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ASLA 2020 Residential Design Award of Excellence. Marshcourt, Cambridge, MA. Reed Hilderbrand >

ASLA Presidential Candidates Forum Question 3: SuLin Kotowicz, ASLA

SuLin Kotowicz, ASLA

In my professional career, leadership roles, and even my personal life, the process of finding my voice has been ongoing. I realized I do have things to say and my words and ideas have value to others, which was a powerful awakening. My journey to this point required intentionality for growth, a hunger for continual learning, and the support of many mentors, sponsors, and stakeholders. 

ASLA can enhance its relevance for our bright and talented students and emerging professionals as they find their own voices. How we get there is multi-layered – through fellowship, advocacy, education and communication, which also reflects ASLA’s mission on how to advance landscape architecture. 

  1. Provide networking opportunities to engage and interact with more seasoned individuals within a community with shared values and beliefs, united by our drive to save the world (our why). Seasoned professionals were once new to the workforce and had to navigate survival in the professional realm; we all put our pants on one leg at a time. The takeaway is we’re all human, and no matter where we are in our professional path, each of us has value.
      
  2. Promote and advocate for issues we’re all passionate about, such as climate change, environmental justice, social equity and justice, and safety, health and welfare. We have the expertise and momentum as ASLA has proven by leading in timely and deeply impactful issues, such as guiding the new Biden-Harris administration with policy recommendations and our Racial Equity Plan of Action. 
      
  3. Provide opportunities for growth and learning as professionals. There’s a learning curve between the many different stages of our career; from internships to joining the workforce, getting licensed, and firm ownership. ASLA is committed to offering many educational, professional growth opportunities. In June, ASLA will present our business development virtual event, SKILL|ED, one of many valuable opportunities and member benefits relevant for today’s emerging professional. This program will empower students and professionals in multiple career stages with marketable skills including business development, proposal writing and contract management. I’ll see you there!
      
  4. With our strategic plan, we can direct our energy and passion into ways our members can lead in our communities and nation. As we make our way through this robust strategic planning process and clarify our priorities, it’s critical for ASLA to continue to engage with and provide opportunities for students and emerging professionals to share what’s important to them, their unique perspectives, vision, and their authentic voice. 

With every member’s input, we will plant seeds for the foundation of ASLA’s present evolution, one relevant for all of today’s members. We will also position ASLA to adapt to the changing world to ensure we remain relevant and fruitful for generations to come. The responsibility is ours to process this input, create SMART goals, then follow through with action. This multi-year effort is not intended to sit on a shelf once completed; it will take clarity, discipline and consistency to implement the strategic plan. I’m up for the challenge – join me!

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