Dale J. Venturini
President/CEO, RI Hospitality Association
As dedicated hospitality professionals, our staff, members and Board of Directors at the Rhode Island Hospitality Association (RIHA) pledge to the tenets of what we call the “Culture of Community.” These tenets, the “Five Cs,” are the guiding principles of accountability, transparency, stewardship and diversity: Cooperation, Collaboration, Communication, Connection and Curiosity. As the COVID-19 pandemic has progressed, we have expanded these tenets to include three more guiding principles: Compassion, Civility and Camaraderie. As many of our colleagues are in dire straits financially, our industry finds itself in a vulnerable position, not just in Rhode Island, but across the nation. By embodying the spirit of our Culture of Community and, now, the “Eight Cs,” we are better equipped as allies to take on the current challenges we are facing, as well as those to come.
Cooperation is a simple concept to understand; it is in the best interest of all hospitality professionals to band together to benefit the industry as a whole while we are in a state of recovery. Cooperation directly leads to collaboration: partnerships that encourage teamwork, support and community involvement to achieve a common goal. With cooperation and collaboration comes communication, the open exchange of valuable ideas, imperative information and unique opportunities. By embracing these three, we are opening the door for connection, which allows for the creation of mutually beneficial relationships amongst peers within the industry. To fully engage and understand your peers, curiosity is key; asking exploratory questions directly correlates with an eagerness to expand education, create inspiration and provide the fuel for motivation.
During these uncertain times, we must be able to demonstrate compassion; we all have struggles throughout our lives, and through these experiences we learn to sympathize and show concern for the hardships of others. The idea of the Culture of Community is to lay the framework for a harmonious community amongst the hospitality professionals who pledge themselves to its values, and to ensure that all are treated equally and with respect, we now encourage those who follow these guidelines to practice civility. To round out the “Eight Cs,” we would like to see collaboration, communication and connection evolve into comradery, a state in which trust and friendship develop through shared experiences, common interests and mutual connections.
Now more than ever, we must work together, even if we are competitors. We have a responsibility to the communities that we serve to unify, uplift and demonstrate our resilience as an industry. Whether you mix drinks at a restaurant in Newport, work the front desk at a hotel in Providence, run a linen service or you own and operate a golf course, your contributions, sacrifices and dedication to our industry all hold equal weight and your service is invaluable. Think about what our industry can look like at this time next year if right now we band together and put our collective nose to the grindstone. In just a few short months, we have weathered the storm to the best of our ability and in our state, we have set an example for our colleagues across the country on how to make the best of a bad situation.
If there is one thing I know, it is that the Rhode Island Hospitality Association will keep fighting for you. If you start to fight for each other, just imagine the outstanding future we will have ahead of us.