Nearly everyone who knows Gerry Fernandez and the work that he does for The Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance (MFHA), describes him as a man of vision, dedication, and passion. As President and Founder of MFHA, an educational non-profit organization that makes the business case for developing cultural intelligence in the workplace, Gerry has been recognized over the years for his work in educating members on, and advocating for, and connecting people to the business benefits of diversity and inclusion in the restaurant, foodservice & lodging industry.
With over 40 years of experience in the industry, Gerry has held leadership positions with several well-known companies including The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, Hemenway’s Seafood Grill & Oyster Bar, The Capital Grille and General Mills, where he got his start in diversity and inclusion work.
Gerry’s career-altering moment happened while still employed as a National Account Manager for General Mills. Gerry attended the 1995 Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) conference that sparked the idea for MFHA. “I thought, if there is a need for a group to promote opportunities for women, then there ought to be a group to promote opportunities for people of color.” MFHA, the first organization to bring about a national discussion on diversity management in the hospitality industry was launched just a year later.
Gerry’s most recent recognition comes from Nation Restaurant News’ “Power List” 2014, featuring the 50 most powerful people leading and shaping today’s restaurant industry, cited as a Top Catalyst for promoting change. This is the second time he has been named to the coveted list, which counts mostly C-suite executives from leading companies and organizations in foodservice.
- Distinguished Lecturer, Daniels School of Business, University of Denver 2015
- Nation’s Restaurant News “50 Power Players” 2000; “The Power List” 2014
- Honorary Board Member, Rhode Island Community Foodbank, 2013 – Present
- Trustee, Johnson & Wales University, 2006 – 2013
- Rainbow/P.U.S.H. Coalition’s Reginald Lewis Trailblazer Award 2004
- Lodging Magazine, One of the “75 Profiles in Leadership” 2002
- The Black Culinary Alliance Heritage Award 2002
- Nation’s Restaurant News “50 Power Players,” January 2000
- Hermann G. Rusch Humanitarian Award, American Culinary Federation 1999
- Nation’s Restaurant News Innovator Award 1998
- General Mills “Champions Award” 1996
An engagingly energetic Speaker who practices “straight talk”, he travels across the US and internationally, bringing authentic perspectives on how building Cultural Intelligence raises the topline, improves the bottom- line and builds cultural authenticity into the brand. He is also a sought-after motivational speaker, inspiring others to succeed over life’s setbacks, based on a personal tragedy.
Gerry holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Foodservice Management from Johnson & Wales University, where he also earned a Culinary Arts degree, and an honorary doctorate in Business Administration. Gerry has three sons, six grandchildren and lives with his wife, Debra (Jackson) in Warwick, Rhode Island.
Personal mission statement: “I’m a man of action, with the desire to serve others by applying the gifts of leadership, creative energy, and passion given to me by God.” – Gerry Fernandez
Kevin Jacobs ’94 is executive vice president and chief financial officer of Hilton Worldwide. He oversees all of the company’s global finance, information technology, and real estate functions. He joined the company in 2008 as senior vice president, corporate strategy; was elected treasurer in 2009; was appointed executive vice president and chief of staff in 2012; and assumed his current role in 2013.
Prior to Hilton Worldwide, Jacobs was senior vice president, mergers and acquisitions and treasurer of Fairmont Raffles Hotels International. While in this role, Jacobs was responsible for sourcing, evaluating, and executing on potential mergers, acquisitions, or other strategic corporate transactions, and leading the company’s corporate strategic and business planning efforts. As treasurer, he oversaw the company’s corporate finance and treasury activities globally.
Prior to Fairmont Raffles, Jacobs spent seven years with Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc., most recently as vice president, corporate finance and investor relations, in which capacity he led the company’s strategic planning and investor-relations functions. Jacobs has also held various roles in the Hospitality Consulting practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and the Hospitality Valuation Group at Cushman & Wakefield, Inc.
Jacobs is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board of the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration and a member of the Hotel Development Council of the Urban Land Institute.
Jacobs is a graduate of the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.Read MoreLess
Paul Ades is senior vice president for labor relations and Americas operations for Hilton. He leads Hilton’s global labor relations function, negotiates collective bargaining agreements, provides strategic counsel on labor matters, and oversees Hilton’s legal operations group.
Prior to joining Hilton, Ades served as general counsel for labor and employment at MGM Resorts International, and as associate general counsel for Caesars Entertainment. He also practiced law at Steptoe & Johnson in Washington, D.C.
Ades is a graduate of Williams College and the law school at the University of California, Berkeley, where he was editor of the law review.Read MoreLess
As Vice President, Human Resources for Loews Hotels & Co, Jake Basham is responsible for leading human resources operations throughout the hotel portfolio and support locations, including specific guidance of strategic HR business partnerships, labor relations and compliance strategies.
Bringing a wealth of experience in human resources and labor management, Jake joined Loews Hotels & Co in 2015. Previously, he led human resources operations in multi-asset regional capacities for Hersha Hospitality Management, as well as Denihan Hospitality Group. Throughout his career, Jake has advised numerous real estate investment trusts, management companies, and asset owners, in addition to negotiating collective bargaining agreements in major markets throughout the United States.
Jake holds a J.D. from Rutgers University Law School, a B.S. in parks, recreation and tourism with an emphasis in hospitality management from the University of Utah, as well as professional senior level certifications from the Society for Human Resource Management and the Human Resource Certification Institute. He also serves as a member of the American Hotel & Lodging Association Human Resources and Labor Relations Committees.Read MoreLess
Nigel is CEO and Founder of When Labs: artificial intelligence for augmenting management, driving compliance, employee engagement, retention, and productivity. Nigel’s passion for HR and management comes from over two decades of building and managing teams from two to thousands around the globe, and led to his acquisition of Kenexa, a human capital management company, the 6th largest acquisition IBM had ever made.
