Passing the... Pineapple?

Joy Dickerson is Vice President of ICHRIE.

As I reflect on our wonderful ICHRIE conference in New Orleans, I am first so grateful to have had the opportunity to reunite with my “old” friends and colleagues­­—and also to meet and engage with “new” friends and colleagues. I am always amazed at how much I can learn from others, just from a simple conversation. I feel incredibly indebted to this organization for the many lifelong colleagues and friends that I have made over the years.

Educationally, there was such great information shared by our colleagues and industry partners! There is always so much to learn! Current topics of technology, sustainability, tourism trends, and industry recruitment practices were among the many topics and sessions offered. And how about those new campfire sessions?  How about the new rapid research pitches? These are amazing additions to our conference offerings!

It also occurred to me that our conference is really a time of “passing the torch”—or in the case of hospitality educators—“passing the pineapple”. I noted this phrase on a Facebook post (thank you, Suzanne Bagnera) and it really is the appropriate phrase for what happens during the week of conference. New federation presidents, vice presidents and directors take office, the ICHRIE officers and directors move into their new positions, new committee memberships are formed, and a new dynamic is set for the year! It is a time of excitement, a time of transition, and a time to establish new goals and initiatives for the coming year.

As the newly elected Vice President of ICHRIE, the Pineapple has been passed to me with three major responsibilities: 1) the Strategic Planning Committee and discussion for the upcoming year; 2) the support to Eta Sigma Delta; and 3) the planning of the Deans and Directors meeting for 2020. With this in mind, please allow me to share some of our conference meetings and discussions on these topics.

The Strategic Planning Committee is first and foremost currently focused on the Comprehensive Organizational Review (COR). Mainly, our committee discussion was focused on the new and potential strategic partnerships that we must develop, as well as our reframing of conferencing over the next few years. The committee discussed “value propositions”, as well as the role and impact of many external factors on our organization. Your thoughts and ideas for the future of ICHRIE are welcomed and encouraged. I hope you will feel free to contact me on this topic.

The Eta Sigma Delta meeting honored our previous faculty contributors, but also ushered in a new Board of Governors. The new Board of Governors, under the leadership of Ruth O’Rourke, will guide the future of ESD. Did you know—We have 120 ESD chapters across our ICHRIE member schools! Such incredible growth since its inception in 1978! We are grateful to Ruth, the Board of Governors and the chapter advisors for moving our international honor society forward in both size and impact.

The Deans and Directors meeting has always provided me with many “ah ha” moments. This year, under the sponsorship of The Culinary Institute of America, the Deans and Directors were given many ideas to consider for post- graduation programs by Dr. Annette Graham of the CIA—Master’s in Wine Management or Food Business—or a culinary certificate from the CIA in the Napa Valley!  

Further, it was such a privilege to have the New Orleans local and legendary restaurateur, Dickie Brennan, talk to us about some of the challenges and opportunities of our industry, and specifically about the restaurants of New Orleans. Thereafter, we gained insights from Virgil Holdings CEO Ron Mitchell, Sara Anderson from the National Restaurant Association, and Emilie Rafal from Credential Engine; this esteemed group talked about hospitality career development solutions for every positional level. The panel discussed ways to “match” an individual to a position, and also offered strategies to fill some of the voids that applicants may have for certain positions. So what thoughts might you have for next year’s programming?

Please feel free to write or contact me ( about any of these areas of responsibility. Your ideas would be greatly appreciated. I am truly humbled to have the opportunity to work with all of you!

Passing the Pineapple??     —Yes, the officers and committees have now transitioned, but each of us in the ICHRIE family has a continual responsibility to keep passing the pineapple—to pass the warmth, welcome, the excitement, new ideas, knowledge, and relationships to each other—for each other!  Let’s continue to embrace the spirit of the pineapple as we work together to grow our organization. 

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