Kelly Dalisa, CPCE
National Account Executive
San Diego, California
Candidate for At-Large Director
From your own perspective, what are two key emerging opportunities/challenges that our association faces and how can NACE best be prepared to address them?
First, over the past 2 years, our industry has faced so many obstacles and challenges which has resulted in the big exit or professionals shifting companies and jobs. More than ever, NACE National needs to support its current members by being a resource with connections for job opportunities and for companies that are looking for professionals to fill positions. This opportunity is about reinforcing the community and networking platform that we are so proud of. I’m hopeful that the GlueUp platform will be the opportunity to connect chapters to each other and give its members a better resource to access NACE on a National level. Launching and implementing this new and exciting platform will take a lot of training or else it will be a tool that members won’t use. Providing chapters with a branded marketing tools, educational presentation and perhaps someone from National to teach each chapter and their members how to utilize the resource will be key to making it successful.
Second, to attract new members, we’ll need to serve some cookies with the Kool-Aid. NACE is competing with so many more hospitality associations and we need to capitalize on the fact that we are the only industry community that emphasizes food and beverage as part of their education and events. Furthermore, this reach needs to expand our current member market. We need to expand our services to include more of back of the house professionals along with capitalizing with more corporate planners such as DMC’s. Our industry is always at odds with bridging the gap between the front and back of the house. It would be impressive if NACE can figure out how to bring the two together. I have taken upon myself to start using the NACE chapter meeting to entertain my clients. These clients such as DMC executives are surprised at how well NACE produces great events and they said that they get more ideas by attending.
What specific talents do you possess that would affect the association on advancing our mission?
I believe that my background and knowledge in hospitality allows me to be a great resource for the National Board in being the premier resource and community for catering and event professionals. My background includes a bachelor’s degree in hospitality, culinary instructor, venue owner, front and back of the house operations, and event planning which gives me a greater understanding of all aspects of our industry. Moreover, I’m currently active in 3 different chapters, which will allow me to be a bigger voice of membership and feedback for the board.
I feel that I am an innovator that can bring solutions to the board. During the last couple of years, I’ve had to reinvent the San Diego chapter to keep it afloat. I orchestrated safe experiential events out of necessity to comply with outdoors and distancing which ended up being popular because they were fun, educational, and totally different than anything they had seen in the past. This resulted in bringing in new members and attendees to our chapter.
How can NACE best support its members and the catering and events industry?
NACE can best support its members by communication and transparency. I know from experience that members from a local level do not understand the benefits and value that NACE give them from a national level. While I know National does send emails to members, it may not be the greatest way to reach members. Again, hopefully GlueUp will be a solution, but we need to do more. We need to teach local chapter leaders on how to create student chapters. This will best support our catering and event industry by creating opportunities for young professionals and access to more education. These students are the future of NACE.