Nigel is a proven leader and innovator. As founding CTO of Footprint Software, a fintech startup, he engineered the largest retail banking system of its kind, building the fastest growing startup in Canada at the time, which sold to IBM. There, he architected IBM’s entry into
Open Source software, making IBM the first major corporation to embrace Linux and Apache, and was founding product line manager for their most successful organic software product of the last two decades, WebSphere. Along the way, he founded one of the earliest commercial bot companies, liketribe, which used artificial intelligence and social graph data to provide personalized recommendations.
Nigel is a charter member and board member of the C100, an organization devoted to driving innovation and entrepreneurship in Canada, and on the Advisory Board of the Cornell Institute for Hospitality Labor and Employment Relations (CIHLER). He is passionate about learning, sailing, and being a proud new dad.Read MoreLess
Brigette Browning has led UNITE HERE Local 30, a labor union representing more than 6,000 workers in San Diego’s hotel and hospitality industries, since 2007. She is also Executive Vice-President of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council. Brigette first became a member of Local 30 in the mid-1990s when she worked in the hospitality industry, joining the staff in 1998.
Seeing the potential for having a greater impact on the lives of hotel and hospitality workers in San Diego, Brigette challenged the existing leadership of Local 30 in 2007 and won the election for union officers in an upset. Among her first actions were to cut her own position’s salary in half, get rid of various perks for union officers, and re-focus the union on grassroots organizing and growth. Local 30 has doubled in size under Brigette’s leadership – and she is determined to double its membership once again.
Brigette has also emphasized coalition-building with progressive community groups and like-minded labor unions to deliver better results for San Diego’s hospitality workers. On issues ranging from housing and public transit to environmental justice and health care, Brigette works hard to ensure the needs of Local 30 members are considered in public policy debates around the County. In May 2019, UNITE HERE Local 30 opened its first health center for union members, providing free health care from the physician, dentist, and nurses hired directly by Local 30.
Under Brigette’s leadership, Local 30 has helped more than 200 union members and their family become U.S. citizens. An advisory board member of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, Local 30 is one of the few labor unions in the United States to be a Recognized Organization by the U.S. Department of Justice – giving the union the ability to represent immigrants before the Department of Homeland Security, immigration courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals. In 2015, Brigette hired a permanent Immigration Coordinator, who is also accredited by the Department of Justice to represent immigrants herself in immigration forums.
In 2018, Brigette led the 162 union workers of the Westin Gaslamp as they went on strike – the first prolonged hotel strike in San Diego history – and negotiated an end to the 35-day strike that resulted in a 40% increase in hourly wage for the lowest paid hotel workers there, among other improvements to pay and benefits for the Westin workers.
Brigette was born and raised in San Diego and grew up in Ocean Beach. Before joining the staff of Local 30 she had various jobs in the hospitality industry, including at Jack Murphy Stadium and the San Diego Convention Center. Brigette currently resides in Chula Vista with her husband, Dan, her son Nathaniel (18), daughter Violet (4), and dog Max (1).Read MoreLess
Anthony Campanelli is a partner in the New York forensic practice of Deloitte Financial Advisory Services and has over 21 years of experience in providing extensive investigation services to hospitality companies and law firms, on a wide range of matters, including forensic accounting and fraud investigations matters, litigation and arbitration services, and expert testimony.
He is a certified public accountant (CPA) in the states of New York and New Jersey and has earned the credentials of Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) and Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).
Campanelli currently serves as the office leader of Deloitte’s risk and financial advisory services practices in New York and New Jersey.
He is also a board member of A Call to Men, an organization focused on promoting a healthy and respectful manhood and shifting attitudes and behaviors that devalue women, girls, and other marginalized groups.
Campanelli holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in public accounting from Pace University.
Abigail joined Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts as the Vice President of People and Culture for the Americas in December 2018. In this role she is responsible for the human resources function for over 50 hotels across North America, South America and the Caribbean. These responsibilities include driving the talent strategy key in supporting the company’s growth and evolving the position as a great place to work for all.
Prior to joining Four Seasons, Abigail worked for Aramark Corporation. Over the course of her tenure, she has held a variety of progressive roles in both Human Resources and Operations. Her roles have included leadership positions in diverse markets: Conference Centers, Leisure, Sports & Entertainment, Corrections, K-12 and Higher Education.
Abigail is a graduate of Cornell University and holds a Bachelor of Science from the School of Hotel Administration. She, her husband, Jean-Luc, and their children have relocated to Southlake, TX.
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts is an international luxury hospitality company headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Four Seasons operates more than 100 hotels worldwide. Additional information can be found on the Company’s website at www.fourseasons.com.Read MoreLess
Carolyn’s extensive career in the hospitality industry spanned over 40 years. She held various senior positions with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts (formerly Canadian Pacific Hotels) 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. In 2015 Carolyn was appointed Senior Vice President, Talent & Culture, North & Central America, Accor. In this position Carolyn had responsibility for all aspects of human resources for all brands in the North & Central America Region until her retirement in June 2018.
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.
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 was recognized with the 2015 Human Resources Award from the Hotel Association of Canada and inducted into its Hall of Fame.
Carolyn graduated from York University with a B.A. in Sociology. Her past affiliations included Member, American Hotel & Lodging Association Human Resource Committee, Council of Human Resources Executives, Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council and the Board of Directors, Canadian Hospitality Foundation. Carolyn is currently a Member of the Advisory Board for the Women in Tourism and Hospitality Organization (WITH). She is also a volunteer member of Dress For Success Professional Women’s Development Group, which empowers women to transition back to the workplace.Read MoreLess
Michael D’Angelo is a labor and employment attorney and vice president of labor relations/operations for Hyatt Hotels Corporation. In this capacity, Michael leads Hyatt’s labor relations function for the Americas Region (US, Canada, Latin and South America) while overseeing the administration of the organization’s collective bargaining relationships and agreements, including the grievance process, arbitrations and litigation. Michael acts as chief spokesperson and negotiation team leader in major labor negotiations with direct oversight of the negotiation process. Michael serves as public relations spokesperson and liaison for media related inquiries and press releases for labor matters and negotiation issues. In addition, Michael is a member of Hyatt’s government relations and legislative oversight team.
