July 15, 2015
By Rachel Cerelli
LO Membership and Chapter Coordinator

Myscha StaffordAs you may be aware, I have been on maternity leave for a year, returning to Landscape Ontario on June 1. My immediate family was fortunate enough to grow again, giving my husband and I, two children. Dominic is now three, and Scarlett just turned one.

Much like my family grew, so did your association. A year-and-a-half ago, David Braun became the new president of Landscape Ontario. He made it his mission to grow our association family. His mission and all of your hard work have been very successful. Congratulations to all of you. There is nothing better than having a large, connected family.

You may have read that last paragraph and said to yourself, “Family and Landscape Ontario; what is she talking about?”  But indeed that is what we are. If you look up the definition of family in Wikipedia, you will see, “Family is used metaphorically to create more inclusive categories such as community, nationhood, global village and humanism.”

As a member of Landscape Ontario, your association family consists of over 2,000 member companies, and all their employees. Actually, this is where I will tell you a little more exciting news. I looked back as far as my records go, and we currently have more members today than we have had in many years (I looked as far back as Sept. 2009). As of June 1, 2015, we had 2,461 members!

I cannot tell you how many conversations I have had, or simply overheard (super mom ears — I swear I am not eavesdropping) where two people working within the same industry, within the same geographical area (yes, making them competitors) exchange thoughts, ideas, concerns, difficulties and together become stronger individuals and companies.

One example I would like to share was of a young entrepreneur who had the passion, strength and education behind him to run a successful business. He did lack the knowledge to efficiently run the books. A member, a long-time business owner from a neighbouring town, lent an ear to this young eager mind, and pulled the young business owner under his wing.

This resulted in a lifelong friendship and yet another very successful landscape/horticulture business in only a few years. The outcome may not have been so happy should the books not have been tended to during this critical time for a young company as it worked to build its foundation.

Going back to the concept of family, we may not all get along with everyone in our family. Much like we may not get along with everyone in our “association family.” But, if you give it a shot, I will put a case of beer/bottle of wine/new tree/Starbucks coffee (or whatever you like to wager) on the line to say if you begin to attend association events and participate as best you can, you will meet at least one other individual in our industry who will help you in one way or another.

What you put into your association will directly reflect on what you get out of your association. At first, you may be at the stage in your career where you need to receive. But, inevitably you will be at the stage one day, if not already, where you can give. This could be through advice, referral to another company in need, and the list goes on.

In addition to passion for the horticulture industry, family is probably the most important thing to all of us. We put a lot of effort into our families, our businesses and our careers. We should all be putting at least some effort into our association, which is our ‘business family,’ because the strength of your association dictates the strength and professionalism of your industry.  

Contact me directly at rachelc@landscapeontario.com or 1-800-265-5656, ext. 354.

Note: Welcome back, Rachel! And thanks to Myscha Burton for a great job on membership coordination during Rachel’s leave.
— Denis Flanagan