By Dale J. Venturini, President & CEO, Rhode Island Hospitality Association
Given the level of disruption affecting the hospitality industry in recent years—with many businesses still facing staffing shortages, rising operating costs and more—the RI Hospitality Association (RIHA) kicked off 2023 with a brand-new strategic group: the RI Hospitality Kitchen Cabinet.
The Cabinet is comprised of industry leaders who will assist RIHA and its Board of Directors in rebuilding a robust hospitality community through shaping strategic advocacy goals, vetting new programs and services, serving as hospitality ambassadors in the community and participating in listening sessions to hear member perspectives and legislative viewpoints. On Jan. 17, the first Cabinet event took place as a listening session with Rhode Island’s Secretary of Commerce Liz Tanner and Director Matt Weldon of the RI Department of Labor and Training.
The Kitchen Cabinet is positioned as a think tank of leaders from myriad industries who impact, or have an effect, on Rhode Island’s vibrant hospitality industry. This group of trusted business leaders has been carefully selected to provide the most well-rounded opinions and advice. Each must be an active member of the association, participate in association events and take part in contributing to the RIHA Political Action Committee. The Kitchen Cabinet reports to the RIHA Board of Directors.
The RIHA Kitchen Cabinet is set to focus on several important initiatives and causes to propel the hospitality industry post-pandemic into its next successful chapter through innovation and collaboration. The Cabinet will pay careful consideration to the needs of industries within RIHA’s 900-plus membership, from lodging and food service to allied and ancillary segments.
The RIHA Kitchen Cabinet will meet three to four times per year to share findings from sessions and activities throughout the course of the year, as well as listen to invited guest speakers. Additionally, members of the Cabinet will take part in several events designed to provide a balanced and well-rounded viewpoint on the hospitality industry’s role and commitment to the communities it serves.
A sampling of events includes five roundtables with state, local and regulatory officials; one community/goodwill initiative; and specialty events as identified by the Cabinet’s leadership, political events such as Get Served by the Speaker and statewide roundtables, community initiatives and specialty events.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing that has become increasingly clear is the need for new industry leaders to inspire our community members to work toward something bigger than themselves. In recent years, we have faced many crises and have done our best to survive, and now that we are recovering and rebuilding, we are also looking to foster the next generation of talented leaders who are committed to working for the greater good of the entire industry.
The point of the RIHA Kitchen Cabinet is simple: We cannot solve problems unless we know what people are dealing with. When I think of all that we have accomplished in recent years despite having the odds stacked against us, I recognize that RIHA and its members could not have achieved such great things without the support of the hospitality community at large. Find out how you can become involved. Check our website for scheduled events or join our member mailing list.
A veteran of more than 25 years in the hospitality industry, Venturini is considered by many to be the voice of the industry in the state of Rhode Island. She has been instrumental in improving the industry’s educational and training programs in the state, as well as enhancing the bottom line of the business she represents. Venturini splits her time between the office and the State House, a constant presence for her membership.