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ASLA Presidential Candidates Forum Question 1: Thomas L. Mroz Jr., FASLA

Question: What can ASLA do to demonstrate the value of membership in the Society to established and emerging professionals, as well as students?

Candidate Bio

Too often, the good work and associated benefits that ASLA provides to our members remains a secret hiding in plain sight. In the world of push communication, we cannot just assume that members will go to the ASLA website and become knowledgeable about the opportunities and benefits that ASLA membership offers. This is especially true for the less engaged. To improve the understanding that current members, non-members (who we would like to recruit to become members), emerging professionals and students have about the value of ASLA membership, two ideas come to mind.

The first idea is to formulate a communications campaign aimed at existing members, non-members, emerging professionals and students. It could be a branded campaign – something like “Your ASLA Today” that in short order would cycle through the benefits of being a member:

  • Protection of licensure
  • Policy advocacy at the federal and state level
  • Professional development and continuing education
  • Connecting to a network of related practice and content expertise
  • Professional connections and networking
  • Access to practice tools and service

ASLA should deliver this message in multiple formats; social media, email, a brief PowerPoint as a part of leadership visits to chapters and schools, even a post card-style mailer to licensed landscape architects who are not currently members.

The second idea is to look at existing member engagement by creating a simple and straight forward engaged member checklist to clearly communicate what an engaged member looks like.

This checklist could identify characteristics of an engaged member, and formatted in a yes or no self-test format such as:

  • Do you attend your annual chapter meeting?
  • Do you attend at least one other chapter sponsored event in addition to the chapter meeting?
  • Have you attended the National Conference on Landscape Architecture three times in the last five years?
  • Do you participate in the iAdvocate network by receiving alerts and sending messages to your elected representatives?
  • Have you ever participated in Advocacy Day either at the state or national level?
  • Do you post, tweet, share, guide, etc. content for World Landscape Architecture Month?
  • In addition to Landscape Architecture Magazine, do you receive The Landscape Report, LAND Newsletter, The Dirt Blog, or The Field Blog? Do you allocate a single hour a month to review these materials?
  • Do you serve on any of the 23 national committees?
  • Are you a member of any of the 20 Professional Practice Networks?
  • Have you ever served in an elected position at the chapter or national level?
  • Do you participate in career discovery events?
  • Do you mentor students or emerging professionals?
  • Do you have a best friend who is also a member of ASLA?

If you can answer yes to 60 percent or more of these 13 questions, then you are an engaged member! Increasing engagement will allow us to collectively accomplish more faster and will ultimately lead to expanded membership.

The ultimate goal of both ideas is to have ASLA membership viewed as a critical necessity vs. an expendable luxury. Working together I am sure we can get there!

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