National HR in Hospitality Conference & Expo REGISTER AGENDA
[ 2017 Program Materials & Attendee list ]
2017 HR in Hospitality Speakers
Kalley Aman Kalley Aman
Shareholder, Buchalter
Kalley Aman is a Shareholder in the Firm’s Labor and Employment and Litigation Practice Groups and Chair of the Firm’s Hospitality, Restaurant, Food and Beverage Practice Group. Ms. Aman specializes in employment litigation and counseling, commercial litigation, and complex and class actions. She defends employers against claims of employment discrimination, wrongful termination, sexual harassment, retaliation, wage and hour violations, unfair competition, defamation, and misappropriation of trade secrets. Ms. Aman regularly counsels hospitality industry clients on wage and hour compliance, terminations, disciplinary matters, harassment and discrimination complaints, and compliance with federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Ms. Aman practices in state and federal courts across the country, and before state and federal agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the United States Department of Labor, the Department of Fair Employment & Housing, and the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.

Jason Averbook  Jason Averbook
Author, Analyst, Thought Leader, Keynote Speaker, Consultant
Jason is currently a leading analyst, thought leader, consultant and keynote speaker in the area of human resources, the future of work and the impact technology has on that future.  Jason co-founded Knowledge Infusion LLC in 2005 until 2012 when the company was sold to Appirio and served as its Chief Executive Officer. He was responsible for the groundbreaking vision and strategy. He served as the Chief Business Innovation Officer at Appirio Inc where led Appirio’s human capital management business. He held the position of CEO of The Marcus Buckingham Company (TMBC) from 2014 through 2016 until recently leaving to focus on his thought leadership and analyst career. He has more than 20 years of experience in the HR and technology industry. He worked with industry leading companies around the world to help them transform their HR organizations into strategic partners. Prior to founding Knowledge Infusion, he served as Senior Director of PeopleSoft Global Product Marketing at PeopleSoft, where he was responsible for the marketing including packaging and positioning for PeopleSoft’s flagship product line. Prior to PeopleSoft, he served as Director of Organizational Readiness at Ceridian Corporation, an HR and payroll outsourcing company. He has served as a Director of International Association for Human Resource Information Management, Inc. Along with being cited in numerous publications such as BusinessWeek, Forbes, Fortune and The Wall Street Journal an industry thought leader in the HCM space, he has delivered keynote presentations for events worldwide including HR Technology World in London and Paris, The Conference Board, Society of HR Management, HR Technology US, HR Technology Norway, SHRM Technology India, HR Technology China as well as more than 200 other large group presentations for HR and technology audiences. He currently is acknowledged as one of the top 3 thought leaders globally on the future of work and listed in the top 100 leaders globally influencing the future of work and the HR function. His latest book, HR From Now to Next was published in 2014 and is used in over 19 universities around the world today.  Mr. Averbook holds a BA and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota and graduated from Bloomington Jefferson in 1987.

Monte Baier Monte Baier
General Counsel & SVP, International Development, Panda Restaurant Group

Nigel Beck Nigel Beck
Founder, When Labs, Inc.
Nigel is focused on building "The Future of Work" at WhenLabs: work management for humans, driving employee engagement, retention, and productivity. Along the way, Nigel has started companies, raised money, patented ideas, acquired companies, sold a company, built new products, created global consortia, divested a division, built and scaled businesses from nothing to global: in short, Nigel combines his unique blend of small and large company experience with deep business and technical acumen to bring new things to life. He started his career as a teenage Lisp hacker while studying Ancient Greek and Latin. This translated into entrepreneurship as a CTO driving a Canadian banking software startup called Footprint which sold to IBM. At IBM, he set the direction for the first three versions of Websphere then moved into work spanning software and semiconductors around the Internet of Things. A subsequent stint as an entrepreneur and CEO around early mobile local social recommendations then investments brought him back to IBM to do large M&A transactions and push into new markets. He is a Charter Member and on the board of the C100, a Silicon Valley non profit for Canadian entrepreneurs.

Specialties: Corporate Development, Business Development, Strategy, Product, General Management, Mergers and Acquisitions, Acquisition Integration, Venture Capital, Startups, Alliances, Innovation

Dan Bienstock  Dan Bienstock
Corporate Director, Risk Management, Sydell Group
Dan joins the Sydell Group with over 10 years of experience in food & beverage, hotel operations, employee benefits and risk management. Prior to Sydell, Dan worked for Standard Hotels for almost 8 years holding various positions. Most recently, Dan served as Director, Compensation & Benefits overseeing all employee benefits and risk management. In this role, Dan procured insurance policies with an annual premium of over $6mm for 15 hotels across 3 countries. He also oversaw all employee benefit strategies and renewals, loss prevention programs, hotel safety training, and SOPs. At Sydell, Dan is focused on developing and managing a strategic risk management program, standardizing operating procedures and implementing loss prevention programs for both new development projects and Sydell’s current hotel assets.

Carolyn Clark Carolyn Clark
Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
Carolyn’s extensive career in the hospitality industry spans over 30 years.  She has held various senior positions with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts since 1974 including: Vice President, Human Resources; and Executive Director, Human Resources.  Carolyn was promoted as Senior Vice President, Human Resources in 2005 and in 2013 she was appointed Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Americas for FRHI Hotels & Resorts.  As a result of the progressive Human Resource initiatives that have been implemented with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, the Company was recognized for 12 consecutive years as an “Employer of Choice” as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers.  In 2013 and 2012, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts was presented with the Gallup Great Workplace Award, which recognizes organizations that are leaders in creating an engaged workplace culture. Carolyn was awarded the Educator of the Year at the Ontario Hostelry Institute Gold Awards.  Additionally, she was granted an Honorary Degree in Hospitality Operations Management from the Centre for Hospitality & Culinary Arts, George Brown College, Toronto. Carolyn graduated from York University with a B.A. in Sociology.  Her affiliations include: Member, American Hotel & Lodging Association Human Resource Committee. Board of Directors, Canadian Hospitality Foundation; Conference Board of Canada; Council of Human Resources Executives; Society for Human Resource Management; Board of Directors, Canadian Tourism Human Resources Council.

