As of 1 January 2018 a new board took over the leadership of Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI) Worldwide, with Martin Rahmann becoming president, reports Michael Jones
2017 was a year of significant political upheaval and financial uncertainty across the world. Thankfully, for FCSI it represented a year of stability, growth and positivity and a strong future for its members. As the board of directors for FCSI Worldwide, led by president William Taunton FCSI, came to the end of their tenure at the end of 2017, a new board for FCSI Worldwide has been announced.
Martin Rahmann FCSI, a former chair of FCSI Germany-Austria and subsequently FCSI Europe, Africa and Middle East (EAME) replaces Taunton as president. William Caruso FFCSI, a past president of the Society in 1988, replaces James Camacho FCSI as chair of FCSI The Americas (TAD) while Camacho assumes the role of secretary/treasurer for the Worldwide board, taking over from Clara Pi FCSI who served in the role for the last two years. John Thomas FCSI of Australia and Remko van der Graaff FCSI of the Netherlands will continue in their roles as chairs of FCSI Asia Pacific Division (APD) and FCSI EAME respectively, having both joined the Worldwide board in 2017.
Support and stability
For Rahmann, the new board is primed and ready and the Society ideally placed to take on the challenges thrown up in an uncertain world. “The board just formed, but its members have worked together to some degree for years. FCSI gives its support and economic stability to members in all regions of the world we operate in. For years I have supported FCSI through my engagement, especially APD, to intensify this work. APD is the fastest growing sector for the members of the other divisions,” he says.
In order to deliver on FCSI’s mantra to “share, support and inspire” its members, Rahmann feels it is vital the Society continues to keep communicating effectively. “Improving communication is a significant aspect of my function as the Worldwide president. We are one world and one family and therefore I see my work as an interface between the members from single and different regions,” he says.
“Together, we are going to strengthen the awareness of the assocation and make it as attractive as we can. Membership of FCSI should be a must for kitchen planners and consultants of the hotel industry and gastronomy. The revenuation process within the board, which started many years ago, has to be continued, especially towards helping young people to engage with our assocation.”
According to Nick Vaccaro, executive director, FCSI Worldwide, the new board will be able to give FCSI the right leadership in part due to the sound structure for the Society its predecessors were able to put in place, giving them the ideal spring board to take FCSI forward.
“When the Society’s organisational structure evolved in 2012 the goal was to provide more independence to the divisions and allow them to interact more closely with the members,” he says.
“This was a huge step for FCSI as it helped the Worldwide board focus on the overall vision of the Society and allowed the divisions to handle dues collection, events, etc. In the past five years the Worldwide board has developed into a well-rounded group of individuals representing many different cultures and countries. Through the last few rotations of the board each of the members has learned from his or her predecessor on how best to serve the global Society. The new Worldwide board is the culmination of collective wisdom and experience brought together by the support of the APD board of directors, the EAME board of trustees and the TAD board of directors. I have a great amount of confidence that the 2018-19 Worldwide board will provide excellent guidance and support to the divisions, chapters and local units.”
Improving membership benefits
According to Vaccaro, the new board will focus on continuing to improve the FCSI global brand and image, the Foodservice Consultant platform of products – including the magazine, app, website and e-newsletter – the standardisation of consultant exam certification, improving the relationship with FCSI’s allied/corporate partners and supporting the divisional boards. “As the Society continues to evolve there is an ever growing need for the divisional leaders to have an opportunity to share ideas on how to improve membership benefits and attempt to increase overall membership satisfaction,” he says.
The biggest challenge faced by FCSI right now, according to Vaccaro, is “how to best balance standardisation of membership benefits and consultant certification with the difference in cultures represented by our membership. As with all professional global organisations FCSI wants to ensure our Society is always recognised for our high standards and the extensive experience of our consultant members,” he says.
Key to that is the support Vaccaro and his team are able to offer the Society itself. “The FCSI Worldwide office always stands at the ready to support the Worldwide board of directors. We not only take care of the daily business of office administration, planning meeting logistics, speaking with attorneys on branding matters and website updates, but more importantly we serve as a consultation resource for board members with regard to leadership issues. Our days are filled with phone calls and emails assisting the FCSI leadership on how best to proceed on any number of projects. As you can imagine this can be rather sensitive at times given that FCSI leadership represents cultures from around the world! The key to functioning as a strong supportive staff is being able to juggle multiple projects at the same time and always being ready to change gears at a moment’s notice to tackle a new programme that needs attention,” says Vaccaro.
A solid and democratic leadership
The immediate past president of FCSI Worldwide, William Taunton FCSI believes strongly that the new Worldwide board will continue to give FCSI the right leadership. “The big changes that were made at the worldwide board in previous years had to do with establishing a solid and very democratic leadership rotation between the divisions and between the most experienced people in the board,” he says.
“Thanks to the hard work we developed over the last two years, FCSI Worldwide is now in a healthy financial position. Not overwhelmingly good, but stable and positive. The plan is to keep the finance control very strict, so we end 2018 with the necessary cash to pay off 100% of the pending debt we have with the FCSI Educational Foundation. After that, in 2019 we must start returning money every year to the divisions for their programmes,” says Taunton.
“As always, the big thing is to put the FCSI name as high as we can within the foodservice industry and its partners. The last two years we worked to solve the financial issues, with that covered now it’s time to make the FCSI name big and strong,” he says.
For Taunton, he looks back on a tenure that saw him “negotiate contracts, reorganise the expenditures and push our partners to help us generate more cash and lower their fees and income. I’m leaving with FCSI Worldwide in a positive financial position. I guess, I should be proud of that. But I am really proud that I was able to keep my word that I gave when I become chair elect in TAD back in 2012 that I was going to give my all to FCSI and I did it. Thank you FCSI for giving me the chance today to be proud of accomplishing that.”
Pictured (left to right): Martin Rahmann FCSI, William Carsuo FFCSI, John Thomas FCSI and Remko van der Graaff FCSI