September 15, 2014
Sundaura Alford makes connections as volunteer
Alford originally became a member of LO as an employee of a member company. “As someone with plans to stay in this industry for the long term, I was looking for ways to develop my network beyond the company I was working for and to become more involved in the industry as a whole.”
She is presently vice president of Ottawa Chapter board, having served as treasurer since 2011.
“I maintained my involvement after I moved here to Ottawa. The connections I made in my first few years here have really helped me get my new design business off to a great start,” she says.
As well as being a member of the Ottawa Chapter Board of Directors, Alford has served as chair of the Strategic Communications Committee and a member of the Landscape Designers Sector Group. She has also volunteered as part of the team at GreenTrade Expo, the LO booth at the Home Show and with the design of the garden at the Backyard Show last spring.
The landscape designer says she gets great satisfaction when it comes to team work projects. “You can really see something come together, because of all of the people lending a hand,” says Alford. “I’ve seen that a lot in the past when I helped out with the garden builds at Canada Blooms and the creation of the gardens at GreenTrade and the Backyard Show last spring. These are great local examples of what a team can create in a single day.”
Alford says she sees great business advantages to being a volunteer in the association. “As a designer, it is easy to become isolated in this industry. We often work outside of the team environment, and volunteering is a great way to stay connected to what is happening in the industry and the association.”
There are a couple of things that Alford has been working on lately. “I’ve been involved with what I think may have a positive effect on the future growth and development of the association.” She points out that one of the projects involves the creation of a regional director staff position to bridge between Milton and the chapters. “It should address local concerns and take advantage of local opportunities. The other big project is exploring the possibility of building public awareness of our association through the creation of some form of garden or landscape show in the Ottawa market.”
Looking at the down-the-road perspective, Alford feels that it would help elevate our association to create a form of certification at a company level, rather than only at the individual level. “This would help differentiate our members from non-members,” she says.
Besides volunteering her free time with LO, Alford also donates her time outside the association. “I designed a sensory garden for the Rotary Home here in Ottawa a couple of years ago, and I still help them coordinate the maintenance of the gardens a couple of times each year. I also help my community association with garden planning when they need a design for a project.” Another volunteer program she helps is with Canadensis, where she produced a graphic design for the group working to create a botanical garden in Ottawa.