Presidents Letter - April 2023

Greetings and Happy Spring SHFM Members,

Apa Kabar?  (this is our greeting for friends and family in Malaysia, and roughly translates to “how are you?”).  Where has the time gone? I can’t believe that it’s already Spring and before you know it, we will be seeing one another at the National Conference in September.

The Young Professionals Summit (YP) and Critical Issues Conference (CIC) was held in Washington, DC.  This is the first time it was hosted outside of New York City and was held back-to-back. I wanted to thank you all for participating and to our sponsors for your generosity that provided us an opportunity to deliver an outstanding YP Summit and CIC program. We had over 90 participants for the YP and over 180 people who attended CIC..

I want to give a shout out to the three speakers during the YP Summit. These women led the conversation on personal and professional growth strategies. My appreciation also goes out to the speakers during the CIC who made an impact in their delivery to this year’s theme Winning the Race for Talent, “How to Find, Hire and Keep the Best”. This could not have been timelier as so many organizations struggle to find the right fit for their company.

The Young Professionals had an opportunity to volunteer with DC Central Kitchen (DCCK) at their brand-new facility located in downtown Washington DC. They worked alongside staff and students who are part of the culinary job training program and prepared meals for the underserved community. Furthermore, the Young Professionals conducted an educational session that gave an opportunity to DCCK staff and students to learn more about workplace amenities. Through your contributions during the conference, we were able to raise $1,000.  With the help of the Foundation, they were able to match that amount bringing the total donation to $2,000 for DCCK.

Please join me in congratulating the following winners of SHFM Director’s Awards:

Amy Franks – Community Service Award

Matt Rigney – Spirit Award

Rob Gebhardt – Leadership Award

Kelly Meadows – Rising Young Professional Award

Ricky Postiglione – Rising Young Professional Award

This quarter the Foundation launched the Mentorship Program. Mentees were chosen from diverse backgrounds (HBCU, Colleges, Military, ACF & MAPP) and they were paired with leaders within our industry who are members of SHFM. There was an extensive application process to ensure that the mentees were matched with mentors who had the best knowledge and skill set. The Foundation’s plan was not only to have the mentees attend the CIC event but look for job placements, internships, “what’s next” opportunities for these emerging leaders. The next Mentorship Program will be post National Restaurant Association Show leading into the National Conference in September. Special thanks to Davin Wickstrom and Amy Franks for their leadership with this program launch.

In collaboration with SHFM’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council and SHFM’s Membership Marketing Engagement subcommittees, I had an opportunity to have a conversation with Jessica Tantin during a virtual networking session on Levelling the Playing Field:  How to Recognize Unconscious Bias. Jessica is the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the New England Aquarium. Our conversation led to the following key take aways that I would like to share with you.

  • Unconscious Bias impacts our decision-making because our brain has us “believe” that our views on stereotypes and perceptions are correct; thereby feeding into our lesser-selves.
  • Jessica discussed the Halo Effect (assuming the positive qualities of a person) vs the Horn Effect (assuming the negative) – both can be detrimental if we are not mindful by making a judgement without knowing the individual.
  • Jessica’s advice is to use this theory called “HATS”. Which means never make a decision when you are Hungry, Angry, Tired, Scared

Lastly, we have a few events taking place and if you have not registered, please do so soon.

  • National Restaurant Association Breakfast (NRA) on May 22, 2023, at the Union League Club, Chicago
  • Check the website for the local regional events happening near you, many will be announced shortly for June.
  • National Conference will be taking place in Tucson, AZ on September 11 to 13, 2023. Registration will open mid-June.

I look forward to seeing you at the NRA breakfast in Chicago.

Terima Kasih (Thank you!),

Sharon Eliatamby
SHFM President


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