Michael provides counsel to senior leaders on all labor and employee relations issues, including potential acquisitions, divestitures and new development projects. He also supports the day to day human resource and labor relations teams to achieve desired outcomes, and effectuate strategies that achieve business objectives using a collaborative and integrative approach.
Michael is a Trustee on numerous Taft-Hartley Employee Benefit Funds in New York and Florida, including Health & Welfare, Pension, Training, Scholarship and 401(k) funds. Michael also serves as Co-Chair of the Labor Relations Committee for the American Hotel and Lodging Association. Michael is admitted to practice in New York and before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and U.S. District Courts for the Southern, Eastern and Northern Districts of New York as well as the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut.
Specialties: Labor and Management Relations, Employment Law, Employee Benefits Law, Arbitration, Litigation, Mediation and Dispute Resolution, Government Relations and Legislative OversightRead MoreLess
Maria Elena Durazo
María Elena was born the seventh child in a family of eleven children to migrant worker parents. Growing up, María Elena traveled with her family, following the crops throughout California and Oregon, and experiencing the exploitative conditions and hardships that migrant laborers suffer.
In spite of these obstacles, María Elena attended St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California, and graduated in 1975. In college she became involved in the Chicano Movement at the urging of her older brother. Then she entered the labor movement as an organizer for the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (later called UNITE, the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees).
While working as a union organizer, she pursued an education in law at the People’s College of Law and earned her degree in 1985.
By 1987, María Elena was ready to lead a drive by the rank and file of HERE Local 11 to make the union more responsive to its majority-Latino membership. The organizing drive successfully instituted a shop steward system that educated the rank and file on their rights, workers were now able to participate in negotiating their union contracts and all meetings and publications were from then on bilingual.
In 2004, she became the Executive Vice President of UNITE-HERE International, the organization made up of the UNITE and HERE unions which had merged.
In 2008, María Elena Durazo served as the Vice Chair of the Democratic National Convention Committee and as National Co-Chair of the Barack Obama Presidential Campaign.
From 2006 through 2014, she was the first woman Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, the second largest labor council in the country and served on the National AFL-CIO Executive Council.
Besides her union work, María Elena has served on many civic commissions and boards. Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley appointed her to the Los Angeles Commission on Airports, Mayor Richard Riordan appointed her to the Los Angeles Parks and Recreation Committee and she has also served on the California State Coastal Commission.
María Elena was married to the late union leader Miguel Contreras, who served as Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles Federation of Labor from 1996 until his untimely death on May 6, 2005. She has two children with Miguel Contreras, Mario and Michael Contreras.Read MoreLess
Zev J. Eigen is the Founder and Chief Science Officer of Syndio Solutions–the world’s leader in data scientific applications solving modern organizations’ most pressing business problems, focused on diversity and inclusion and closing the gender pay gap.
Dr. Eigen has been at the forefront of cutting edge applications in HR for more than a decade. He combines his uniquely overlapping areas of expertise in labor and employment law with his deep experience in data science, predictive modeling and economic sociological research. He is a nationally recognized expert in these fields appearing in the media frequently (Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Forbes, NPR, Bloomberg News, Reuters, Chicago Tribune, NBC, CBS, FOX, etc.), and is a frequent speaker on HR Tech and data science and law. Dr. Eigen is invited regularly to lecture and present his work at academic institutions and professional organizations globally.
Dr. Eigen served as full time law professor at Northwestern University School of Law. He was also the Irving S. Ribicoff Visiting Professor of Law at Yale Law School, and held a visiting professorship at NYU Law School, where he is a research fellow. Dr. Eigen is the former Global Director of Data Analytics with Littler Mendelson, and former Senior Counsel, Labor Relations with Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation in Los Angeles, California. He holds a PhD from MIT (’09), a JD from Cornell Law School (’99) and BS from Cornell University (’96).
Felice B. Ekelman is a Principal in the New York City, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. and is a member of the firm’s Board of Directors. Since joining Jackson Lewis in 1985, she has been engaged exclusively in the practice of labor and employment law on behalf of management.
Ms. Ekelman has represented employers in federal and state courts, and before the National Labor Relations Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division, and other federal, state and city administrative agencies. Her litigation experience includes employment law jury and bench trials and appellate arguments before state and federal courts. She has represented employers in hundreds of arbitrations involving wage and hour claims, commission and compensation disputes, collective bargaining contract interpretation issues and termination disputes.
In addition to her litigation practice, Ms. Ekelman works closely with clients to provide ongoing workplace law compliance counseling. Ms. Ekelman regularly counsels clients on a wide range of workplace issues including sexual harassment; discrimination; accommodating disabled employees; family and medical leave laws; wage and hour laws; hiring, disciplining and terminating employees; downsizing and reductions-in-force; independent contractor, employment, non-competition and confidentiality agreements; mergers and acquisitions; and outsourcing. She has represented many clients for decades, and works closely with clients to understand their unique needs and cultures. Ms. Ekelman also has extensive experience conducting internal investigations.Read MoreLess
Laura E. FitzRandolph is Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer for global restaurateur HMSHost, a world leader in creating dining for travel venues. Laura is responsible for overseeing all HR functions including associate and labor relations, talent acquisition and development, and total rewards for HMSHost’s 31,000+ associates across North America.
Laura joined HMSHost from global hotel management company Interstate Hotels & Resorts, where she was most recently EVP, Chief Human Resources Officer. Laura joined Interstate in 2006 and held roles focusing on talent acquisition, development and learning, compensation and benefits, associate and labor relations, and employment legal matters.
Prior to joining Interstate, Laura was Counsel in the labor and employment group of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. Laura is a former Deputy Director of Correspondence in the White House Office of Scheduling and Advance, and served on the staff of United States Senator Alan Cranston.
Laura holds a B.A. in Political Science and Mass Communications from the University of California, Berkley, and a J.D. from The George Washington University Law School. She has been a panelist and speaker for hospitality conferences including Georgetown Lodging Summit, HR in Hospitality, and the Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS).Read MoreLess
Gregg A. Gilman is co-chair of the Labor & Employment Practice Group at Davis & Gilbert. He advises employers on all workplace-related matters. A significant portion of his practice is devoted to various labor and personnel issues, including wage and hour issues, preventive management, terminations, reductions in force, disciplinary measures, restrictive covenants, employment and termination agreements, executive compensation, harassment investigations, OFCCP compliance and employment policies.
