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Our Speakers

Hear from these industry leaders and experts during Restaurants Rise powered by MUFSO.
Omar Johnson
Former CMO at Beats by Dre, and Former VP Marketing at Apple
Nancy Kruse
Founder, The Kruse Company

Jack Li
President & Haiku Master, Datassential
Bret Thorn
Senior Food & Beverage Editor, Nation’s Restaurant News
Adam Werner
Global Co-Leader of the Restaurants, Hospitality & Leisure Practice AlixPartners
Scott Boatwright
Chief Restaurant Officer, Chipotle Mexican Grill
Dr. James H. Pogue II
Multi-Generational Expert
Sarah Baylis
Director, Off Premise, Salata
Miguel Ortiz
VP, Restaurant Products, BOHA! by TransAct Technologies
Khanh Nguyen
Chef/Owner, ZaLat Pizza
Nick Bouse
Supervisor of Area Restaurant Managers, Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores
Paul Brown
CEO, Inspire Brands
Russell Diez-Canseco
President & CEO, Vital Farms
Chad Spaulding
Managing Director, Originations, Capital Spring
Therese Gearhart
CEO, Women’s Foodservice Forum
Soledad O’Brien
Award-Winning Journalist, Entrepreneur and Host of the Weekly Syndicated Political Show Matter of Fact
Liz Stone Brewster
Senior Vice President, The Elliot Group
Donnie Upshaw
Senior Vice President of People, Wingstop Restaurants Inc.
Brianna Borin-Lygizos
Senior Vice President of People, Snooze Eatery
Riley Lagesen
National Restaurant Industry Practice Chair, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
Erica Dhawan
Founder & CEO of Cotential
Chef Eric Greenspan
Culinary Director, Virtual Dining Concepts
Michael Lindsey
Partner/Exec Chef, Eat Restaurant Partners
Ralph Bower
CEO, The Melt
Tamearra Dyson
Chef/Owner, Souley Vegan
Zach Ramos
Vice President & General Manager, Foodservice, Kellogg’s Away from Home
Chef Oona Settembre
National Account Customer Development, Kellogg’s Away from Home
Rick Federico
Board of Directors, Domino’s, Former CEO, PF Chang’s
Jon Luther
Board of Directors, Arby’s & Buffalo Wild Wings, Former CEO, Dunkin’ Brands
Scott Svenson
Co-Founder, MOD Pizza
Brian Whitney
VP, Restaurants, Appetize
Justin McCoy
VP, Marketing, Cousin Subs
Anton Nicholas
Managing Partner, ICR Inc.
Will Eudy
Corporate Executive Chef, McAlisters Deli
Jamie Carawan
Vice President of Brand Menu and Culinary, Buffalo Wild Wings
Jim Sullivan
Cory Kiesel
Vertical Practice Director, QSR/Fast Casual Restaurants, STRATACACHE
Ben Reynolds
Vice President of Business Development, Walkbase, a STRATACACHE Company
Russ Bendel
CEO, The Habit Burger Grill
Sarah Stegner
Co-Executive, Chef/Partner, Prairie Grass Cafe
Kiersten Hafer
Consumer & Strategic Insights, National Pork Board
Lisa van Kesteren
CEO, SeeLevel HX
Joel Reynders
Tijuana Flats
Chef Charlie Baggs
Founder, Charlie Baggs Culinary Innovations
Maeve Webster
President, Menu Matters
Lindsay Lyons
Director, Foodservice and On Premise Category Advisory & Data Strategy The Coca-Cola Company
Joe Kefauver
Managing Partner, Align Public Strategies; Franklin Coley, Partner, Align Public Strategies
Tom Bené
President & CEO, National Restaurant Association
Paul Bradley
Director of Product Management, PlayerLync
Peter Sciara

