Aspire to GROW

Aspire to GROW
The first Aspire event of the year is coming soon!
First Work + Landscape Ontario: Aspire to Grow
Friday, January 29th, 2021

ASPIRE to Grow Event Details

First Work is excited to be partnering with Landscape Ontario to offer an event for
youth (15-30) to learn about the pathways and opportunities in the landscape and
horticulture profession!

Landscape Ontario will also introduce their new GROW Entrant Training Program and the Horticulture Technician Apprenticeship Program. Youth will have a chance to meet with industry professionals and graduates from their training programs in a breakout networking groups.

Join us for an afternoon of career exploration focused on the great outdoors! Youth be rewarded with confidence, new job paths to explore, and $20 in gift cards for their full participation!

The event will wrap up with a career-pathway exploration with Project Integrate. Youth will be facilitated through assessments that will help determine their most successful career paths. This also includes gift-card incentives to ALL youth who complete the assessment tools and surveys.

Networking Breakouts with Industry Professionals

In the Networking Breakout Session, participants will be split into networking breakout rooms with past graduates of the GROW program and industry professionals. This opportunity is a great way grow your network, especially during the lockdown!

  • Youth are encouraged to ask questions via mic or in the chat
  • Each room will have a small activity related to each panelist

Meet the Panelists! – Aspire to GROW Speakers

Jessica Tucker is the Environmental Program Coordinator with the Education and Workforce Development team at Landscape Ontario. Her role is to coordinate, support and expand the environmental programs with Landscape Ontario and to coordinate professional development opportunities for members certified in the environmental programs.
Destiny Lacasse has been in the horticulture trade for 8 years. She discovered horticulture in grade 11 when she took a Horticulture SHSM (Specialist High Skill Major) program and graduated with a red seal! After graduating highschool Destiny attended Niagara Parks Commission School Of Horticulture, where she was immersed in academics and practical skills of working and learning on a botanical garden. Destiny is now working towards a diploma in Recreation Therapy at Niagara College and working with a nonprofit organization called project SHARE where she helped provide food to community members in need and managed and grew food in community gardens. Her goal in the next few years is to start up a business in Niagara where I can share a service called Horticulture Therapy. Horticulture Therapy is a service where horticulture tasks are given to clients to better them, socially, mentally and physically!

Mike Palermo started his journey in grade 10 when he took a Landscaping and Horticulture class in high school. He now holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Guelph, and has had the privilege to work with companies big and small including Scotiabank, Monsanto, Bio Ag, Bayer Crop Science and now Sevita International.

His interest in Horticulture and Agriculture first started with friends and food! He also developed an interest in finance and business in highschool that brought his two passions together. Mike now works as the Western Ontario Sales Manager with a team of sales people working from field to table with global customers to produce products such as soy sauce, soy milk and Tofu!

Sally Harvey is the Director of Education and Workforce Development for Landscape Ontario. She is a passionate industry professional with over 30 years’ experience as a landscape and horticulture industry employer, educator, and consultant! Sally owns a company called Green Design Landscaping Inc. that specializes in interior & exterior landscapes that provide innovative and horticulturally sustainable solutions to enhance the lives and health of those who enjoy the spaces that they design, build and maintain. Sally is involved with running and collaborating on numerous projects including the apprenticeship program, GROW New Entrant Training Program, Employers of Choice program as well as numerous landscape certifications and standards!

Anna Hulskramer is a Landscape Maintenance crew member at Greentario, Hamilton. After working several years in Social Services, Anna enrolled in Landscape Ontario’s first ever GROW Program. She completed the course and was voted by her peers to receive the Valedictorian award. Anna continues to expand her knowledge of horticultural practices through online seminars and peer-to-peer networking

Presently a Horticulturist – Supervisor with Casa Loma in Toronto, where I manage the estate gardens, conservatory, greenhouse, and natural landscapes. Working at a castle is a dream come true, however my career path that got me here was not linear. It took me many years, multiple mistakes, and countless jobs to discover my interests lay in horticulture, more specifically public gardening. Something that I thought would be of an absolute value for me to acquire was my Horticultural Technician Red Seal. I want to work in horticulture but not just in southern Ontario; there are too many marvels in the plant world to not see and experience. The Red Seal was the perfect way to demonstrate my knowledge and experience of industry standards in the trade at any workplace, even throughout the country.

Project Integrate

Aspire to GROW will wrap up with career-pathway exploration with Project Integrate. Participants will be facilitated through psychometric assessments through the free Project Integrate tool to help determine their most successful career paths.

Youth will also complete and RBC Feedback survey form. Gift-card incentives will be provided to ALL youths who complete the assessments and surveys!

If there are any question about the event or registration, don’t hesitate to email Kristen at

See you there!

About Landscape Ontario

Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association (LO) was established over 40 years ago with a mandate to promote and advance the Landscape and Horticulture industry through leadership, community, professionalism and stewardship.

LO supports its members who design, install and maintain the healthy green infrastructure that provides sustainable solutions to issues created by weather events. LO strives to be the hub that creates opportunities for the current and future workforce to advance their careers and pathways to support this growing industry.