Dr. Fred Mayo assists global hospitality and tourism organization grow and reorganize.
By Dr. Fred Mayo, CHE, CHT
During the past year, I had a chance to work with two other colleagues managing the International Organization of Hospitality and Tourism Educators (ICHRIE) association. It was a great experience to help the organization during a period of transition; the previous executive director retired and the board was considering changing its management model before searching for new leadership. The board’s decision-making process was fascinating to observe as they involved members from around the world. The net result was an explosion of volunteer involvement and exciting new activities that have reinvigorated the organization from top to bottom.
For those of you who are not familiar with ICHRIE, it’s s non-profit global and multi-cultural community of hospitality and tourism professionals dedicated to the pursuit, discovery, advancement, and sharing of knowledge and experiences, relevant to the hospitality and tourism industry and its future leaders.
One area I worked on was growing ICHRIE membership and promoting participation in the annual Summer Conference. Working as one of three interim executive directors, all of us past presidents, I started a program that offered Summer Conference complimentary registrations and memberships for persons who were new to the organization. It just required an application for consideration.
The Partnership and Outreach program
Since the program involved contacting persons new to International CHRIE, it meant we needed to involve deans, directors, program heads and course leaders in disseminating information about this opportunity. Board members, faculty members, and other professionals also helped spread the word.
The application was simple – individuals were asked to provide information such as name, position, and institution and answer one question, “Why do I want to join ICHRIE and attend the annual ICHRIE conference?” They also provided a resume or CV and committed to participate in the conference and submit a short paper of their conference reactions and reflections.
National and international attendees
Twenty-five persons from all over the world – Albania, Ghana, Latvia, Montenegro, Nigeria, and Poland – and parts of the United States – Alabama, Louisiana, New Jersey, South Carolina, and Texas – were accepted and invited to join the organization. Some of them are also involved in CAFÉ.
They were engaged through emails and Zoom meetings at the beginning of the virtual conference, daily networking sessions including a scavenger hunt, trivia contest, and a culinary demonstration, as well as a special meeting with the committee providing their sponsorship. The response to this opportunity was overwhelmingly positive and it was exciting to read their emails in which they described their plans for the virtual conference.
They attended a wide range of keynote speakers including:
- An Association CEO Panel, moderated by Steve Hood, Smith Travel Research; and which included: Roger Dow, US Travel; Chip Rogers, AHLA; Tom Bene, National Restaurant Association (NRA); and Anita Mendairatta, UNWTO
- A Technology and Future Trends Presentation moderated by Mary Jo Dolasinski, DePaul University; and which included Nelson Boyce, Google Travel and Shane O’Flaherty, Microsoft
- A Restaurant Technology Panel moderated by Katerina Berezina, University of Mississippi; and which included Rob Grimes, The F&B Technology Association (IFBTA); and Cihan Cobanoglu, University of South Florida and IFITT
- A Hotel Technology Session Panel, moderated by Katerina Volchek, Deggendorf Institute of Technology; and which included Stanislav Ivanov, Robonomics (BULG); Zheng (Phil) Xiang, Virginia Tech and IFITT; Ajay Kumar Aluri, West Virginia University/ HIT Lab; and Miha Bratec, University of Primorska, AIRTH
- A Meeting and Event Technology Panel moderated by Carl Winston, San Diego State University; and which included Heather Mason, Caspian Agency; Emma Wellstead, Warwick Events (UK); and Allison Kinsley, Kinsley Meetings
- A Keynote Panel on Priming Female Students for Strong Careers moderated by Kristin Malek, University of Nebraska at Lincoln; and included Pan Peggy Berg, Castell Project; Carl Winston, San Diego State University; followed by Four Teaching Tools to Launch Women into Successful Careers moderated by Miranda Kitterlin, Florida International University; and included Andrea Foster, Marcus Hotels & Resorts; Nancy Medoff, AthenaWise; and Twanna Rachal-Woods, Icebreakers Unlimited
- A Hotel Company CEO Keynote Panel moderated by Chip Rogers, AHLA; and which included Mark Hoplamazian, Hyatt Hotels Corporation; David Kong, Western Hotels & Resorts; Michael Levie, Citizen M Hotels; and Jennifer Cronin, Wharf Hotels
There were also many paper presentations, symposia, and poster sessions, which provided these new members with many opportunities to learn about teaching challenges, research projects being undertaken, and best practices in several institutions located all over the world.
After discussions with the new members and a review of their papers, indications are this experience had a major contribution to their professional development and opened doors for the future. Just like CAFÉ conferences, which facilitate making connections with professionals in other institutions and providing chances to share similar experiences and learn from each other, the ICHRIE annual Summer Conference has shown these participants future possibilities. In fact, many of the 25 are now working on presentations for the 75th annual International CHRIE Summer Conference held in Washington D.C. next August.
This project helped reinvigorate the organization through engaging current members, welcoming new members, and providing outside feedback on the conference’s effectiveness. ICHRIE will benefit from fresh insights and ways to engage new members.
This experience may suggest ideas for you to consider as you contribute to helping your professional organizations grow. In addition, many of you who read the Gold Medal Classroom may want to consider attending the ICHRIE Annual Conference next summer. ICHRIE will celebrate 75 years of operation and the conference will return to the city where the organization started- Washington D.C.
Editor’s Note: Thank you to Dr. Fred Mayo for his guest article.
Dr. Fred Mayo, CHE, CHT, is retired as a clinical professor of hotel and tourism management at New York University. As principal of Mayo Consulting Services, he continues to teach around the globe and is a regular presenter at CAFÉ events nationwide.