December 15, 2014

By Myscha Burton
Membership and Chapter Coordinator

As 2014 draws to a close, there is a lot of time to reflect on the past year. Personally, I have been thinking about how we define a professional, and what that means within Landscape Ontario.

The concept of professionalism is something my entire family has hashed out over numerous dinner conversations. What makes a professional, and why are people getting away with calling themselves professionals without adequate training, experience and skill?

My father, who owns a photography company, has experienced this dilemma on countless occasions. As a professional photographer, someone with decades of experience and education to boot, he constantly faces the challenge of having these pseudo-professionals standing beside him (or pushing him out of the way) and claiming they’re pros.

Despite the dramatic difference in quality of the images, there continues to be a growth in the world of these non-professionals, which has been very hard hitting on his business. Anyone can buy the latest and greatest tools of the trade without knowing the trade itself.

I know you experience this, too; the person down the street with no insurance, no proper training and who only works with under-the-table cash dealings. Then there is the teenager borrowing dad’s lawnmower and offering the cheapest price, which seems to appeal to many clients.

While I have a great appreciation for the up-and-comers in the industry, I understand they need a chance to get experience, professionalism, but the quality of work should never be overlooked. There is a reason someone is defined as a professional within his industry. We need to give greater value and respect to the term.

This is why I want to take this time to thank you. There’s a reason we ask for insurance information, proof of education or job site photos and references from our Active and Interim members. We can without a doubt say that our members are professionals, and we can prove it.

We also try and help support you as professionals by offering opportunities for continuing education, as well as fostering the strength of the LO community at various events and chapter meetings. Displaying the Landscape Ontario logo or utilizing the variety of endorsed supplier programs available are additional ways in which you can utilize your membership for the benefit of your company.

We continue to work with the public and to spread awareness of what LO is about and the high standard of professionalism our members possess.

I have had quite a few calls recently from individuals seeking a company to hire. They are looking at your online profiles, so be sure to keep them updated so potential clients can see all that you have to offer as a professional company.

I am sure many of us are glad to see the end of this year after the wild ride Mother Nature took us on this spring. I would like to thank all of the Chapter executive boards for working so hard to plan wonderful meetings and events for our members. I also thank everyone who has attended these events, and for the continued support of Landscape Ontario. It has been incredible to see the hard work of our members in their own businesses, along with the variety of community projects we have seen this year and your dedication to LO.

How about signing your staff up for the weekly e-news so they too can stay connected with industry updates? It’s free, just go to Or what about attending a seminar before the new season gets underway?

Your membership services team is looking forward to an exciting 2015 and would love your feedback and input on how we can meet your needs and offer support. Remember, we are here for you.

As 2015 approaches, I encourage you to have a look at what chapter events are coming up, as well as the membership benefits that can assist you, your staff and your business. This information is available on