Gardiner Miller, Executive Director

Unlike most Mammoth residents who came for a winter and ended up staying, Mammoth Hospital Foundation Executive Director Gardiner Miller first came to Mammoth for a summer. Gardiner, who has a degree in Natural Resources from the University of the South in Tennessee, took a summer job fresh out of college with the U.S. Forest Service leading geology tours and issuing wilderness permits. She didn’t know how to ski and planned to leave the Eastern Sierra after her seasonal position ended.

But, as Mammoth locals have long discovered, life had other plans.

Gardiner met her now-husband Vincent that summer in 2009 (he was her next-door neighbor) and decided to stay for “one more season.” She snagged a job in rentals at Eagle Lodge and “worked as little as possible in exchange for my ski pass and gear,” she jokes. “I would hop on to every group lesson I could so I could get better at skiing.” She waited tables in The Village at night for extra cash.

Eventually, Gardiner and Vincent did outgrow Mammoth—for a time. They moved to Portland Oregon so Vincent could complete his studies in social work (he’s now a youth therapist with the Inyo County Office of Education), but they held strong ties with their Mammoth community, even holding their wedding at one of their favorite places, Benton Hot Springs, in 2014.

Gardiner landed a dream job in Portland with The Nature Conservancy, her passion being natural resources and conservation. She led volunteer groups around the 50 nature preserves in Oregon and went through fundraising training with TNC, engaging donors in The Nature Conservancy’s work.

But by 2019, Gardiner was ready for a change (“I almost convinced Vincent to move to Montana and then a remote island in the Caribbean, but neither opportunity felt right”). She then learned of the opportunity with the Mammoth Hospital Foundation, and the stars aligned when a position in Vincent’s specialty opened in Inyo County. “We had always dreamt of coming back to Mammoth and raising our kids in the mountains, but we didn’t know if we’d be able to find meaningful work. It was truly magical the way it all worked out for us.”

“I’ve always been passionate about helping others, and towards the end of my tenure with The Nature Conservancy, there was a growing emphasis on healthy communities. My passions began to extend beyond conservation, and it’s so meaningful to be working on the health of a community that I care about.”

In her spare time, Gardiner loves skiing (she eventually got good at it!), swimming, listening to live music, traveling, and chasing after her two children.