Ed Evans Michael D’Angelo
Vice President, Labor Relations,
Hyatt Company

Michael D’Angelo is a labor and employment attorney and vice president of labor relations for Hyatt Hotels Corporation. Michael has substantial experience in traditional labor and management relations, including union organizing drives, NLRB representation proceedings, employer card check recognition and neutrality agreements, negotiations for collective bargaining agreements, and related court litigation. He also has extensive experience in complex employment litigation matters involving a wide variety of federal common law and statutory claims and previously represented and counseled Taft-Hartley Employee Benefit Funds. Prior to Michael’s current position, he served as the area director of labor relations for Hyatt, where he supported the northeast region. Michael graduated from New York Law School in 2000 and was in private practice with several boutique labor and employment law firms where, he represented both unions and management. Michael serves as a Trustee on numerous Taft-Hartley Employee Benefit Funds and is the Co-Chairman of the American Hotel & Lodging Association's Labor Relations Council.

Ed Evans Ed Evans
Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
Ed Evans is Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, responsible for advancing Four Seasons global HR strategy in support of the company’s leadership and growth objectives. Ed oversees a global team of HR professionals to ensure Four Seasons attracts, develops and retains the best talent in the world to build and strengthen the company’s iconic culture of service excellence. Consistently recognized as an employer of choice, Four Seasons has been named by FORTUNE magazine as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work for” in America every year since the list’s inception in 1998, and earned similar recognition in the Middle East and Europe – achievements that recognize the integral role that more than 43,000 employees worldwide play in the company’s ongoing success. Prior to joining Four Seasons, Ed led the Hospitality and Managed Services practice of a boutique executive and board search firm and held operations management and senior executive HR roles in leading global companies in multiple industries, including Univar, Republic Services, Marriott Corporation, and Saga Foodservice. An experienced HR executive with more than 30 years of experience in hospitality and managed services environments, Ed is widely recognized for his passion for hospitality, deep understanding of organizational culture, and well-honed talent for finding leaders who effectively manage and lead in environments where the front line workforce is the face of the company. Ed holds a BA from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and an MBA from its Johnson School of Management. He served as the Founding Director of The Cornell Hotel School’s Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship, and maintains active involvement with the school.

Keith Friede Keith Friede
Area Vice President, Talent & Organization Development, North Central Region Practice Leader, Arthur J. Gallagher & Company

Luke Fryer Luke Fryer
Founder and CEO,
For Luke, the road to founding Harri has been a long one, paved by a spirit of entrepreneurship and willingness to dive head first into new ventures. With over 25 restaurants between Australia and NYC, Luke’s first foray into the food industry was at the age of 22, when he opened the first Burger King franchise in Australia. From there, his success in the category grew. In 2002, he secured the Australian franchise rights for the wagamama Noodle Bar and, under his leadership, it was listed as one of Australia’s Top 100 Fastest Growing Companies for 3 consecutive years. With his primary base of operations now in New York, he’s made himself known in the highly competitive Manhattan market with two restaurants that capitalized on industry trends: Ramen Co. and the local gourmet burger franchise of The Counter. Now, with this extensive experience guiding him, his latest venture is to solve one of the industry’s greatest challenges: finding great talent. His solution? Harri, the next generation of hiring technology, combining a marketplace and networking platform into a single experience, optimized for the hospitality industry.

Rick Garlick  Rick Garlick
Practice Lead, Global Travel and Hospitality, J.D. Power & Associates
Rick Garlick is the Global Travel and Hospitality Practice Lead at J.D. Power. He is responsible for providing industry thought leadership to the company’s clients in the hotel, rental car, airline, and cruise line industries, among others, as well as creating new products and revenue opportunities to grow the practice. Dr. Garlick joined J.D. Power in 2013 after nearly 20 years of consumer and employee research experience with two of the most prestigious research companies in North America: The Gallup Organization and Maritz Research. He has been a trusted advisor to many senior leaders of premier organizations, as well as a nationally recognized thought leader in the area of hospitality and employee engagement research. He has a diverse research and consulting background that includes extensive experience with travel and hospitality research; employee engagement measurement and training; talent selection; brand research; customer satisfaction and loyalty programs; image and awareness studies; and national opinion polling. Earlier in his career, Dr. Garlick worked in financial services, utilities, manufacturing, entertainment, media, retail, association, and not-for-profit research. Prior to entering the private sector, he taught courses in research methods, marketing, and persuasive communication at Michigan State University and DePaul University in Chicago. A frequent conference speaker, Dr. Garlick has published numerous articles in industry and academic journals. He has also appeared on such national media outlets as MSNBC, CNBC, CNNfn, Bloomberg Television, and National Public Radio, as well as being quoted in a number of national publications. Currently, Dr. Garlick serves as chair of the Research Committee for the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association (HSMAI) Foundation Board. Previously, he served in a similar function for Meeting Professionals International (MPI). Dr. Garlick received a Ph.D. in communication studies from Michigan State University.

