Let the Collaboration Begin!
Last month I had the pleasure of attending the annual conference for the Society for Hospitality and Foodservice Management (SHFM) held in Fort Worth, Texas. One of the recommendations from the ICHRIE organizational review was to reach out to other hospitality organizations to find ways ICHRIE can collaborate with on a more regular basis. SHFM was identified in the COR as the first organization we should contact.
At the SHFM conference, I had the opportunity to meet with the top leadership from both SHFM and the SHFM Foundation. It was a very productive meeting and we discussed several steps that we can begin to take for ICHRIE and SHFM to work more closely together for the mutual benefit of both organizations. I was most pleased by the overwhelming excitement that SHFM leadership expressed at the idea of our organizations working more closely together.
During one of their general sessions, the SHFM president—Victoria Vega—informed the SHFM membership of our meeting and intent to collaborate and communicate on a regular basis. Throughout the rest of the week, I can’t tell you how many SHFM members approached me to let me know how excited they are to hear of our commitment for the two organizations to work together. The support and excitement from their membership for this effort was just awesome!
The SHFM conference was also very educational for me to be able to witness how excited the membership is about the industry, about the conference events and about the chance to contribute to the organization. The level of support their members demonstrate, in terms of both volunteer service and financial support was absolutely incredible. Every volunteer leader in attendance spoke of the privilege and obligation to contribute and give back to the organization.
Whenever I go to another conference, I am always looking for good ideas to “steal” and I have an entire list of things that I plan to share with Alleah Crawford, our ICHRIE Director of Conferences. I gathered a couple of great ideas that the CHRIE FutureFund™ could try to not only increase their fundraising efforts but to build excitement for our endowment.
There were also lessons learned during my week in Fort Worth. I don’t know exactly how many people were in attendance at the SHFM conference, but it looked like somewhere around 400 (apologies to SHFM if the number is incorrect). I spent the entire week speaking with SHFM members, but sadly only a handful knew who ICHRIE was. The biggest problem to knowing who we are seemed to be that saying our name phonetically makes it sound like “CREE”. I explained who we are and clarified the name, but it was pretty clear that we need to do a better job of marketing ICHRIE.
It was a great week and I extend my thanks to the SHFM leadership and all the members in attendance that made every effort to make me feel welcome and engaged. It will be a pleasure and an honor to work with SHFM to find ways to make both organizations stronger.