While my piece in this month’s Communique is titled “Looking Forward” I’d like to start by first of all looking back and very quickly reflecting on the success of this year’s ICHRIE Conference in San Diego. Having attended these meetings for some 12 years now I can categorically state that this year’s event was amongst the best I’ve ever attended. Clearly location is everything when it comes to hosting these meetings, but there’s a lot more that goes into successfully hosting such an event. I’d like to take my hat off to the conference planning team and those from Head Office that operated tirelessly behind the scenes to make this year’s event as near flawless as possible. I also want to congratulate each of our award recipients and say what an honor it was to have had the opportunity to share the stage with you all. While it is nigh on impossible to satisfy the whims of every attendee I feel as though this year’s program came very close it – a perfect balance of research presentations, poster presentations, social and networking sessions. It’s also worth sharing a few vital statistics: we had a total of 531 attendees, scientific paper and poster submissions were up 39% on last year and we had a total of 123 scientific papers and 139 posters scheduled for presentation. Well done one and all!
Moving on, my predecessor (Dr. Dennis Reynolds) began and ended his year in office with the theme – “Looking forward!” In short, Dennis has done a great job in focusing all of our minds on the future of ICHRIE in an attempt to enhance our standing as the “global leader in the advancement of hospitality and tourism education and research.” Put simply I want to continue with this theme for the next year. This is also very timely given that we are about to begin work on our next strategic plan. Our current plan comes to an end in July 2015 so there is not an awful lot of time to complete this task. Fortunately, this does not require an entire rebuilding of ICHRIE and what it stands for as our foundations are well set and very strong. We have an excellent and very relevant mission and we currently cater to a range of member interests through an excellent array of member services. That said, the process will be fully informed by the membership and, where there is a justifiable need for change and the resources to support it, we will action same.
I spent a good deal of time with the Strategic Planning Committee in San Diego and I am happy to report that our starting point in this endeavor will be to solicit member feedback. To this end a member survey will be going out in the next few months. Among other things this will address your satisfaction with existing service provision, the importance you attribute to these services and of course your thoughts on the need for additional service provision and our future priorities in the context of our immediate strategic planning effort. I encourage you to look out for this survey and to respond to it in a timely fashion. You will have a voice at this table and I encourage you to be heard. Like you I have studied and learned a lot about effective leadership and what it takes to move a member focused organization such as ours forward. That said, I keep coming back to the simple truth that while a good leader gives direction to others, he or she should also be open minded and responsive to the direction offered by others. I can tell you that I am extremely motivated to learn what you have to say in this process and to feed this into our future planning efforts.
In closing, I wish you well over the course of the next year. I look forward to our journey together and continuing to grow the legacy of International CHRIE.