Legislative updates

By Lauren Zirbel

The Last Word

At HFIA, we know that our members are always working to improve their businesses and so we are always working to find new and better ways to support and benefit our members. This fall and winter, we are developing and implementing new strategies and ideas that will enhance the services we provide all members.

Our Board of Directors is hard at work crafting a new Strategic Plan. This will ensure that HFIA’s work has maximum positive impact and is aligned with your needs as members. The plan covers every facet of the association, from government relations to membership, and ensures that we are on the right path, now and in the future.

HFIA continues to improve and expand our events. Following up on a blockbuster year for the Made in Hawaii Festival, HFIA started its first ever Made in Hawaii Show and After Hours Networking Event. The event is a new opportunity for HFIA members to network while also sampling local products, as well as fine wines and beverages. Our membership spoke loud and clear, asking for more networking and educational opportunities, and we are following suit. In addition to our new After Hours Networking events, we are also beefing up education by partnering with the California Grocers Association to offer three top tier educational morning seminars on January 13, 14, and 15 at the beautiful Aulani Resort. Speakers will cover Customer Service, Succession Planning, and Top Trends Every Independent Must Know.

HFIA’s Annual Social will help to start the new year with some cheer! A “Tailgate Social” will be held at the Honolulu Country Club on Thursday, January 15, 2015 at 6:00 pm. This event is always extremely well attended and very special, especially for those of you who dress up! We will offer our usual assortment of bountiful prizes, tasty foods, and refreshing beverages!

In addition to our new networking and educational events, we’ve also added other substantial member benefits. By reaching out to member and non-member companies alike, we’ve been able to find and create new value-added benefits exclusively for HFIA members. Some of our newest benefits include discounts at Aston Resorts, Office Max, and Office Depot, and at member companies Avis and Budget. Details can be found in HFIA’s Weekly Updates. We’re especially interested in creating even more member-to-member benefits. We invite all who have a benefit that they’d like to offer and promote through HFIA to contact us.

With the 2015 Legislative Session fast approaching, this fall and winter have also been a time for innovation in our government relations operations. The Government Relations Committee, Board of Directors, Grassroots Director, and I have been collaborating on the development of a high-impact proactive government relations strategy. We are identifying key legislators, developing relationships, and reaching out to communicate our priorities before session even starts. We’re increasing our presence at the Capitol by growing the Legislative Talk Story event. We’re creating new ways to connect with legislators during session to ensure that the voice of industry is heard. And we’re maximizing our positive influence by aggressively promoting key legislation that we support. We encourage you to attend our Legislative Talk Story event this year and participate in the many ways you can let your voice be heard though HFIA.

HFIA’s commitment to continue getting better is inspired and driven by you, our members, and we believe that continual evaluation and improvement of our efforts is an integral part of our mission. Two thousand fourteen has been a great year of growth, innovation, and improvement for HFIA, and we look forward to 2015 where we see even more opportunity.

laurenzirbel@hawaiifood.com