of?

  • One of the earliest memories I have of feeling truly accomplished was winning my first National Championship with my horse, Bellotto. It was a championship that was fueled by receiving dead last the previous year and was earned by a year of daily hard work and lots of determination.
  • Another instance that I am very proud of was while I was on a research trip with one of my college professors after graduation. On this trip, I raised money and helped build and furnish an entire four room home in Africa for a man and his 4 children who, at the time, were living in an 8 by 9 foot room with one bed for the 5 of them.
  • Professionally, I am most proud of the culture that I’ve cultivated at The Pinery and the team’s ability to continue to remain agile and flexible no matter the circumstances.

What led you to work in the horticulture industry?

  • Well, technically The Pinery is a family owned (and now operated) business, however my parents told me during my senior year of college to “not expect a job in the family business upon graduation.” So, I ventured off, experienced other industries, leaders and businesses.
  • I was then asked to be a part of a small group of advisors to assist with elevating The Pinery brand. During my involvement with the small group I fell in love with the team at The Pinery and the various people I was meeting in the industry. I’ve been hooked ever since and have spent the last 8 years working my way up through the company.

What’s the best thing about your job?

  • Problem solving

Describe to a 6-year-old what you do in life?

  • I lead a team of people that grow thousands and thousands of miniature potted plants.
  • Then we pack those trees up to ship out on semi-trucks all over the country so that people like you can enjoy them.


When you’re not working, what are two to three things we could find you doing?

  • Hiking
  • DIY house projects
  • Hanging out at a brewery with my husband, Aaron, and our dog, Maya.

What are your favorite hobbies?

  • Hiking
  • Backpacking
  • DIY house projects
  • Reading

Fun Facts

Do you have any unusual talents, or can you tell us something interesting about yourself that other people may be surprised to find out?

  • I’ve been riding and showing horses since I was 10 years old.
  • Not only have I learned valuable life lessons from this hobby, but I am also a multi-national champion in various disciplines.

What are you (un)secretly good at?

  • Organizing and cleaning

What are your top three bucket list items?

  • Growing our family
  • Visiting and hiking in every national park
  • Competing at the Prix St. Georges level of dressage

One thing you can’t live without?

  • Coffee

What’s your favorite plant variety and why?

  • I am still learning so much about plants that my favorite shifts.
  • Right now though, I am loving the Craspedia globosa because it’s different and an easy keeper.

You’re buying a vacation package to anywhere in the world without a budget, where are you going?

  • Antarctica