Wow. I know it’s a cliché, but I honestly can’t believe how fast time has flown over the last year.
It seems like it was just a month ago and I was scrambling to put together my very first Digger column. Funny thing is, they haven’t gotten any easier — especially after hearing people say they actually read them!
Just as many past presidents before me surely have, I have really learned so much throughout this year. It’s been very fun to get to know more members and see how banding together benefits all of us.
Each time I walked into a board, committee, or task force meeting, I was constantly “star struck” in a sense — I just couldn’t believe that people I had so much admiration for were taking time away from 10 million other things to come and help out. We are so lucky to have so many incredible and hardworking people among our membership.
It has been insightful to see the interworking of the association and efforts of the staff to support all of the amazing services the OAN offers to the members — from this publication to the Farwest Show to our advocacy efforts. I’ve never really taken this for granted, but having a front seat to the show has given me a deeper appreciation for each member of the OAN staff.
Moving on from the kudos just a bit, I wanted to touch on some key notes from the past year.
In a past life — the one where I did not have my daughter Alyce yet — I enjoyed mountain climbing on rocks and glaciated peaks.
The year’s presidency has been in many ways similar to what I remember the climbing process to be. It’s not exactly about grabbing anything you can and muscling upwards, but it requires strategic thought and careful placement of protection along the way so we never slip further than we can handle.
At Climbing Skyward, the 2018 OAN Convention on October 26–27, we will move forward on routes set by the past president when we install the first wave of a newly designed board. It’s a well-balanced configuration that gives members greater representation in the direction of the association. I think it will have profound impacts. Our board has never lacked for quality people, but with this new model, we’re giving each sector of the nursery industry the voice it deserves. We’re likely to hear fresh angles and be able to incorporate the priorities that each sector most values.
On a related note, we also had some meaningful conversations about chapter meetings. We came up with very good recommendations that give me hope that the chapters will be emboldened again. We began to see some of these recommendations play out into some unique new events that today’s members found valuable.
Of course, we climbed higher on the political front and made some daring moves at times. These showed legislators, other interest groups and everyone else that we are not interested in scooting around the hard stuff. We are willing to reach out to trustworthy “holds,” as they are called in the climbing world, to help get to a goal that benefits all of our members, whether they are owners or skilled laborers that are our backbone.
Taking a stance and working with all the stakeholders to reach forward-thinking solutions helps us and gives us outstanding reception when we want to come to the table.
There were countless steps taken and lots of protection laid to ensure that we stay on course while exploring all sorts of options as we worked. It was fun to pick up the ropes for a while and lead. I feel like we are in a good spot and I am excited to take a step back and see our incoming president, Mike Hiller, on the “sharp end,” or front position, of a roped team. I know he has a lot to offer to all of us.
Thank you all for the opportunity to serve. I appreciate all of the support you have given me and it was truly an honor.