Vice President, ServSafe/National Restaurant Association
Bio: Alisha has been a trusted advisor for training and certification products for the general food service industry for nearly a decade. During this time Gulden has created and implemented risk management solutions focusing on food safety and responsible alcohol service for her business partners; large national and regional food service brands, state restaurant associations, health departments, liquor control commissions, and independent trainers. Recognized in the industry for her marketing and sales expertise, Gulden is known for her professional presentation and personable nature.
Gulden currently serves as the Vice President of Sales for the National Restaurant Association (NRA); ServSafe Brand, where she manages major accounts, leads a team of approximately 20 sales professionals, and raises the bar for team building and customer service. Prior to joining the NRA in 2006, Gulden spent 5 years running branding and logo development initiatives and sales for computer-based control systems at Trane Co. During that time she designed and executed major campaigns and consistently exceeding performance metrics.
Gulden received her BA in Business Economics and Spanish and a minor in Accounting from South Dakota State University. Gulden currently lives in Chicago and is an avid traveler and outdoors enthusiast.
Director of Training and Development, Benchmark Hospitality International
Bio: Calvin is a former President of the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers, better known as CHART. A member since 2006, Banks brought a passion for developing others to the organization. As President, Banks was charged with continuing to realize CHART’s mission; to develop hospitality training professionals to advance industry training practices and improve operational results by providing access to education, tools and resources.
Banks is a member of the Training and Education Advisor Committee for the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute. Additionally, he is a member of the Department of Labor competency model panels for both the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation and the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute.
In 2014 Banks was named one of 40 under 40 Rising Stars by Full Service Restaurant Magazine. In 2015 Banks received the Doctorate of Food Service Award from the North American Food Equipment Manufacturers Association.
Banks graduated from University of Texas, Arlington with his B.A. in Kinesiology, he has an MBA from University of Phoenix, is a Certified Hospitality Trainer (CHT) through the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute, and a certified instructor through Development Dimensions International (DDI).
Senior Director, Training and Instructor Quality, National Restaurant Association
Bio: Chip is Senior Director, Training and Instructor Quality for the National Restaurant Association. In his role he supports a focus on enhancing and improving the relationship with the National Restaurant Association trainer and instructor communities while providing input and insight into the development of new training products for the industry.
With over 25 years of experience, Romp joined the National Restaurant Association in 2015. Previously he was Vice President of Training for Ovation Brand where is oversaw all front and back-of-house training programs, including onboarding initiatives for new employees and leadership development for all field and corporate employees. Management training, development and overseeing system promotional implementation were also areas of his daily focus.
Romp joined the Ovation Brands team in 2013 and prior he was the Vice President of Training, Development, and Operations Services for Fazoli’s Restaurant for 4 years. Before that, he was Senior Vice President of Operations Services for 14 years at JBC Entertainment.
Romp graduated from Denison University in 1991 with a BA in Economics and a minor in Psychology. He is a past Board Member of Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers (CHART) where he was a founding member of Learning Legacy Fund. At CHART, he also has served as Scholarship Director, Conference Team Director, Mentor and volunteer. Chip is fortunate for the opportunity to help continue the support of an outstanding organization dedicated to developing hospitality trainers around the world.
Director of Training, Common Man Restaurants
Bio: Cindy is the Director of Training for The Common Man and has spent more than 23 years in various roles with the independent hospitality family in New Hampshire.
Bates’ career with The Common Man began in 1992 as part of the opening team for the Tilt’n Diner in Tilton, where she started as a server and worked up through the ranks of assistant manager and eventually to general manager in 1998.
In 2006, Bates was named Director of Training and took on the role of enhancing training programs, developing a management mentor program and conducting various training seminars across the company. As a member of the Operations Team, Bates continually works with management to implement best practices that lend to the company’s staff providing “WOW” guest service. She also advises on human resources policies and procedures and leads recruitment of new talent
Manager of Guest Feedback Programs, Best Western® Hotels & Resorts
Bio: Colby has over 20 years in the Hospitality industry with a strong emphasis on Sales & Marketing, Operational Management and Food & Beverage. His past experience ranges from small independent hotels to 5 diamond resorts and golf clubs. In Colby’s current role for Best Western Hotels & Resorts, he manages all guest feedback programs and is the brand’s voice-of-the-guest evangelist. Colby travels the globe creating and delivering training for over 4,000 hotels world-wide on initiatives that improve guest satisfaction.