A primary focus of his practice is minimizing liability by establishing and implementing state-of-the-art policies and procedures for clients. When disputes arise and cannot be resolved, Gregg represents his clients in state and federal courts and before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and state and local employment rights agencies in race, sex, age, disability and other discrimination cases, as well as all other employment litigation. He has negotiated collective bargaining agreements in the music, restaurant, social services, coal mining equipment and numerous other industries. For over 25 years, he has been the lead employer negotiator for the Single Engagement Club Date Agreement with Local 802 AFM. Gregg also represents employers before the National Labor Relations Board. Mr. Gilman is the creator of Respect in the Workplace, an interactive training seminar on preventive management, including sexual harassment and workplace sensitivity training.
Gregg also co-heads Davis & Gilbert’s Hospitality Practice Group, and he advises the firm’s hospitality clients on unique employment, labor, joint employer, and wage and hour issues that hospitality employers face. He served on the advisory Board of Cornell University’s Center for Hospitality Research, and currently serves on the Board for the CIHLER and Hospitality Law. He is also a regularly featured speaker at the Annual National HR in Hospitality Conference as well as CIHLER Labor and Employment Law Roundtables.Read MoreLess
Michael Gray is Co-Client Affairs Partner for the Firm. He served as Co-Leader of the Firm’s global Labor & Employment practice until January 2020. Michael’s practice focuses on representing corporate clients with complex employment matters, including class action and multiplaintiff employment discrimination lawsuits, state law overtime class actions, FLSA collective actions, and trade secret and restrictive covenant matters. He represents employers throughout the U.S. in bench and jury trials, administrative hearings, arbitrations, and appellate courts in matters arising under federal and state antidiscrimination laws, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the FMLA, ERISA, labor management relations laws, and state law wrongful discharge claims. Michael also advises clients on preventive measures, including reviewing policies, counseling on disciplinary actions and investigations, negotiating severance agreements, and conducting employment practices reviews. Michael brings a creative, business-minded approach to problem-solving and litigation. In recognition by Chambers and Legal 500, clients praised him by stating “he’s the guy I want in front of the judge” and “quickly gets down to the nuts and bolts and gets people focused on what’s important — his approach is unique and he gets exceptional results . Michael was named one of the “Nation’s Most Powerful Employment Attorneys” by HR Executive magazine and Lawdragon for the last 10 years. He is a frequent speaker for the ABA’s Labor and Employment Section and is a member of the Advisory Board of The Cornell Institute for Hospitality Labor and Employment Relations and NYU Law’s Center for Labor and Employment Law. Michael also is a member of the Board of Directors of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center and chair for the American Heart Association’s “Counsel for A Cause” event.Read MoreLess
With extensive experience in labor and employment law and in the hospitality industry, Keith Grossman is an entrepreneurial legal executive known for leading enterprise-wide efforts to facilitate growth and manage risk across global operations.
A partner at Hirschfeld Kraemer, Keith brings an informed strategic perspective on crisis management, client needs, business priorities and budgetary realities. His practice is focused on the full panoply of employment and labor law, including collective bargaining, employment litigation, internal investigations, training, and crisis management. Keith also offers employment counseling and workplace violence prevention program development and administration. He draws from 30 years of experience, both in-house and in private practice, to help clients develop strategies, programs, and approaches to prevent or mitigate risk, and to solve pressing workplace issues.
Business growth is part of Keith’s legal DNA, a trait he nurtured over 17 years as Senior Vice President & Deputy General Counsel of Starwood Hotels & Resorts. In that role, he confronted a full range of global legal issues, from counter-terrorism, natural disasters, diseases, and human trafficking to business expansion to global litigation, employment law, crisis management and response, labor relations, international and domestic investigations, workplace violence prevention, and government affairs. Keith was instrumental in developing Starwood’s global crisis management program after 9/11; he led the company’s worldwide safety and security operations, including counter-terrorism planning. He also led a team and developed the legal strategy that enabled Starwood to obtain the first Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) license to sign the first development deals and open the first U.S.-branded hotel in an embargoed Cuba. Keith was a founding member of Starwood’s Corporate Diversity Council and Human Rights Council, and he developed and chaired the company’s Workplace Violence Prevention Team.
“I was a client for more than 17 years and understand the need for responsiveness — and the need to provide a direct answer or opinion,” Keith says. “Too many lawyers equivocate, and while there are times when a client needs to hear multiple options, there are also times when clients want to know what I would do, based on my experience and expertise.”
“Client service comes naturally to me,” Keith states. “Availability and responsiveness are obviously critical components to good client service, and I have been shocked by how many lawyers fail to appreciate or accept this need for urgency. That’s one of the primary reasons I chose to make my new home at Hirschfeld Kraemer—because they get it when it comes to effectuating the client’s business goals.”
The ability to play it straight – and fast — is important, especially today, when outside factors can accelerate quickly. “I worked in a 24-7 global company and ran our Crisis Management Team,” Keith says. “When there is an actual or potential crisis or emergency, we need to be available. With the speed, breadth, and impact of social media, injury to brand or corporate goodwill can happen instantaneously, either from a failure to respond or a mis-step.”
Keith was a Trustee on the UNITE-HERE National Retirement Fund (NRF), a $2B Taft-Hartley pension fund, and a member of its Spin Committee. After a spin-off of assets and liabilities by the NRF, Keith became a consultant to the newly-formed UNITE-HERE Retirement Fund. Keith is also Chair of the Board of REACH Prep, a Stamford, Connecticut-based organization dedicated to facilitating top independent school opportunities, and admission to and graduation from highly competitive colleges, for gifted and economically challenged Latino and Black students.
Keith says that after a career focused on growing and protecting one company, he is thrilled to bring that expertise to his clients and those of Hirschfeld Kraemer.
