Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights. —Pauline R. Kezer
With the idea of keeping our roots strong, but recognizing that we need to change to have HFTP’s branches reach around the globe, the recent HFTP Leadership Strategy Summit concentrated significant time on the issues facing our chapters. In the meeting we noticed an overall trend in the conversation that identified that we must be prepared for a rapid cultural change in our association. With this in mind, the HFTP Global Executive Committee, with the support of the HFTP Global Board of Directors, is organizing a Chapter Structure Task Force. This group will be tasked with analyzing how the current chapter structure is working, how it should be adjusted as we continue global expansion, and how to make everyone’s experience a great one in HFTP.
The first action item that was discussed at the summit was acted on aggressively and the Board of Directors would like your input. The Board of Directors is proposing a bylaws change to make it an option to choose a chapter affiliation or not to when joining HFTP. During the last round of renewals, hundreds of HFTP members did not choose a chapter affiliation and had to be pursued by staff to choose a chapter. The Board recognizes that many younger members and members outside of North America enjoy taking advantage of HFTP’s education, webinars, conferences and social media communications, but not necessarily the option to participate in a local chapter. Some also do not have a local chapter near by. With this in mind, the Board of Directors will be voting in the next 30 days on the bylaw change. It is the Board of Directors’ hope that with this bylaw change, we will be able to spur membership in areas where there is no geographical chapter and with the young professionals who are coming into the workforce.
Please feel free to give your comments to any member of the Executive Committee or Board of Directors. If you would like to put your comments in writing, e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope that as we continue to move and adjust as an association, we are able to strengthen our roots in North America and grow our branches around the world as we reach to new heights as an association.
Daniel N. Conti, Jr., CHAE, CAM, is the 2014-2015 Global President of Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP). He is the director of finance at Wyndham Grand Jupiter at Harbourside Place in Jupiter, Fla., USA.
If members do not have to select a chapter how will this affect chapter funding? Will the current 100 member requirement for full funding be significantly reduced?
I’m not offering a formal opinion (so I haven’t sent this to options@), but I do have some “food for thought.”
My first 4+ years as an HFTP Member were “unaffiliated.” The nearest chapter was an hour-and-a-half away, and I opted to stay independent. After that, however, I was required to choose a chapter and I took the closest – Greater Milwaukee.
If I wasn’t required to choose, I would have remained a member, engaged, continuing my education and possibly going to a Conference or two.
Because I was required to choose, I am in my second stint as Chapter President, have made invaluable industry contacts, and have had the benefit of attending three HFTP Leadership Summits to expand my experience. Granted, this might not be a typical example, but it certainly wouldn’t have happened if I was allowed to remain “at large.”
I can tell you about our chapter in New Orleans. Several years ago, we were very active with membership of 60 to 90. We were Chapter of the Year 3 times. Our monthly meetings were well attended with 45 plus attendees. We had little problem getting members to run for chapter office. Over the years, membership and activity have dwindled. Our chapter officers are recycled officers since no one wants to step up as an officer. Attendance at meetings are 15 to 20 and we now have a meeting every quarter.
Our member potential is now more from hotel operators that have moved to centralized accounting where the director of finance or controller position is replaced by an accounting manager who often doesn’t look to the industry as a career. The member employers are tightly run ships where spending on membership fees are a luxury.
From talking with other chapters, New Orleans is not alone with it’s dismal activity. We still beleive that the local chapters are an important part in networking and career development, but we don’t know of an answer for changing this. Is there a way to encourage industry to entice it’s staff to become involved HFTP chapter members?
To John’s point, I think making a chapter affiliation a requirement is also a good thing. There are many of those “outliers” who may or may not be near a chapter, but at least they have a chapter they can rely upon when they have questions about their industry, someone in their general area that may be experiencing the same issues. In Florida, we all experience the same highs and lows of membership, tourism, etc., but there are areas like the Panhandle that may not have a chapter; for those members they can rely on fellow Florida members to be there when needed for consultation. Without that chapter affiliation they may not be so inclined to go to a website, do a search and reach out to someone they haven’t even had a phone conversation with, as you do with someone from your chapter. it’s all about keeping connected, a website may be good, but it doesn’t replace a person.
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