Barry A. Hartstein Barry Hartstein
Attorney, Littler Mendelson, P.C.
Barry A. Hartstein has earned a national reputation for a career that includes more than 30 years of counseling and representing employers in a broad range of labor and employment matters. He is a frequent writer, commentator and lecturer on workplace issues. He also has extensive experience as a litigator and has defended employers nationwide in individual and class action claims and wage and hour collective actions. He has particular expertise dealing with the EEOC on both a local and national level, which included a recent invitation by the EEOC Chair to address the Commission at a recent meeting in Washington D.C. on the legal standards governing employers’ consideration of criminal arrest and conviction records. His clients include employers in: Retail, Hospitality, Fitness, Health care, Financial services and Manufacturing operations. Barry also serves in numerous leadership roles for Cornell University's ILR School. Founded as the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, the ILR School today is the world's leading college focused on work, employment and labor issues. In addition to his position on the Dean's Advisory Council and as a board member of the Scheinman Institute, which is the first institute exclusively focused on the study and practice of workplace dispute resolution, he recently completed his term as president of Alumni Association. Barry has served for many years in a national leadership role for the American Bar Association in its section devoted to labor and employment law focusing on EEO issues, including previously serving as Management Co-Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Committee. In this role, he has worked closely with various chairs and other members of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, aside from serving as a liaison between the Chicago bar and the EEOC’s Chicago District Office, facilitating communication between members of the bar and the EEOC on both a local and national level. A shareholder in Littler Mendelson's Chicago office, Barry heads the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s core practice group, which is part of the firm's Discrimination and Harassment practice. Prior to joining Littler, Barry was the managing partner of the Chicago office of a major AM Law 100 Firm, where he also served as Chicago practice leader for the firm's labor and employment practice.

Danielle Hawkins Danielle Hawkins
Senior Manager, Deloitte Consulting, LLP
Danielle is a senior manager in Deloitte’s Human Capital practice and focuses on Organizational Change and Talent Management in the Travel, Retail, and Hospitality sectors. She has over twelve years of consulting experience leading clients through large scale, global transformations with a focus on organizational, cultural, change management and talent implications. Danielle leads the Talent offering for Deloitte Consulting’s Travel and Hospitality practice and is a frequent speaker on change and talent related topics at industry events and conferences. She co-authored Deloitte’s 2013 study exploring restaurant loyalty, Second Helpings: Building consumer loyalty in the restaurant sector and has been a featured speaker at hospitality roundtables, Deloitte Dbriefs, and at the Restaurant Leadership and HR in Hospitality Conferences. She received her Bachelor of Science from Cornell University in Industrial and Labor Relations and currently serves on the Advisory Board for Cornell’s Institute for Hospitality and Employment Relations.

Richard Hurd Richard Hurd
Associate Dean for External Relations, Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University School of Hotel Administration
Richard W. Hurd is Associate Dean for External Relations and Professor of Labor Studies. A leading specialist on trade union administration and strategy, and on the unionization of professional workers, he has been quoted widely in the national and international print and broadcast media on various labor issues. Hurd earned his Ph.D. in Economics from Vanderbilt University, and is a former Brookings Institution Economic Policy Fellow.

Harry Johnson Harry I. Johnson III
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
Harry I. Johnson, III serves clients as a management-side defense lawyer, with experience in both class action defense and traditional labor matters before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and federal courts. Harry practices across the entire traditional union/labor field, including in NLRB unfair labor practice and representation proceedings, union representation campaigns, union corporate campaigns, labor arbitrations, collective bargaining, labor-management relations, labor-related advice for mergers and acquisitions, and federal and state labor injunction cases, with additional experience in anti-union discrimination/coercion and successorship issues.

Cleve Jones Cleve Jones
AIDS and LGBT Activist
Cleve Jones is an American human rights activist, author and lecturer. Jones joined the gay liberation movement in the early 1970s. He was mentored by pioneer LGBT activist Harvey Milk and worked in Milk’s City Hall office as a student intern until Milk’s assassination in 1978. Jones co-founded the San Francisco AIDS Foundation in 1983 and founded The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, one of the world’s largest community arts projects, in 1987. HarperCollins published his first book, “Stitching a Revolution,” in 2000. Jones was portrayed by Emile Hirsch in Gus Van Sant’s Oscar-winning film, “MILK,” and was the historical consultant for the production. Jones led the 2009 National March for Equality in Washington, DC and served on the Advisory Board of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which challenged California’s Proposition 8 in the US Supreme Court. Hachette Book Group will publish his new memoir, “When We Rise,” in November 2016. The ABC TV mini-series inspired in part by stories from Cleve’s book is currently in production with a screenplay by Academy Award winner Dustin Lance Black. Jones lives today in San Francisco, California and works as an organizer for the hospitality workers’ union, UNITE HERE.

Harry Katz Harry Katz
Dean, Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations
Harry C. Katz is the interim Provost at Cornell University and the Jack Sheinkman Professor of Collective Bargaining at the School of Industrial & Labor Relations, Cornell University. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley. After teaching at MIT he came to the New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University in 1985.

Kimo Kippen Kimo Kippen
VP of Global Workforce Initiatives,
Hilton Worldwide
Originally from Hawaii, Kimo Kippen, is the former CLO and now Vice President of Global Workforce Initiatives at Hilton who began his career in hospitality as a busboy. CLO Magazine named Kimo 2016 Chief Learning Officer of the Year. Kimo was recently selected as the chairman of the board of directors for the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF). Kimo also sits on the board for the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), is actively involved with Business Champions as a representative for Hilton, and served as the chairman of the board of the Association for Talent Development. Prior to joining Hilton, Kippen worked for Marriott International for 21 years. He is an adjunct professor at The Catholic University. Kippen holds an M.S. in Career and Human Resource Development from Rochester Institute of Technology, a B.S. from the University of Hawaii, and is a graduate of the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland's Post Graduate Program.