Director of Training, Mexican Restaurants, Inc.
Bio: Crystina started her career with Mexican Restaurants, Inc. 15 years ago as a server and store-level trainer. When she joined the corporate training department in 2005 she discovered a genuine passion for learning and development; when she was introduced to the CHART organization in 2007 it opened a whole new world of opportunities to her. Crystina proudly completed her B.A. in Communication in 2010, but gives a great deal of credit for her success to the skills and tools she acquired through the CHART organization. Early in her career, the training department played a small role in the organization, so she learned quickly how to make a lot happen with very little. Over the years her company has adopted a training philosophy and her department now has an enormous amount of support, but she is grateful for all her experiences as they helped her develop a unique approach to finding creative, cost effective solutions to training challenges.
Crystina is an active participant in the CHART organization and serves as the RTF Director for the Houston area. She attends as many conferences as she can and stays involved in various ways from volunteering to serving as a mentor and serving on the conference team. She lives by one simple motto: if you are not taking the opportunity each and every day to step out of your comfort zone and try something that makes you a little uncomfortable, then you are missing a valuable opportunity for personal growth.
Vice President, People and Performance Strategies
Bio: Curt brings a real world perspective that connects with clients and participants in a way that motivates them to take the steps necessary to improve performance. The passion, energy, and unparalleled service that he models when working with clients, business partners and key stakeholders results in tangible actions that lead to quantitative improvements to performance.
Curt Archambault has spent over 30 years in the training and hospitality industry where his career started in operations as a maintenance employee at the age of 16 years old. He has fulfilled every role from entry level employee to corporate training and development manager and every position in between playing a key role in developing and implementing performance improvement projects. His background provides him the perspective that can assist in driving strategic change in an organization in a way that motivates the front line employee.
Curt Archambault is a member of the National Restaurant Association’s Certification Governing Committee, Past- President of the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers, and has been a well-received speaker at industry events including the National Restaurant Association Show, Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators Conference, Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers, American Payroll Association and the Society of Human Resources.
Senior Training Manager, The Broadmoor
Bio: Danielle is Senior Training Manager at The Broadmoor, is responsible for the overall direction, coordination, and evaluation of the training department to include staff and leadership development programs for the Hotel and related businesses including its 19 food and beverage offerings.
Danielle has more than 11 years of experience in the hospitality industry, working with organizations such as Ritz-Carlton, Northstar Ski Resort, and the University of San Francisco, before joining The Broadmoor in June of 2009. During her time at The Broadmoor she has served in multiple positions as a Senior Front Desk Agent, Amenities Manager, and Food and Beverage Training Manager.
Danielle has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Hospitality Industry Management from the University of San Francisco
Founder/President, the Leadership Difference, Inc.
Bio: Since founding the Leadership Difference in 1995, over 300,000 people have attended Dave’s “enter-TRAIN-ment” seminars on topics that include leadership, customer service, selling skills, and personal performance enhancement. His clients include Allstate Insurance, Bank of America, Universal Studios, Hilton Worldwide, Sub-Zero Wolf Appliances, Electrolux Appliances, Trek Bikes, Walt Disney World and the CIA. In July 2013, Meeting Professionals International selected as the Meeting Madness winner for Best Speaker of the Year at their World Education Congress in Las Vegas. In September 2015, Meetings and Conventions Magazine named Dave one of the Best Speakers of the Year.
He has a B.A. in Mass-Communications with an emphasis in Business Administration and a Master’s Degree in Global Human Resources Development. Dave has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois and designated as a Certified Advanced Wine Sommelier by the International Wine Guild. Having failed to achieve his dream of playing professional baseball, he went on to a successful coaching career at the tee ball level.
Dave is the author of the book Live and Learn or Die Stupid! The book focuses on personal contentment and performance excellence. His second book, The Power of Understanding People, was released in December 2013 and was immediately named Best Business Book of the Month by Amazon. He is also a founding owner of Pambrun Vineyards.
Dave lives in the Walla Walla Valley wine country with his wife of 30 years, Lori; has two adult children, Brooke and Slade; three horses and two dogs and two barn cats: Socks and Stinker bell.
