During 2016, we took steps to interview our community members and determine what you wanted out of membership, what you wanted to do with the Association and so on. We interviewed regular members, Association ambassadors and our Board of Directors. We also researched other Associations. Our research led to a couple of important conclusions. First, Ambassadors wanted a clear career development path within the World Food Travel Association. Secondly, there needed to be a stepping stone between the Ambassador level and our Board of Directors. At the same time, we knew we needed a new community platform that was capable of serving members at different levels. Our experience showed that this is the best way for to create a sustainable foundation of leadership within our Association.
In 1Q2017, we introduced a Board of Advisors to serve as this "stepping stone" between our Ambassadors and our Board of Directors. Our Advisors represent both geographic areas, as well as industry sectors. While we currently have just over one dozen Advisors, in the future, there is room to grow the number of Advisors to a total of 30-40 professionals. In 2Q2017, we introduced the new community platform that will take the Association and our Community well into the next decade and beyond.
The career advancement path is hierarchical and works like this:
- A Gold level member is engaged and active in our new online community. After a demonstrated period of active engagement, our Association staff will notice and may invite the gold member to “upgrade” to Ambassador level. There is no extra cost for them to upgrade, but they are required to watch a training video and pass an online test. The training video teaches the prospective Ambassador about WFTA, what we do, and how an Ambassador can excel in their new Ambassador role. As an Ambassador, you would get the training and over time, gain the experience needed, to excel in more senior leadership positions within the Association.
- Ambassadorship is invitation only to our gold members who show considerable engagement and dedication to the food/beverage tourism industry and to our Association. Ambassadors who are engaged and active may be invited to join our Board of Advisors. An invitation is not automatic. Interesting candidates may be invited to apply to serve on the Board of Advisors when openings are available. There is a brief application and an annual workplan that needs to be completed by the Advisor.
- Advisors who are engaged and active will be eligible to join our Board of Directors. An invitation is not automatic. We're looking for those professionals who are most interested in furthering the food and beverage tourism industry, and who are the most committed to furthering the development of our Association. Interesting candidates may be invited to apply to serve on the Board of Advisors when openings are available. There is an annual workplan that needs to be completed by the Director.