Nancy Kraselsky Nancy Kraselsky
Specialist Leader, Deloitte Consulting
Nancy Kraselsky is a Specialist Leader in Deloitte Consulting’s HR Transformation Practice. With over 20 years of hands on and consulting experience, Nancy has worked with many large, global companies to develop and execute HR strategies, with a focus on HR technology, HR operations, HR process design and HCM systems implementations. As a strategic advisor, Nancy consults with organizations to help them understand trends in HR and Technology and how to navigate within the rapidly changing HCM marketplace and landscape. Nancy has successfully helped her clients understand their current state issues, define their future state vision and develop a cost effective, HCM technology strategy and roadmap that aligns HR to the organizations broader business strategy.

Holly Lawson Holly Lawson
Corporate Director, People & Culture, Pivot Hotels & Resorts
Holly Lawson is the corporate director of people & culture for Pivot Hotels & Resorts, a new lifestyle division within Davison Hotels & Resorts. Holly also has regional oversight of the Davison’s portfolio on the west coast. Prior to her current role, she led the human resources team for sbe overseeing the corporate, hotel, restaurant and nightlife divisions. She has fourteen years of hospitality experience including hotel operations, openings & transitions, learning & development, labor relations and human resources. Holly began her hospitality career with Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants where she spent nine years in both human resources and hotel operations roles. Her current areas of focus include all generalist human resources functions as well as supporting an integration of a new lifestyle portfolio within an established platform. Holly has also been an active participant of the Cornell Institute for Hospitality Labor & Employment Relations. She holds a Bachelor of Arts at Michigan State University in human resources.

Beth Livingston Beth Livingston
Assistant Professor of Human Resource Management, Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations; Member, Athlete Ally Advisory Board
Dr. Beth A. Livingston is an Assistant Professor in HR at Cornell University. She received her Ph.D. in 2009 from the University of Florida, with an MBA and two Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Kentucky. Professor Livingston currently teaches undergraduate and graduate-level courses on staffing and human resource management. Her research interests lie primarily in gender, discrimination, and work-family, with additional interests in diversity and stereotypes. She has published in numerous distinguished journals including the Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Management, and the Handbook of Organizational Behavior. Her research has also been featured in news outlets like the Washington Post and the New York Times, and she has been interviewed on NPR, the NBC Nightly News, and the Fox News Channel. She is the campus advisor/co-founder of Cornell’s Athlete Ally chapter promoting LGBTQ+ equality in athletics and has served on Athlete Ally’s national advisory board.

Milet Lukey Milet Lukey
Vice President of People Operations, SH Group Operations, LLC, Starwood Capital
Milet is responsible for all Human Resources functions of two newly launched brands: 1 Hotels and Resorts and Baccarat Hotels and Resorts. She is charged with developing and implementing initiatives to drive company vision and mission, culture, and people engagement and development and legal compliance. She joined SH Group in 2014 as Area Director of People Operations for the New York Hotels and was promoted to her current role a year later. Prior to SH Group, Milet was Area Director of Human Resources for the London-based Dorchester Collection’s iconic Beverly Hills Hotel and Hotel Bel-Air. She was with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company for over 20 years and last held the role of Senior Regional Director of HR, West Coast (Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, California and Hawaii). Milet has a Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Administration from the University of the Philippines and a PHR designation from SHRM.

Kara Maciel Kara Maciel
Chair, Labor Employment Practice,
Conn Maciel Carey PLLC
Kara M. Maciel is a founding partner of Conn Maciel Carey and Chair of the firm's national Labor & Employment Practice Group. She focuses her practice on representing employers in all aspects of the employment relationship. Ms. Maciel works to create workplace solutions for her clients across all industries.  She defends hospitality companies in litigation at both the federal and state levels, including matters related to ADA, FLSA, FMLA, and Title VII. She regularly provides advice and counsel to unionized and non-unionized hotels regarding an employer's rights under the National Labor Relations Act.  She also regularly defends hotels and restaurants on claims of denial of access by disabled patrons under Title III of the ADA.   Ms. Maciel pays special attention to the issues facing companies in the hospitality industry (including hotel owners and managers, resorts, restaurants, spas, country clubs, golf clubs, and fitness clubs).

Gary Magenta Gary Magenta
Senior Vice President, Root Inc.
Michael Lebowich is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the Labor-Management Relations Group. He represents and counsels employers on a wide range of labor and employment matters, with a particular interest in the field of traditional labor law. Michael acts as the primary spokesperson in collective bargaining negotiations, regularly handles grievance arbitrations, assists clients in the labor implications of corporate transactions, and counsels clients on union organizing issues, strike preparation and day-to-day contract administration issues. He also has significant experience in representation and unfair labor practice matters before the National Labor Relations Board. His broad employment law experience includes handling of race, national origin, gender and other discrimination matters in state and federal court. A significant amount of his practice is devoted to counseling clients regarding the application and practical impact of the full range of employment laws that affect our clients, including all local, state and federal employment discrimination statutes, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and state labor laws. Michael is a frequent guest lecturer at Columbia Business School, the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, the New York University Tisch School for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management, and is an advisory board member of the Cornell Institute for Hospitality Labor and Employment Relations.

Whitney Martin Whitney Martin
Survey and Assessment Strategist, ProActive Consulting
As a measurement strategist, Whitney’s passion and expertise lies in the field of surveys and assessments. A self-professed “data nerd,” Whitney has a Master’s Degree in the area of Human Resources Measurement and Evaluation and has conducted extensive research on the predictive validity of various hiring assessment strategies. Whitney's company, ProActive Consulting, specializes in delivering data-supported insights into job candidates, employees, teams, leaders, customers, and organizations. Whitney has been a highly rated speaker at several National HR Conference, and has had articles featured in the Harvard Business Review and TD Magazine. She is also a contributing author to the books "What's Next in Human Resources" (2015), “Hope for Leaders Unabridged” (2015), and “The Evolution of Human Resources” (2016).

