June 15, 2020
Myscha StaffordIf the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it is the power of community. One example is Ed Hansen, Landscape Ontario’s 2nd vice-president. Ed has been doing a series on LinkedIn on the “Positive experiences throughout COVID-19.” If you haven’t seen Ed’s videos yet, they are definitely worth a watch. I think Ed’s perspective on this situation is one that we can all adopt.
There is no doubt that coronavirus has had a devastating impact on just about every sector of the economy and families have faced unprecedented struggles. In addition to store closures, lack of toilet paper and flour, and long lineups at the grocery store, COVID-19 has brought many other challenges. As these challenges drag on, it is important for your mental well being to try and find a silver lining to help you to realize that there is an eventual end in sight.

Over the past several weeks, I have seen LO members come together as a community like never before. The LO COVID-19 Task Force assembled swiftly, held daily meetings and communicated developments to members via weekly town hall webinars to answer questions and share information on the ever-changing pandemic. Members are celebrating the successes of their peers and colleagues. We have also seen countless examples of members helping members by reviewing each other’s policies, online peer group discussions, etc., and the collective power of the Landscape Ontario community led to successful lobbying efforts to get green-industry businesses back to work as soon as possible.

We’ve embraced technology in new ways and faster than ever. Within weeks, professional development seminars and chapter meetings have transitioned to online platforms and members are staying connected in new and more efficient ways. Depots, supply yards and garden centres have developed online shopping platforms (and done so in record time) to reach customers in new ways which has proven to be very successful.

At the beginning of the shutdown, LO’s membership team took on the daunting task of calling every single LO member. The calls we made to members were tough. We heard your struggles and your biggest worries, but we also heard about how you were discovering kindred spirits within your own company and clientele. And some members had clients choose to work with companies that were disregarding public health recommendations. But you know what? That may be a good thing. Do you really want those folks as your clients? (Weeding out the not-so-great clients and focusing on your best and right-fit clients was actually discussed at length in one a COVID-19 related webinar held by Jim Paluch and Scott Wentworth).

The coronavirus pandemic has forced us to examine the bigger picture outside of profit margins. It catapulted us out of our daily lives, which so many of us (myself included) took for granted. These last few weeks have shown peoples’ true colours and given us the chance to purge the negativity and bad seeds within our circles.

I am trying to look at this entire ordeal as a wake-up call that perhaps we all needed for one reason or another. The changed environment we now have to navigate is an opportunity for reflection and to prioritize our lives. We have learned what we can go without, and how to obtain and focus on the things we really need. I know we all want to get back to normal. Through all of the change and chaos, it is important to remember the important things which have stayed true during these difficult times: family and community. We are so glad that you are a part of the LO family. We truly are stronger together.
Myscha Stafford
LO Membership and Chapter Coordinator