Food for Thought

by Abigail Solazzo
Many chapter meetings will take place throughout the country over the next couple of months. Most programs have been confirmed and the agenda set - consider adding some unique sessions, whether for education or social events, that promote idea/solution sharing, brainstorming, teamwork and networking. While formal education (and CE hours) is important, we also want to give our members and attendees the opportunity to learn in unique formats and informal settings. 

Meet and greets/mixers – Make some time for first-timers and new members to get to know your chapters leaders as well as each other. Also, consider hosting a meet and greet or mixer specifically for your younger members. Hosting the event over breakfast, drinks, or prior to the start of the meeting makes this a fun setting for members to network. 
Team Building– Consider including a team building session during your next chapter meeting. This is a great way to break the ice for new members, possibly learn a new skill, network, and build trust and respect among all attendees. 

Lunch and learns/roundtables – Ask your members to bring their challenges (and solutions) to your next lunch session and share those with attendees among their tables. You may also consider having a designated member ‘host’ tables to facilitate discussion about hot topics among members that promote sharing ideas and suggestions that members can bring back to their jobs. 

Young member panels
– Oftentimes we don’t understand the needs and challenges facing our younger members. Consider putting together a panel of younger members to discuss their needs as members and new CDM, CFPPs. Be sure to designate a facilitator and allow time for questions from the audience. 

Unique tours/off-site events
– Whether social or educational, unique tours and off-site events can offer something more to attendees. Depending on the tour or event, some may qualify for CE as well (i.e. 2019 ACE’s Kitchen Tour). Either way, it can offer your attendees a break from the lecture setting while providing an education or networking opportunity.