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Central Federation


Chris Woodruff
Lake Michigan College


By Chris Woodruff, President of the Central Federation 

I am incredibly excited to officially begin my term as President of CentralCHRIE, replacing the leadership of our amazing outgoing President Li Miao.  I’ve worked with Li this past year and it has been a real honor to see Li’s vision for CentralCHRIE, and I will continue to be committed to Li and my goals for CentralCHRIE.  During the last year, I have been connected with other Federations and have learned from so many great people about the Leadership and Vision of other ICHRIE Federations.  There are way too many to list here, but you know who you are!  And I just might call you and pick your brains even more this year!  CentralCHRIE is truly a community to build relationships, collaborate on events and create awareness and understanding for CentralCHRIE’s goals. I’m so inspired every day by all the people who make CentralCHRIE a creative, innovative, and fabulous community that I am so proud to be a part of.

As incoming President, my goal is to promote the value of CentralCHRIE membership by providing ways to EDUCATE, COLLABORATE, and MOTIVATE our members by providing a variety of activities, opportunities, and possibilities to Hospitality Education professionals, while continuing to strengthen the chapter’s membership and community involvement. Under Li’s leadership over the past year, CentralCHRIE produced an amazing conference in Indianapolis to bring education and inspiration to the CentralCHRIE community, as well as giving a variety of awards for individual and team efforts throughout the year.  I seek to continue to strengthen this trail of success.  CentralCHRIE has a great foundation and I look to take CentralCHRIE to the next level by working with the board to offer a variety of opportunities to our members to make the CentralCHRIE membership the most valued of every CentralCHRIE member.

My goals for 2019-2020 are to continue to add to all the great events we have for professional development opportunities for our members.  As well as get every member involved in at least one activity, and to actively seek new avenues of new members from all realms of Hospitality education including K-12, 2-year and 4-year schools.  Increase CentralCHRIE’s presense in ICHRIE by encouraging members to both submit presentations, and to bring the ICHRIE conference back to a CentralCHRIE site within the next few years.  Finally, I plan to do a lot of listening to our members to see what is on their minds and the opportunities we have for growth in CentralCHRIE.

We have already confirmed our first 3 Zoom In! Fourth Friday events, and have some great speakers and presenters starting on September 27th!  And all things lead to our 2020 CentralCHRIE Conference hosted by the great team at South Dakota State University!  So make sure you plan to attend, AND also plan to present at the Conference!  Our October Zoom In! event will help you learn more about all the different types of research and presentations, and will get you motivated to present at our conference!  Our November Zoom In! event is Pecha Kuchaish, with experts on 4 different topics presenting their knowledge in short and to the point (STTP) format. And there we are still looking for involvement from our members and beyond to help make this the best event yet!  We also have developed two grants for innovations in research and teaching which will be awarded this academic year!  These are just a few of the exciting, member engaging events we already have planned for this year and stay tuned for many more!

Assisting me in achieving this goal is a board powered 100% by volunteer CentralCHRIE members. Each one has a specific area of focus, and each brings a diversity of thought, talent and passion to the board.  I have known many board members for years, and a few I just met at our conference in New Orleans.  And they are as excited as I am about all the opportunities we have in front of us and are already working to achieve our CentralCHRIE goals!  Our new board members include myself of course, and all these amazing focused, passionate educators.

Mary Jo Dolasinksi
Mary Jo is moving from one board position to another, and now serves as the Vice-President.  She will work hard to create a collaborative environment for members to become a part of through our Zoom In! events and our CentralCHRIE Annual Conference.  She also will establish written processes for all of the functions of CentralCHRIE not included in the bylaws.

Director of Industry Relations
Eric Olson, Iowa State University
Eric is new to the CentralCHRIE board this year and a main goal is to strengthen our industry partnerships at all of our member locations, and all throughout CentralCHRIE.  Building a foundation of strong involved industry partners is key to our long term success.

Director of Marketing
Lu Zhang, Michigan State University
Two of Lu’s goals in her new board position are to promote CentralCHRIE to all of ICHRIE, through partnerships and collaboration, and to enhance member engagement to all members of CentralCHRIE.

Director of Member Services
Brandon Howell, Indiana University
Brandon is new to the CentralCHRIE board and he will work to enhance the incentives to host our annual CentralCHRIE Conference, and to improve member communication throughout all of CentralCHRIE.

Director of Networking
Chengming James Hu, Southeast Missouri State
James will work to bring in members from smaller sectors of education such as teaching schools, 2 year colleges, and K-12 partners, and to strengthen the relationship between industry and educators in Hospitality.  This is James’ first time on the CentralCHRIE board.

Director of Research
Seung Hyun, Michigan State University
Seung is our fifth new board member this year and will be the lead on all research at the CentralCHRIE conference, and also will guide CentralCHRIE members who wish to do research and presentations.

I am honored to lead and work with such an amazing team. But nothing we do would be possible without a strong community of Hospitality educators and industry professionals, our members!  People passionate enough to volunteer their time to this effort—people who volunteer to speak at events, review research presentation submissions, and serve as board members. There are so many people who have helped make CentralCHRIE what it is today. A two-year term is not a long time for our Directors, and 1 year will go by so fast for me, but I know we will continue to serve the evolving needs of CentralCHRIE’s membership and the Hospitality industry as a whole.

I look forward to a great year and we are truly making CentralCHRIE The Place to Be!



Chris Woodruff
Lake Michigan College, 2019-2020 CentralCHRIE President

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