ASLA Presidential Candidates Forum Question 3: ASLA and Emerging Professionals

David M. Cutter, ASLA

Candidate for 2019 President-elect

Why is the Society particularly important for emerging professionals?


Would you consciously choose to handicap your career and professional development? Probably not. (Although that is what I did by electing to be a stay-at-home parent for my first son – a dilemma still all too common in our profession 25 years later. But that requires its own larger discussion; the point of my question has a different focus.) Landscape architects are some of the most collaborative and supportive professionals I know. However, most of us are also in competition with each other – competition for jobs and salary, competition for clients and fees, competition for recognition and advancement in our career. What are your tools in this competition – what you know (education), what you have accomplished (experience), and who you know (social network).

Active participation in ASLA (sorry, just writing a check once a year isn’t enough) is one of the best ways I know of gaining that competitive edge as well as increasing overall satisfaction with your career. Recent graduates and those new to the profession are in a vulnerable position in their working career. This is reflected in the retention rate of student members (50 percent) and associate members (75 percent) as compared to full members of ASLA (nearly 90 percent). The compounding stresses of finding the right job, learning new job-related skills, developing a professional network, providing value to your employer, preparing for licensure, all while trying to pay your bills and find a satisfying work – life balance are not things you need to face alone.
  
The education, leadership, and networking opportunities offered by ASLA were created by members who have also faced these stresses and have developed successful strategies for overcoming these potential barriers. If you know where you want to go in your career, ASLA can support you with cutting-edge education programs, a network of like-minded professionals, and the opportunity to grow into leadership positions. If you are still trying to find your way, ASLA can inspire and link you with potential jobs, mentors, and education opportunities. And by joining ASLA you are adding your voice to the most effective organization advocating for the future of your profession.

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