He Said, He Said - Winter Conference vs. Summer Conference, If You Can Only Attend One

February 12, 2017 | 2432 Views

He Said, He Said - Winter Conference vs. Summer Conference, If You Can Only Attend One

Patrick Yearout, FMP, CHT

Director of Innovation, Recruiting, and Training | Ivar's & Kidd Valley Restaurants

The age-old debate has flared up again: if you can only go to one CHART conference per year, should it be winter or summer?

Recently I discussed that question via email with long-time member Gabe Hosler of Rubio’s Restaurants.  I advocated for the winter conference at the Broadmoor, and Gabe (who serves on the CHART Board and will be overseeing the summer conference) thought that the latter event would prove more valuable for attendees.

Here’s what we each had to say:

Patrick:  First of all, let’s talk about the setting.  The winter conference this year will be at the Broadmoor.  You’ve been there before, right?  It’s stunning.  Stunning!  Has CHART ever been to a more luxurious site than this Forbes Five Star and AAA Five-Diamond resort in Colorado Springs?  Have we ever received more gracious hospitality than we experienced at the previous conference here back in 2014?  I would definitely say the Broadmoor is unmatched among the many hotels that have hosted CHART conferences in my 15 years as a member.  Plus, thanks to CHART Board member Danielle Dally, attendees will have the opportunity to take a tour to get a behind-the-scenes look at the operations and learn about the legacy and history of the building.

Gabe:  The only reason you rank the Broadmoor as unmatched is because you haven’t yet been to the Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego, where the summer 2017 conference will take place.  If you look up the word “luxurious” in the dictionary, I’m sure you will see a photo of this hotel.  The guest rooms are spacious, beautiful, and have private balconies or patios that open up to the amazing weather we have here in San Diego (there’ll be no threat of cold/snow/rain at our summer conference).  The CHART board stayed at this hotel last year to start planning for the conference, and I can tell you, the service provided by the staff is just as top-notch as the Broadmoor.

Patrick:  Ok, but another advantage to attending the winter conference over the summer conference is the Live Ask My Peers session.  It’s consistently rated as one of the most valuable CHART conference experiences because it provides trainers the chance to engage in multiple round-table discussions on hot industry topics.  I never leave a LAMP session without at least 3 to 4 new best practices that I can take pack to Ivar’s.

Gabe:  Ah, but the Training High Five also provides invaluable best practices for trainers, and you only get to experience that during the summer conference.  I love the format for THF because you get the opportunity to see and hear directly from the person who implemented the idea and how it has improved their organization, and I personally have “stolen” at least six or seven of these ideas and brought them back to Rubio’s.

Patrick:  Let’s talk speakers then.  The winter conference features the return of Kelly McDonald, who spoke previously at our Las Vegas conference way back in 2006.  She is absolutely my favorite general session speaker from the 20+ conferences I have attended, and we still use some of the tips and techniques she recommended 11 year ago.  I simply cannot wait to hear her latest presentation, “How to Deliver a Better Experience to Every Kind of Customer.”

Gabe:  Well, the speaker lineup for the summer conference is still in development, but I can tell you the centerpiece presentation this summer is definitely going to be the results from our 2017 Training Trends survey, which will be done in partnership with TDn2K, one of our Silver Sponsors.  To me, nothing is more important than finding out what’s going on in our industry, and how we as trainers will need to adapt to meet the challenges ahead of us.

Patrick: In addition to the general session speakers, the winter conference will once again allow attendees to take up to three of our training competencies sessions.  I believe there’s no better learning opportunity than these “deep dives” into the core competencies of our profession, and I would add that overall nothing else CHART has ever offered has provided more value to Ivar’s or better prepared me for my current position.

Gabe:  The competencies are indeed solid workshops, but I prefer hearing the CHART Talks that are presented from various members on the last day of the summer conference.  I find that these “brief blasts of brilliance” are instantly relatable and usable for us at Rubio’s and think they are the perfect way to cap off all the learning that takes place.

Patrick:  Ok, last one. The winter conference is going to feature a pre-con session titled “The Incredible Power of Team” from two powerhouse presenters and Past CHART Presidents, Curt Archambault and Joleen Goronkin.  I know you know how good this session will be, as everything Curt and Joleen do is top-notch.  I’ve had the opportunity to attend pre- and post-con sessions they’ve done in the past and always find them to be very much worth my time.

Gabe:  I’ll counter that argument with the networking opportunities at the summer conference – it always has more attendees, so there’s always a stronger chance you will be able to connect with someone who can provide you with the best practices you need right now.  Plus, we have the lodging reception on opening night for those in the hotel industry, and the 10+ year member reception on the closing night, neither of which are available At the winter conference.

Patrick:  You have some good points, Gabe.  Ideally, of course, it would be best if everyone could go to both conferences.  But if I could only go to one, the winter conference would be the one I would choose.  I just think the attendees will like it more.

Gabe: You are so wrong.  The summer conference will definitely get higher evaluation scores.

Patrick:  OK, let’s make it interesting then.  If the winter conference gets an overall higher score than the summer conference, you will donate $100 to Share our Strength.  And if the reverse is true, I’ll donate $100 to Share our Strength.

Gabe:  Deal!

So now it’s up to you, CHART members – which conference will get the higher overall score?  Which conference would you go to if you could only attend one, and why?  Join the conversation by leaving your response in the comments section below.

CHART Community Discussion

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Comments (1)

  1. FAMOS:
    Feb 19, 2017 at 01:10 PM

    I'm planning on BOTH Conferences this year...just like our CHART Founders envisioned it. Colorful Colorado Springs & Sunny San Diego should both be terrific events