September 13, 2017

By Myscha Stafford
Membership and Chapter Coordinator

Myscha BurtonIn a world of instant connectivity across continents, there is an increasing value on things that are local. We rely on local news and mediums of communication for specific areas and things like The 100-Mile Diet and a greater awareness of our changing environment has created a whole new movement toward locally produced foods and goods. Human nature drives people to stay connected with their local community.

This local focus was implemented by Landscape Ontario at its inception, with the formation of local chapters. LO now has nine regional chapters that offer many opportunities to promote your business, share ideas, learn from others, help to build local relevance, improve communities and strengthen relationships between green professionals.

My colleagues and I in LO’s membership department talk a lot about chapter meetings. We send out a lot of email about why you should attend a chapter meeting. Chapter meetings are the best, not-so-secret way of getting something out of your annual LO membership. Below are the top five, too-good-to-argue-with reasons why you and your staff should attend a local chapter meeting this year.

Meetings in your own backyard

Some chapters have fixed meeting spots, others move around within the chapter boundaries in order to even out travel times and provide an opportunity for more remote areas. Your chapters bring dynamic speakers, safety trainers and lunch or dinner right to your doorstep. If your doorstep is a bit further away, we are exploring options to have meetings live-streamed so you can still gain access to an informative presentation and chapter business.

Connect with local suppliers

Chapter meetings allow you to connect with local members and suppliers. This is your chance to discuss business challenges that are specific to your region. By-law changes, economic conditions and weather affect everyone. Why not meet with a group of professionals who all need to adapt to those changes and present ideas or hear possible solutions that will benefit all members in your community? Plus, connecting with local dealers and retailers who can provide you with the tools necessary to do your work will contribute to your success. Business still works best face-to-face. Local suppliers have a reputation to uphold and word (bad news) usually travels fast, so chances are, dealing locally, you may get great service, great reliability and maybe even a great price.

Experts will help to improve your business

Chapter meeting topics are current and will give you need-to-know information and training. LO’s chapters continue to research the latest trends and topics to feature at meetings. You have access to experts on marketing, customer service, business insurance, labour laws, safety, design, and more. Presenters are often local to your area and can help your business to thrive or reach the next level.

Meetings are free

Most chapter meetings are free! As a member, you and your staff are invited to attend any chapter meeting across the province. Some chapters hold lunch or early afternoon meetings, some hold meeting in the evening. A lunch or dinner are sometimes included (sometimes for a nominal fee), and meeting times and places are determined by what works best for the most people.

Have your voice heard

Many members participate in chapter meetings, and even on their chapter board, to have their voice heard. Meet dedicated volunteers that make up your chapter board at local meetings. These individuals want to your feedback to help shape the future of the chapter. They rely on your input for meeting topics, locations and industry challenges. Each Provincial Board Rep on the chapter board can also share your feedback with LO’s Provincial Board of Directors. By having your say at a chapter meeting, you are influencing the future direction of the profession across Ontario.

Attend a chapter event

Waterloo chapter kicked-off the 2017-2018 meeting season on Sept. 6 with a focus on user-friendly social media. Upcoming events include golf tournaments by LO’s Hardscape Committee, Waterloo, London and Windsor Chapters, and the Georgian Lakelands Chapter’s putting challenge. Just like chapter meetings, these events offer a chance to connect with the LO community, as well as offer great team working opportunities for your staff. For a full list of upcoming chapter meetings please visit the new and improved

Contact Myscha Stafford with your questions about LO member benefits.

Send us your questions

Looking ahead to next month, I am asking LO members for help. In one of my favourite magazines, they have a column called, “Ask the Judge.” The column gives readers a chance to send in questions to a reputable horse show judge who offers advice to prepare them for the show ring. I would like to do something similar. If you have a question about your LO member benefits, chapter meetings, cost-savings, or training, I invite you to “Ask your membership team” and send me your question to be answered in a future issue of this magazine.