January 15, 2016
Grout the giant gnome is ready for a starring role in 2016 with his team of LO membership department staff, from left, Cassandra Wiesner, Rachel Cerelli, Denis Flanagan and Myscha Burton.
Grout the giant gnome is ready for a starring role in 2016 with his team of LO membership department staff, from left, Cassandra Wiesner, Rachel Cerelli, Denis Flanagan and Myscha Burton.
By Denis Flanagan CLD
LO Manager of Membership and Public Relations

The photo in this article shows the giant LO mascot, Grout the Gnome, that we have launched for 2016. The idea is to have Grout photographed at Congress, Canada Blooms and other events. This is our branding message that will be broadcast on social media thousands of times as part of our 2016 membership campaign.

Your provincial board of directors has set an ambitious target and challenge for the Association: A 10 per cent increase in membership numbers.

The people in this photo are your LO staff members who are primarily responsible for meeting the membership challenge, along with many other projects they are involved in over the year.

Rachel Cerelli will continue her focus with all Chapters to retain and increase membership at a local level, while Cassandra Wiesner ensures that companies applying for membership meet all the criteria. Myscha Burton will concentrate on a province-wide campaign to sign-up new members.

I believe we can meet the new membership challenge if staff and members work together to grow the association. Here are some goals:

Membership Committee

As with all initiatives at Landscape Ontario, we will rely on feedback and direction from members. We will be consulting with and listening to the committees and sector groups to explore all avenues for membership growth.

All LO departments

As part of everyday work and various connections, all staff members have the potential to reach out to potential members. We will capitalize on those connections through publishing, education and trade show departments, as well as special events, IT and media.


Congress is such a vibrant meeting place for members and non- members, so we will be really focusing on messaging in order to explain the benefits of membership and provide opportunities for members to talk with potential members. After all, you are the best sales people for the association. As staff, we will follow-up on any and all leads that come from the show. A results report will be published at the end of January for review.

Social media

It’s 2016, and social media needs to be an integral part of our campaign. Again, Congress will be the launching pad. As we move forward, we will work on how chapters may utilize Facebook, etc.


Before we move forward, we also need to glance back and make sure we have touched base with companies that have allowed membership with LO to lapse in the last five years. This will be a valuable learning experience, and again we will produce a report for review.

Utilizing Associate Members

Without question, this is one of the most effective ways to reach out to potential members. Suppliers to the industry have daily contact with the landscape industry. We will continue our membership appreciation days at wholesalers, nurseries and supply yards, as a way of having face-to-face contact with landscape companies.

Power of media

We have put a media plan together for 2016, so we may focus on two main subjects. First of all we will highlight and celebrate the wonderful community projects in which our members are involved. Secondly, we will promote the reasons why the public should hire a professional member of Landscape Ontario.

By continuing to promote the LO website to the media and public, we demonstrate just one of the many positive reasons to join a highly respected landscape association.  
Denis Flanagan can be reached at dflanagan@landscapeontario.com or at 905-875-1805, ext. 2303.