Thought leaders retreat explores innovation and the future of work Email
Written by Steve Steele   
Monday, September 25, 2023 12:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

Char Farley Chacon, division manager at Denver-based Designscapes, a member of the ALCC’s board of directors and the committee chair for ALCC’s Women in Green, is challenging barriers to the advancement of women in the green industry. Well-known across Colorado for her fierce commitment to ALCC’s LatiKNOWs diversity and empowerment program, which gives people across organizations the tools they need to better navigate the leadership landscape, Chacon is quickly becoming a rising industry star on the national level. 

At this year’s Thought Leaders Retreat, held at the Fontainebleau Resort in Miami Beach, Florida, Chacon shared the floor with Heidi Dillon, regional manager of DeSantis Landscapes in Oregon, and Leslie Herndon, president of Greenscape in North Carolina. The panel examined the question of differentiation, exploring how landscape companies can deliver unique value if they are all doing the same things, using the same tools and technologies, and applying the same best practices.

Chacon said unique value starts with reducing opportunity inequities through mentoring and advocacy, as well as finding understanding and common ground. The leadership path can only be lit, Chacon said, when everyone speaks the same language. At Designscapes, that means professional development, training and language lessons. The company subsidizes a bilingual education program, with classes held weekly, that has been well received by the employees.

The Designscapes language program builds morale, camaraderie and communication in and out of the field and helps the company attract new employees and assist recipients of the firm’s Permanent Residency Program, which eases some of the uncertainty of H2B. To date, Chacon said, Designscapes has sponsored and helped 60 employees to become U.S. residents. Leadership presents an opportunity and a responsibility for people at all levels to be better role models, Chacon said. Leaders should empower fresh thinking, lift people up and allow every individual to flourish and succeed. Thought Leaders Retreat explores innovation and the future of work.

This year’s Thought Leaders Retreat, an annual event produced by Bruce Wilson & Co., one of the green industry’s largest and oldest advisory firms, broke records for sponsorship and attendance. Colorado was represented by delegates from Designscapes, Fort Collins-based Lindgren Landscapes and Denver-based Lifescape Colorado. Boulder tech firm TeamEngine and Denver-based Scythe Robotics were among the event’s sponsors. Michael Mayberry, customer success lead at Scythe, was a featured speaker on innovation, the guiding theme of the Thought Leaders conference and its focus on the future of work.

Bruce Wilson wrapped up the two-and-a-half-day event with a call to action: “Every organization needs bold inventiveness. But creativity is only half of what gets us to the other side of the box. This time is dedicated to how to create an innovation culture, how to inspire the next great idea and how to improve our capacity to innovate by asking what we would do differently if we knew anything’s possible?”

Read more in this issue of Colorado Green Now:

Legislative update

Stop the Insanity!