OFA Bulletin January/February 2012 : Page 2

OFA Mission Statement To support and advance professional horticulture. OFA – The Association of Horticulture Professionals Forum Collaboration is Our Middle Name By Michael V. Geary, CAE 2130 Stella Court Columbus, Ohio 43215-1033 USA 614-487-1117 Fax: 614-487-1216 ofa@ofa.org www.ofa.org OFA Bulletin January/February 2012 NUMBER 931 B Editorial Staff Editor Stephen A. Carver, Ph.D. Laura Kunkle Contributors Shawn Combs Christopher J. Curry Michael V. Geary, CAE Roberto G. Lopez Roger McGaughey Rita Randolph Alicia (Wells) Rittenhouse Erik Runkle Megan Shoenfelt Forrest Stegelin Tasneem Vaid Published Bimonthly Copyright © OFA 2012. Permission is hereby given to reprint articles appearing in this OFA Bulletin provided the following reference statement appears with the reprinted article: “Reprinted from the OFA Bulletin, (phone: 614-487-1117) January/February 2012, Number 931.” No endorsement is intended for products mentioned in this OFA Bulletin, nor is criticism meant for products not mentioned. The authors and OFA assume no liability resulting from the use of practices printed in this OFA Bulletin. arbara DeBuono, president and CEO of Orbis International (a global NGO dedicated to saving eyesight), was recently interviewed by the New York Times about her hiring practices. In answering one question she said, “I’ve always been really struck by how many people in organizations fight what their organization needs. They say, in effect: ‘I’m not going to do that job. That’s not what I was hired for.’ And they say that even though the organization needs something else from them right now.” It’s a frustrating condition. I’m proud to say OFA is not experiencing this attitude from its members. A self-centered attitude is the sort of thing that has brought down numerous organizations and businesses, but we are fortunate this is not part of OFA’s organizational culture. For example, more than 100 members from around the country and our staff gathered in Columbus for the Fall Leadership Meetings held in October. We held formal committee meetings, formed ad-hoc discussion groups, and stood around the lobby bar sharing ideas about what can we do together to advance the horticulture industry and to help make OFA a truly premier organization. This collaborative dialogue transcends the various industry segments we represent. In other words, retail florists spoke with garden center operators; interior plantscapers talked to growers; vegetable growers conversed with industry suppliers; people from the East chatted with those from the West; and Northerners gabbed with Southerners. It was exciting to see the passion for our industry and for the organization that is facilitating solutions to our issues. The collaborative attitude extends beyond our committee meetings. You likely have noticed that OFA has been partnering with numerous other national trade associations. The thinking is we cannot go at this alone. I thoroughly understand our members operate their businesses in a free-market economy. You duke it out with each other day after day in order to gain market share. However, we can all come together to form that rising tide for the greater good of our industry. In the last year, OFA partnered with the Agriculture Coalition of Immigration Reform, America in Bloom, American Nursery & Landscape Association, Irrigation Association, PLANET, and the Society of American Florists, to name a few. In the very near future, you will learn more about strategic initiatives we are exploring with some of these organizations. Together, we will enhance our business development programs, expand networking opportunities, and strengthen the support for our industry, especially in Washington, DC, where we need a louder voice. This is a continuing effort of our strategic plan, which I shared at this time last year with Bulletin readers. You can also read the strategic plan online at www.ofa.org. I encourage you to think about collaborative opportunities that may impact your business. As I recently wrote for Greenhouse Grower , there is a wide variety of organizations at the local and state levels that can provide additional marketing opportunities. These include the local and state chapters of the American Society of Landscape Architects, Funeral Directors Association, National Association of Home Builders, and the National Association of Realtors. Other entities to consider are larger home owners associations and local organizations committed to beautification and green infrastructure like America in Bloom, Keep America Beautiful, National Garden Clubs, Master Gardeners, and Tree City USA. Many of these groups have monthly lunch or dinner meetings at which you can network with potential customers and offer services like decorating the meeting facility and making presentations on your products and services, the economic and human health impact of plants, and industry OFA Bulletin 2

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