April 1, 2019
Denis FlanaganI just knew my British ancestry would catch up with me one day! According to Wikipedia...”Mad as a hatter” is a colloquial English phrase used in conversation to suggest (lightheartedly) that a person is suffering from insanity. It is believed to emanate from Denton, Tameside, in the North of England, where men in the area predominantly worked in the millinery business which used mercury in the hat making process. Mercury poisoning causes symptoms similar to madness.

Landscape Ontario’s membership services team have certainly been hopping around like hares the last few weeks on behalf of our members, so I thought it would be useful to give you an update.

On Feb. 28 we held our annual all-chapter strategy meeting which produced some great ideas to follow up on throughout 2019. Often, the best things that happen at these meetings is that people leave their individual chapter and company hats at the door and contribute ideas that will improve the association as a whole. A big thank you to all of the dedicated chapter and sector group volunteers from across the province who participated.

March came in like a lion, with member participation at several home and garden shows. Events in Ottawa, Kitchener, Mississauga, London, and Sarnia gave us the opportunity to promote LO’s professional members and distribute our annual Garden Inspiration magazine. Approximately 20,000 copies are handed out province-wide each year, with an additional 50,000 copies distributed at Canada Blooms. These promotional opportunities attract media attention from local outlets and also some big names like CityTV, Global News and CBC. We use the media interest and Garden Inspiration to highlight the stunning projects of LO members from our annual Awards of Excellence program. This fantastic, member-only program showcases the exceptional work of our members, as do the feature gardens built by members at Canada Blooms. This year, your membership team took on the responsibility of the feature garden builder awards at Canada Blooms. This intense, but rewarding experience allowed us to see the work of our members through the eyes of the judges. It gave us a different perspective and an opportunity to share some honest feedback and tips with members on how to tweak their creativity for future shows.

Speaking of feedback, one of the most enlightening meetings I have ever attended was the LO Peer to Peer workshop at Durham Chapter meeting on March 5. The discussion was focused on hiring and retaining young people. I hesitate to use the word ‘Millennial’ because I think that generation really does not like that label. Anyway, the conversation was very lively and well-facilitated by Jacki Hart. The discussions really showed the need for owners and managers to change their approach and learn to think and act differently in order to succeed at attracting and keeping employees from the newer generations.

Working with some of the younger, under-30 staff in the LO office, I can attest to this from first-hand experience. Youth in the workforce today really do have different needs, work habits and goals than those of my generation. Once you understand and celebrate that difference, you end up with an incredibly loyal, hardworking and creative team.

Throughout the year, your membership team will continue to work like mad to promote professionalism, increase membership and support you to the best of our ability. If you have any comments, ideas, or suggestions, please contact us.

Denis Flanagan
LO Manager of Membership and Public Relations