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ASLA 2017 Professional General Design Honor Award. Chicago Botanic Garden: The Regenstein Learning Campus. Mikyoung Kim Design >

ASLA Presidential Candidates Forum Question 3: Gary Brown, FASLA

Candidate Bio

3a. What should ASLA do to help both established and emerging professionals prepare for today’s practice environment?

As leaders in ASLA, we need to support career development for all our members. That includes promoting our Professional Practice Networks, the ASLA Firm Finder, Job Link, and ASLA’s extensive on-line resources. Many may not know that ASLA tracks business opportunities, such as RFPs and RFQs. ASLA also helps its members stay current with industry trends by providing various educational opportunities, assuring we are all consistently learning and growing. ASLA is also now working on a broad marketing strategy not only for our visibility, but for our members to succeed and grow in every stage of their career.

For our emerging professionals, a great service is our portfolio and resume reviews by industry leaders. Talk about knowledge transfer! Sitting across the table from a nervous emerging professional, reviewing their resume and portfolio may seem awkward for everyone involved. However, our emerging professionals are the key to the growth of our Society. Supporting them provides us with a glimpse into the future of our profession. A future that is bright, full of energy and boundless in creative ideas. To be honest, I would hate to be competing for jobs up against our best and brightest. We need to be proactive and support them in every way possible. ASLA needs to continue to provide leadership training and growth of our emerging professionals so they can step into leadership roles in ASLA, in their firms and in their communities.

ASLA also needs to continue to support our seasoned professionals. We should provide assistance in identifying federal and state grant programs and training on how to apply for those funds. These opportunities drive key potential projects in stormwater management, parks and recreation, transportation, urban renewal, climate resiliency and historic preservation, along with funding for implementation of those projects. Also, we need to understand the world of private philanthropy and how private gifts and foundations can help drive projects forward and help grow each of our own business portfolios. ASLA should provide training in how to work with philanthropic agencies and foundations in raising their awareness in supporting environmental initiatives that we all know need the additional funding to succeed. This is but one or two simple examples that will help grow our profession for all our members.

3b. What can ASLA and the profession itself do to make the profession more diverse and inclusive?

For ASLA to be more diverse and inclusive, our member profile needs to trend with the overall population. Currently, ASLA is frankly still very white and very male centric, but that is changing. In order to grow our membership, we must reach deep into our communities and share our common goals of a fair and just society for all, working together to strengthen the culturally rich communities that form today’s society. We must design physical communities that support our ever increasing diversity as a human population on this fragile planet. Our emerging professionals get it. They have grown up in a diverse, engaging society where inclusion is essential to success. We must embrace that same level of engagement and inclusion in our own firms, and in ASLA.

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