Letter from the President - June 2024

Hello SHFM Members,

I hope this letter finds you well and I am happy to say it is officially almost Summer! I can’t believe I have been your president for nine months now – wow, time flies. I am so excited to give you an update on past events, our future events and where the organization is heading in terms of strategy and growth to ensure we continue to be the leading organization in our industry.

About six weeks ago, over 225 SHFM members came together at our annual Critical Issues Conference at the beautiful and innovative Hudson Center at Warner Bros. Discovery in New York City. Not only was it awesome to attend informational sessions where movie screenings take place, but also the food was phenomenal (thank you Restaurant Associates)! The conference committee led by Ricky Postiglione, with Compass Group and co-chaired by Gina Brophy with Becton Dickinson, did an incredible job raising the bar, challenging our topics and bringing together two solid panels that opened our eyes to the world of innovative technology and how to utilize it; what the future holds and how to ensure we still don’t loose the human touch of hospitality.

I would like to, again, genuinely thank our speakers who donated their time and expertise - and our sponsors as without them, events like this would not take place! I would also like to highlight the always highly attended and super successful annual Young Professionals Summit, led by our Rising Star Co-Chair, Natalia Lopresti with Jane Street Capital. Over 100 young professionals gathered together for a day of informational sessions and participated in the extremely popular session, “Your Seat at the Table”.

Lastly, I’d like to highlight a few members from our organization who over these past two days, received some very prestigious and well-deserved awards. It is really exciting that so many of our recipients are first-time award recipients proving how our membership continues to grow, get involved and remain engaged!

Amy Lewis, Kitchens To Go by Mobile Modular: Spirit Award

Sandy Lim Edwards, ISS Guckenheimer: Spirit Award

Brad Silverstein, Lifeworks/Aramark: Rising Young Professional Award

Davin Wickstrom, Vivreau: Leadership Award

Just two weeks later, so many of our members found themselves at the annual NRA Networking Breakfast in Chicago, and at many different events that took place during the full NRA Show. It was so wonderful being with so many of you at the different events!

As I mentioned at the breakfast, we as members of SHFM have something truly special, we all come together, as friends within the industry to support one another at so many different events. Thank you to our Foundation for their continued support of the Hennessy Traveler Program and thank you to past president Tony Kaszuba for serving as our 2024 Traveler. What an INCREDIBLE experience you had and we are grateful for your time & representation. I’d like to recognize the wonderful achievements and celebrations of some of our very own members over the week in Chicago.

Rick Postiglione, recipient of the Foodservice Equipment & Supplies Hall of Fame Award

Damian Monticello, GuideWell, recipient of the IFMA Silver Plate Award

What many of you may not know is that every year during the NRA conference, the Board of Director’s meet for the day for an in-person Board meeting. I am pleased to say we had some really great conversations about the future of our organization and initiated the foundation for our Strategic Plans led by our past president, Sharon Eliatamby. I am also excited to announce that in the months to come, we will be introducing a new program to focus on growing our client-based membership. Thank you to our Board of Directors, for your continued contributions, support and time!

So, what is next?! If I am not seeing you at one of the upcoming SHFM local events, I do look forward to seeing you at the very monumental and special National Conference, our 45th anniversary in Baltimore! The ENTIRE Conference Planning Committee (led by conference chair, Amanda Beni with HMG+ and co-chair Stephanie Gilbert with Foodservice Holdings) have been working around the clock to ensure this conference will be the most informative, fun and memorable conference yet! I do not want to give anything away just yet – but I can assure you, we have A LOT of surprises for you, ensuring that our hospitality will prove to be unreasonable and exciting. Hospitality that is over the top and never settling for anything “simple”.

As I wrap up this quarterly – I just would like to also acknowledge the hard work and efforts of all committee chairs and committee members. I see you all on the calls – you show up, give your all and make this organization and industry a better place. So much great work was done this year, paving the way for new initiatives, continued traditions, diversity, growing our student chapters, our membership, our sponsorship, our philanthropy and so much more! I would also like to officially announce – our highly attended, extremely popular WISE EXPERIENCE will be returning in 2025!!! Lastly, please note that we have opened our Rising Star Application Process … don’t forget to apply!!

So, for now, as I wrap up my last quarterly of my Presidency (wow), I hope you have made your room reservations for the National Conference as I do anticipate this will sell out quickly. Enjoy your summer, and if I do not see you before, I shall see you all in Baltimore!!!

Raquel Weiss Fusco

SHFM President

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