Fran Brasseux, the new executive director of the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education (ICHRIE), has joined the organization at what she said is a very pivotal time as it looks to the future and its mission.
Before she even stepped into the role in June, the organization had already begun planning for that future. “In their 75th year, under the leadership of 2020-2021 ICHRIE President Dr. Joy Dickerson, our board, interim directors, federations and committees came together to do the hard work needed to break down and review all key ICHRIE business areas,” she said.
The leadership reached out to its members—the deans, directors, program heads, course leaders, faculty and students of hospitality programs in universities and colleges and their partners—to gather their input on the organization’s mission & value statement; membership value; overall communication strategy to boards, federations and members; supporting technology to join membership, buy publications or attend programs and conferences; annual conference value; research publications; and sponsorship and partnership strategies.
“In membership alone, they researched a new membership database platform, aligned with a new website, found a remarkable cosponsor to help fund it with a partnership with The Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel & Restaurant Management at the University of Houston, and worked with ICHRIE staff to begin the upgrade and installation of it this summer,” said Brasseux. “This new platform will bring a more friendly mobile website, improve gateways to join, renew, connect and learn on our ichrie.org site, provide better reporting and support for our six federations, and better communication to our members.”
In her new role, Brasseux continues the work that was started. “This ICHRIE transformational discovery project has an actual four-year timeline, and my goal will be to work with the truly amazing boards, federations, committees and staff to see that this work all gets completed, and translates to a stronger, more member-focused and more-valued-globally ICHRIE,” she said. “Our mission is to be a global and multicultural community of hospitality and tourism professionals dedicated to the pursuit, discovery, advancement and sharing of knowledge and experiences relevant to the hospitality and tourism industry and its future leaders.”
Brasseux brings years of experience in hospitality, both in hotel sales and conference planning and with the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI), to her new position. “This has been and is a very difficult time for all of us in hospitality—both as educators and as industry professionals,” she said. “Industry and education working together is something I hope to help facilitate more actively with my 20-plus years of industry experience at Pan Am and Forte & Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts, and my 17-plus years of association leadership at HSMAI and the HSMAI Foundation.”
As diversity and inclusion has been top of mind in the industry, she hopes the association will continue its work in the area. “I really want to better connect the industry with the very diverse graduating talent,” she said. “ICHRIE has an amazing honor society, Eta Sigma Delta (ESD), which has almost 2,000 honors students in different global hospitality programs who we really want to showcase to the industry, which needs more innovators, cultural thinkers and qualified talent. ESD adopted a sixth pillar of honor this past year: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.”
Brasseux believes ESD’s work can help bring a more diverse population into hospitality leadership positions. “I know how difficult it is after the pandemic for our hotels and restaurants to staff up after being closed, and we want to help in the recovery and in the development of a more diverse population in hospitality,” she said.