A very family-oriented person, Keith enjoys traveling and spending quality time with his wife and two grown children. Having traveled to Cuba more than a dozen times, he remains enamored with the beauty, art, music, food, and architecture of the country as well as the incredible warmth and spirit of the Cuban people. Keith also is passionate about wine, good food, and sports (especially New York Giants football). A history buff, Keith enjoys reading non-fiction and is drawn particularly to the history of the American Civil War, and has toured most of the major battlefields of that conflict.
J.D., New York University School of Law, 1987
B.A., Tufts University, 1984, magna cum laude
As President of Terranea Resort, Terri A. Haack is responsible for the overall operating performance of the 102-acre luxury destination, located along California’s coastline on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Haack joined Terranea in 2007, spearheading pre-construction operations for the property and guiding the resort’s acclaimed debut in June 2009. Under her leadership, the resort has achieved more than 11 years of growth and profitability, and her service culture of ‘seeking moments to be extraordinary’ has led to recognition by Conde Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure as a top resort.
She is committed to creating a unique workplace culture where individuals can build their careers, provide for their families and pursue their individual dreams, while also ensuring a distinctive experience for her guests. Haack introduced an award-winning initiative to honor an employee culture that serves authentic hospitality from the heart: “TerraneaProud.” The resort has also received national certification as a Great Place to Work, and was named one of Los Angeles’ Top Places to Work. It continues to thrive as a top destination, renowned for its natural beauty and unrivaled guest service.
A successful business leader, Haack blends her effective business vision with a passionate commitment to positively make a difference, both in the world of business and the community she serves. She continues to support local causes, spearheading numerous initiatives that preserve the natural, cultural and historic integrity of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. As a result, Terranea was named the Platinum Adrian Award winner and Leader in Sustainable Tourism by National Geographic. Haack also stays actively involved in local, regional, state and national legislation and policy.
A longtime contributor to the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), Haack currently serves on the AHLA Board of Directors, is Chairman of the Educational Foundation Scholarship Committee, Past Chairman and Member of the Board of the California Hotel & Lodging Association (CHLA) and a founding Board Member and Past Chairman of the Women in Lodging Executive Council. Haack is also a member of the strategic planning board for Marymount California University, member of the President’s Advisory Council of Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy, on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles, and Past Chairman and Board of Director for the Palos Verdes Chamber of Commerce.
Haack’s exceptional career has garnered numerous accolades and awards of distinction for her service and leadership. She was recognized with the 2020 Stars of the Industry “Paving the Way” Award by AHLA for her contribution to the hospitality industry and community as a leader, role model, and mentor. She is also the 2019 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award by Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Los Angeles and nationally recognized by HSMAI as one of the Top 25 Minds in Sales, Marketing, and Revenue, as well as the first ever 2019 Economic Development Award for the Palos Verdes Peninsula. In addition, she was named ‘Best Boss’ by the Los Angeles News Group’s Winning Workplaces Reader’s Choice Awards, and a finalist in the Los Angeles Business Journal’s Women Making a Difference Awards. She is the recipient of the AHLA national award for General Manager of the Year, and was selected as the General Manager of the Year by CHLA. In addition, she received the Daily Breeze People of Distinction Award for the Business/Innovation Category and the Palos Verdes Chamber of Commerce Matt Brunning Award for Business Excellence, and named the Industry Service Award winner by Destination Hotels. Haack was also the first woman to receive AHLA’s coveted Resort Executive of the Year award.
With a distinguished career spanning more than 35 years in hotel and resort operations management, prior to Terranea, Haack held the position of executive vice president and managing director at Wild Dunes Resort in Charleston, SC and Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, VA.
Haack holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and a Master of Arts in Organizational Management. She is married to Doug Haack, a retired airline pilot and business owner, and their son Brian is a graduate of the University of Southern California.Read MoreLess
Seth D. Harris is an attorney in Washington, D.C. and a Visiting Professor at Cornell University’s Institute for Public Affairs. Building on almost seven years of service in the Clinton Administration, he was Acting U.S. Secretary of Labor (and a member of President Obama’s Cabinet) and Deputy U.S. Secretary of Labor from 2009 to 2014. Now, Secretary Harris is one of the nation’s most sought-after analysts and commentators on work, workers, workplaces, and labor market issues, and a leading expert on labor and employment law and policy and retirement policy. Secretary Harris brings decades of experience as a teacher and scholar, attorney and advisor, corporate board member, and policymaker at the highest levels of the U.S. Government. He has co-authored three books, including Labor and Employment Law & Economics, and authored dozens of scholarly articles and op-eds on labor, employment, retirement, and economics topics. Secretary Harris earned a bachelor of science degree with honors from Cornell University’s School of Industrial & Labor Relations and a juris doctor with honors from New York University’s School of Law, where he was an Order of the Coif member and the Review of Law & Social Change’s editor-in-chief.Read MoreLess
Barry Hartstein has earned a national reputation for a career that includes more than 35 years of counseling and representing employers in a broad range of labor and employment matters and serves as co-chair of Littler’s EEO & Diversity Practice Group. 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. He has particular expertise dealing with the EEOC on both a local and national level, which has included being invited by the Chair of the EEOC to address the Commission on EEO-related issues on behalf of the employer bar.
Barry serves in numerous leadership roles at Cornell University. He currently serves as one of the Vice Chairs of the Cornell University Council; the Council recognizes Cornell Alumni who have demonstrated strong leadership and service to the community, their profession and to Cornell. Barry is on the Advisory Board of The Cornell Institute for Hospitality Labor and Employment Relations. Barry also has served in numerous leadership roles at the Cornell 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 previously serving on the Dean’s Advisory Council and President of the Alumni Association, he currently serves on the Board of the ILR School’s Scheinman Institute, which is the first institute exclusively focused on the study and practice of workplace dispute resolution.
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.
