The Inside Scoop: Q&A with Raquel Weiss Fusco, SHFM's New President
Updated: Oct 6
We had the opportunity to sit with our own Raquel Weiss Fusco, just one week after she was inducted as the youngest female President of the Society for Hospitality and Foodservice Management. Raquel shared with us some of her favorite things about the organization; it’s National Conference, which was earlier this month in Tucson, Arizona; and some of her goals for the upcoming year.
What was your favorite moment of SHFM’s National Conference?
I have two … and one is probably obvious.
Giving my Presidential acceptance speech was extremely nerve wracking and wonderful. I’m so proud of that moment – a culmination of years of hard work and dedication. It was also amazing to be able to do that in front of my Dad. He’s been a member of the organization since it was SFM (Society for Foodservice Management) in the 1980s. Pictured above on left.
The second moment always turns out to be my favorite. I love seeing the recipients’ faces when they received a $30,000 check for the Blue Watermelon Project. To back up, each year SHFM holds a Hunger Games event at its National Conference. It's like an adult field day, but the mission is to raise funds for a foodservice industry related nonprofit located nearby. Pictured above on right.
Writer's Note: The Blue Watermelon Project, which was established in 2016, formed to educate and increase student access to fresh foods in partner schools.
Why is SHFM important to you?
It’s one of the leading organizations in the foodservice and hospitality industries. SHFM is unique in that it’s one society bringing together vendors, operators, consultants, suppliers, and others.
SHFM has been evolving since its inception in 1979.
Its leadership and members are always challenging themselves to be more progressive, modern, educated and to raise the bar. Through the organization and its events, I learn from my peers, I’m challenged, and I have fun.
But it’s also an organization that gives back. The SHFM Foundation is the heart and soul of our membership. And the work they do is above and beyond.
What are you doing as the President of SHFM to continue its efforts to be progressive?
I’m in a unique age category (I’m an older Millennial but I’m not telling you exactly how old I am!).
In order for SHFM to continue to grow, develop and prosper we need our young professionals and our rising stars, and we also need those that paved the way before us. They created so much and continue to have an impact. I am excited to bridge the gap and am encouraging everyone to learn from, reverse mentor and challenge each other. I believe this will help fuel our future ensuring that SHFM continues to grow as a leading organization in the industry.
In Arizona, I announced the first W.I.S.E. Experience (Women Inspiration Support & Excellence). The first summit of its kind for SHFM, it will be a two-day session celebrating women and all the hats we wear, both professionally and personally. The conversations will be authentic, unique and raw. I’m incredibly excited to introduce this to the organization and for the event to kick off Women’s History Month. I hope you’ll join me on the West Coast February 28th and 29th.
Why are you involved with SHFM?
Why I got involved is so much greater than why I joined. What you put in is what you get back times 10. The relationships I’ve built over the years are incredible – business partners, friendships, advisors, and mentors. My network just continues to grow more and more, and the education and continuous support from people across the industry is undeniable. I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t get involved!
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Thank you to the industry publications that have featured the SHFM 2023 National Conference, the organization's newest Board Members, and elite|studio e recently.
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