Internationalizing ICHRIE – by Chris Roberts
Over 20 years ago, we changed our organization’s name by adding the word “International” to the title.
This was done to reflect what we witnessed as the natural expansion of our academy beyond the shores of North America into the other continents. Our members in Europe had formed the EuroCHRIE Federation. Our members in Asia soon followed suit to create the APacCHRIE Federation.
Our acronym morphed from CHRIE to ICHRIE, enabling us to maintain our traditional identity while embracing our widening net of membership.
The question for many of us today is wondering how that internationalization is showing up within our organization?
Currently, our membership distribution is about 72% in the Americas, 15% in EuroCHRIE, and 13% in APacCHRIE. With that dominance of membership in the Americas, I can certainly understand why our colleagues in Europe, Asia, and Africa might feel it – and be negatively impacted.
As I have traveled to conferences and met with colleagues in both international and domestic venues, I have heard a constant refrain of wanting ICHRIE to be an international organization. We regularly do confirm to one another that we want our academy to reflect the worldwide nature of the hospitality and tourism industries that we study and represent in our classrooms. Thus, it appears that the spirit of internationalism is embraced within our organization.
Our membership distribution is about 72% in the Americas, 15% in EuroCHRIE, and 13% in APacCHRIE.
But where is the resounding evidence of it? Let’s explore this.
We have had a number of European and Asian members in the senior leadership roles of our organization. Three EuroCHRIE members and one APacCHRIE member currently serve on the ICHRIE board of directors: Chrystel Masdupuy, EuroCHRIE president (from France), Anders Justenlund, Director of Marketing (from Denmark), Ralf Burbach, Director of Networking (from Ireland) and Pearl Lim, APacCHRIE president (from Taiwan).
We’ve had no less than four ICHRIE presidents from EuroCHRIE: Rai Shacklock (2003-2004/UK), Peter Jones (2007-2008/UK), Susan Fournier (2012-2013/Switzerland), and Maureen Brookes (2016-2017/UK). Additionally, Bill Samenfink was ICHRIE president (2009-2010/NENA), and as a founding member of the EuroCHRIE Federation and an active member of their federation board, brought his international experience to the organization. Sadly, we have not yet had an ICHRIE president from APacCHRIE.
But beyond this senior leadership representation, where else does the international influence appear?
The ICHRIE board of directors implemented an organizational design policy of required federation representation in both board and committee membership. This helps to give a voice to all federations, both domestic and international, at many levels. Each federation president has an automatic seat on the ICHRIE board of directors. The policy also applies to virtually every ICHRIE standing committee. For example, the federation directors of education automatically serve on the ICHRIE education committee. The federation directors of marketing serve on the ICHRIE marketing committee. The federation immediate past presidents serve on the nominating and awards committees, ensuring broad representation. ESD has a board position for each federation. Etc. Thus, there is an international influence within every single ICHRIE committee. This structural design of integrating federation roles into ICHRIE activity helps to ensure that our member representatives from all continents can have a voice in the initiatives and decisions of ICHRIE.
The six federations now offer annual conferences. Adding the summer ICHRIE conference to the list, that’s seven conferences that our members can typically choose among. The 2018 EuroCHRIE conference in Dublin, Ireland, reportedly had 300+ delegates, of which more than 100 members were from the Americas. The 2019 joint APacCHRIE-EuroCHRIE conference in Hong Kong reportedly had 500+ participants, of which 100+ were from the Americas. That’s a strong showing of international engagement among our members. Unfortunately, the four US-based federations haven’t seen similar numbers of international delegates for their conferences. However, as the strength and reputation of the US-based federation conferences grows, perhaps we will see more member participation from other federations in the future.
Where next for the organization?
With these efforts in place, it can be seen that the organization has taken significant steps to internationalize ICHRIE. The question is how can we enhance those efforts so that we can vibrantly experience the international dimensions of our organization. And how do we mitigate the dominance of the US-based federations that our Asian and European members feel. These are challenges that we continue to face.
Your suggestions to help are welcomed
Please share any ideas that you have with our ICHRIE board of directors by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.