February 4, 2020
tony digiovanniAt the beginning of each year, our staff team selects one word to act as a filter for everything we do throughout the year. With the huge quantity of information and multitude of distractions we are faced with each day, it is extremely important to focus. Our entire life, and our reality, is created from the series of choices we make by processing, categorizing, simplifying and focusing. Order is continually coming out of the chaos. Action and energy is the result of this process.

For 2019, our filter word was “renewal.” It was a fitting word considering the many new developments throughout the year: a new Strategic Plan, a new building, a new Landscape Trades website, a new social media initiative, a new Landscape E-ssentials e-newsletter, a new equity partner in CNLA, new features at Congress, new committees, new membership recruitment process, renewed apprenticeship group sponsor program, new dues invoicing system and a renewed energy. All this helped to renew our collective work in growing a prosperous, professional, ethical, recognized, valued and contribution-oriented profession.

Despite our progress and our ever-changing world, our values and principles remain unchanged and relevant. We are firmly focused on industry leadership, building community, enhancing professionalism, environmental responsibility and financial stewardship. Our aim is, and always will be, to bring together like-minded individuals who believe in contribution, integrity, service, responsibility, collaboration and advancement. I have often described the association as a community for mutual improvement, focused on advancing the profession. This ethic will never change and will always be new.

In 2020, our word of the year is “opportunity.” It is a great, hopeful, optimistic word. Being open to opportunity is an act of faith, much like planting a tree. The benefits are abundant and long-lasting. Opportunity creates legacies. Opportunity counteracts depression. Opportunity gives us strength as we try to make sense of the many changes around us. Opportunity stimulates positive choices. There are many quotes about opportunities found online. Here are some of my favourites:

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” — Albert Einstein

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity. An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
— Winston Churchill

“The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it and exploits it as an opportunity.”
— Peter Drucker

Here are a couple that reflect the spirit of opportunity:

“Change comes bearing gifts.”

“The best is yet to come.”

We look forward to 2020 using our filter of opportunity. We hope that 2020 brings nothing but opportunity to our extended membership family.

A word about Congress

Congress is not merely a trade show. It is an event where over 15,000 individuals come to interact and benefit through the interdependence that is at the centre of all communities. Every visitor plays an important role in growing and advancing that community. Congress is all about building community.

Just imagine the results of the hundreds of thousands of conversations that were held at Congress.

Business and commerce are the primary motivation behind trade shows, but a lot more happens: friendships are made, knowledge and learning is enhanced, and fears are allayed. Attendees realize they are not alone in their experiences. Mutual support is the norm. Competency, mastery and professionalism is advanced. Problems are solved. Visitors share laughs, renew friendships, receive hugs and have fun. Others share the pain of life with each other, as they discuss friends they have lost or reflect on sicknesses and illnesses of themselves or loved ones. We even have visitors who are no longer in the profession, but come out just to experience the legacy of the industry they pioneered.

There is no way that online experiences will ever replace the depth of relationship-building of face-to-face interactions.

Congress is a venue for celebration, congratulations, recognition, encouragement and support. It is a venue that encourages growth in the physical, social, intellectual and spiritual realms of being. It is community-accelerated. It is aspirational and inspirational.
There are two concepts that describe what Congress truly is. Both were articulated by past members, and you have heard me repeat these concepts many times: “We are in the business of enhancing lives,” and “we are prosperity partners.”

Thank you for attending Congress this year. Thank you for your role as community builders.
Tony DiGiovanni CHT
LO Executive Director