Director - National Operations Training, Domino's Pizza
Bio: Devin is the Director of National Operations Training for Domino’s Pizza. She holds a B.S. in International Business and an MBA in Organizational Leadership from the University of Findlay, as well as the Certified Hospitality Trainer (CHT) certification. Devin has held numerous leadership roles in the Domino’s corporate stores, Franchise Operations, and Operations Training. This is Devin’s 5th CHART conference and 2nd conference team role.
President, Flatbread Company
Bio: Jason recently started a new chapter in his career with joining Flatbread Company of Hampton, NH as President. Flatbread Company has been serving up all natural, mostly organic flatbreads since 1998. While Flatbread Company currently consists of ten company locations including Maui as well as Whistler, B.C., it also has six franchise operations. Jason is thrilled to be leading a company that shares his philosophies of farm-to-table sourcing, commitment to people development as well as doing business with a social conscious. Prior to this latest role, Jason served as the CEO of The Common Man Family of Restaurants in Ashland, NH for over fourteen years. Jason spent twenty-seven years with The Common Man Family beginning as a dishwasher at the age of 14. Under Jason’s guidance the company not only earned state wide honors in being named NH’s Hospitality Employer of the Decade in 2010 but also received the National Restaurant Association’s Good Neighbor Award in the large operator category for their commitment to community service.
A CHART member since 2007, Jason has served as mentor, presenter, on several conference teams and as a five- year board member concluding with President in 2015-16. Additionally, Jason has represented CHART on several panel discussions at the annual NRA Show.
Graduating from Plymouth State University in 1994, he earned a degree in business finance management with an economics minor. A member of Phi Kappa Phi and Delta Mu Delta Honor Societies Jason was inducted into the Inaugural PSU Business Hall of Fame in 2009 and received their Distinguished Alumni Service Award in 2013 for annually mentoring over 150 business students. Jason holds the professional certifications of Food Managing Professional and ServSafe. Additionally, Jason is a past chairman of the New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Association’s Board of Director as well as was appointed by successive NH governors to The NH Youth Council and Workforce Investment Advisory Boards.
Director of Training, Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q
Bio: Jay is the Director of Training for Jim ‘N Nicks Bar B Que based in Birmingham, Alabama. Jay has an extensive background in the restaurant industry rooted in operations, training and development. Prior to his role at Jim ‘N Nicks, Jay worked in Management Training and Development at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store in Lebanon, TN. He as has also served as an Associate Professor of Marketing and Management at Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, CO, where he was awarded the Joel E. Mack award, given each year to the most outstanding faculty member.
Before beginning his career in education, training & development, Jay spent 4 years in the United States Air Force where he was awarded two commendation medals and the Air Force First Oak Leaf Cluster for Meritorious Service.
Jay received his Bachelor’s Degree in Management from the University of Northern Colorado and his MBA from the University Of Mississippi. He currently lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with his wife Katie, daughter, Taylor, and their dog, Abner. He has been a member of CHART for 6 years
Sr. Director of Learning & Development , First Watch Restaurant
Bio: Jennifer has a 20+ year history leading human resources and development for both hotel and restaurant concepts; including Champps Entertainment, Inc., and CSM Corporation (a Hilton, Carlson and Marriott Franchise company). In recent years, she acted as a consultant for Choice Hotels International, Mitchell’s Seafood Market and the National Restaurant Association. During her time as a consultant and VP of Business Operations for Hospitality On Point, Jen solidified her belief that quality service, regardless of the business type, is critical if an organization is to succeed.
Jen has a broad range of talents, including; leadership coaching, workshop facilitation on various business and service related topics, instructional design, process improvement, eLearning and video production (2-time Telly™ Award winner) – her true zest for hospitality lies in enhancing brand culture through employee engagement and creative learning techniques.
In March 2014, Jennifer returned to the corporate world, taking on the role of Sr. Director of Human Resources and People Development for First Watch Restaurants. She relocated with her family from the Minnesota to Sarasota, FL and is loving life on the beach – and working for the best breakfast, brunch and lunch café in the nation.
Jenny Aden Murnane
Director, Bellevue University’s Human Capital Lab
Bio: Jenny was the inaugural director of Bellevue University’s Human Capital Lab, and is also an adjunct professor in Bellevue University’s doctorate program in human capital management. In her current role, she works with Fortune 500 and smaller companies to create strategic, business-relevant learning programs and measures the impact of human capital investments.
