Outlook Spring 2022

By Rose Epperson on Friday, April 1, 2022

Outlook Spring – Engage! Recharge! Reconnect!

I am so ready to get together this May! It’s been a long two years. Actually, “long” isn’t the right term because time seems to be flying by. As an organization we have met the challenge of keeping information flowing through web-based trainings, online “meet ups” and the creation of our online membership community through Tradewing. As opportunities arise for gathering, the potential to engage, recharge and reconnect increases as well. The upcoming conference is an excellent springboard to getting back to the business of associating!

Engage! The conference committee has curated a robust program filled with ample education, networking and social opportunities. After you register, take time to review the schedule and choose the sessions and events that allow you to engage your interests and increase the value of your conference experience. Follow speakers and exhibitors on social media to see what they are talking about. Check out the exhibitor listings, both commercial and educational, and engage with suppliers and organizations that complement your work. Strike up a conversation with a speaker - they will be flattered that you took the time and you might even learn something new.

There are several opportunities to engage in active giving during the conference. The Britton Fund is celebrating its 15th year in 2022. The 15th Annual Britton Fund Ride will take riders from “Urbana to Nirvana” travelling through the hills of Oakland with spectacular views of the city and bay. Riders will raise a minimum of $775.00 as part of the event. If you are not a rider, consider donating to their fundraising. You can follow the ride and donate to the riders by visiting the ride website (https://justgiving.com/campaign/15thannualbrittonfundride). And I can’t wait for the silent auction to be live again in Oakland! The auction is a wonderful collection of cool art, wine and industry items, with proceeds benefiting the Britton Fund. It’s always fun to see what the membership comes up with and watch bidding wars ensue. The auction forms and links are posted on the conference website https://wcisaconnect.com/silent-auction/

Recharge! If you are on the fence about attending, maybe thinking “ugh…three days of conference center seating” – think again! We have included some wonderful opportunities for attendees to “recharge” during the event. From yoga to an immersive tree and light installation and even short walks to neighborhood parklets and watering holes, we are focusing on “experiencing the urban forest.”

Get outside on Monday May 2nd and participate in one of the two fun golf opportunities we have scheduled. Our annual golf outing benefits the TREE Fund. This year we added a disc golf option. Western Chapter President, Doug Wildman, played in college and is looking for others to join him pitching discs. We have our traditional best ball tournament available too. Both golf events will be held at Lake Cabot Golf Course in Oakland hills. Registration forms are available on the conference website (www.wcisaconnect.com).

Reconnect! It’s been a minute since we had the chance to see each other outside the flat screen. Don’t be afraid to reintroduce yourself to fellow attendees. Most of us are open to connecting with others at the conference – jump in and reconnect. There is plenty of unscheduled time during the week – use it to your advantage. Don’t pull out your smart phone and check Facebook for updates. Turn to the people around you and see if you can strike up a conversation. Start by introducing yourself, and then ask questions: Who are they? Where are they from? What do they do? What else do they enjoy besides trees? If it’s a dead end, move on to someone else. I have met so many new but now “old” friends   during Western Chapter conferences. I cherish those relationships and can’t wait to reconnect in Oakland.

Professional development carries on long after the closing speaker. Stay in contact with your new connections and follow up on conversations and promises to “meet up again.” Sometimes it’s nothing more than asking for some advice or a referral. It works both ways. Professional development and career advancement are strongly influenced by your colleagues and their network of collaborators.

Our newly launched online member community is a great way to keep the conversations going. Launched in January, we now have over 1071 active members. If you want to join the conversation, contact Rita Franco (rfranco@wcisa.net) and she can resend you the invite – it’s just a couple of clicks and you are on your way. It’s also where we are housing our past webinars – a great refresher or even a CEU opportunity. Just click into “events” and then “past events.” We hope to add more programing as it becomes available.

We offer so many great ways to connect! I speak for my entire team when I say we can’t wait to spend the week with you in Oakland. Let us know what we can do to make the most of your experience as we Engage! Recharge! and Reconnect! I look forward to meeting you downtown. See you there!