Sam Ford's experience at the Leadership Institute

Leadership institute 2015

I am in a leadership role at my university; I went to the leadership institute hoping to gain some insight on my own leadership abilities as well as the leadership abilities of the people I work with. I also wanted to learn new skills to help me become a more effective leader for my staff/team in general.

The first part of why I wanted to attend LI was to gain insight into the leadership abilities of myself and others. I learned that one of the main ingredients of being a good leader was to be able to understand where people were coming from when they talked and interacted with you so that you could be more effective when interacting with them. Learning where people were coming from has a lot to do with their behavioral style and behavioral style was a constant theme throughout the week. When you understand someone’s behavior style you have a better chance of meeting their needs and building a successful relationship.  When you form relationships the more you disclose information and the more feedback you get can greatly increase the chances of that relationship being successful. I believe that building relationships is an important part of being a leader, it empowers people to be creative, productive, and motivated; these qualities all lead to higher morale. Morale is a key quality in all aspects of life and work and is a very helpful when faced with ever changing expectations. 

The second part of why I wanted to attend LI was to learn new skills to become a more effective leader; I am confident that I learned new skills that not only are effective but also relatively simple to execute involving relationships at work and at home. It is important, for successful communication, to know your behavior style and how it impacts others; likewise it is important to recognize the behavior style of others for effective communication. Another skill I learned is that you can change your behavior style. People have dominant behavior characteristics but can also develop the ability to use appropriate behavior in appropriate situations; however it takes more energy to behave in a way that is not your dominant behavior characteristic. Changing your behavior to better communicate is an important skill for leaders to develop.

I also learned about team dynamics and that diversity is a key ingredient to build a successful team. I think teams made up of people with different behavior styles are more creative and adapt to change more easily.

I really enjoyed the leadership institute and would recommend it to anyone that wants to learn about themselves and how they relate to others. The instructor Tom Champaoux was very good, he really lived up to the high expectations that everyone talked about before I went to the institute. His enthusiasm and knowledge of the subject enabled him to keep the attention of the entire class for the whole week. 


Emily Arrington's experience at the Planning Institute

Emily Arrington
Assistant Manager
Eagle Dining Services

As an attendee of this years’ NACUFS Planning Institute, I obtained a plethora of skills and abilities focused on proper planning techniques and how to institute these talents into my everyday routine. I am very enthusiastic about translating my experience into something that can not only benefit my dining location and organization, but my campus as a whole.  The learning process, led by Bruce Flye, was informative and a new approach to what I thought I already knew about planning.  We were taken through how to make sense of “designing the mess” and were told that no idea was too wild in the beginning stages of planning.  Our group was diverse and experienced, which generated a wide-range of ideas and opinions which greatly benefitted all of us.  We learned how to create a “Reason for Being” and how to come up provocative propositions to let people know who you are and what you do. 

Greg Hetfield and Hormel’s team were welcoming and informational.  We were able to tour the Hormel plant in Austin, MN.  Deanna Brady gave a great presentation taking us through Hormel’s cultural beliefs and strategic planning and implementation.  We were also lucky enough have Chef Howie prepare our breakfasts and lunches.  We were even able to try some products that are in development and give feedback for these items.

I am truly grateful for the opportunity to attend this institute.  Bruce Flye has given me such great instruction and ideas that I will be able to use for the rest of my professional career.  I am also thankful to Don Fike and Hormel for the wonderful hospitality that was given to our group.  

Emily Arrington
Assistant Manager
Eagle Dining Services

Chris Fagan's experience at the Leadership Institute

Chris Fagan

Assistant Manager II 

UGA Food Services

My name is Chris Fagan, and I am an Assistant Manager II for UGA Food Services, where I have been employed for eight years.  I think that staff members respond well to my style of leadership because they trust my work ethic and my integrity.  Accordingly, I believe that I am generally well received and have helped cultivate an atmosphere of high morale among our employees.  I do not have trouble speaking in front of audiences, and I feel that written communication is one of my strengths.  However, I always strive improve my skill set.  Areas such as delegating tasks to others with confidence and giving instructions with clarity are my current weak spots.  I feel that I gained several new ways of developing these skills at the 2015 NACUFS Leadership Institute, which was a rewarding experience for me.                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Tom Champoux (of the Effectiveness Institute) is a tremendously accomplished motivational educator.  From his workshops, I gained tools that can tangibly improve my personal and professional relationships so that I can effectively become a better leader.  I have improved my conflict management techniques and can better recognize the many emotional facets that can comprise tense situations.  At this point in my career, I have 20 years of experience in the food industry.  I enjoyed interacting with others of a similar professional background, and relished the opportunity to improve my communication skills.  

I had several significant learning moments at the 2015 Leadership Institute.  I grasped several specific concepts that can improve my effectiveness when combined together.  I presume that most participants leave the Leadership Institute with a sense of exuberance and resolve to effect change in difficult relationships or to enhance productivity in some fashion. The idea of incorporating these techniques slowly in order to maximize authenticity is essential to achieving desired results.  Tom made it abundantly clear that people will question your commitment to change if it is deployed in a haphazard fashion.  Additionally, I learned that these techniques are limiting if they are employed too rigidly.  For instance, I constructed my case study around a relationship upon which functions with a high level of trust and respect.  She is a ‘Controller-Analyzer’ and I am an ‘Analyzer-Persuader.’  But the deficiencies in our relationship do not lie in supporting either of our predominant strengths.   Rather they lie in cultivating our combined natural deficiencies.  The use of simple affirmations and patience (i.e. - providing a modicum of what are perceived as traditional ‘Stabilizer’ needs when confronting a challenging situation) can maximize the effectiveness of this relationship.                                                                              

I developed a strong understanding of the crucial differences in the concepts of intent and impact in an exchange, which has contributed in an enhanced ability to recognize gaps in communication.  I am generally more aware of behavioral styles and tendencies, and I feel that I can apply this knowledge for the purposes of maximizing work efficiency.  Everyone has a fixed amount of energy at the outset of any particular day.  These techniques should help me streamline my communication processes and reduce overall stress while expending the least amount of energy necessary.  This will allow me to conserve that extra energy for big picture problem solving or developing new aptitudes, as opposed to sapping it with potentially exhausting miscommunications.

