Careers, Connections & the Art of Reinvention

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Stick your neck out. Show up. Say yes to opportunity. Be kind to everyone on your way up. Eyes wide open. Face fear. Change when you need to. Or, change when you decide you WANT to. The Southern California IACP regional conference on “Careers, Connections and the Art of Reinvention” delivered on its promise to bring seasoned and emerging IACP-ers together to discuss the fast-changing landscape of food jobs.

I joined the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) in 1987 to light a fire under my business. Through ups and downs over the years, I stuck with it. The annual conference during BIG YEARS would sell out early, topping 1500 attendees from all around the globe. In lean times, maybe 700+, still a crowd. Sessions, workshops, exhibit hall, my goal for attending remains steadfast: contacts, contacts, contacts.

The 2009 Denver conference was a tipping point. I’d had a few zzzzz years of the group, and was waffling on continuing. Yet, ever the die-hard self-promoter, I submitted a session idea thinking, “If they accept (speaking on Online Marketing For The Internet Impaired), I’ll re-up membership. If no, the universe is telling me to move on.”  They picked it, I went, and my future shifted for the better.

One IACP member service is Regional Meetings. Sort of. A Regional Meeting is created/produced/marketed/managed by local members who simply want to do it. How I came to produce the meeting in Southern California is… I have a big ego.  A few months back, New York hosted a regional. It looked great; the tweets were making me really wish I could attend. Or rather, I wanted to SPEAK. But no such invite came my way. I decided, let’s do one here.

Wait! There was no “let’s” — I don’t work well in a team. I’m a boss.  Bossy. I work best bossing people around. For this, I believed if I came up with a relevant theme, world class speakers, stellar venue and fair ticket price, IACP Headquarters would consider saying yes.  Apparently, I had them at, “I’d like to put on a regional meeting…”

Speaker collage with captionMy thanks to (clockwise from top left) Anne Willan CCP, Barbara Fairchild, Amy Scattergood, Corie Brown, Denise Vivaldo, George Geary and Marlene Oliphant for their generosity and candor (that’s me, bottom right. You don’t think for a MOMENT I’d put on a conference and not book myself, do you?). I applaud the full house of food pros who invested their summer Saturday in connecting with real people.  Face-time really IS the way to go.  Every seat sold, the vibes were heady.

Our venue?  Sues, Young & Brown, the fabulous distributor of Viking Range. We sat amongst the most delicious Viking showrooms any food enthusiast could imagine. It’s not a store. Get your contractor or designer to get you in, or attend one of their public events to see.

Sues Young Brown showroom

Let me also tell you the highest compliment of great IACP contacts… friends say yes when needs arise.  Frieda’s Specialty Produce provided gorgeous speaker thank-you gifts. They are celebrating their 50th year of business – congrats to Frieda, Karen and Jackie!


For more info about IACP, including criteria for membership, visit

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Susie Norris August 8, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Definitely home run! Thank you!

2 The Duo Dishes-Chrystal August 8, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Hated to miss it, but there’s no doubt the entire day was great for all attendees.

3 Worth The Whisk August 8, 2011 at 1:07 pm

So glad you were there Eydie, it was a remarkable day thanks to a wonderful audience, too.

4 Eydie Desser August 7, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Remarkable job, Patti!
Fabulous event. Wonderful speakers. Inspirational messages. Great new friends. Home run!

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