August 15, 2012
Tony Lombardi gains knowledge through volunteering
The owner of Dr. Landscape in Toronto, Lombardi’s volunteer resume includes being a member of the Landscape Designers Sector Group for so long he can’t remember the number of years (he has been chair of the sector group since 2009), site manager for the Landscape Ontario Garden at Canada Blooms in 2009 and 2010, and he periodically assists with the process for landscape designers to become Certified Landscape Designers. “To elaborate in detail would be a long, sleepy read…,” he says.
Tony Lombardi says he has followed what his mom always told him, “If you sleep with dogs, you’ll pick up fleas.” Lombardi says the same thing applies when you want to improve yourself. “If you surround yourself with the right people, the right information and have a place to go when you need to find something, odds are you will find a shorter, smarter path to your goal.”
For him being a member of Landscape Ontario is a no-brainer for anyone who wants to better themselves and better their company in the landscape industry.
“My company’s founding principles are honesty, knowledge and professionalism. Membership in Landscape Ontario is the first step in all these principles. The investment we make to be a member has taken our company to a whole different level. Simply by being a member at LO, has allowed me to meet more people, gather more knowledge, gain more experience and expose me to some of the most passionate and talented people,” says Lombardi.
Favourite memory as a volunteerSome of Lombardi’s favourite memories during his volunteer experience are from meeting a lot of new people, most of whom are volunteers. He says, “Let’s be serious, volunteering can be a daunting and unfulfilling experience, if you do it alone. Landscape Ontario is a volunteer driven experience that is made up of people who all share the same goal: improve, improve, improve. When you have a ton of people all around you who share the same goals, it becomes a great experience that instills great memories.”
When asked about the benefits of volunteering, Lombardi jokes, “I get a 100 per cent raise every year...Tony (DiGiovanni) told me that next year, I will get the same raise, plus a signing bonus. Awesome.”
Responding in a more serious tone, the designers group chair says, “The benefits of volunteering are not financial. While the benefits of volunteering are different for each person, from my own experience, volunteering has been an opportunity to learn about myself and improve myself outside of the regular pressures of business-life reality.”
He says the activity level of volunteerism is different from one volunteer to the next. “There are lessons that can be learned from performing simple tasks to organizing major events. I think that one lesson I have really cherished is to appreciate how others have given me opportunities to learn through leadership, with successes and, at times, failures. I appreciate the encouragement and lessons that others have given me through mentorship and peer education.”
Lombardi says that the association is still young, “as is the industry in which we belong. Improving the association is something that is harder to do as we grow, both with our membership and presence with our public image.”
He sees LO’s involvement in the education and certification process as one of the most important elements. “I believe that the only way to improve the masses is through one individual at a time. It is through education that we will ultimately improve ourselves, and in turn, the association.”
The next big event that Tony Lombardi and his designers group colleagues will put their collective volunteer effort into, is the annual conference at Congress 2013 on Jan. 8.