How Much Do You Actually Know about HFTP’s Annual Convention?

Written By: Michael Bonn

“Going out with a bang” is an understatement for the HFTP® organization. Our last day of the convention blew me away AGAIN, and it went by way too fast! Friday’s schedule started a little later than Thursday’s itinerary and allowed us to sleep in an extra hour (or two for some of us), which was nice, but I could not wait to get back to Caesars Palace to see everyone again and hear more from our great speakers.

The first keynote session started at 8:00 a.m. and led in to the Annual Business Meeting. Watching the HFTP Immediate Past President, Daniel Conti, CHAE, CAMspeak with emotion about his passion for HFTP gave me a sincere understanding about what HFTP is all about. The many kind words chosen by Daniel’s friends and family to describe him were incredible. His desire for success was apparent, and the strong love for his wife awarded her a standing ovation. All of this really said a lot about his character. I had not met Daniel before, but I did introduce myself during the President’s Evening – I have to agree with everyone, Daniel is truly a remarkable human being.

Although I have not met many of the HFTP leaders, I would like to recognize the departing HFTP Global Board members and say thanks for your hard work and dedication – I wish you all continued success in your careers. I would also like to welcome the new HFTP Global Board members and the new HFTP Executive Committee for the 2016-2017 term. I enjoyed hearing about the new chapters joining our HFTP global network, specifically the HFTP Dubai chapter with HITEC Dubai coming up next year in Fall 2017. Congratulations to all of you for your continued success in global expansion.

Surprise guests at the 2016 HFTP Annual Convention Opening Party last week.

Our Food For Thought luncheon was very nice on Friday. We were provided with fresh mahi-mahi, chicken, couscous, two beautiful salads and a subtly floral tea to complement our meals – all of it tasted amazing. I am not big on desserts, but I did not see many left over after lunch so they must have been good. The vendors that set up their table displays in the banquet area were very friendly, and I spoke with a few about various topics relating to the future of our industry.

Next, I attended the “Making Business Sense of the Federal Wage and Hour Law and Overtime Exemption Changes for the Club Industry” education session. I tried to grasp the effect the new overtime laws will have on companies across the nation. To me, this session was extremely complex. The speaker, Melanie Webber, Esq., had a packed house as she broke down this new modification to our labor laws. I just have to say great job to her and to everyone who asked questions, because that took some major comprehensive energy.

Our big Indiana Jones-themed President’s Evening event on Friday night was spectacular. First, the HFTP Helps silent auction to fundraiser benefiting Three Square, Southern Nevada’s only food bank, was a great feature to this year’s event. Thanks to everyone who contributed, HFTP was able to raise over $14,400 USD for the charity and provide over 43,200 meals to residents in the Las Vegas community! What a tremendous accomplishment.

HFTP members at the 2016 Annual Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada USA.

During the installation ceremony at President’s Evening, we were all filled with emotion from the very beginning. Honoring the incoming HFTP Global President, Lyle Worthington, CHTP, his mother came up to the stage to speak, and I do not think she left a dry eye in the audience. She spoke about Lyle, challenges he has overcame and the dedication and passion he has in all aspects of his life. Her words are a reflection of Lyle’s dedication to success, and I believe that he will be a great new HFTP Global President for the 2016-2017 term. Congratulations Lyle.

After having a beautiful reception and an extravagant formal dinner, the evening ended with a dancing chain that stretched halfway around the giant ballroom. This was a true example of connection. To be more precise, I would refer to the HFTP family as DNA, because it really IS in your blood. This event could not have gone any smoother, and I am so honored to have been a part of this year’s Annual Convention. I wish I could rewind time and attend every education session, and start this week all over again. Thank you to everyone who traveled from all over the world for your compassion, stories, love and loyalty to HFTP. I learned a lot, and cannot wait for next year’s event.


bonn_michaelMichael Bonn is a student at the University of South Florida Sarasota. Contact Michael at

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