Robert Mellwig Robert Mellwig
Vice President, Really Cool People
(Human Resources) Two Roads Hospitality

Robert Mellwig serves as Senior Vice President, Really Cool People (Human Resources) for Two Roads Hospitality, the newly formed entity as a result of the merger between Destination Hotels & Resorts and Commune Hotels. Created in September 2016, Two Roads Hospitality is an international lifestyle company encompassing an unrivaled collection of distinctive properties, passionate people, and remarkable experiences around the globe. The company is named for the newly-merged Commune and Destination Hotels, bringing together over 40 years of combined expertise exclusively dedicated to the boutique and lifestyle space. Comprised of Joie de Vivre Hotels, Thompson Hotels, Destination Hotels, tommie and Alila Hotels & Resorts, the company is the leading operator of independent and lifestyle hotels with more than 95 properties in eight countries and growing, also boasting an extensive roster of award-winning restaurants and bars, stunning vacation residences, world-class golf courses, and indigenous spa and wellness offerings. For more information on Two Roads Hospitality, visit

Robert joined Destination Hotels in March 2004 and was later promoted to Vice President, Human Resources for Destination Hotels & Resorts in 2006 a position he held until January 2009 whereby he accepted responsibility for the entirety of the HR function, as Senior Vice President of HR for all hospitality and non-hospitality related businesses.

Prior to joining Destination Hotels & Resorts, Robert held corporate staffing responsibility at the home office with Starwood Hotels & Resorts and held prior field HR responsibility within the W Hotel group. Robert’s HR career began with Hilton Hotels Corporation where he held various HR and training posts in the Southern California resorts and AAA Five Diamond Hilton at Short Hills in New Jersey.

Robert has been an active member of SHRM since 1997 and has held his SPHR credential since 1999. Mellwig holds a B.S. in Hospitality Management from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. Lowe Enterprises is a multi billion dollar real estate company based on Brentwood, CA and is the parent company of Destination Hotels & Resorts based in Denver, CO. Robert recently was a speaker at the National Society of Human Resources Management meeting in 2011 and is featured on upcoming SHRM videos on “We Know Next”, a SHRM public relations initiative. An annual speaker on the Cornell University Hospitality Executive Roundtable and speaker at the HR in Hospitality Conference. Robert has been published in HR Magazine and was featured in at the Best Practice Institute in January 2012.

Erin Moran Erin Moran
Chief Culture Officer, Union Square Hospitality Group
As Union Square Hospitality Group’s first-ever Chief Culture Officer, Erin Moran is responsible for strengthening and growing USHG’s culture of Enlightened Hospitality, and overseeing all aspects of the employee experience. Prior to joining the USHG team, Erin spent nearly a decade at Great Place to Work (United States), studying the workplace culture of organizations included on the 100 Best Companies to Work For list, and working directly with clients to create and sustain their own great workplaces. At USHG, Erin’s work is focused on strengthening employees’ engagement with the company’s mission and values and evolving USHG’s employer value proposition through human resources and organizational strategies. Most recently, Erin has been centrally involved in the implementation of Hospitality Included, a massive organizational initiative to eliminate tipping throughout USHG’s family of restaurants.

Pace Hayden Hayden Pace
Shareholder, Stokes Wagner

Hayden serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Stokes Wagner.  His practice focuses on the representation and counseling of hotels, resorts, restaurants and nightclubs.  He has a particular passion for the operational and legal complexities of these hospitality businesses, including labor and employment issues, and has acquired a broad range of industry experience. In 2009, he founded a boutique law practice – Pace Law, P.C. – dedicated to serving the hospitality and entertainment industries.  His honesty, drive and fluency in common sense undoubtedly contributed to his quick success.  Within a few years, his firm expanded to include several lawyers, and his reputation earned him media attention and the privilege of representing many of Atlanta’s top nightclubs and food-service agents.  Having caught Stokes Wagner’s attention with the success of his own firm, Hayden was presented with the opportunity to merge his practice.  Building upon the national hospitality law platform created by the firm’s principles, he has advanced Stokes Wagner’s “white glove” approach to client service, expanded the firm’s impressive client roster and further elevated the firm’s profile.  Hayden works closely with hotel clients such as Four Seasons, Hotel Bel-Air, Baccarat, 1-Hotels and SBE. His most recent success came in the defense of an Atlanta nightclub against T.C.P.A. claims amounting to over one million dollars.  Prior to that, he successfully defended an iconic hotel in a discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by three claimants. Those claimants sought 12.5 million dollars from the hotel.  Hayden and the Stokes Wagner team obtained a complete defense verdict at the conclusion of a four-week jury trial held in Los Angeles, California.

Jason Pruzansky Jason Pruzansky
Davis & Gilbert LLP

Jason E. Pruzansky is a partner in the Labor & Employment Practice Group of Davis & Gilbert. Mr. Pruzansky’s practice focuses on the full spectrum of labor and employment counseling and litigation, including matters involving federal and state wage/hour law, the FCRA, ERISA, WARN, ADEA, ADA, FMLA, Title VII, NLRA, restrictive covenants, employment contract disputes and wrongful termination. The cases Mr. Pruzansky has litigated in courts and before arbitrators and administrative agencies have ranged from nationwide class actions to single-plaintiff employment matters.

Mr. Pruzansky is also experienced in drafting employment and release agreements, and employee handbooks and policies; conducting internal investigations; and counseling employers on labor and employment law issues, including those that arise in corporate transactions and workforce restructurings. He likewise has deep experience negotiating a wide variety of contracts with his clients’ vendors and service providers.