Senior Mobile Solution Architect, Stratix

Vijay Vaitheeswaran
U.S. business editor for The Economist and leading specialist on China, business and technology, innovation, and emerging markets
Kelli Valade
President, Black Box Intelligence
Jeff Pinc
SVP Global Sales and Marketing, Jolt Software
CJ Lewis
Co-Founder and COO, Jolt
Chris Ford
Executive VP of Operations, Frisch’s Big Boy
Carl Howard
CEO, Fazoli’s
Andy Rebhun
VP Digital, El Pollo Loco
Susan Carroll
VP IT, White Castle
Justin Keenan
Director of IT, Tocaya Organica
Bridget Wasser
Sr Executive Director, Product Research & Education, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
Jeff Tolke
CEO, Compaction Technologies, Inc.
Carleen King
Owner, Carmi Soul Food
James O’Reilly
CEO, Smokey Bones
Franklin Coley
Partner, Align Public Strategies
Robert Gifford
President, NRAEF
Kate Searby
Senior Manager, Corporate Partnership Development
Becky Schilling
Group Content Editor, Nation’s Restaurant News
Marci Needham
VP of Insights, Ventura Foods
Dan Simpson
CEO, Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe
Alice Elliot
Founder, The Elliot Group
JJ Johnson
Chef & Owner, FIELDTRIP
Larry Harris
Master Cheesemaker, DOO Meister Cheese
Kenny Frasch
Owner, Hop Knot
Karim Webb
Sharon Lykins
Senior Director of Product Innovation, Denny’s
Cheryl Bachelder
Former CEO, Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen
Sheila Bennett
Executive Director, CORE
Paul Fiorentino
VP of Culinary Services, Ventura Foods
Deniz Alpaslan
Marketing Director, Diversey
Scott Meister
President, Meister Cheese
Gerry Fernandez
President, MFHA
Patti Simpson
Chief People Officer, Union Square Hospitality Group
Hugh Roth
Chief Customer and Business Development Officer, PepsiCo Global Foodservice
Cynthia Romano
Global Director, CohnReznick
Cindy McLoughlin
Managing Partner – Consumer, CohnReznick
Chip Wade
President, Union Square Hospitality Group
Aria Afshar
Senior Director, Drive DoorDash
Peter Cancro
CEO, Jersey Mike’s Subs,
Phil Hickey
Chairman Miller’s Ale House + Jim ‘N Nick’s BBQ
Marie Molde
Foodservice and Consumer Expert at Datassential
Ruth Petran, PhD
CFS- Senior Corporate Scientist, Food Safety and Public Health at Ecolab
Ed Snodgrass
RD&E Program Leader – Institutional, Ecolab
Steve Mandernach
Executive Director of AFDO, Association of Food and Drug Officials
Sandra Craig
Director of the Division of Food and Lead Risk Assessment for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control
Elisabeth Wirsing
Senior Environmental Health Program Manager for the Vermont Department of Health
Mandy Sedlak
Food Safety and Public Health Manager EcoSure at Ecolab
Doug Davis, CPFS
Sr. Director Global Food Safety at Marriott
Dan Goldberg
Vice President of Quality Assurance at BJ’s Restaurants
Lisa Robinson
Vice President, Global Food Safety & Public Health at Ecolab
Bessie Politis, R.E.H.S
Sr. Manager, Retail Food Safety and Regulatory at Starbucks
Kaycee Strewler
Sr. Technical Account Specialist, Institutional, Ecolab

Gerald Drummond, Executive Chef, Campbell’s Foodservice

Chef Gerald Drummond has more than 30 years of experience in the foodservice industry. His expertise includes overseeing operations, facilitating new product launches, leading culinary teams and developing menus for a variety of esteemed establishments throughout the US and Mexico. He uses techniques and inspiration from his culinary background in Italian, Mediterranean, French, Cuban and modern Japanese cuisines to infuse unique flavor into the amazing work he does every day at Campbell’s Foodservice.

Prior to joining Campbell’s Foodservice in 2017, Chef Gerald held positions at Starr Catering Group and STARR Restaurant Organization—including renowned Morimoto restaurant in Philadelphia, China Grill Management and River Station Restaurant. A track record of consistent advancement and culinary creativity makes Chef Gerald an invaluable addition to the Campbell’s Foodservice team.

Bret Thorn, Senior Food & Beverage Editor, Nation’s Restaurant News

Award winning columnist Bret Thorn is senior food & beverage editor of Nation’s Restaurant News and senior editor of Restaurant Hospitality with responsibility for spotting and reporting on food and beverage trends across the country for both publications.

From 2006 to 2008 he also wrote the Kitchen Dish column for The New York Sun, covering restaurant openings and chefs’ career moves. He joined Nation’s Restaurant News in 1999 after spending about five years in Thailand, where he wrote articles about business, banking and finance as well as restaurant reviews and food columns for Manager magazine and Asia Times newspaper. He joined Restaurant Hospitality’s staff in 2016 while retaining his position at NRN.

A magna cum laude graduate of Tufts University in Medford, Mass., with a bachelor’s degree in history, and a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Mr. Thorn also studied traditional French cooking at Le Cordon Bleu Ecole de Cuisine in Paris.

His monthly column in Nation’s Restaurant News won the 2006 Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award for best staff-written editorial or opinion column.

He lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.