As many of us will soon be celebrating the upcoming holidays and anticipating an exciting New Year, I am moved to do what I don’t do often enough—stop for a moment and give thanks. For example, many of us are very fortunate to have loving families, compassionate friends, and stimulating careers with supportive colleagues; yet how often do we thank these people for the impactful and subtle things they do to enrich our lives? And at the end of the day, isn’t it the people we know who really make the difference?
Putting this in an ICHRIE context, I want to first thank Kathy McCarty and the amazing ICHRIE office staff. The terms “responsive” and “hospitable” don’t provide an adequate description of all they do. Over the last several years, I’ve become more and more conditioned to always getting a quick response to any query—and it’s always friendly and respectful. Even if the answer isn’t what I want to hear, it’s delivered in such a way that I can use the information without being negatively affected by the message itself.
Next, I want to thank my fellow board members. You make it a pleasure to serve. Our meeting last month in New York, for example, was outstanding. We challenge each other but we also encourage caring cooperation. We take it for granted that when we arrive, we share hugs rather than handshakes. And I’m excited about our full board meeting next month. (I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve ever used the words ‘excited’ and ‘meeting’ in the same sentence.)
The Federations also deserve special thanks. The amazing EuroCHRIE conference two months ago underscores how incredible our European contingent is. What other group plans their meeting in Germany, in October, and includes Oktoberfest in the event? APacCHRIE is raising the bar, too, with their upcoming conference in Kuala Lumpur—how great is that? And all of the American Federations—NENA, SECSA, Central, and West—are doing exciting things much deserving of thanks. Of course, NENA deserves a special shout out for sponsoring Alligator Hour in New York last month!
Finally, I want to thank you, our members; without your active and heartfelt support we couldn’t make this work. Regardless of the Federation host or the venue, I hear the same thing routinely from those new to an ICHRIE gathering: “Everyone is so friendly!” Truly, it is our collectivist nature, our spirit of inclusion, and our interest in hospitality and tourism research and education that creates this impressive bond.
Now that I think about it, I have even more to be thankful for as an ICHRIE member than I ever realized...