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THE NALP EXPERIENCE


A Look at NALP’s Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives


By Jill Odom


EARLY THIS YEAR, MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF Landscape Professionals recognized there was a need for a greater focus on pursuing diversity in the association and in the industry. To start the conversation, in June, NALP hosted a diversity forum to discuss how we can be proactive about encouraging and supporting more diversity in the industry.


“A lot of the forum was about individuals sharing their stories,” says Britt Wood, CEO of NALP. “I think there were a lot of eyes opened and people shared their experiences, whether it be with NALP or just out in the world.” The group discussed the need for more diverse leadership within NALP, how to be more inclusive and welcom- ing to minority members, and how to attract more minority-owned business- es as members.


“I think it’s important that the lead- ership of the association reflect the makeup of the industry so creating a more diverse Board, committees, and council is important,” Wood says. “Also, it’s good for business. There are many well-documented studies that show that companies that have a diverse team have stronger businesses.” The Board of Directors also an- nounced the formation of a Diversity and Inclusion Council. The members of the council have not been determined yet, but 10 to 14 individuals will be ap- pointed and they will provide guidance and leadership around association programs and initiatives. “The goal is for this group is to come together and outline the parameters of


what they see the council looking like in the future,” Wood says. “The Board feels it is important for the Council to chart their own course and champion projects that they feel will move the industry forward.” The three overarching goals of the new Diversity and Inclusion Council are recruiting a more diverse membership, increasing engagement with members from underrepresented groups, and building diverse leadership within the association. Wood says the diversity initiative has been very well received by members. “Our industry certainly faces work-


force challenges and our ability to attract a diverse workforce will help us reduce the employee shortage,” Wood says. “Creating a more inclusive industry represents a great opportunity for us. We are hoping these efforts will help us attract new people and create work environments where they thrive.” NALP is planning to have more forums in the future so more members can participate in the discussions. While limited to a degree as to how many can participate in a Zoom call, Wood says NALP will continue to lever- age technology to engage with mem-


bers. NALP is also working to provide more resources to members, such as our new sample diversity and inclusion policy for companies to use. “We’re going to be developing re- sources to help educate our members on some of the ways they can go about building and retaining a more diverse workforce,” Wood says. Wood says it is the association’s hope to give members the tools and opportunities to embrace diversity and inclusion and create better businesses. For resources, or to opt-in to news and information about our diversity initia- tives, visit www.landscapeprofessionals. org/diversity. TLP


INTERESTED IN MORE?


Check out the “Focus on Diversity and Inclusion: Implementing Diversity, Equi- ty and Inclusion Initiatives In Your Orga- nization” panel discussion at LAND- SCAPES 2020: The Virtual Experience on Tuesday, Oct. 20 at 1:00-2:15 p.m. Go to www.landscapesconvention.org for more information.


National Association of Landscape Professionals 19


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