Three President's; Past and Present

We had the pleasure and the privilege of hearing from three NGIV President’s in our latest Industry Catch-Up. Over thirty attendees joined the webinar to hear David Howard (2012 – 2016), Paul Boland (2017 – 2019) and Simon Gomme (current), sharing their insights on the current and future state of our industry. All three men have a wealth of industry experience and offered valuable learnings.

They were all quick to point out that this time is a huge opportunity for our industry. A chance to embrace change, a chance to experiment and a chance to convert a new audience into lifelong gardeners.

Simon, Director at Powerplants Australia, challenged business owners to think bigger, to recognise that just because something has worked well in the past, doesn’t mean it can’t be done even better in what is a changing environment. He encourages business owners to be adaptable and agile but to do so with a continuity plan in place.

He spoke about the power of collaboration within the industry to create strength, continuity and reduce risk. And the need to shift thinking towards one of self-sufficiency; consumers, businesses and even countries are moving towards a self-sufficient model that doesn’t rely so much on outside forces.

Simon shared a strong belief in the need to look after employees and make them feel valued. Whether its communicating change to keep them informed or allowing them the flexibility they require to accommodate their personal needs. Our greatest resource are our teams.

“Take advantage of this moment; look for opportunities and challenge yourself, your employees and your customers to embrace change.”

Paul, Managing Director at Ball Australia, was also adamant that this is an opportunity not to be missed and that they are trading at an unprecedented level. “We couldn’t have asked for a bigger injection into the industry”.

He sited the fact that competing industries; travel, food and entertainment, have been heavily impacted by COVID-19 and that consumers are now looking for new ways to invest their leisure time and money. He emphasised the need for our industry, from retailers to wholesale, to support and educate these new green thumbs to ensure they achieve success and become lifelong gardeners.

David, Owner of Bay Road Nursery , sited a younger demographic that are increasingly passionate about plants. Whether it’s the twenty somethings that lack outdoor space but are filling their homes with indoor plants, or first home owners that have a garden for the first garden and are keen to try their hand at a bit of urban farming.

He believes there is a need to communicate with this younger audience in the digital space. Whether it’s gardening tips videos or sharing imagery of beautiful plants. David has outsourced content creation of their social media platforms and e-newsletters and feels it has been a fantastic investment.

He also encouraged business owners to look within their own teams to identify employees that might have the right skill-set to tackle communications and to empower them with the time and trust to do it. Converting young gardeners into lifelong gardeners represents a huge win for the industry.

A big thank you to our three President’s, past and present, and to everyone that attended the webinar. Our Industry Catch Ups are ongoing and they are a chance to share, learn and collaborate. Find out more and register for our next event. Together we are stronger.