Her experience spans the fields of finance, adult education and human capital — all with a focus on achieving business return on investment on learning initiatives. She has consulted on complex business issues to improve organizational performance in the corporate, government and nonprofit sectors, and has authored dozens of academic and practitioner articles on the subject.
Authorized Partner, Everything DiSC, People and Performance Strategies
Bio: Joleen brings 25+ years of practical, progressive roles with organizations large and small identifying talent and assembling and cultivating teams to execute organizational strategies, to her present role as CEO and President of People and Performance Strategies. Goronkin is a high energy, passionate speaker and facilitator engaging her audience and delivering quality sessions with substantive take a way value.
Goronkin’s broad experience, ranging from her work as President and CEO of the Elliot Leadership Institute, a not-for-profit organization providing leadership training solutions to foodservice industry professionals, to her role as Executive Vice President for Human Resources and Training for Famous Dave’s of America, has given her the unique perspective and background to assist organizations in reaching their full potential.
Goronkin’s career began in operations which gave (and continues to give) her keen insight to front line employees and their impact on the customer experience. This experience along with deep professional insights as a human resource leader, training leader, and executive gives her the capacity to provide real solutions to her clients.
CEO, The Center for Work Ethic Development
Bio: Josh is passionate about helping others make a difference in their lives, jobs, and community. Through his work as an executive, speaker, and trainer, he has delivered results around the globe. He has given keynotes and training workshops to a wide variety of organizations across North America, the Middle East, and Asia, including the Association of Talent Development and the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals. In preparation for the 2008 Democratic National Convention, he led the training for all 10,000 volunteers and more than 4,000 local service professionals for the event. Training Magazine named him as one of the top 10 trainers under 40 in America and the Denver Business Journal tapped him as one of Denver’s 40 Under 40.
Davies is currently the CEO of the Center for Work Ethic Development, an organization committed to developing foundational work behaviors in everyone from high school students to returning veterans transitioning into the civilian workforce. He is a published author, and is frequently cited in national publications, including the New York Times. An avid runner, Josh has been awarded the Mile High Energy Award by Visit Denver, and an honorary Doctorate of Foodservice by the North American Food Equipment Manufacturers Association for his contributions to the industry. He is the past President of the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers (CHART), and has been appointed by the Governor to serve a second term on the Colorado Workforce Development Council, and to Chair the State Education and Training Steering Committee. Josh just finished serving on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals, and co-chairing the Colorado State Youth Council.
Director Training & Development, Bob Evans Restaurants
Bio: Kelley currently serves as Director of Training & Development for Bob Evans Restaurants after joining Bob Evans Farms in May 2010. Kelley spent 14 years at Max & Erma’s restaurants working in their Food & Beverage, Marketing, Training and Human Resource departments. Her passion for the restaurant industry started with her first job as a cashier and carhop at Mac’s Drive-In.
Kelley is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science, Business Administration in Marketing and an Associate of Arts Degree of Liberal Arts. Positions from Host to Server to Bartender to Lead Trainer to Assistant Manager at multiple restaurant venues and concepts supported Kelley’s education.
The spirit of CHART captured Kelley in February 2005 when she attended her first CHART Conference. Kelley serves as the RTF Director for the Columbus area. As a volunteer for First Time Attendee (FTA) mentor/guide the spirit of learning, sharing, growing and caring come to life.
As an experienced professional with expertise in Human Resources, Training, Marketing and Event Planning, Kelley’s goal is to make a difference!
Assistant Director of Human Resources, Benchmark Hospitality
Bio: Kelley is the Assistant Director of Human Resources for BENCHMARK, a global hospitality company, based out of Deloitte University in Westlake,Texas.
She brings a variety of operations experience having started her career in the restaurant business and transitioning to hotels. She has worked every position from dishwasher to Training General Manager while working in stand-alone restaurants. Restaurant experience was helpful in Kelley’s move to hotels, working as Assistant Director of F&B for The Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, Texas. In 2011,she made one more move from operations into the field of Human Resources, focusing on training and development and becoming the Regional Training Manager for Benchmark.Kelley was involved in many facets of organizational training, including creating/managing all employee and management training materials and programs. She was instrumental in the development of the “Be the Difference” culture at the properties and continues to train and develop all levels of leadership.
