Growing Toward Greatness

Stafford DeCambra

By Stafford DeCambra, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC

Aloha! This month, we gather in New Orleans for Cook. Craft. Create. ACF National Convention & Show. I hope to see many of you there. Despite the wonders of digital communication, it can’t replace those face-to-face contacts.

Let’s talk about some of the changes that will be in place by convention time. Change doesn’t happen without a real hunger for improvement, so, after almost a year in office, your ACF board of directors wanted to see where we were as a team and how we could better serve you. To do that, we took part in educational development sessions on a whole host of matters.

We delved into governance, board effectiveness, board member effectiveness, respecting time and contributions, the role of the board in assuring leadership for the future and the dynamics of an effective deliberative body moving forward with increased confidence. Your vice presidents have begun setting goals and objectives on membership growth and retention.

We are meeting with national office staff on our shared ACF vision and goals for the “Team of One.” Our emphasis includes sharing ideas through teamwork, nurturing/showing encouragement, having the freedom to make individual and/or team decisions, debating issues with respect, and enjoying growth and joy.

The 2018-2023 ACF Strategic Plan is complete. It reflects our priorities for the next five years, emphasizing the quality and variety of services and resources we provide for members. It will be a roadmap for national office staff and current and future boards of directors to assure relevance, growth and success for members.

Exciting new changes to the certified culinary administrator (CCA) level include replacing the multi-unit requirement with a requirement that a chef has fiscal responsibilities. This level is now open to CCC as well as CEC and CEPC. Also, an updated CMC candidate handbook will be released soon. Working with the American Master Chefs’ Order, the certification commission has used the mantra of “increased quality with a decrease in quantity” to drive the updates of the CMC exam while maintaining the same expectations and standards. I am truly excited to see these updates unfold.

A new program names an ACF Young Chefs Club president each July by awarding this role to the national Student Chef of the Year. Members of the Student Team National Championship winning team will be the club’s task force for the year.

In marketing and communications, our goals and objectives will focus on communicating with key target audiences beyond our membership. We will also continue to protect the integrity of the ACF brand, generate awareness of our organization, and maximize the impact of member, digital and external communications.

One of my goals is to communicate in a timely fashion. Members must be able to review and obtain information easily if we are to be transparent in our communication, and we have begun to capitalize on technology to keep chapter leadership and members informed.

ACF has been working closely with the U.S. Department of Labor to establish and update culinary apprenticeship standards. Many of today’s most successful chefs started their journey with on-the-job training combined with classroom instruction. Through partnerships with educational institutions, ACFEF offers accredited postsecondary programs and certified secondary programs throughout the U.S. and overseas.

I’m grateful that we’ve been able to help our fellow culinarians affected by hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate. We offered financial assistance to those ACF members and students affected by these catastrophic events, and our thoughts and prayers go out to all who are still struggling to recover from devastating losses.

Please be in touch. Your board of directors values your ideas and contributions, and together we can make ACF better still. I look forward to seeing you soon. Aloha!

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