Outlook Winter 2021

By Rose Epperson on Friday, December 31, 2021

Outlook Winter 2021 – Looking ahead with Gratitude

Typically at this time of year we are giving thanks and considering what gifts to give our friends and loved ones.  Let’s see if I can do the season justice…I find myself grateful for the tree and landscape community in the West (YOU!) for your support of our efforts to keep our members engaged during these challenging times. My gratitude for the passion that our volunteer leaders and my Epicenter team share continues to grow with each new turn.  Our chapter could not continue to grow without the hard work of these fine folks.  

As a business owner, I spend this time of year reflecting on goals and progress made during the year as well as looking ahead at the year to come.  It’s the time of year that I evaluate our performance both individually and as a team.   To make the most of it, we pull our knowledge of the planning process out of our business “tool bag.”  We reflect on where we have been, look at the environment around us, and set a series of SMART goals for the coming year. These are  Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely goals that we set down in writing. We develop a series of objectives to get us there and schedule periodic meetings to report on our progress and tweak things along the way.   And yes, we occasionally change direction during the year, but not without careful consideration of the results of our actions and what resources or additional skills we may need to proceed successfully.

When I feel stumped during the planning process, I often return to the wisdom of my college business professor, Robert Ash, as a guide in how to be successful in business and leadership.  Through the years, both in presentations and in print, I have shared his 20 Principles of Management. I remain grateful for these lessons that, even with the passage of time, still ring true.  I revisit these 20 nuggets of knowledge frequently as a source of inspiration’ for this issue principle #10 caught my eye.  Get Educated - Get Your Employees Educated:  Education is a lifelong process.  We must refresh to renew.  We must keep abreast of change or fall behind.  We must constantly update our own knowledge and skills.”

I am an advocate of lifelong learning.  To maintain a competitive edge, we need to continually update our skills and take advantage of new and improved programs and processes.  I encourage my team to continue to expand their knowledge and skills through technical training, certification programs, and continuing education offerings.   We live in a time where technology is constantly changing and expands our opportunity to participate in programs 24/7.   Through the pandemic, there have been so many opportunities to grow our knowledge.  

There are still traditional educational courses and certifications; however, these are augmented by a plethora of online offerings that take learning to a new level. 

It’s been a long 18 months and many are becoming tired of the one-dimensional programing that has been the mainstay of our educational offerings.  We remain conscientious of the everchanging status of public health and continue to make the best choices for our membership.   The willingness of membership to flex with us is at the top of my “thankfulness” list.   

As we work on scheduling our 2022 year, we look forward to offering a variety of programing, including a mix of webinars and small group meetings.  The use of outdoor venues is also part of the plan.  The great 2022 conference committee is diligently working to create an annual conference experience for both those onsite and those who prefer to participate remotely.  There is no “easy” option.  Thankfully, Conference Chair Gordon Matassa, along with his Vice Chair Sara Davis, have assembled a stellar team.  Their perseverance and local insight amaze me.   It’s going to be a wonderful experience. 

Speaking of experiences – I am excited to announce a new online community for Western Chapter members will be rolled out as our gift to you this holiday season.   The goal of this platform is to serve as a space where you can connect, collaborate, and learn from your peers all year long.  It will also serve as the event platform for our archive of recorded events, and link to upcoming events on our website.

You might be wondering: “But what exactly can I do in this online space?” Well, here are just a few of the ways you can participate:

  • Ask Questions of Your Peers.  Start discussions with fellow WCISA members by creating posts that your peers can provide their thoughts on.
  • Share Important Resources. Have a document that you think others in the community would benefit from? The online community is a perfect place to share it.
  • Get and Give Answers. See a question that you know the answer to? You can use the WCISA community to provide your thoughts!
  • View Past Recorded Events (and even earn CEUS). Did you miss one of our 2020 or 2021 webinars?  You can watch the recorded webinars on demand and at your convenience.  Visit the events section of the platform.   Many have an associated CEU quiz available for a nominal fee. 
  • Gather Committees (or likeminded groups). The online community platform is a perfect backdrop for committee meetings – whether scheduled or “on the fly,” Committee Chairs can organize their meetings and documents in an easy to access space. 

To get started:  look for the invite from the online community (shortly after you receive this issue of the Western Arborist) and click the activation button! You may need to reenter your WCISA credentials by clicking on the clear button.  Make it easier for others to find and learn about you by creating your community profile. If there’s information you’d rather not share, you can control that through your privacy settings.  Also, we highly recommend using a Chrome browser when accessing the community for a seamless experience.

All of us at the Western Chapter are looking forward to connecting in the new online community, as well as at local or streamed chapter events this coming year.  We would love to hear your ideas on how to continue to keep us “green and growing” and invite you to get involved with the Chapter – you will be grateful for the experience. 

Cheers to trees,