Before joining Davis & Gilbert, Mr. Pruzansky was a labor & employment attorney at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.

Kimberly Rath Kimberly Rath
President and Co-Chairman, Talent Plus
Kimberly Rath has over 25 years of experience in human resources and is a recognized leader in the field of executive development and human resources in the United States and Asia. As Talent Plus’ chairman and co-founder, she has driven the company’s growth that now includes an office in Lincoln, Nebraska, and in Singapore. Under her leadership, for five consecutive years Talent Plus ® was named one of the 50 Best Small & Medium Workplaces by the Great Place to Work Institute. Rath has provided executive management consulting and training to organizations globally, including The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, the Estée Lauder Companies, Mercedes-Benz USA, DFS, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, UCLA Health System, and Microsoft. She has been a featured speaker at the Global Entropolis Singapore (GES) summit, a panelist for the Cornell Hospitality Research Summit and has spoken to leadership groups around the world on talent selection and development while working with CEOs and executives to create a brighter future.

Carolyn D. Richmond Carolyn D. Richmond
Co-Chair, Hospitality Practice, Fox Rothschild LLP
Carolyn is co-chair of the firm’s Hospitality Practice Group. Her practice largely consists of representing and counseling employers in the hospitality industry, specifically restaurants, hotels, caterers, night clubs, lounges and fitness centers. In particular, Carolyn has extensive experience litigating wage and hour class actions, restrictive covenants and employment discrimination cases. She also counsels clients extensively with respect to workplace issues such as the hiring process, diversity awareness training, union avoidance, employee handbooks and other policy initiatives. Carolyn is also counsel to a number of employers in the retail, financial services, healthcare and manufacturing industries. She frequently provides union avoidance and sexual harassment training, and represents employers before a variety of state and federal agencies.

David Ritter David Ritter
Partner, Barnes & Thornburg
David B. Ritter is a partner in the Chicago office of Barnes & Thornburg LLP. He is a member of the firm’s Labor & Employment Law Department and co-chairs the Logistics and Transportation Practice Group. He represents management nationwide in virtually all areas of labor and employment law, including employment discrimination and harassment claims, wage and hour disputes, non-compete, trade secret and restrictive covenants and employment torts. With nearly 30 years of experience representing public and private companies, Mr. Ritter has counseled clients in service and manufacturing industries ranging from hospitality to healthcare to logistics and financial services. He defends employers faced with claims under Sarbanes-Oxley, and routinely represents clients before governmental agencies including the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the Department of Labor (DOL), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and similar state agencies. Mr. Ritter is a member of both the Labor and Employment Law and the Litigation sections of the American Bar Association. He is also on the board of directors and acts as general counsel for the Magnificent Mile Association. He is also a board member for the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the advisory board of the Cornell Institute for Hospitality Labor & Employment Relations. He earned his J.D. cum laude from Case Western Reserve University Law School in 1985, where he served as a member of the University’s Law Review. He earned his B.S. from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations in 1980.

David Rothfeld David Rothfeld
Partner, Kane Kessler, P.C.
David R. Rothfeld leads the Firm's Labor and Employment Law practice group, specializing in the representation of management in all phases of labor and employment law. For unionized clients, Mr. Rothfeld offers expertise in negotiating collective bargaining agreements, representation at grievance and arbitration proceedings and advice on contract interpretation and compliance. Mr. Rothfeld has also represented employers before the National Labor Relations Board.  Mr. Rothfeld represents clients in a myriad of different businesses, with a concentration in the hospitality field, including hotels, restaurants, clubs, catering and gaming facilities. Mr. Rothfeld is a board member of the Cornell Institute for Hospitality and Labor Relations.  He has been selected by his peers to be included in the 22nd edition of The Best Lawyers in America in the practice areas of Employment Law, Management and Labor Law and Management.  He has also been selected as a “Super Lawyer” for the New York Metropolitan area.

Jeffrey Ruzal Jeffrey Ruzal
Member of the Firm, Epstein Becker & Green
Jeffrey H. Ruzal is Member of the Firm, in the New York office of Epstein Becker Green. He is a member of the firm's Wage and Hour group and leads the firm’s Hospitality service team. Mr. Ruzal represents clients in such diverse industries as hospitality, financial services, retail, health care, and technology.

Sabata Sagria  Sabata Sagria
Chief Restaurant Officer, Union Square Hospitality Group
Sabato Sagaria is the Chief Restaurant Officer of Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG), which includes some of New York City’s most acclaimed and beloved restaurants. As Chief Restaurant Officer, Sabato works closely with USHG leadership to continuously improve operations and strengthen the restaurant brands. In addition, he oversees USHG’s centralized functions of facilities management, information technology, public relations, and marketing to elevate restaurant operations and guest experience through a collaborative, streamlined approach. Over the past twenty years, Sabato has fulfilled many roles at nationally-acclaimed restaurants and hotels, from cook to restaurant manager to wine director. Most recently, Sabato directed food and beverage operations at The Little Nell Hotel in Aspen, Colorado, during which time he played a pivotal role in refining and developing the hotel’s restaurant concepts, including Element 47 and Ajax Tavern. Earlier, Sabato served in leadership roles at The Inn at Little Washington, The Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach, and the historic Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia. In 2012, Sabato became a member of the Court of Master Sommeliers, a prestigious honor held by fewer than 250 individuals worldwide.

