HFTP 2019 Chapter Leadership Workshop Builds Leadership at the Local Level

Written by: Eileen Sarris, member of the Chapter Leadership Workshop Committee

After a several year hiatus, the re-instated Chapter Leadership Workshop brought together 58 chapter officers representing a host of HFTP local chapters in October 2019. The workshop was held the day prior to the HFTP 2019 Annual Convention in Orlando, Florida USA — which made it very convenient for members attending the Annual Convention to simply add on a day to their agenda.

The planning committee recognized that some valuable aspects of face-to-face chapter officer training has been missing and elected to bring back the Chapter Leadership Workshop this year to help chapter leaders feel more comfortable in their roles, provide networking opportunities for leaders to share challenges their chapter is facing and what has also worked in their chapter, and perhaps most importantly, for future leaders to know that chapter leadership training and support is available.

The full-day workshop was facilitated by Cathi Hight, an experienced association professional with more than 20 years of experience in performance improvement and problem solving. She presented on several relevant topics including chapter membership retention, effective boards and indispensable leadership traits.

For me, the most valuable parts of the day involved the interactive discussions among the attendees which allowed for chapter leaders to share their concerns, challenges and successes and to brainstorm ideas for improving their chapters.

Prior to the event, attendees were asked to complete a leadership style assessment based on The 8 Dimensions of Leadership: DiSC Strategies for Becoming a Better Leader. It was interesting to hear Cathi’s presentation about the qualities of the eight types of leaders and recognize which qualities you should work on to balance out your leadership style.

A panel of experienced club leaders shared ideas about what chapter success looks like, and it is not necessarily the number of people attending a chapter meeting. Although educational meetings are important to the health of your chapter, it is just as important (or even more important) to consider things like membership retention, attracting new members and getting members involved within the chapter, as well as involvement on HFTP Global committees and attendance at HFTP Global events. This involvement should also include hospitality students within the chapter and active support of student chapters, as well as the successful completion of the required year-end reports. (It was also announced that the required year-end chapter reporting forms have been revised from eight forms to just two.)

HFTP chapter leaders are looking forward to this workshop being a regularly held event and encourage attendees to give their feedback on what they would like to see in future workshops.

Closing statement by: Fitzroy Walker, member of the Chapter Leadership Workshop Committee

The HFTP Leadership Workshop represents an excellent forum for HFTP chapter leaders to share ideas and knowledge for the growth and sustainability of our various chapters.

The future of HFTP as a dynamic and prosperous organization depends heavily on our ability to attract and retain passionate, driven and pioneering leaders. The Chapter Leadership Workshop challenges us in reaffirming our true capabilities and attributes as leaders, and it is surely an opportunity  to reinforce our commitment  to serve this prestigious organization, HFTP.

Generally,  I must say “hats off” to Victoria Schaefer and Barbara Semeraro with the HFTP Global office — for organizing, leading and guiding us to what can be only be considered as an excellent workshop for chapter leaders.

The sessions were insightful and informative and it was very clear that our presenter, Cathi Hight was the consummate expert on the various subject matters that were discussed. The planning team, headed by Jill Burnett, did a fantastic job in sharing ideas and ensuring that we worked as one cohesive unit to get the job done.

As for the workshop, the topics covered were detailed and interesting. While there could have been more time for attendees participation, the sheer volume of the information presented can be a great reference tool to guide our leaders. As such, I requested during the session for the information to become available to all attendees so we can dive further into the details and increase our learning further.

For me in particular, the most significant learning experiences were the insights provided, understanding the various leadership styles and the value of praise and recognition/appreciation as a motivator for our teams. The panel discussion was very informative; perhaps next time the session can be extended by another 30 minutes to allow for greater discussion and participation from the audience. Future training opportunities like this one are definitely worth considering.

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