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.Read MoreLess
Danielle is a Principal in Deloitte’s Travel, Hospitality, and Services practice and leads the Human Capital and Organization & Talent practice for the sector. She has fifteen years of consulting experience leading clients through large scale global transformations with a focus on organizational, cultural, change management, and talent implications. In addition to consulting with leading hospitality and travel clients, Danielle has also served as advisor to the National Economic Council and The White House around alternative talent and upskilling initiatives. She speaks regularly at industry events and conferences and recently co-authored a point of view with the World Travel and Tourism Council around the Future of Work in Travel and Hospitality.
She received her Bachelor of Science from Cornell University in Industrial and Labor Relations.Read MoreLess
Dr. Jim Houran, Managing Director at AETHOS Consulting Group, is a 25-year veteran in applied psychological research and a published expert on peak performance, online testing and interpersonal and organizational compatibility. He has authored over 100 articles, and his award-winning work has been profiled by a myriad of media outlets and programs including the Discovery Channel, A&E, BBC, National Geographic, NBC’s Today Show, USA Today, New Scientist, Psychology Today and Forbes.com. He is on the Editorial Board of the APA journal – Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research & Practice and also serves as Research Professor in the Laboratory for Statistics and Computation, ISLA – Instituto Politécnico de Gestão e Tecnologia.Read MoreLess
Richard W. Hurd is Professor of Labor Studies Emeritus at the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR). As a specialist on trade union strategy, he has been quoted widely in the national and international print and broadcast media on various labor issues. Hurd is co-editor of four scholarly books: International Handbook on Labour Unions, Rekindling the Movement, Organizing to Win, and Restoring the Promise of American Labor Law. His academic journal publications include, “Moving Beyond the Critical Synthesis: Does the Law Preclude a Future for U.S. Unions?,” “First Contract Arbitration and the Employee Free Choice Act: Multi-jurisdictional Evidence from Canada,” “Beyond Labor’s Brawl – Strategic Conundrums Await,” and “Neutrality Agreements: Innovative, Controversial and Labor’s Hope for the Future.” Hurd earned his Ph.D. in economics from Vanderbilt University, and is a former Brookings Institution economic policy fellow.Read MoreLess
Heather Jacobs leads Delaware North’s global human resources strategy and function, including talent and organization development, compensation and benefits, employee and labor relations and human resources systems and services. She also leads the human resources partnership efforts throughout the company’s global operations.
Previously, Heather was with Four Seasons for more than 23 years, having started as a Management Trainee in hotel operations. Over the course of her career she has held numerous operational and H.R leadership positions including postings in Chicago, New York City and Washington D.C. Since 2004, Heather has worked outside of North America, first in Geneva, Switzerland and most recently in Dubai, U.A.E. where she oversaw the H.R operations for the more than 60 international properties. She holds a B.S. in Hotel Management from Cornell University. Heather, her husband, and their son recently relocated to Toronto after having spent four years in Dubai.Read MoreLess
Harry I. Johnson, III serves clients as a management-side defense lawyer, with extensive experience in traditional labor matters before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and federal courts. Harry joined Morgan Lewis after serving as a Board Member on the NLRB (2013–2015). While at the NLRB, Harry was involved with a substantial number of complex cases, including, for example, the nationally important arbitration/class-action-waiver case that eventually went up on review and was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in Epic Systems v. Lewis (2018). There, much of Harry’s rationale was shared if not adopted by the Court majority.
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. Harry has also counseled clients concerning enforceable employment arbitration policies, family and other protected leaves, handbook review, employee competition issues, plant closings, employee/labor aspects of mergers and acquisitions, layoffs, and employment contract drafting and claims.Read MoreLess
Tracey Kalimeris is a senior human resource leader with a passion for the hospitality industry. She has held senior leadership roles both within hotel operations and at the corporate level. In addition to her work in the industry, she spent several years in the education sector as a Professor of Human Resources.
In her current role as Vice President, Talent & Culture, Tracey provides strategic direction and has oversight of hotel human resource activities for properties within the Accor portfolio throughout North & Central America.
Tracey holds a Masters of Business Administration from Royal Roads University, British Columbia and is recognized as a Certified Human Resource Leader with the Canadian Human Resource Professional Association.Read MoreLess
Harry C. Katz, Ph.D. is the Jack Sheinkman Professor at the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR). He received his PhD in economics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1977. From 1977 to 1985, Katz was a faculty member at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In 1985, he joined the ILR School faculty, and served as the Kenneth F. Kahn Dean of the School of Industrial and Labor Relations from 2005 to 2015. He served as interim provost of the university in 2014, a post he held until the appointment of the current provost. His major publications include the following: Converging Divergences: Worldwide Changes in Employment Systems (with Owen Darbishire); Shifting Gears: Changing Labor Relations in the U.S. Automobile Industry; The Transformation of American Industrial Relations (with Thomas Kochan and Robert McKersie); and Telecommunications: Restructuring of Work and Employment Relations World-wide. Katz was awarded the Terry Book Award in 1988 for The Transformation of American Industrial Relations—considered as the most significant contribution to the field of management by the Academy of Management. Since 2006, Katz has been a member of the United Auto Workers (UAW) Public Review Board.Read MoreLess
David Klein is Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Sunstone Hotel Investors, Inc. Mr. Klein joined Sunstone in July 2016. Prior to joining Sunstone, Mr. Klein was a Partner in the Hospitality & Leisure group of Dentons, LLP, the world’s largest law firm, where his practice focused solely on the hospitality and leisure industry. Prior to joining Dentons, Mr. Klein held the position of co-founding Principal, Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel of NYLO Hotels and Advaya Hospitality. At NYLO, Mr. Klein spearheaded the company’s joint venture capitalization with Lehman Brothers, as well as multiple debt facilities for all company-owned hotel properties. He also led the structuring of the joint venture capitalization of Advaya with Auromatrix, a large private Indian conglomerate based in Chennai. Additionally, he oversaw all corporate and legal matters related to both companies’ ongoing franchise, management, development, financing and corporate affairs. Prior to his roles with NYLO and Advaya, Mr. Klein was a partner in the Hospitality & Leisure group of Squire Sanders (Squire Patton Boggs). Mr. Klein received his JD from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University and his BA from University of California at Los Angeles.Read MoreLess
Dana A. Kravetz is M&R’s Firm Managing Partner. He is also Chair of the firm’s Hospitality Industry Group, having a practice that focuses on the representation of hotel and restaurant management.
