TOCA Strategic Plan Committee Provides Update

By JoDee Sattler

What are the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association’s (TOCA) overall goals? What direction should TOCA head? What are TOCA’s priorities? The TOCA Strategic Planning Committee addressed these questions at its strategic planning session held in February and rolled out to members at the 30th annual meeting in Charlotte in May. Here are highlights from the TOCA strategic plan.

Through this process, the group made four key changes from the previous committee structure:
• The Communications Committee is a stand-alone committee and it will take over several responsibilities from the Professional Development Committee.
• The International Committee is a subcommittee of the Membership Committee.
• The Recognition Committee is a subcommittee of the Program Committee.
• Board members must belong to at least one committee and serve as the board liaison for that committee. If multiple board members are on the same committee, designate one as the liaison.

Subcommittees play a vital role in developing and implementing strategic plans. Here’s a synopsis of TOCA’s strategic plan subcommittees and their chairs, exploration topics and expectations. More than a dozen attendees at the annual meeting agreed to join various committees of TOCA. Please let Kristy Mach ( know if you’re interested in being on a committee and weren’t able to join the meeting in Charlotte.

Chair: Bill Roddy
Members: Andrew Gillman, Cindy Code, Pat Morrow
• Develop plans and promotions to grow membership.
• Evaluate membership categories.
• Formally adopt “creep dues” strategy.

Chair: Scott Hollister
Members: Jon Kiger, Den Gardner
• Review international attendees’ stipends to attend annual meeting.
• Evaluate live-streaming annual meeting.
• Contact International Federation of Agricultural Journalists regarding potential green industry chapter.
• Spend next 18 months evaluating international chapter in English-speaking areas of Europe and Australia/New Zealand.

Professional Development
Chair: Debbie Clayton
Members: Dawn Rigby, Courtney Mullen, Britney Riggs, Amy Jones
• Select editorial content for TOCA Talk.
• Advise Program Committee regarding TOCA Annual Meeting topics.
• Develop added-value opportunities for members through professional development.

Chair: Scott Covelli
Members: Jill Odom, Mark LaFleur, Lyndsey Newnam
• Promote professional development opportunities.
• Build “membership community” through online tools.
• Enhance TOCA website.

Chair: Current TOCA president
Members: Current TOCA vice president, past president and board of directors, and other TOCA members in the region hosting the annual meeting
• Consider new learning methods, such as lightning rounds and great debates.
• Develop annual meeting topics and tours.
• Gain social content to boost meeting attendance.

Chairs: Den Gardner
Members: Cindy Code (ECY), TOCA staff (HOF, Volunteer of the Year)
• Coordinate Environmental Communicator of the Year (ECY) with award sponsor.
• Coordinate Hall of Fame (HOF) program with TOCA staff and longtime members.
• Consider other recognition programs.

Chairs: Cindy Code and TOCA staff
Members: Felicia Gillam, Steve Trusty
• Organize scholarship and two internship programs.
• Consider a mentor program.

Chair: TOCA president
Members: TOCA vice president, past president
• Develop candidates to assume leadership positions.
• Following board approval, members approve candidates at annual meeting.

In addition, the Committee on Committees, an ad hoc committee, will determine what committees are relevant to TOCA and how they should be assembled, managed and made a long-term fabric of TOCA. This committee of Kristine White, Debbie Clayton, Katie Beth Groover and Amy Jones will develop committee recommendations for next February’s Strategic Planning Committee meeting. This committee will dissolve once the TOCA board of directors approves their recommendations at the 2020 TOCA Annual Meeting.

TOCA staff will continue to manage the TOCA Communications Content, with Lynette Von Minden serving as chair and Jill Odom reviewing contest categories. In addition. TOCA staff, with input and assistance from the board of directors, will carry out Sponsorship Committee duties.