Looking Back on the 2016 ICHRIE Conference
By the time you are reading this article, our annual conference will be but a memory. I hope, however, that for those of us who were lucky enough to attend the Dallas conference, the memories are fond ones; memories of catching up with old (or should I say long-standing) friends and colleagues, and of course making new ones. I also hope that you have learned something new about research or industry practice that you could ‘take away’ from your experience; were inspired by what you learned or by those who spoke at the conference; were forced to break out of your comfort zone at least once; had ample time to network and of course, had fun in the process. I also hope you enjoyed a slice of the ICHRIE 70th anniversary cake. There was a good deal of effort put into the conference organisation by Sheryl Kline and her committee to realise these benefits for attendees and I can assure you they are already working on next year’s conference to ensure that the annual ICHRIE conference remains the premier conference for hospitality and tourism educators.
Our activities over the past year however, have comprised much more than just a focus on the conference. In addition to our regular duties, we have been working continuously to deliver against the goals and action plans of the ICHRIE 2020 Strategic Plans implemented in July 2015. Our endeavours have focussed on trying to meet the needs of all of our members, regardless of Federation, country or type of institution. I am happy to report that we have made progress in line with these plans in developing and delivering what we promised; a wider range of member benefits to give you more value for your membership. We introduced the new Special Edition Communiqués to help share best practice across our global community. Many thanks to all of you who have contributed to these editions and/or helped to edit them. We have also introduced our new mentoring scheme and our website improvements are almost complete to enable greater opportunities for virtual networking throughout the year. We have also managed to pilot the ICHRIE Talks videos at the NENA conference and progress continues on the development of publication and production guidelines for these. Preliminary research has been conducted on the demand and feasibility for a research register to encourage greater research collaboration across our different Federations.
I feel it is important to point out as well, that we have managed to make this progress despite facing a number of challenges. These achievements are down to the dedicated and collaborative efforts of the ICHRIE office team of Kevin Anderson, Amie Grayson and Sam Kohli under the direction (and further efforts) of CEO Kathy McCarty. They are also a result of the efforts of the Board of Directors, who all volunteer their time and energy to support our association. I cannot thank them enough for their support and efforts throughout my presidential year.
Nonetheless, we have more work ahead of us in order to do to achieve our goals. We need to focus our efforts on growing our membership and industry partnerships to ensure that ICHRIE remains the premier association for hospitality and tourism educators in an increasingly competitive marketplace. You could contribute to these efforts by getting more involved in your Federation and ICHRIE and its committees, and by encouraging your colleagues to do so as well. We have a strong and talented membership and it would be great to be able to harvest this talent fully to support further development of our global association.
In closing, I want to say thank you to everyone who has supported me during my year as ICHRIE President. It has truly been a fulfilling and enriching experience and great to be part of ICHRIE’s 70th anniversary. I hope to see as many of you as possible in Baltimore next year, if not before at the next EuroCHRIE Conference in Budapest in October.
With kind regards,