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President-Elect Candidate Forum - Haley Blakeman Answers Question 1

Image of Haley Blakeman, FASLA by Eye Wander Photo

The annual election for 2024-2025 ASLA President-Elect will be open May 2 through June 2, 2023. All Full, Associate, Student, and International members in good professional standing will be eligible to vote and will receive a paper and/or email ballot to participate. The candidates this year are Haley Blakeman, FASLA, and Kona Gray, FASLA.
Over the next three issues of LAND, the candidates will respond to questions related to the future of the profession and the Society.
This week’s question is ‘Why do you want to be ASLA President? And why now?’

Haley Blakeman, FASLA
Our profession and organization are currently reimagining how we contribute to the world arounds us. I am the right person to facilitate that process. My career has prepared me to lead ASLA at this critical juncture. We are tackling big global issues through our work. Our collective strength lies in our stories of how each of us make a difference and the variety of expertise that we bring to our craft. We need a leader who brings people together, finds common ground, and rallies them for the common good. That is who I am at the core.

Our strategic plan set a vision for our future. Landscapes must be beautiful places that bring people together while addressing environmental and social issues. Landscape architects are process-focused problem solvers. We are systems thinkers, connectors, and collaborators. Our training lends us to leading teams that propose holistic solutions to complex problems. If this is where we are headed, then we need a new way of working together that maximizes what each of us brings.

I have experience in applied design, leadership, teaching and research. Specialized training in facilitation, media relations, strategic planning, community engagement, and individual leadership coaching are skills I bring to this role. However, my most valuable skills come from leading complex and often difficult conversations, like helping people figure out how to preserve their culture and kinship ties as they retreat from rising seas. Or how to implement a community-driven small town plan on a shoe-string budget with a tiny staff. I brought communities and expertise together to plan for their future. I learned to talk in ways that we can all relate to. I have also had the opportunity to collaborate with and publish research with people in other disciplines including sociologist, public health specialists, applied geographers, coastal scientists, architects, engineers, and planners on adaptation strategies and transdisciplinary design strategies.

I value diverse voices and opinions. Creative paths forward come from discourse. We must give people a safe space to push boundaries and explore solutions to expand our way of thinking. I am an approachable, collaborative, and supportive team leader by nature. I show up for difficult conversations yet manage them with grace and integrity. I ask hard questions and make room for all opinions to be heard. I listen carefully to distill themes while pulling people and ideas together toward a strong central focus. I am nimble and able to course-correct easily. I see value in people and provide spaces where they can contribute while offering support.

As ASLA grows into a new phase, our next leader needs to support the varied ways we practice our craft, amplify our story, and help expand our knowledge base. Our members’ diverse expertise is our biggest strength. I will communicate how we improve people’s lives and the environment while growing our partnerships and building our collective knowledge so our reach is exponential. I am inspired by what we are capable of and truly believe we can make a difference.

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