In his role as Firm Managing Partner, Dana oversees a complex and thriving business spread across five offices nationwide. He brings a unique vantage point to his work as a lawyer—that of a business owner/operator—which enables him to assign practical applications to employment issues confronting M&R’s client base. Likewise, given that he runs a firm with offices in multiple jurisdictions, Kravetz has firsthand knowledge as to how best to manage off-site employees, as well as a keen understanding of the interplay between state and federal laws, all of which insures to the benefit of M&R’s industry clientele.
It is his approach to cases as a business owner/operator that makes Kravetz’s defense of clients in various employment matters—discrimination, wrongful termination, whistleblower and class action litigation, sexual harassment prevention, workforce reduction, hiring best practices, and wage and hour issues—a cut above and beyond routine. And unlike other experienced labor and employment practitioners, Kravetz’s fluency in disputes involving the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) is enhanced by virtue of his management expertise. The same can be said of his work with companies facing Department of Labor (DOL) and Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) claims and audits.
In addition to the foregoing, Kravetz advises and litigates on behalf of clients in connection with executive employment contract disputes; independent contractor and misclassification issues; and non-competition, separation, and non-disclosure agreements. He also handles workplace training, investigations, and compliance.Read MoreLess
Tashlin Lakhani is an Assistant Professor of Management and Organizations at Cornell University in the School of Hotel Administration. Professor Lakhani earned her Ph.D. in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University. She also holds a Master of Science in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University, a Master of Industrial Relations from Queen’s University, and an Honors Bachelor of Business Administration with High Distinction from Wilfrid Laurier University. Prior to joining the faculty at Cornell University, Professor Lakhani was an Assistant Professor of Management and Human Resources in the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University.
Professor Lakhani’s research focuses on understanding how firm ownership structures shape human resource strategies and in turn, organizational outcomes. In particular, Professor Lakhani studies franchising and the ways in which HR practices and performance differ across franchisee-owned, company-owned and independently-owned (non-branded) operations in the hotel and restaurant industries. Professor Lakhani has also examined human resource management in global networks and the outcomes of different labor union strategies. Her research has been published in academic journals such as the Industrial & Labor Relations Review and British Journal of Industrial Relations, book chapters, and industry reports. She has also presented her research at leading academic and industry conferences in the field.
Professor Lakhani has received several awards for her research, including the Seidman Prize at Cornell University, the Ralph Alexander Best Dissertation Award from the Academy of Management Human Resources Division, the Thomas A. Kochan and Stephen R. Sleigh Best Dissertation Award from the Labor and Employment Relations Association, and the Industry Studies Association Best Dissertation Award.
Professor Lakhani has also received individual and team grants for her research from various organizations including the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research, the Society for Human Resource Management, the Labor and Employment Relations Association, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Russell Sage Foundation.Read MoreLess
Rich is the Recording Secretary and General Counsel of the Hotel Trades Council, AFL-CIO, the union representing 40,000 workers in the hotel and gaming industries in New York and New Jersey.
During his 18 years with the Hotel Trades Council, Rich has distinguished himself as a fierce negotiator and advocate for workers. He has negotiated hundreds of collective bargaining agreements with major hotel and casino chains, including as lead counsel in bargaining the union’s master NYC contract, valued at over 2.5 billion dollars per year. He oversees the union’s explosive growth in NJ and upstate NY, where the Hotel Trades Council doubled the number of union hotels and won the first ever state wide master contract in the hotel industry. Rich was intimately involved in the union’s expansion into the gaming industry, including the drafting of the 2013 legislation that created new casino licenses in New York State, the organizing of virtually all of the operators in the state, and the negotiation of collective bargaining contracts with each of them. Rich is also a key executive overseeing the union’s political program, which has been successful in numerous statutory reforms on the state and municipal levels.
Before coming to the Hotel Trades Council in 2002, Rich practiced labor and employment law in New Jersey and New York. He fought cases in front of state and federal courts and before the National Labor Relations Board, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, and the Division of Human Rights.
Rich graduated Phi Betta Kappa from Rutgers College, earned a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and later received a Masters in Labor and Employment Law, with distinction, from Georgetown University. He was a long-time adjunct professor of Labor and Employment Law at CUNY.
Rich is the son of Polish and Brazilian immigrants and grew up in New Jersey. He currently resides in Montclair with his wife Chanon and is the proud father of three daughters, Maria, Zoe, and Isabel.Read MoreLess
As Senior Vice President, Human Resources – Americas, Nikki Massey oversees the people and talent functions for Hyatt’s Americas region.
Now a 25-year member of the Hyatt family, Nikki began her career at Hyatt Regency Cambridge in Massachusetts, where her first job was serving as a towel attendant in the hotel’s health club. She held several operational roles within the hotel before pursuing her passion for Human Resources. Nikki worked in hotel HR functions across North America for several years before joining Hyatt’s Chicago headquarters in 2012.
Nikki has played a critical role in developing Hyatt’s design thinking approach and rolling out the company’s purpose, to care for people to be their best. Prior to her current role, Nikki was responsible for global learning, culture, engagement and change management. Today, she spearheads efforts to continuously evolve Hyatt’s culture as the hotel and travel industries navigate recovery in a dynamic environment.
Nikki holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts and a professional Human Resources certification. She is co-chair of the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Human Resources Committee. Nikki and her husband reside in Chicago with her stepchildren and their rescue dog, Moxie.Read MoreLess
Robert joined sbe, headquartered in New York City, as their Chief Culture Officer (head of human resources) in March 2019. Sbe is the world’s leader in lifestyle hospitality serving as an owner/operator for some of the world’s best hotels, restaurants, bars and nightlife including the SLS, Katsuya, Hyde, Doheny Room and Delano. Responsible for cultivating a global tribe of talent in concert with our partner organization Accor, Robert thrives on building team through a strengths based leadership lens.
