Chair of the Board: Letter to Membership
As we continue our celebration of our 100th anniversary as an association, and as I pass the halfway point of my tenure as the Chair of the MRLA Board of Directors, I continue to be impressed by the influence our organization brings not only to the hospitality industry, but also to the Michigan business community at large. Our influence originates from our association’s government relations efforts as we advocate for business interests, and from our members and MRLA staff who work together to advance our mission. It is abundantly clear how much our association and our members deeply care about the impact of our actions, not just on the businesses we operate, but also on our communities at large.
I am not only impressed, but I am also thankful that the foundation upon which our association is built has proven to be robust, smart, and durable enough to withstand the greatest challenge our industry has ever experienced. As we continue to emerge from the pandemic and all of its lingering challenges, it becomes more apparent that this past year clearly demonstrated the vital role that our association plays in the overall health and success of our businesses.
While it is good to make note of our influence, and to be thankful, I also believe we all recognize that it is now time to shift our focus from the immediate to the future, it is a great time to take stock of lessons learned and where we are headed. We can embrace this opportunity to not only come back, but also build back, and at the forefront of building back is to create new approaches to address the workforce challenges that we are now experiencing in our state and across the country.
We have encountered significant headwinds over these past eighteen months, but we can be assured that our mission as an association will continue to be our guiding light as we enter the next phase of our comeback. “Leading the hospitality industry through advocacy, education and innovation,” is what we do best. We have a strategic plan already in place that focuses on these three critical pillars that undergird our future success.
At the top of the list is of course the workforce challenges. By the time you are reading this, The Board of Director’s Summer Meeting will have already taken place and the Phoenix Committee will be laser focused on strategies to share with all of us on moving towards workforce solutions. Our MRLA staff has already been working very hard in collaborating with the MRLA Education Foundation on workforce development, funding, and industry specific certification programs that will make a significant impact on all of our businesses well into the future. These ideas will foster programs within our association that will attract talent and sought-after skillsets needed by hospitality employers. Innovative leaders from academia and business will collaborate on our association’s results-focused workforce programs. The MRLA will continue to play a pivotal role in addressing demand by bringing together organizations and the workers needed to succeed. We can all be proud that once again, the MRLA is stepping up as a national leader in creating a path to viable solutions to address industry challenges.
If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to learn more about all of the plans and to take advantage of an abundance of hospitality information by frequently visiting the MRLA website at www.mrla.org.
And finally, thank you again to President & CEO Justin Winslow and the entire MRLA staff whose tireless efforts have resulted in an enormous assortment of resources and relief for so many in the hospitality industry.
I hope that you and your families are safe and well.
Epoch Hospitality Group