TRA President Jerry Walker is on the Road Again

Sep 30

My travels continue and I'm beginning to feel like the Willie Nelson song, "On The Road Again." I had the pleasure of attending the Dallas chapter planning retreat led by new chapter president Sharon Van Meter. As I looked around the room I couldn't help but get excited to see all of the new young faces and the energy they bring to the association. Don't get me wrong, I love all of us old baby boomer members, but these young millennials bring fresh new ideas that help us all. Some even had the patience to teach me how to tweet! The board participated in an incredible exercise using Strength Finder which helped them discover and describe their strengths so they can maximize how they work together in their committees, and continue to move their chapter forward.

Next, I traveled back to Austin to attend the TRA Education Foundation Board of Trustees planning retreat at Carmelo's. It was an incredible couple of days! I continue to be amazed at the passion of the Foundation Trustees and their desire to continually improve the overall impact the Foundation has for our members and the future of our industry. They worked very diligently at continuing the journey of making this Foundation self-sustaining. I commend them on their efforts to evolve their culture as it relates to fundraising. I truly believe these efforts will produce results we can all take advantage of.

I remained in Austin to participate in the TRA budgeting process. What fun! I know our members would appreciate this process as it is very thorough and no stone is left unturned. Staff goes department by department, then line item by line item to ensure they are effectively and efficiently using our resources. After listening and learning, I am very confident this process allows for maximum support to the association and its members.

Next, our Executive Committee met in Austin for day long workshop to begin developing the TRA strategic plan. What a great day. Together, we came up with a great starting point to take out to members for their involvement, ideas and suggestions in order to implement the best possible strategic plan for the association.

I took to the road once again and had the privilege of attending the 40th Taste of San Angelo. All I can say is wow and thank you to the San Angelo chapter for all of their hard work and incredible hospitality. This chapter quite simply rocks! I left knowing that I have new friends and am confident our friendships will continue for a long long time to come.

Like a boomerang I returned to Austin for the Austin chapter's monthly Board Meeting at County Line on the Lake as well as their Teacher Round Table. The Austin Chapter invited the City of Austin Health Department to their board meeting and to my surprise, an employee with the US Department of Labor was also in attendance. What a great example of getting better engaged in the community with both local and state government! These relationships will be a tremendous benefit down the road. Great job Skeeter Miller and the Austin chapter! I was also incredibly impressed with their membership committee's involvement in new member growth. They certainly got it going on! They are seeing the benefits of growing their chapter and its relevancy. Lastly, teachers from local Texas ProStart schools within the Austin chapter also left very happy after strengthening relationships member restaurateurs. Well done Austin!

Eventually, I returned home to north Texas. After teaching all day at El Centro Community College in downtown Dallas, I headed west to Fort Worth for the Tarrant County chapter Member Mixer at Capital Grill. To say I was impressed would be an understatement! In addition to meeting several new members and prospective members of their chapter, I also met the Mayor of Fort Worth. She is a strong supporter of our industry and understands it's important to the success of the City of Fort Worth. She opened the door to all of our members to get more involved with city government so we can make a greater impact. This is a perfect example of how we can to get more involved locally in our communities throughout Texas to become even more relevant and exercise even more influence. I truly love visiting our chapters and seeing the life and excitement that is happening. Gloria Starling, the new chapter president, is doing an outstanding job with their chapter and our members will benefit from her leadership. We can all learn from San Angelo, Austin and Tarrant County in terms of making a huge difference in their communities. Stay tuned, Jerry


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