The recently appointed chair of the Institute of Hospitality tells Lisa Jenkins about the activities and events she has planned for the membership when she takes up her position in September
What is the role of the chair of the Institute of Hospitality (IOH)?
It's to help the executive team be the best they can be and to help them shape a lasting, effective strategy. I plan to support the team, to protect the business, grow its membership and deliver on our promises to the membership and the industry.
What are your plans for the IOH?
We need to make sure our members know why we are here, what we are doing for them and how it will benefit them and their development. Genuine communication is critical, especially in times of change and uncertainty.
How do you plan to engage with your existing members?
I am passionate about ensuring that what we do is relevant and important to our members – whether they are students starting out or seasoned operators and leaders.
We want to make sure there is real value in being a member and that it is seen as a collaborative and rewarding partnership. It is not a one size fits all; our membership is diverse and wonderful, and the business strategy needs to reflect and deliver on that.
How can new members connect with you?
I'm very much a collaborative person, I love learning from others and taking time to get to know people. For me, this time, before I officially take over in September, is a gift. I'm spending it getting to know as much as I can and looking at ways in which our membership has access and opportunity to shape the strategy, which will ultimately play a pivotal role in the future of hospitality itself.
In terms of how I engage with the executive team. I'm very comfortable with change and see great opportunity for the institute. I like to get things done, so there will be a great deal of activity going on.
Do you have plans to launch any new initiatives?
Our plans are gaining clarity and building momentum as we speak. We are at the early stages of engaging the rest of the supervisory board to really flesh out what's critical at this time and then we can start to get feedback and insight from our membership. I'm really excited about the future. I know it's tough out there, but the hospitality industry is made up of amazingly resilient people. I have faith.
I know it's tough out there, but the hospitality industry is made up of amazingly resilient people. I have faith
What should we look out for in terms of events?
While our events are all under review for the post-Covid-19 landscape, we are confident that some of the most important events will take place. Our events drive engagement and membership, so it's critical that we find a way to make sure they continue. Our annual student event Passion 4 Hospitality is the largest in the UK, and I hope to see that concept grow. Engaging with students will remain a priority.
As a proud Liverpool girl, I'd like to see more regional events to supplement our London-based programme. We want to make sure we represent the whole industry and, by working with our branch network, we will take the best ideas and scale them.
We want to make sure that our diversity and inclusivity policy is foremost in our minds. We are representing the entire industry and therefore the entire industry must feel represented.
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