It’s already May of 2018, and we are less than 6 months away from the 2018 Global Food Tourism Conference. As the year flies by and we gear up for what’s going to be the best conference yet, we have a lot of exciting pieces to put together as we plan the conference and also GFTA’s larger well of resources.
As we started to think about the coming year and analyzed the focus that our growing number of GFTA members needed, it was clear that we needed someone to help take GFTA to the next level. “Kick it up a notch,” as Emeril Lagasse would say. And without burying the lede too much, we are excited to announce that we have hired Jennifer Ibe as GFTA’s Membership & Events Coordinator to help GFTA with our next stage of growth.
When we started the hiring process we knew that we wanted someone in this position that had the following attributes:
– Strong Operationally – We needed someone who has experience in a wide-range of roles, systems and technologies in order to be a well-rounded resource and support system for the GFTA membership.
– Attentive & Detail-Oriented Event Planner – As GFTC is such an important event, it was extremely important that we found someone with extensive event planning experience and who could lead a larger initiative of increasing the number and quality of events we offer our members.
– Strong Communicator With a Knack for Networking – As foodies, we have a lot of fun networking over food (and sometimes beverages), we needed someone who feels comfortable talking through tough scenarios in order to best understand the needs of the membership.
– Food Lover – Obviously this was a factor. What sort of food tourism association would we be if our people didn’t love food? Scoff.
Jennifer had all of the qualities that we felt were important (clearly not just limited to the list above) and we are proud to add her to our small, but mighty team.
Jennifer will be reaching out to the entire membership in the coming weeks to learn about your businesses and hear directly from you how you would like to see GFTA grow in the next year and initiatives that you would like prioritized. Be on the lookout for more to come! Until then, we interviewed Jennifer to give you a quick introduction as she will be your go-to for GFTA questions and concerns in the future (just give her a bit to get used to the gig though, will ya?) 🙂
Tell us a bit about your professional background:
Before joining the GFTA team, I was working in the trade show industry as an Exhibit Sales Manager. I have been in the event planning industry for over 11 years and have been part of the planning, logistics and sales aspects for various associations from the National Association of Realtors to the Food Marketing Institute. I truly enjoy working with associations and helping them grow their meetings and conferences and ensuring their success year after year.
What would be your personal motto?
“The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday.” I believe each day is a new day to be a better you, so I try live each day to the fullest and make things happen!
What excites you most about your role and becoming part of the GFTA Community?
I am so excited to engage with our members and find out what there wants and needs are so I can grow our membership community. I am eager to be a voice for our members and create a mutually beneficial relationship between the association and its members. And of course I am eager to learn more about this amazing food tourism industry!
If you had a favorite country or city when it comes to food what would it be?
There are so many places that I have been to that have amazing food where I would go back just to have another meal there. But, if I had to choose one I would have to say Italy. Having a meal there was more about bringing people together and enjoying the food as well as the company and taking your time to truly enjoy all the flavors and the time and effort put into the meal. When my husband and I visited, we went to a real local spot that not many tourists went to in an area called Trastevere and had amazing carbonara and red wine. While we enjoyed the meal we got to speak with the owners – what normally would have been an hour dinner was over three.
There you have it folks, a quick intro to our newest team member. Bringing this new position to GFTA’s Membership should help make 2018 a milestone year. We look forward to continuing to challenge and grow the Food Tourism Industry. More to come from Jennifer in the near future!
The GFTA Team