January 15, 2016
The roundtable discussions at this year’s Governance meeting resulted in personal growth for many in attendance.
The roundtable discussions at this year’s Governance meeting resulted in personal growth for many in attendance.
Tony DiGiovanni CHT
LO Executive Director

Landscape Ontario is run by members for members. The engine of our organization is generated by the volunteers who freely give their time to sit on the various boards, sector groups and committees. These are the wonderful leaders who direct and protect the profession. There are over 300 of them.  

A couple of times a year they get together to share information and discuss ways to accelerate our vision of a prosperous, professional, ethical, recognized and contribution-oriented profession. Lexi Dearborn, president of Georgian Lakelands Chapter and chair of the Membership Services Committee, and her team organize these meetings. They are inspiring.  

One of the best benefits of volunteering is personal growth. Formal education will never equal the learning that happens by engaging, participating and contributing. Here are some comments that came out of roundtable discussions about lessons learned by participating in an LO Group:

“I learned how to chair a committee.”
“I had the opportunity to organize a successful trade show… where else could I have had that experience?”   
“My personal and professional network has grown immensely. I have met so many wonderful people, who I can call on whenever I need some advice or want to bounce ideas off of.”
“I am not alone. As a business owner, it is important to be part of a community of like-minded people going through similar experiences.”
“Meetings must be productive and should be no more than two hours long.”
“Engagement is one of the most important drivers of benefit. You get out what you put in.”  
“I learned to develop consensus.”
“Volunteering gets you out of your shell.”
“I have developed lifelong friendships.”
“It feels good to give back.”  
“Passion inspires.”
“Much can be achieved through collaboration.”
“Everyone goes through similar experiences.”   
“I learned how to run a better business.”  
“It has given me confidence.”
“It encourages ideas.”
“I have learned to be a better public speaker.”  

If you have not yet volunteered on one of LO’s many groups, consider doing so today. I will guarantee personal and professional growth.  

Another very interesting roundtable topic was entitled We + Them= Us. I was not sure what to expect. The discussion was fascinating.  

In our group, the consensus was that We are professionals who care about our profession and want to work with others to create a better world.   

“We are individuals who want to be better people, run better businesses and participate in building better communities.”  The emphasis is on the word better.   

This describes those that are not yet within our community, but who can derive benefit by participating.

In the ensuing discussion on how to get to ‘us,’ Scott Wentworth came up with a powerful, profound and welcoming statement. “We need them to make us better,” or said another way, “We need you to make us better.”   
We are better together.

On a different topic

New years come with excitement, enthusiasm and hope for a better future. However, the future is always built on the actions, attitudes and contributions of those in the past. I want to take this space to acknowledge the amazing contributions of two former LO staff members who have helped to build our organization (I like to think of it as a family) into one of the most vibrant, active and contribution-oriented groups of its kind.  Thank you to Allan Dennis and Sarah Willis.  

Sarah served Landscape Ontario very well for decades. She was the Editorial Director and Editor of Landscape Trades magazine. She captured and chronicled the many stories that give substance to our profession.   

This is the last Landscape Ontario magazine under the editorial signature of Allan Dennis. Allan has also served the association well.   His story telling will become part of our important history. He has generated a great deal of goodwill and fanned the flames of passion that pass from one generation to the other.  

Although both have turned chapters in their life books, they will reappear from time to time on special assignments.   
Tony DiGiovanni may be reached at tony@landscapeontario.com.