Unveiling the RI Hospitality Association Kitchen Cabinet

Dale J. Venturini
President/CEO, RI Hospitality Association (RIHA)

Given the level of disruption affecting the hospitality industry in recent years, and with many businesses still facing staffing shortages, rising operating costs and more, the RI Hospitality Association (RIHA) is kicking off 2023 with a brand-new strategic group The RI Hospitality Kitchen Cabinet. The “Cabinet” is comprised of industry leaders who will assist its Board of Directors and the Association in rebuilding a robust hospitality community through shaping strategic advocacy goals, vetting new programs and services, serving as hospitality ambassadors in the community, and participating in listening sessions to hear member perspectives and legislative viewpoints.

The Kitchen Cabinet is positioned as a think tank of leaders from myriad industries who impact or have an effect on Rhode Island’s vibrant hospitality industry. This group of trusted business leaders has been carefully selected to provide the most well-rounded opinions and advice; each must be an Active Member of the Association, participate in Association events, and take part in contributing to the RIHA Political Action Committee. The Kitchen Cabinet reports to the RIHA Board of Directors.

The RIHA Kitchen Cabinet will focus on a number of important initiatives and causes to propel the hospitality industry post-pandemic into its next successful chapter through innovation and collaboration. The Cabinet will pay careful consideration to the needs of industries within RIHA’s 900+ membership, from lodging, to food service, to allied and ancillary segments.

The RIHA Kitchen Cabinet will meet three to four times per year to share findings from sessions and activities throughout the course of the year, as well as listen to invited guest speakers. Additionally, members of the Cabinet will take part in a number of events designed to provide a balanced and well-rounded viewpoint on the hospitality industry’s role and commitment to the communities it serves.

A sampling of events includes five roundtables with state, local and regulatory officials; one community/goodwill initiative; specialty events as identified by the Cabinet’s leadership, political events (i.e. - Get Served by the Speaker, Statewide Roundtables), community initiatives, and specialty events.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing that has become increasingly clear is the need for new industry leaders to inspire our community members to work towards something bigger than themselves. In recent years, we have faced many crises and have done our best to survive, and now that we are recovering and rebuilding, we are also looking to foster the next generation of talented leaders who are committed to working for the greater good of the entire industry.

The point of the RIHA Kitchen Cabinet is simple: we cannot solve problems unless we know what people are dealing with. When I think of all that we have accomplished despite having the odds stacked against us in recent years, I recognize that the RI Hospitality Association and its members could not have achieved such great things without the support of the hospitality community at-large.

The RI Hospitality Association Kitchen Cabinet will meet for the first time, for a listening session with Rhode Island’s Secretary of Commerce Liz Tanner and Director Matt Weldon of the RI Department of Labor and Training, on Tuesday, January 17th from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The event is free for RIHA members and is $49.00 for non-members. Those interested in registering for the event can visit: https://Web.RIHospitality.org/Events/Kitchen-Cabinet-Meeting-6609/details.