It is easy to get disconnected from your trade association during the sprint of shipping, not to mention dealing with weather and labor challenges.
However, we all know the great unseen threats that loom over the industry, starting with state and federal regulations. Your volunteer leaders on the OAN Board of Directors and Government Relations Committee serve as your voice and your defense. They are really good at what they do.
Make no mistake about it. As your executive director I understand that your involvement and financial support are not compulsory. You choose whether to invest in your association. When you do, you get our all in return.
As staff and volunteer leaders engaged in the association will tell you, I never stop. My wife would agree. Odd hour phone calls with agency and elected officials, or a member in need, are always answered. When business-altering issues confront the nursery and greenhouse industry, the clock is often ticking. Time is finite.
I wanted to give you a look under the hood of the OAN, so you can understand why we work for you, as well as the what and the how.
The golden circle
“Start with Why” is leadership expert Simon Sinek’s first and most popular book. It demonstrates that leaders and organizations are successful when they start with a basic question: “Why?”
Everything else flows from that. Features and programs are relevant only to the degree they answer that question.
The Simon Sinek golden circle theory is illustrated as three concentric circles with “why” in the center, followed by “how,” and finally, “what.” According to Sinek, most organizations and individuals only focus on the “what” and “how” of their actions. There are very few people who think about the “why.”
I am proud that your association thinks first about why we are here. Our reason for being is still reflected in the OAN’s mission statement: “The OAN is the community dedicated to the long-term success, profitability and excellence of Oregon’s nursery and greenhouse industry.”
That is pretty simple – we exist to promote, protect to enable all members, both small and large, to do what you do so well, which is to grow, sell and ship green goods around the country and globe.
“Why” matters only when you do something with it. Our what is found in our four-pronged vision statement:
1. Plant buyers have an enduring preference for Oregon product.
2. Government leaders depend on the OAN’s input in making policy decisions.
3. Our members adopt practices that lead to their long-term success.
4. Government and the public understand the contribution of Oregon plants toward the well-being of our communities and the environment.
I find it remarkable that after all these years, the mission and vision remain just as true today as when they were adopted by
2024 is a big year
I am a big believer of the axiom that my former boss, U.S. Sen. Bob Packwood (R-Oregon), would say: Know where you want to go, then build the road to get there. I have carried this mantra through my entire career.
Our community will be recognized with a new class of inductees for the OAN Hall of Fame, and we will continue the evolution of chapters through segments, manager and HR professional gatherings and promoting our new NextGen leaders.
We will be taking the next step with Nursery Guide and adding features to increase our online traffic from almost 700,000 visits to close to a million. The OAN was the first online connection to link customers to your website and I am excited for what is ahead.
Labor is a continual problem and the OAN will be working with masLabor to bring H-2A worker visa expertise to your front door. OAN’s five-point plan on immigration will be a big focus on the federal level.
Our advocacy program is elite, offering member advocacy training as well as legislative tours of nursery member operations. Our volunteer leaders are exceptional advocates for the industry, and we’re laying the groundwork for a big push in the 2024 Oregon State Legislature.
Impact is our bottom line
It drives me nuts when I hear about the difference in perspective between for-profit organizations and non-profit organizations. Both have services they provide, but while one focuses on profit margin and market share, the non-profit organization focuses on its mission and the people it serves.
The OAN operates on a budget like any other run-of-the-mill business, but our focus is different. We measure success just as any for-profit organization does, but your success is our measuring stick.
Yes, technically, we are a non-profit, but that’s a tax term. It leaves some things out. We view ourselves as an impact organization. We deliver action to drive outcomes of member success. Everything we do is viewed through a single prism — does this help the membership?
I fully recognize that the technology to seek solutions can be found on YouTube and on Google. However, the OAN represents the human connection, and the conversations that happen in between our jobs and our community. Our sole purpose is making sure the industry is here for the next generation.
As an association, I am proud of the team that has been assembled to serve you each day. They are the best of the best. However, treading water is not swimming ahead. We must continue to refine why we are here, evaluate what needs to be done, and ensure that the actions we take truly drive our most vital cause, making each member successful.
We have bolstered our operations and renewed our commitment to our higher calling, which to protect and defend this industry that we respect and admire.
Director’s Desk from the September 2023 issue of Digger magazine | Download PDF