Kelley joined CHART in 2012 and has served as mentor, volunteer, and worked on two conference teams.
President, McDonald Marketing
Bio: Kelly is a marketing and advertising specialist and considered one of the nation’s top experts in consumer trends, generational differences and leveraging the customer experience. She is the founder of McDonald Marketing, which has twice been named one of the “Top Ad Agencies in the U.S.” by Advertising Age magazine and ranked as one of the fastest-growing independently-owned companies in the U.S. by Inc. Magazine.
She has been featured on CNBC, in Forbes Magazine, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, on CNNMoney.com and on SiriusXM Radio.
Her client experience includes iconic brands such as Toyota, State Farm, Nike, Harley-Davidson, Miller-Coors and Sherwin-Williams.
In addition to her extensive public speaking experience, she is also the author of two bestselling books:
Her first, “How to Market to People Not Like You”, was #7 on the list of Bestselling Business Books of 2011
Her second book, “Crafting the Customer Experience for People Not Like You”, was #5 on the list of Bestselling Business Books of 2013
Kelly is originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She now lives in Denver, Colorado. When she’s not speaking and traveling for business, she enjoys hiking in the mountains and being outside. And shopping for high heels.
Vice President of Education & Achievement, Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt
Bio: Kendall is Vice President of Education & Achievement at Orange Leaf, has 12+ years in the training and hospitality industry. He started off as a young 16 year old bus boy at a local restaurant in Texas and has been contributing to the industry since. His current role leads education/training, operations services, information technology and product development. Ware provides strategic integration that enables achievement of system wide initiatives for their 300+ locations, both domestically and internationally.
Starting in 2012, Kendall became involved with CHART and has attended every conference since. As past Hospitality Director, First Time Attendee Director and mentor at multiple conferences, he continues to find value through CHART. He is also an active Advisory Board Member for Tortal Training. Previously, Kendall was a training executive at CiCi's Pizza for 4 years and a franchisee/owner with Patrice & Associates - Hospitality Recruiting. Before that, he held multiple roles within training, operations and new store development at Genghis Grill for over 5 years. Kendall has a passion for developing people and a natural innovative mindset. He pushes himself and others to think outside the box in an effort to seek newer and more efficient methods to execute the task at hand.
Director of Training, True Food Kitchen, Fox Restaurant Concepts
Bio: Kristin has 17+ years of experience in talent & training development for emerging brands. She has joined Fox Restaurant Concepts, responsible for training for True Food Kitchen. And prior to True Food Kitchen, she spent 10 years as Director of Training & Development at Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill.
Kristin has consulted for leading restaurant companies; working with principles to build a learning and people development strategy to improve performance and profits and training program design and deployment for all levels in the organization.
Kristin is more passionate than ever to help people understand their strengths and provide opportunities for continued growth and success for the individuals, the company and our industry.
Kristin joined the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers in 2002 and has been an active member in the organization since; served as Conference Team Director, current member of the Social Media Committee and a Regional Training Director. In addition, Kristin is a member of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) and a past Board Member. Kristin was certified by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute in 2005, earning her Certified Hospitality Trainer accreditation.
Vice President: Learning + Development, Marriott International
Bio: Mark leads the learning design and development group at Marriott’s corporate headquarters, charged with creating learning programs, products, and services for more than 30 Marriott brands and all disciplines (e.g., Sales, Operations, HR, iT, Finance). During Mark’s 19-year tenure at Marriott he designed and implemented training programs impacting more than 600,000 associates from more than 110 countries.
Mark is an alumni of Penn State’s Hospitality Management school (B.S., HR&IM) and holds an M.B.A. and Masters in Adult Education. Mark completed his doctorate degree in Human and Organizational Learning from The George Washington University. His dissertation focused on learning practices employed in U.S., non-chain restaurants, which will be published in 2017. Mark regularly contributes to industry associations, conferences, publications, and is an adjunct teaching instructor at East Carolina University in the School of Hospitality Leadership.
Manager, Instructional Design, Logan's Roadhouse
Bio: Megan is the Manager of Instructional Design for Logan’s Roadhouse, where she is helping to launch the brand’s adventure into the world of eLearning. Before jumping headfirst into the restaurant industry a year and a half ago, Megan worked for Dell Inc., where she spent four years as a Sales Technology Trainer, then another three years as one of twelve Global Instructional Designers. While there, her programs were distributed to and enjoyed by over 250,000 employees worldwide.
