Click to zoom.

Click to zoom.

Remembering back to late 2015/2016—we were four separate districts (East Bay, North Bay, Peninsula, and San Francisco) working to coalesce into one district. It took the better part of two years to restructure, and the last two years to get our stellar programming back up and running. We’re now one Bay Area District, with monthly events in both Lafayette and Palo Alto. We’ve got our rhythm back—with a fabulous array of programs that create opportunities for members to increase their professional skills and network with colleagues.

In the next year, we’re going to focus on the infrastructure that it takes to make this work.  We’ll be targeting four areas:

Expanding our board membership

We’re looking to invite more people to be part of the process of making this work—so there’s not just a handful of folks at the Board level who do the work—as we take apart the tasks it takes to make stuff happen and invite more people to be part of the work group, without having to necessarily be on the Board. We want to plan for succession; getting people involved early on to see how it works is a great way to invite them to invest in the ongoing work of the district.

We’re looking to create more shared roles. Janet and Tina are Co-Presidents this year and we want to use this as a model for how to share the work-load and invite others to look at how to do the same with other Board positions.

Documenting our process and procedures

We know that there are folks who have always stepped up to take on responsibilities, and we’ve learned that we need to document what they actually do to make things work. We don’t have to re-invent the great work, we just have to document it so others can easily step in.

Reaching members at the outer edges of the district

Our district is so large geographically that it’s difficult to get to programs if you live farther away. Distance and traffic are a challenge. We’ll be creating ‘satellite’ programs, and starting with a pilot program in the Santa Cruz/Aptos/Carmel area—where a few members will take on the role of convening local meetings.

Bringing back the mentoring program

In 2005, the (then) Peninsula District created a Mentoring Program to match more experienced designers with less experienced designers in APLD. In recent months, Tina has been asked by a number of designers who are looking to retire if they could be of support as mentors. We’ve decided to revive the program for the fall of 2019.

The program was designed for the emerging professional, professional, and qualified professional member categories. Designers with 2-3+ years of experience are matched with designers who are starting their business, while members with 8-10+ years of experience are matched with designers who have been in business. We think this is a model that can be easily replicated by other districts.

The Long View

The Bay Area District is looking forward to another great year of supporting our members so that we can be in conversation with colleagues about how to do our best work.

We want to pay particular attention to the incredible path that has been laid by our members working in Sustainability and Advocacy. We don’t know what this looks like this year, but we know we need to stay the course and be leaders in all ways large and small to support healthy, vibrant and sustainable landscapes that play their role in supporting the health of our planet.