Updates from Central Federation
Like many of my fellow ICHRIE members, throughout my career I’ve benefited greatly from both having and serving as a mentor. As we transition to the time of year when memberships are being renewed, I’d like to focus on mentorship, a value-added benefit that can make the difference when someone is deciding if they should renew their commitment to ICHRIE.
Often, a mentor-mentee relationship is a formal relationship, which is mandated by your department, company, college, or university. The requirement to participate in this relationship is grounded in the idea that having a mentor can increase job satisfaction, reduce turnover, and create a greater sense of belonging for all those involved in the process. In fact, many of our colleagues in ICHRIE research and publish articles on this very topic.
As an undergraduate in hospitality school, I participated in my first formal mentor program and will never forget the experience. It was wonderful to shadow a hospitality executive for a semester. The opportunity to ask questions about what the hospitality industry was really like was invaluable and affirmed my decision that hospitality was an industry that I wanted to work in.
Many years later, as a newly minted Assistant Professor, I once again participated in a mentorship program. My mentor, who was a senior faculty member in our department and a well-respected ICHRIE member, was available to provide professional guidance to assist in establishing a research, teaching, and service trajectory that would allow me to reach my professional goals (promotion, publication, national recognition among my peers, etc.).
While both of the above formal mentoring experiences were highly beneficial, I also found great value in having an informal mentor. Recently, as I transitioned to a new university, I developed a relationship with another junior faculty member, also a long-standing ICHRIE member, who had been in my shoes a few years earlier. In his role as an informal mentor, he was there to answer questions (there were probably a lot) about everything ranging from department culture to where people usually get lunch on their breaks in teaching. I could go to this informal mentor and ask the questions that I didn’t deem appropriate for my formal mentor due to the restrictions on his time, or in some cases, I was a bit embarrassed to ask.
I bring up this idea of mentorship because I think it’s a great way to create an added value that can retain our existing membership and even go out and find new members to join ICHRIE. For those of you that have been involved in ICHRIE for many years (in some cases, decades), I encourage you to make an effort to find and interact with the newer membership, or find seasoned members who want to get more involved in service to the organization (committees, SIGs, boards). For those who are seeking an informal mentor, I encourage you to reach out to our large pool of members. Take advantage of the ICHRIE members section to seek out colleagues who have similar interests, are in the same geographic area, or maybe you’ve casually met at an ICHRIE event. While we all come from different backgrounds and teach a multitude of subjects, we have a common bond: ICHRIE and our dedication to make the association succeed and continue to be the gold standard in professional associations in hospitality and tourism education.