I have developed a broad understanding of the behavioral styles and the typical emotional ‘triggers’ associated with each one.  While avoiding generalizations and the inclination to label individuals, there have been several instances where I have implemented these techniques in order to improve efficiency in task management.  My immediate supervisor is a classic ‘Persuader.’  When I left the institute, he called me in order to say that our dining hall is planning an expansion that will double the seating capacity for the start of the fall semester, which is just over 6 weeks away.  While this task has been daunting at times, I have made a concerted effort to only focus on the positive (i.e. - opportunities), as opposed to the negative (i.e. – challenges) elements of this change.  My emphasis on specific word choices and phrasing when talking through our goals has definitely increased his comfort level and general psyche as we move forward with the new project.   Similarly, I maintain relationships with people in the workplace who would be typified as ‘Controllers.’   In my communication with these individuals, I have focused on the task at hand and utilized concise, results-oriented dialogue to effect positive results.               

Generally speaking, I feel that I can now maximize my ability to work with a wide range of personality styles.  With respect to conflict resolution, I have utilized the “I” statements associated with the exercise that was conducted on the Thursday of the Leadership Institute.  I felt that I was able to express my dissatisfaction in a productive way that was clear to the individual.  I feel that he understood my frustration, and our team functioned well for the remainder of the session.                                               

I am extremely motivated to advance my skills as a leader and communicator. The 2015 NACUFS Leadership Institute afforded me the opportunity to do so.  I strongly believe that I am a better asset to UGA Food Services because of my involvement in the program.  My interpersonal skills are strengthened, and I feel that I have improved my ability to relate to a wide range of people.  I greatly appreciate the support of people in UGA Food Services Administration for facilitating my participation, as I anticipate that it will garner great benefits in the future.

 Thank you very much!

 Chris Fagan

Assistant Manager II – The Niche at Scott Hall

UGA Food Services

Cathleen Chartier's experience essay at the FSMI

Cathleen Chartier

Café Manager,

The Lovett SchoolOctober 8, 2014


As an attendee of the 2014 NACUFS Foodservice Management Institute, my experiences far exceeded my expectations. I received some insight from other graduates on the intensity of the FSMI Institute but had no idea about the challenges I would personally encounter. It was a week of gaining practical knowledge, professional reflection, personal challenges and motivation.The classroom learning was extremely useful in all aspects of my current position. The in-depth instruction on cost control, writing and reading financial statements and budgets, developing marketing strategies and building menus was excellent. The facilitators encouraged participation by all attendees which made it “real”. The classroom time prepared us for our ensuing group projects. The diversity in experience and positions of the attendees was both beneficial and challenging when it came to the group project of building not one, but two successful foodservice operations. I was certainly grateful for the group dynamics information. Our group managed through all of the stages of building an effective team: forming, storming, norming and performing. The personal challenge and fear of public speaking faded as the week elapsed. The interest session on “Presentation Skills” had a positive and motivating impact on me. The support from the team along with Michael Galante’s coaching and comedy made our final presentation endurable; even fun!The entire experience from the hotel accommodations and transportation to magical enlightenment and Rich’s endless hospitality was simply amazing. FSMI was an enriching learning and growing experience that will not be forgotten. I am grateful to have experienced such an invaluable adventure. 

Message from our President

Dear Southern Region Members,

It’s always fresh and exciting to start a new school year.  This year is no different.  Each school year brings the hustle and bustle of new students, new employees, new facilities, new possibilities and new opportunities.   

The southern region members have also been very busy getting themselves ready for the fall.  Sixteen members participate in the summer institute programs in June and the selection process is underway for the winter institutes.  If you were a participant this summer and have not already submitted your essay for the regional travel stipend, please submit one soon.

In July, our turnout at the Baltimore B’More National conference was fantastic.  Sister Maureen Shrimpe and the conference committee did a stellar job showcasing the best of Baltimore and the association.  The region had eighty-eight members who participated in the regional outing, networked and enjoyed the Friday evening at the baseball park.  It was great to see the home team win in extra innings!

In addition the region offered for the first time in many years, a sub-regional workshop focused on developing leadership skills for front line supervisors.  We had eleven participants from around the region embark on a three day workshop in Dallas, TX.  Special thanks to Jim Hever of Forbes, Hever and Wallace, LLC for hosting the workshop in their Dallas facility.  In addition, a special thanks to Meredith Statler (The Lovett School) and Chef Dewey McMurrey (Texas Tech University) for their help and commitment. 

Finally, mark your calendar for next year’s regional conference in Raleigh, NC on March 11 – 13, 2015.  Randy Lait and the NCSU team are gearing up for a spectacular conference. 

Best wishes this fall semester!


Susan van Gigch

Southern Region President