Ruth Seroussi Ruth Seroussi
Ruth L. Seroussi represents clients in federal and state courts, and in the arbitral and administrative forums. During her 19 years of practice, Ruth has guided California and nationwide employers in the mortgage lending, retail, apparel, manufacturing, hospitality and entertainment industries in all aspects of employee relations, including providing advice and counsel on day-to-day personnel issues, preparing employment policies and handbooks, negotiating and preparing employment, severance, non-disclosure and arbitration agreements, training managers and supervisors on discrimination and harassment issues, and defending employers in discrimination, wrongful termination, harassment, retaliation, wage and hour, unfair competition and misappropriation of trade secret matters, as well as against charges before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, Department of Labor, Department of Labor Standards and Enforcement and the Employment Development Department. Additionally, Ruth has extensive experience representing employers in wage and hour class actions and California’s unfair competition laws, as well as in general business litigation matters. Ruth serves as an Advisory Board member for the Cornell Institute for Hospitality Labor & Employment Relations (CIHLER). Additionally, she serves as President of Venice Arts’ Board of Directors, Secretary of the Friends of Coeur D’Alene Elementary School’s Booster Club and is a member of the Venice Neighborhood Council’s Education Committee. Ruth also serves as a board member for various other non-profit organizations and coaches AYSO soccer. She is a licensed real estate broker in the State of California and a member of the California Association of Realtors. Ruth is also a member of the American Bar Association and its Labor and Employment Section.

Dave Sherwyn Dave Sherwyn
Professor, Cornell University School of Hotel Administration
David Sherwyn (BS, JD, Cornell University) is the John and Melissa Ceriale Professor of Hospitality Human Resources and a Professor of Law at Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration. In addition, he is the director of the Cornell Institute for Hospitality Labor and Employment Relations. Dave is also a research fellow at the Center for Labor and Employment Law at New York University's School of Law and of counsel to the law firm of Stokes, Wagner. From 2006-2009, Dave was the director of the Center for Hospitality Research. Prior to joining the School of Hotel Administration, Dave practiced management-side labor and employment law for six years. Dave has published articles in, among others, the Northwestern Law Review, Stanford Law Review, UC Hasting Law Journal, Indiana Law Journal, Berkeley Journal of Labor and Employment Law, Fordham Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Labor and Employment Law Journal, and the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly. In the fall of each year, Dave teaches HA 3870: Business and Hospitality Law, a required class with more than 200 students. Each spring, Dave teaches HA 4810/ILR 4060: Labor Relations in the Hospitality Industry—a class co-taught and co-listed with Cornell’s Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR) School. In his 17 years as a faculty member, Dave has received 15 Hotel School Teacher of the Year awards. In 2014 he was named a Stephan H. Weiss Presidential Fellow—the most prestigious teaching award at Cornell University. In 2002, Dave conceived of, organized, and hosted the Center for Hospitality Research's first hospitality industry roundtable. Since that time, Dave has hosted more than 20 roundtables. Because of the success of the Labor and Employment Law Roundtable, the School of Hotel Administration’s centers and institutes now host roundtables in each of the disciplines that are represented in the school.

Tyronne Stoudemire Tyronne Stoudemire
Vice President of Global Diversity and Inclusion, Hyatt
Mr. Tyronne Stoudemire, Global Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion at Hyatt Worldwide, has more than 20 years of experience in diversity and inclusion, and human resource management. At Hyatt Worldwide, Mr. Stoudemire works with the senior leadership team to implement culture, talent, and marketplace strategies that leverage diversity to grow the business across the company’s portfolio of brands. As such, his team and internal corporate partners have implemented diversity-training initiatives including Diversity Business Resource Groups, mentoring programs for high potential women and people of color, a communications and public relations strategy to drive internal engagement and external brand recognition, and enhanced brand marketing effort to further focus on multicultural and LGBT audiences. A globally recognized executive and highly sought-after speaker he routinely consults with Fortune 100 clients on diversity strategies, with particular insight around how organizational leaders can understand and harness the shifts evident in national and global demographic trends. Tyronne employs a unique talent that results in extraordinary benefits for individuals and organizations and has a proven ability to advance socially responsible corporate initiatives by fostering strategic relationships to promote international grassroots movements.

Steven M. Swirsky Steven M. Swirsky
Member of the Firm, Epstein Becker Green
STEVEN M. SWIRSKY is a Member of the Firm in the Labor and Employment and Health Care and Life Sciences practices, in the firm's New York office. He regularly represents employers in a wide range of industries, including retail, health care, manufacturing, banking and financial services, manufacturing, transportation and distribution, electronics and publishing. He frequently advises and represents United States subsidiaries and branches of Asian, European and other foreign-based companies. Mr. Swirsky is a Fellow of The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, a fellowship of the most accomplished members of the labor and employment law community in the United States.

Ted Teng Ted Teng
President & Chief Executive Officer,
Leading Hotels of the World
Ted Teng is the president and chief executive officer of The Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd. Since joining the company in 2008, Mr. Teng has been dedicated to reigniting the 88-year-old brand. Holding firm to his motto, "Preserve, Enhance, and Invent,” Mr. Teng honors the traditions of the company while innovating to achieve greater strength and success in the future. Through a collaborative approach with hotel membership, Mr. Teng is focused on reimagining and redefining a differentiated business model for Leading Hotels to both preserve and advance the company’s collection of independent luxury hotels. This collaborative model fosters co-creation and innovation opportunities with the collection’s passionate and like-minded hoteliers to deliver exceptional levels of customer satisfaction, ultimately driving further increases in revenue. Shortly after his in appointment in 2008, Mr. Teng formulated and successfully executed a Five-Year Business Plan to restore the core foundation of the 85-plus-year-old brand to better serve member hotels and enhance the quality of the collection. The strategy proved to be overwhelmingly successful, with significant year-over-year increases in revenue, consistently outpacing industry averages. The overall quality of the portfolio achieved a tremendous increase, enabling the company to leap from the bottom of the competitive set list to the top three. And, perhaps the most astounding is that Mr. Teng was able to accomplish these results during the worst recession in a generation without any incremental capital investment. Mr. Teng’s nearly 40-year career is rooted in the hospitality industry. Prior to joining The Leading Hotels of the World, he led the growth of some of the world’s most prominent hotel brands, serving as president, chief operating officer of Wyndham International, Inc., and president, Asia-Pacific, for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., following the merger of Starwood Lodging, Westin, and Sheraton. A graduate of the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, Mr. Teng has an MBA from the University of Hawaii. A global citizen, he was born in Shanghai, China, grew up in Hong Kong, emigrated to the U.S. at age 13 and became a U.S. citizen soon after. When he is not traveling to member hotels around the world, Mr. Teng divides his time between New York and Texas. Mr. Teng also holds a seat on the company’s board of directors.;

