Get to Know Your Area Coordinator: A Big Benefit of Association Membership

Get to Know Your Area Coordinator: A Big Benefit of Association Membership

By Paul Schlienz

Restaurateurs and hoteliers across our state know there are many benefits to membership in the Washington Hospitality Association. And one of the biggest benefits of all is access to the Association’s area coordinators.

“Who are the area coordinators?” you may ask. Well, area coordinators (or ACs) are the first point of contact with the Association when members have problems or questions.

“ACs are the face of the Association,” said Steven Sweeney, the Association’s director of membership. “They’re the ones who get the call when members need advice or help. They are what our members see as who represents us.”

“A lot of our members realize this, but not everyone knows of the ACs passion for their work,” said Sweeney. “They love being in the hospitality industry and they take their job personally. It makes them feel good to help members. They love doing it. And they really are all about customer service and being the face of our Association. It’s all about service, service, service and hospitality. They’re here to help our members succeed. They want to show them the full value of membership.”

Members know the area coordinators are in their corner – and they appreciate it.

“I’ve only been a restaurant owner since 2014,” said Mercedes Fulwiler, co-owner of Oak Harbor’s Rustica Café. “My area coordinator, Kim Hildahl, has been a real help to me. If I have a question, that woman always gets back to me, always. And if she doesn’t know something, she’ll find out. She made me aware of what my benefits are as an Association member. I particularly appreciate the way she set up appointments with the Association’s Advisory Network.”

And Fulwiler is not the only member with rave reviews of our area coordinators.

“We haven’t been members long,” said Ruth Little, co-owner of the Dockside Grill on Sequim Bay. “Our area coordinator, Shawna Mendenhall is just right on top of everything. Before I talked with Shawna, I never knew about the RETRO program. Once we needed to talk with an attorney. Shawna set us up with an attorney through the Advisory Network, which led us in the right direction. She directs us toward great resources and information. She’s awesome.”

“Use your area coordinator as a resource,” Fulwiler urges her fellow Association members. “If you have questions, if you’ve heard rumors or if there’s something going on in the Legislature you want to know about, ask them. Even if they don’t immediately know the answer to your question, they’ll get back with you. You’re really getting your membership’s worth with them.”

(Source: WA Hospitality Magazine, May 2017)

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