FCSI EAME’s board met in March 2018 to discuss collaboration, progress and new opportunities, reports Tina Nielsen
The FCSI EAME board gathered in San Sebastian, Spain, for a six-monthly meeting last month. Hosted by allied member Fagor, who are based in the Basque Country, they spent a couple of days in the city, evaluating goals and progress and exchanging experiences and best practice.
EAME chairman Remko van der Graaff FCSI says the occasion was an opportunity to learn from each other. “We talked about all the different divisions – the Nordics, the Germans, the French, the Dutch, the Italians – how they had experienced 2017 and what their goals are for 2018,” he says. “It is very interesting for all of us to hear how each unit develops – we all do things in our own way and when you listen to each other you can learn a lot.”
He says he has brought many new ideas back to the Netherlands. “It is very nice to learn from others and you don’t have to figure it all out for yourself,” he says.
“We set some goals on the board when I took over as chair in April 2017 and, step by step, we are doing it. Each country does it in his own way, but the main topic is connecting people getting to know each other.”
As an example of inter-country learning, UK and Ireland chairman Julian Edwards FCSI pointed to Germany’s approach to attracting future members. “I am very impressed with how they engage with students in hospitality schools in order for these catering students to know about FCSI when they finish their studies and might consider a career in consulting. We will be looking to do that in the UK,” he says.
Looking forward to Rotterdam
With the EAME conference fast approaching, naturally much of the meeting was dedicated to the arrangements of the get-together in Rotterdam. Van der Graaff says he and executive director Elonique Dalhuisen, together with a committee representing different EAME countries, have spent the past months fine-tuning the programme for the conference, which will take place on the cruise ship SS Rotterdam. The conference will also feature the much-anticipated speed-networking session.
“The rooms are organised, we are busy planning the trend tour and I think we have fixed a nice programme,” he says. “We will have a programme of innovative keynote speakers who will talk about topics including sustainability and the role of technology in the foodservice world.”
Van der Graaff is expecting a great turnout from all member countries and Edwards is encouraging members to sign up and travel to Rotterdam for what promises to be a great opportunity to meet fellow members and colleagues. “It is such an important event for all professional and allied members to attend,” he says.
“To have this exposure to their colleagues within EAME – it is quite fascinating to hear what is happening in other countries. For our members to meet with other EAME members to see what they are doing is invaluable.”