Dear Fellow IFMA Members:
As IFMA’s 2022 Chair of the Board of Directors, I have had the great honor to help lead our organization through the start of a revitalization designed to improve our reach, value, and relevance to our members and the entire food-away-from-home industry. The past few years have changed the business landscape and opened our eyes to an interconnectedness that we simply must acknowledge. We’re in this together, and together we can achieve new levels of success.
Over the past twelve months, we have been hard at work creating a new long-range plan – reviewing our member benefits and programs with an eye to a more inclusive and expanded model. If you work in the food-away-from-home industry, we want you to know all about IFMA and be connected to us in the most relevant way for your business.
Of course, 2022 wasn’t just about planning for the future. We have added 46 new member companies this year and have a lot of additional great achievements to celebrate, including:
- Our Live Events – We were thrilled to return to a full in-person event schedule this year and we had over 2,100 attendees at our events. COEX, our expanded Gold & Silver Plate Weekend, and our Presidents Conference hosted manufacturers, operators, distributors, and others from across our industry ecosystem.
- Education & Webinars – IFMA hosted 38 webinars this year with 6,500+ registrants overall. We focused on go-to-market best practices, menu trends, and much more. We offered our Foodservice Fundamentals course both digitally and in-person and customized the course for teams at several companies. A very well received white-paper on disruption in foodservice distribution, with a complementary playbook, was released by our Go-To-Market program in the fourth quarter.
- The Foodservice Leadership Councils – The five councils are made up of more than 200 operators. They represent the major segments of foodservice: Elementary & Secondary Schools, College & University, Business & Industry, Healthcare, and Restaurants. We have been expanding their role within IFMA this year – if you attended President Conference, you heard FLC representatives address a general session and they also collaborated in focus group sessions. 2023 plans are to continue to integrate them across programs and event planning.
- Tying Together Cohorts – in addition to operators participating more with IFMA through the FLCs, we are building a new program for ‘Next Gen Execs’ to engage upcoming industry leaders with our work. And we are expanding the role of our Gold & Silver Plate Society members (operators are all past winners of the Gold or Silver Plate Award) to help us with outreach for the IFMA Education Foundation and potentially create a mentoring program.
Our engagement numbers are building back to pre-pandemic levels. IFMA is stronger than ever because of you, our members. We pledge to continue our efforts to help you succeed in today’s competitive marketplace. We want you to know the changes we are considering for the future (more about that in 2023!) are all designed with you in mind.
I am honored to continue as Board Chair next year. We have exciting plans ahead and I can’t wait to share them with you.
Thank you sincerely for your continuing support and for the opportunity to serve.
Chair, IFMA Board of Directors
National Foodservice Director, The Hershey Company