This year I was lucky enough to attend the Women in Arboriculture networking event held at the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) annual conference, in Knoxville, Tennessee back in August. This event is held annually by the organization and brings people together from all around the world to share their experiences working with trees. The session, sponsored by Bartlett Tree Experts, was a brilliant opportunity for networking in an informal atmosphere that celebrates diversity. Turnout this year was high, with a total of 124 attendees for the event.
Walking into the room for the start of the meeting, there was already a buzz of conversations going on between new faces and people who had met at previous events. Nerves soon faded away, and conversations began naturally with our shared love of trees and our industry. I was able to speak to fellow researchers (including some of my science heroes, whilst trying not to have a fan-girl moment!), tree climbers, state foresters and consultants. Most came from the US but some I spoke to had come from Canada and Europe. The informal style of the session worked well, and it was nice to see a few male attendees had also come along to find out more.
I’ve always found people in the tree industry to be some of the friendliest people I know, and this event just confirmed that feeling. As quite a shy person even I found it easy to strike up a conversation, share stories and compare notes. I would definitely recommend this session to anyone within the industry, male or female, who’s keen to network, enthuse with fellow arborists and possibly even make links with a mentor.