March 23, 2023
Joe SalemiIn my relatively short time with Landscape Ontario, I have been able to observe one of our greatest strengths: our community. This includes our ability to facilitate community. We see this through our local chapters and sector groups and with Landscape Ontario’s Congress Trade Show and Conference.

In many conversations with members across the province, I hear the main reason they continue to be so involved with LO is because of the relationships they made by attending one of our events.

Back in 2003, while working for the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association, I worked with René Thiebaud of OGS Landscape Services on the development and creation of the National Awards of Landscape Excellence. René mentioned something that always resonated with me. He talked about how you never know where life will take you when you open yourself up to opportunity — just showing up is a big part of it. Then I came across this quote by H. Jackson Brown, Jr., which quickly became one of my all-time favourites and one that I live by: “Nothing is more expensive than a closed mind, and a missed opportunity.”

When we open our minds (think growth mindset), it’s amazing how opportunities just appear.

Chapter communities

Landscape Ontario’s nine chapters facilitate our regional communities across the province and we are seeing a resurgence in chapter engagement. Many chapters have strong momentum following some fantastic events from the second half of last year and into this year. Getting involved with your local chapter is easy — just connect with us here at LO. It’s at the chapter level where many of Landscape Ontario’s long-time members were first connected to our wonderful community.

Sector Group communities

Landscape Ontario’s nine Sector Groups facilitate our sector-specific communities. Through these groups, we see peer groups emerge as a support network. This was especially evident during the pandemic, but has evolved and now relationships are flourishing. Events like Snowposium, LO’s Lighting Conference, LO’s Irrigation Conference, LO’s Growers Fall Dinner and Short Course are examples of these communities delivering educational and networking opportunities that lead to collectively advancing the landscape trades.

Congress community

The dust has settled from our most recent installment of Landscape Ontario’s Congress Trade Show and Conference, and the results are overwhelming. With nearly 18,000 visitors it is clear that Landscape Ontario’s strength is in community building. Through this one event, we see all LO’s communities come together. It was amazing to hear so many accounts of how long people have been coming to Congress. As we celebrated our 50th anniversary, I was astounded by how many people have been attending since the very beginning. I was also overjoyed by just how many people mentioned it was their very first visit as well. To have our newcomers connecting with our veterans was enough to warm my heart knowing that Landscape Ontario, through our homecoming event Congress, has facilitated such an amazing community.

Everyone has their own reason for belonging to LO, and of course capacity is a finite resource. We are only as strong as our communities. Get involved with your local chapter, engage with a sector group, and come out to the next Landscape Ontario event. You won’t be disappointed.
Joe Salemi CAE
LO Executive Director