Being in the hospitality industry has enabled Megan to stretch her wings creatively. She believes that training should be, first and foremost, relatable to the leaners’ everyday experiences, but also an absolute blast to interact with. The trend of gamified learning is something that Megan just cannot get enough of – and she is excited to learn all she can about it from her fellow CHART peers!
Megan lives in Nashville, Tennessee. She graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in 2005 with a degree in Mass Communication.
CHART Board Member, The Habit Burger Grill
Bio: Michele is a passionate restaurant industry veteran with 20+ years of experience in casual dining, fine dining and fast casual concepts. She is currently the Director of Training and Development for The Habit Burger Grill based in Irvine, CA. A large part of her role at the Habit is devoted to the personal and professional development of Team Members at all levels. She also initiates the creation of new training materials and new ways to deliver training for their BOH, FOH and Management training programs. She constantly draws on her diverse background of working for corporate chains and franchised restaurants to drive the vision of the Training Department and manage change as the company rapidly grows.
Michele joined CHART in 2007 and has been an active member ever since. She has served on several conference teams and served as Conference Director for the Austin conference. For the past three years, Michele has served on the Executive Board for CHART and works with the Social Engagement Committee in promoting CHART.
Most recently she worked with a committee of CHART members based in California and CRAEF on the FIT (Force in Training) initiative. This program helps to bring job readiness training to ProStart students in California high schools. She also recently completed a project with the NRAEF focused on creating a competency model for the restaurant industry. Michele is a graduate of SDSU with a degree in Organizational/Industrial Psychology.
Account Manager, DiscoverLink
Bio: Mike is a versatile industry veteran of 25+ years of experience in restaurant operations (as an executive Chef, GM and DM) and learning & development. Mike has worked in consulting, training, instructional design and project management roles for The Abreon Group, Meridian Consulting and Sodexo Managed Services, where he gained extensive experience implementing training programs, learning management systems and other enterprise technologies. In addition to a Masters Certificate in Project Management from Villanova University and several instructional design certificates, Mike also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Culinary Arts/Restaurant Management from the Arlington School for the Arts.
Mike currently serves as an Account Manager for DiscoverLink, where he manages customers training objectives and challenges and helps them develop e-learning solutions that deliver a high return on investment.
He joined CHART in 1999 and over the years has served on many conference teams and after a seven year hiatus, has returned to CHART through the DiscoverLink’s Silver Sponsorship and recently served on the Charleston conference team.
On the personal side, Mike lives in Chicago, with his wife Christine, son Christopher and their two dogs: Frankie & Scooter. He enjoys spending time coaching his son’s basketball/soccer teams, playing sports and cooking great meals without the pressure of restaurant operations!
Assistant Professor, University of Central Florida
Bio: Professional hospitality executive with over 30 years of experience in hospitality education, training and operations management. A customer service expert experienced in global brand program development, launch, implementation and analysis. Mike is an Assistant Professor in Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida Rosen College. He has worked with six different hotel brands in operational and corporate level positions. He has a Ph.D. Degree in Business Administration and has obtained the Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA), Hospitality Educator (CHE), Hospitality Trainer (CHT) certifications through the Educational Institute of the American Hotel & Lodging Association and holds the Customer Experience Management certification (CEM) through the Medallia Institute. He also serves as the Chair of the Education and Certification Advisory Committee of AHLEI and is an active member in the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers (CHART), Association for Talent Development (ATD) and the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education (ICHRIE).
Director, eLearning, Hilton Grand Vacations
Bio: Monique is a 20+ year veteran in the field of instructional design and technology-based education, focused almost exclusively on the hospitality and service industries. She has designed and developed curriculum, certifications, and instructional materials for major hospitality corporations in all areas of lodging and related industries, and she actively shares her instructional design knowledge with the CHART community.
Monique recently made the move to her current role with Hilton Grand Vacations (HGV) after a long and fruitful tenure with the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute. In her new role with HGV, she is focused on managing the design and production of elearning and other training curriculum and aligning learning initiatives across the brand.
