Nick Stodel - IGCA President
At its international congress, currently running in Italy, the International Garden Centre Association (IGCA) appointed Nick Stodel, MD of Stodels Garden Centres, as president. He is its first president from the African continent and the Southern Hemisphere. Nick will serve as president for two years and then as past president for another two.
The IGCA provides a forum for the mutual exchange of information and benefit of similar minded independent garden retailers on a world-wide basis. This objective is achieved through an annual congress held between August and October, in a different host country each year. In addition to the AGM, the congress offers a concentrated business study tour, a social programme and individual study tours organised on an ad hoc basis by national groups, which have special learning requirements.
"There have been South African board members before, but not a president," says Nick. "They seem to have kept it to Europe and North America before me. I was asked to join the IGCA board five years ago. As a member of the South African Nursery Association, one automatically becomes a member of IGCA."
His main responsibilities will be to facilitate networking and communications between garden centre owners and association administrators. "We do this via online communication, an administrators' meeting once a year and a tour of garden centres in a specific country once a year. It is also the president's job and that of the board, to ensure that we make the right choices on which countries to visit and that the standard of the tours are exceptional."
Before Nick, joined the board of IGCA as Vice President; it was made up of older people who had retired from the business. "IGCA felt they needed younger generations in order to help grow the organisation. I was brought in to help with that. In the time that I've been there, the board has changed a lot, the biggest change being a decision we made to move the administration and secretariat from Switzerland to Canada, which allowed us to have a fresh approach," he concludes.