I’m With Them!

With friends Patrick Yearout and Jason Lyon at CHART 90 in New Orleans, summer 2015.

It still holds true today — This blog post was originally published on the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers (CHART) website on July 28, 2015.

After the recent CHART conference in New Orleans, Patrick Yearout, Jason Lyon, and I went on a tour of the Garden District. In preparation for the two-hour walk in the blazing heat, we stopped off at a coffee shop for bottled water.

Patrick was waiting to pay for our three bottles of water when a server asked for my order. Before I could answer that I was taken care of, Patrick exclaimed, rather enthusiastically I might add, “She’s with us!” A simple statement that spoke volumes and touched my heart.

After being in the wonderfully warm and welcoming environment of the CHART conference, it pretty much summed up the whole CHART experience. I could only think, “Yes Patrick and Jason, I most certainly am with you!” I am eternally grateful to have you and so many other CHART members as lifelong friends.

Recently, CHART has promoted a “Why I CHART” campaign that tells real stories of member and member company transformation due to their involvement with CHART. As a marketing professional, I suppose I could be promoting a tangible product like cheese for Kraft Foods, but my true delight is to promote the stories of the people of CHART, the important work that you all do, and our amazingly inclusive, supportive, and sharing association.

In New Orleans, the life-changing impact of CHART on members was evident time and again in the Café Reconcile community service event, the addition of generous new Learning Legacy Fund donors, and the heart-felt speeches by the plethora of board candidates, Spirit of CHART recipient John Poulos, Commitment to People recipient Patrick Doyle, and our young scholarship recipients. Everyone has a story to tell about CHART, and like so many others, I am never so much at home with my people as when I am at CHART.

At the next T3 conference in Seattle in February 2016, rather than focusing our conference imagery on some of the things Seattle is known for, such as the space needle or rain, your Board has chosen coffee because of the rich conversation and collaboration that happens when friends and colleagues sit down to share a cup together. Plan now to join us in Seattle so that when we go up to the coffee counter together, we can enthusiastically pronounce “She/he’s with us!”

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