President's Perspective - Spring 2023

By Daniel Goyette on Friday, March 31, 2023

Happy Vernal Equinox!

If you're holding this issue of the Western Arborist in your gaze, I thank you for being a member of the Western Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture.

I’m taking this moment to ask everyone who is reading this to mark your calendars for June as a reminder to please participate in the WCISA annual member survey. I know it is the beginning of April, our Annual Conference, which (shameless plug) I hope you are coming to, is May 8-11 in Tahoe and before you know it June will be here and with that the member survey email.

I want to implore everyone who enjoys this magazine as a Western Chapter member to participate in this survey when June rolls around.

A reason I joined the board was to see what I can do to make this chapter better, but the single most  important thing ANY member can do to improve the WCISA is to participate in the annual survey. We need to hear from you, the membership. This is the greatest way we are going to know what can be done to make the WCISA even better. Good, bad, or otherwise, we would like (dare I say need) to know what your perspectives are. Knowing what’s working and what’s not working will allow us to do more of what you like, less of what you don’t, and adjust  things that lie somewhere in-between.

Some stats from last year’s survey:

  • 3414 email surveys sent; out of that, only
  • 2250 emails were opened (65%); out of that, only
  • 363 completed the survey.

That’s only 16% of all surveys emailed. Does that 16% represent your views?

The WCISA Board, Executive Director and over 2 dozen committee chairs and liaisons are currently making decisions based on the voices and needs of less than 20% of the membership. Most of the membership is not being heard from. I know that when the survey email is received it is very easy to delete. Trust me, I have deleted it in the past myself without opening it, so I understand. 

Please open the WCISA annual member survey email this year, even if you do not answer every question. Open the email, give it a look, answer a question (or don’t answer that question, no problem), move on to the next question (awesome), but please open the email. I know it takes some commitment of time to do this and we appreciate all our members because we would not be here if it were not for you; we need to hear from you. The annual membership survey is the best mechanism we have to hear from our members en masse.

One of the things I want to achieve during my presidency is to make the board more accessible to the membership. The board is not this ethereal thing that happens in a vacuum. We base our actions and decisions on what we think will be in the best interest of the members of the WCISA. I know I keep repeating myself, but this is important; other than having conversations with members we encounter throughout the year, the best way for the board to make decisions is to read the survey and the survey is your single best opportunity to tell us what you think.

You can tell us how great of a job that we're doing - how much you appreciate the Western Chapter board, Rose, and Epicenter management for keeping the WCISA humming along like a well-oiled machine. This is your chance. If you feel there is room for improvement, somewhere in all these moving parts, then let us know.

Unfortunately, most of the things that we hear about are generally where improvements could be made or where someone is not happy with something. When individuals are unhappy, they tend to be more loquacious than when they are content. A typical happy response is “Hey, things are great. Thank you!” and that’s great because that member took time to say something. The survey is anonymous, so speak up and let us hear you.

You’re still reading this, but if you know other members who will not, please encourage them to complete the survey too. I would be ecstatic if “Hey, everybody, you should do this” took off wildly simply through word of mouth. A blast from my TV commercial-watching youth, “Tell a friend”. Alan Hamel would be happy.

We really appreciate input on the annual survey, so we can know how you feel. This is everyone's chapter: the more members that participate, the stronger the chapter becomes. Let’s see if we can break 50% for completing our annual membership survey in summer 2023. 

Daniel Goyette, 2022/23 President