Strategic Plan for the Future of the ACF

Stafford DeCambra

By Stafford DeCambra, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC

The ACF is not a massive, for-profit company and thus the national office staff is charged to work effectively, efficiently and in accordance with our strategic plan.

The plan, adopted in 2018, reflects the priorities of the ACF for the next five years, designed to be a roadmap for the staff and current and future boards to assure relevance, growth and success for our members. Our principles - those of professionalism, leadership, collaboration and excellence - will continue to guide us in everything we do as we continue to make progress in the years to come.

Priority number one of the strategic plan is to amplify the ACF’s voice. It is no secret that the most cost-effective way to broaden and engage an audience is via social media. With a growing community of over 150,000 followers, we can safely say that the culinary community is interested in the American Culinary Federation’s chefs. Priority number two: convert “followers” into members. In our strategic plan, there is a direct call to recruit student culinarians. (Coincidentally, young chefs are the fastest growing group on ACF’s social media.)

This summer, we introduced the ACF Student Membership program and in 30 days, more than 500 students have come on board. We believe these students are the new foundation of the ACF and we are working hard to provide them value, in certification, events and with professional development opportunities.

Those professional development opportunities align with another key strategic priority - the new Online Learning Center. The OLC allows culinarians to maintain their certifications, gain CEHs, access the all-new apprenticeship portal and learn from event presenters with Conference On-Demand.

While many of our strategic goals are currently on target, one priority will be taking off in 2020: a renewed focus on property memberships. Hotels, country clubs and resorts are home to many talented chefs and ACF members — especially those that are certified - provide exceptional value to these properties.

On social media, when chefs engage with us, they like what they see. But a "like" on Facebook doesn’t translate into a new member - not without face-to-face engagement. That’s where you fit into the strategic plan.

Do you have a contact at a hotel? A colleague at a resort? How about a food and beverage manager at the local country club? Introduce them to the ACF. Their companies can benefit from our new programs and offerings in so many ways — and our community will be better for it, too.

I wish you the best for this holiday season and look forward to seeing everyone in 2020.

From my ohana to yours,

Stafford T. DeCambra, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC
National President
American Culinary Federation

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