Monique earned her Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Tufts University and has completed graduate-level coursework toward a Master of Science degree in industrial/organizational psychology at the University of Central Florida (UCF). She is a member of the eLearning Guild, the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), and the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers (CHART), and has formerly served on the UCF Instructional Systems Advisory Council. She has published in Hotel Management magazine and the eLearning Guild’s Learning Solutions e-Magazine, and was a contributing author to Best of The eLearning Guild’s Learning Solutions: Top Articles from the eMagazine’s First Five Years
Director of Recruiting and Training, Ivar's Restaurants
Bio: Patrick Yearout’s entry into the world of restaurants began in 1992 when he and a friend took over as owners and operators of a franchised sandwich shop. After seven years of working there, building up the business, and discovering that he most enjoyed the training and development aspects of hospitality, Yearout sold his ownership stake in June 1999 and accepted a Training Manager position at Ivar’s Restaurants, which owns a mix of quick-service and full-service seafood restaurants in Washington State. He was promoted to Ivar’s Director of Training in late 2007, and added recruiting to his responsibilities in 2011.
Yearout has been an active participant since 2002 in the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers, and has served on six conference teams during his time with CHART and as Regional Training Forum Director for the Northwest from 2006 to 2011. In 2011, he was elected to the Executive Board for the first of three terms and served as the President of the organization from July 2014 to July 2015.
In addition, Yearout also currently serves on the Certification Governing Committee for the National Restaurant Association and on the Board of the Washington Hospitality Association Education Foundation.
Area Director, HR, Westin/Sheraton Minneapolis MN
Bio: Serah currently serves as the Area Director of Human Resources for WB Hotel Group which includes The Westin Edina Galleria and the Sheraton Bloomington Hotel in Minnesota. She has enjoyed working with Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, Carlson and Starwood Hotels over the length of her career, and spearheaded the training programs and cultural practices of each distinct brand. Despite loving her work with the industry giants, her favorite hotel is the Reykjavik Residence in Iceland.
After growing up in Aberdeen, SD, Serah graduated with a degree in Psychology from the University of MN, where she learned American Sign Language because her attempts at Latin, Italian and French were not successful. Serah’s hospitality career began in 2000 at The Saint Paul Hotel, a historic luxury full-service property in downtown St. Paul, MN that was already 2 years old when the Titanic sank! It was there that she fell in love with hotels and enjoyed 10 years of being silently star-struck by visiting dignitaries, singers and her home state hero, Tom Brokaw, who was covering the Republican National Convention. In 2009, she took on the additional role of Corporate Director of Talent and the Employee Experience for the management company of The Saint Paul Hotel, providing HR oversight for 2,000 hotel and restaurant employees.
Serah joined CSM Lodging in 2010 and, after serving as a Regional HR Director, was ultimately appointed to the new position of Director, Talent Acquisition, and oversaw the recruitment efforts of all CSM business units (lodging, residential, commercial) until moving into her current role with WB hotel partners. She is actively involved with the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers and was elected to the CHART Board of Directors in July of 2016.
Outside of hospitality, Serah is most passionate about being a mom and exploring the world with her son, (not-so-Little-Man) Tate. In 2015, she co-founded Green Ray Entertainment, a movie production company focusing on family films. Currently, Green Ray Entertainment is developing the board game Spy Alley into a motion picture after being awarded exclusive rights by the game’s creator last year. Serah served on the board for YouthLink, MN and is honored to be working with at-risk Minneapolis youth to move them from homeless to hopeful.
Damian Hanft, SPHR
A Teacher and a Learner in it for the Purpose, Arby’s Restaurant Group
Bio: In his role, Damian develops strategy and oversees the design, implementation, and evaluation of programs/initiatives that enhance organizational performance, facilitates professional development, and builds strategic capabilities and competencies necessary in a changing marketplace. His position consults with other senior executives to create and implement solutions that drive employee attraction, engagement, development, and retention while aligning team members with the organization’s culture, strategies, and vision.
He was actively involved in the development and launch of the SkillFull @Arby’s CSR platform. Other past experiences includes training and development, franchise management, restaurant ownership and serving as a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin. He has served on the Wisconsin Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and the International Council of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Educators (ICHRIE) Board of Directors. He holds a Bachelor and Master of Science from the University of Wisconsin
On a personal level, he lives in Minneapolis and is actively involved on a local and national level on a diversity of issues ranging from social equality and social entrepreneurship to employee engagement and the environment. In his free time, he enjoys continual learning, travel and the outdoors.