Happy New Year Everyone!

Kevin Monohan here, doing my thing as president and welcoming you all to 2021.

2020 was a trying year for all of us. With a new year upon us, let’s take this moment to highlight some of our good fortune.

A Giving Community
This spring when we entered the Shutdown and weeks of uncertainty, we had fellow designers to reach out to on our Google Group. With our individual generosity and collective brain we negotiated the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) process and got right back to work with the opening of Phase 2.

Plentiful Work
Unlike the previous economic recession, this time our local Seattle industry actually seems to be seeing an increase in demand as more folks stuck in their houses realize the value of investing in their homes and recognize the many benefits of outdoor living spaces.

New Members
Our chapter even attracted several new members whom we hope to meet in person soon.

Staying Connected
Pretty quickly we were using virtual meeting platforms to keep us chugging along. Our events became webinars and our regional POD groups got on Zoom. I’ll use this as a segue to the heart of this month’s newsletter, our Peer Organized Discussion (POD) Program, a wonderful way that our local community has been able to keep in touch.

So without further ado, brought to you by our awesome volunteers on the Membership Committee (especially Gretchen Bauer), please check out and take advantage of our POD Program described below. Thank you.


Looking at Plans
Looking at Plans (Pre-pandemic) - Photo by Leanne Goulding

Peer Organized Discussions (POD) Program
Open Enrollment – ALL Professional APLDWA Members Are Welcome!

The POD program originally began as the Emerging Professionals Program (EPP) which connected new designers with seasoned mentors in small groups called pods. Each pod met periodically throughout the year and discussed issues that were pertinent to its individual members.

Since participants with all levels of expertise have expressed enthusiasm for the program’s colleague collaboration, use of time, mentor expertise, and comradery, the program has been renamed Peer Organized Discussion (POD). Providing guidance for designers in the early years of their career still continues to be the main emphasis of the program but even the more experienced are reaping benefits.

Socially Distanced Garden Tour
Socially Distanced Garden Tour - Photo by Laura Kleppe

The program is structured to suit its POD members’ needs. In general, each POD:

  • is comprised of members who live in the same geographical area; meetings occur at a mutually agreed location or video conference,
  • has 3-9 members and a mentor,
  • meets every 4-6 weeks; this is determined by the POD members,
  • sets an agenda ahead of time and discusses topics timely to its members; meetings are respectful of people’s time,
  • is collaborative in nature,
  • has consistent attendance by members (this is crucial for the program to work well),
  • respects each other’s knowledge, experience level, and aesthetics,
  • is committed to supporting the needs of our newest designers.

PODs are open for enrollment anytime. Every practicing professional designer in APLDWA is welcome to join – certified, qualified professional, professional and emerging professional members. This is another wonderful way APLDWA facilitates connecting as designers and advancing the profession. We’d love to have you participate! (Student members, because you are not yet peers and have unique needs, this program is not open to you; we’re happy to include you once your education training is complete and you transition to an emerging professional membership.)

Virtual POD Meeting
Virtual POD Meeting - Screenshot by Heidi Walther

If the program components listed above sound like a good fit for you, please send the following information to Gretchen Bauer: g.bauer.design@gmail.com

1. Your name and contact info (email and phone)
2. Your company name
3. Years of experience
4. Your city and zip code
5. Are you interested in acting as a mentor?