J. Bruce Tracey J. Bruce Tracey
Professor, Cornell University School of Hotel Administration
J. Bruce Tracey has taught courses in HR management for undergraduate, graduate, and professional audiences throughout North America, Europe, and Asia, and has won several awards. He has conducted research on strategic and operational level HR topics, including the impact of training initiatives on firm performance, employee turnover, employment law, and leadership. His work has been presented at numerous regional, national, and international conferences. His research has been published in diverse outlets

Gina Valenti Gina Valenti
Vice President – Brand Hospitality,
Focused Service Brands Hilton
As the leader of culture development, Gina’s passion is inspiring the 90,000 team members of Hampton, Hilton Garden Inn and Tru by Hilton brands. If you’ve stayed in a Hampton and thought, gosh everyone here is so nice, you’ve experienced “Hamptonality,” the culture movement Gina sparked that’s the foundation for all communication and education efforts at Hampton.  During her tenure, Hampton has captured Entrepreneur’s #1 franchise spot in the US four times since 2009.

Gina’s 27-year career in hospitality began in college after she studied the Embassy Suites brand in one of her senior classes. She became hooked on hospitality and after graduation landed her first job at the Embassy Suites in Arcadia, California. Gina’s corporate role with Hilton began in 1994, but the training from her first job remains evident. If you’re in a buffet line with Gina, she’ll likely prepare your plate faster than you can say “Hamptonality.”

Paul Wagner Paul E. Wagner
Shareholder, Stokes Roberts & Wagner
Paul Wagner received his undergraduate and law degrees from Cornell University. As a trial attorney for the past 23 years, Mr. Wagner has successfully litigated hundreds of cases, including class actions, throughout the U.S. and Mexico. For his local, regional and national clients, Mr. Wagner routinely defends claims involving every type of employment discrimination, wage and hour violations, ERISA, labor issues, non-competition agreements, civil rights violations and executive compensation. He also specializes in the defense of commercial and intellectual property disputes and has broad experience in commercial, employment, labor and international arbitration forums.

He enjoys a national reputation for representing employers in collective bargaining negotiations and union campaigns. In addition to the practice of law, Mr. Wagner is an Adjunct Professor at the School of Hotel Administration, Cornell University, where he teaches business and employment law courses focused on the Hospitality Industry. He is a frequent contributor to numerous Hospitality Industry publications.

Christian White Christian White
Counsel, BakerHostetler
An experienced labor and employment litigator and advisor, Christian White focuses his practice on the management side of labor and employment law matters for clients, with a concentration in the hospitality industry. As a proactive advocate for clients, he gives practical advice in order to assist in key aspects of employee relations and helps employers avoid disputes before they become larger concerns. Christian analyzes the risks involved in clients’ particular situations, mindful of business practicalities and operational needs, in order to provide efficient and effective counsel. Christian routinely represents management interests before the National Labor Relations Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and federal and state courts, as well as before labor arbitrators and mediators. Christian is the Labor and Employment Group coordinator for the Philadelphia office.

Nancy Yaffe Nancy Yaffe
Partner, Fox Rothschild LLP
Nancy Yaffe is a partner in the national law firm of Fox Rothschild LLP. She focuses her practice on labor and employment law counseling and litigation with an emphasis on problem prevention. Nancy defends businesses against employee claims and lawsuits involving discrimination, harassment, retaliation and wage-and-hour violations. Her clients include prominent southern California hotels, restaurants, retailers and others in the hospitality industry, as well as manufacturing, technology and service providing companies with unionized and non-union employees. With a goal of helping clients prevent employment issues, she provides pre-litigation counseling and advice to clients nationwide on employment-related issues and provides training presentations on sexual harassment prevention, labor and employee relations, new legal developments and other timely employment issues. Nancy also drafts and reviews client policies and handbooks to ensure compliance, and she conducts preventive audits and investigations into alleged workplace misconduct and pay practices.

Celeste Yeager Celeste Yeager
Shareholder, Littler Mendelson, P.C.
With over 17 years of experience, Celeste R. Yeager maintains a vibrant labor and employment practice litigating and consulting on behalf of management regarding a variety of employment topics, including Age, disability, and Title VII discrimination,  Leaves of absence, Unfair competition, Health and safety, Traditional labor and unfair labor practices. Celeste is board certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in labor and employment and represents employers across the country in employment disputes before local, state and federal administrative agencies and courts involving claims arising under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, The Americans with Disabilities Act, The Age Discrimination in Employment Act, The Fair Labor Standards Act, e Family and Medical Leave Act, The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, The Texas Labor Code, Statutory and common law unfair competition and trade secret laws. Celeste routinely advises and consults with clients about human resource policies and procedures. She provides management training on various employment-related topics, including union avoidance.  She also maintains an active traditional labor practice representing clients, both unionized and non-unionized, before the National Labor Relations Board. Celeste is a graduate of the Leadership Arts Institute, a program of Business Council for the Arts.

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