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Meet Candidate for National ASLA President-Elect SuLin Kotowicz, ASLA

SuLin Kotowicz, ASLA

Here is your chance to familiarize yourself with the candidates’ goals, directions, and biographies. In the next three issues of LAND, the candidates will respond to questions related to the future of the profession and the Society.

ASLA has partnered with Survey & Ballot Systems to administer the 2021 election. To ensure your election email arrives safely in your inbox on or around April 27, 2021, simply add the following email address as an approved sender: noreply@directvote.net. If you have any questions, contact Curt Millay.

SuLin Kotowicz, ASLA
Candidate for National ASLA President-Elect

Biography  

SuLin K. Kotowicz, ASLA, has been a loyal member of ASLA for over two decades. She’s dedicated her career to empowering others, advocating for and growing ASLA and our profession. She is known for her from-the-heart, enthusiastic and accessible presentation-style and interactions. Kotowicz is detail-oriented, able to analyze the big picture, and financially savvy, as an owner of a side bookkeeping business assisting small businesses and non-profit organizations. She brings a diverse perspective, energy, decisive leadership, and is a firm believer in the old saying – there is no “I” in team. Self-identifying as an extroverted introvert, Kotowicz is a proven leader in complex and unpredictable settings, demonstrated through her intentionality, endurance and accountability.
 
Kotowicz is very active in leadership at community, state and national levels. She serves on the Mobility Citizen Alliance for Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. and is an active leader in multiple local non-profits. She was appointed to the Ad Hoc Committee by the Michigan State Department of Licensing and Regulatory Reform to draft rules for Michigan landscape architectural licensees. She served for twelve years on many Michigan Chapter committees as well as served as their Secretary, Treasurer, and two consecutive terms as Chapter President. Kotowicz is Treasurer for the Michigan Chapter ASLA Foundation, promoting scholarship and education in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Nationally, she most recently served as VP of Finance on the Executive Committee, as well as serving on the Professional Practice Committee, Finance and Investments Committee, was Chair of the Audit Committee, and has participated on various National awards juries.
 
In 2008, Kotowicz was awarded the Michigan Chapter Emerging Professional of the Year award for advocacy work and enthusiastic, unwavering service to the profession. In 2016, her service was recognized with the Michigan Chapter Distinguished Member of the Year award for significant contributions sustained over a decade.
 
Kotowicz graduated from Ball State University with a Bachelor’s of Landscape Architecture. She became licensed and practices in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She currently is a project manager for VIRIDIS Design Group, creating inspirational and accessible parks, playgrounds, splash pads, trails and urban spaces in the built environment.

Goal and Directions Statement
 

ASLA is an incredible organization, 14,718 members and growing. We encompass a depth and breadth of demographics within our brilliant and passionate members, and are making positive change in our communities.

Ultimately, we have a greater calling: we are poised and equipped with unique skills to save the world. In the words of author Simon Sinek, this is our why -- why we do what we do -- and the world needs us. This is our legacy.

Through wise actions and planning, ASLA has now embarked on a three-year strategic plan, allowing us to focus on the discipline of how we will fulfill our why, serving our members and beyond, and what initiatives we’ll utilize. When aligned with our why, we will direct our finite resources for ASLA’s evolution and success. The goals will be unveiled over several years; I anticipate financial diversification, which I enthusiastically promoted while serving as VP of Finance, will be vital. Through listening to our members in this strategic planning effort, we can live into our culture: being collaborative, inclusive, member-focused, accountable and volunteer-supported.
 
We know that change is inevitable; what matters is how ASLA is willing to adapt and meet challenges while staying true to our values: excellence, integrity, diversity, leadership and stewardship. We should always strive to improve and we must continue to collaborate with our valued, allied organizations for ultimate effectiveness.
 
Every action we take today is like planting a seed. This isn’t instant gratification, but establishing and nurturing our current and future members, programs and policies to empower landscape architects for growth, thriving, and ultimately, to bloom. We’ve seen this in long-term projects such as our Frameworks initiative, climate change expertise and government affairs efforts, and now we will sow the way for the future with this strategic plan.

35 years ago, ASLA elected its first woman president, Darwina Neal, FASLA, who paved the path for ten women to follow in her footsteps. Thanks to the intentionality of the Nominating Committee, I’m honored to be one of two women candidates. I welcome the opportunity to become ASLA’s first woman of color President-Elect.

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