Robert most recently spent the past 15 years as SVP, Really Cool People, leading the HR function for Destination Hotels and Resorts, Two Roads Hospitality and it parent real estate/investment company Lowe Enterprises. Robert’s background includes progressive HR leadership roles at the corporate and property level with W Hotels, Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Hilton Hotels Corporation.
Driven to change the world through people and purpose, Robert loves HR, talent and culture and spends his professional time building winning teams. Personally, Robert is married and has two kids and spends time playing beach volleyball, painting and serving as an amateur magician.Read MoreLess
For nearly 20 years, Cathy Miller has represented employers across the country in state and federal courts and in arbitrations, as well as before federal and state administrative bodies, in employment matters ranging from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the National Labor Relations Act. A significant portion of her practice involves handling these disputes, as well as providing employment counselling, on behalf of restaurant companies. Cathy is well-versed in arbitration and the Federal Arbitration Act and regularly advises clients on the subject. She also counsels clients regarding recent changes in employment laws, working to ensure company compliance with handbooks, policies and procedures. Cathy also provides training on employment-related issues such as sexual harassment and arbitration.
Cathy attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she earned both her BA and JD.Read MoreLess
Alan Momeyer is the Chief Human Resource Officer Emeritus of Loews Corporation, having retired in 2016. During his 36 years at Loews, Alan was responsible for the Human Resource function of this highly diversified New York-based financial conglomerate. Alan engaged with all Loews’s fully or partially owned subsidiaries, including Loews Hotels, CNA Insurance, Loews Theaters, Bulova Watch Company, CBS Television, Boardwalk Pipelines, Lorillard Tobacco, and Diamond Offshore Drilling.
Alan has spoken frequently at conferences on all aspects of the HR function, with particular emphasis on Employee Wellness, HR Branding, and Labor Relations.
While an Executive at Loews and a resident of New York City, Alan was actively involved on the Board of a variety of non-profit organizations. He was the Chairman of the Board of Community Access, to provide housing and counseling for the homeless mentally ill; Chairman of Just One Break (JOB), founded by Eleanor Roosevelt, to provide corporate employment opportunities for the physically disabled; Chairman of Inside Broadway, designed to stimulate New York public school children’s interest in the Broadway Theatre world; and currently as Chairman of JobsFirstNYC, a philanthropically funded intermediary created to assist the workforce development world in New York City too become more Employer-oriented.
After retirement, Alan created his blog “Hello Pension Goodbye Tension”, a guide to engaged living in retirement. His blog describes activities in travel, cooking school, biking, and entertaining. In addition, Alan is an Uber driver.
He has two grown children, Lily 29, living in the East Village and managing global sales for Unidays, and Jack 27, living in San Francisco and directing national sales for DoorDash.
Alan lives in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City and he always will.
Jaime Novikoff is the Head of Labor Relations for Aimbridge Hospitality, formerly Interstate Hotels and Resorts. Jaime is also the HR Business Partner supporting all the Full Service Hotels in the Interstate Hotels and Resorts portfolio. In these roles, Jaime provides counsel and support to hotels on traditional labor and management relations, union negotiations, associate relations, and legal compliance, as well as partners with the operations team on talent assessments and strategic leadership initiatives.
Prior to joining Interstate/Aimbridge, Jaime was a labor and employment attorney at Littler Mendelson in Washington D.C. Jaime was named to the Washington D.C. Super Lawyer Rising Start List for 2013. Jaime graduated from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations and earned her law degree from The Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.Read MoreLess
Carolyn D. Richmond is a partner and co-chair of Fox Rothschild LLP’s Hospitality Practice Group. Her practice consists of representing and counseling clients in the hospitality industry, as well as the financial services, retail, and manufacturing sectors on a variety of labor and employment matters. In particular, Richmond has extensive experience in matters including: wage and hour issues, restrictive covenants, independent contractor status, EEO discrimination claims, employee handbooks and the hiring process, diversity awareness training, union avoidance, and e-workplace (e.g., privacy, blogging, surveillance).
Before joining Fox, Richmond was associated with Seyfarth Shaw, LLP in New York, where she served as National Co-Chair of its Restaurant Employment Practices Group. Previously, Richmond was General Counsel Corporate & Legal Affairs for BR Guest Restaurants and James Hotels. Currently, she is lead counsel in several wage and hour class action lawsuits against restaurant employers concerning alleged violations of tip pool, overtime, and meal break regulations. In addition, Richmond is litigating non-compete and defamation claims on behalf of a national hotel group.
Richmond is a prolific writer and often is a guest speaker to the hospitality industry on various labor and employment-related topics. She is an appointed member of the Board of Editorial Advisors for the Hospitality Law publication. Richmond also serves as an appointed Board Member and counsel to the New York City Chapter of the New York State Restaurant Association, and is a member of the Alumni Board of Directors for Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations.
Richmond is a graduate of the New York Law School (J.D. 1994) and Cornell University (B.S. 1991). She is admitted to practice in New York and New Jersey.
Website Bio (as of 7/11/18):
Carolyn serves as co-chair of Fox Rothschild’s hospitality group. Based in the firm’s New York office, her practice consists of representing and counseling employers in the hospitality industry as well as financial services, retail, and manufacturing on a wide range of employment related matters. In particular, Carolyn has extensive experience litigating wage and hour class actions, and restrictive covenants, and employment discrimination cases. She also counsels clients extensively with respect to workplace issues such as the hiring process, diversity awareness training, and employee handbooks. Most recently, Carolyn has worked closely with a number of clients to develop practices and procedures to incorporate social networks into the workplace.
In 2009 Carolyn was acknowledged as a Crain’s New York Rising Star in its annual 40 Under Forty issue. A prolific writer, she is a frequent contributor to a number of publications and is a member of the board of editorial advisors for Hospitality Law. Carolyn is frequently quoted in publications, including the New York Times, Forbes, and Nation’s Restaurant News. Previously, Carolyn served as general counsel, business and legal affairs to BR Guest Restaurants – JAMES Hotels. Carolyn is also a board member and counsel to the New York City chapter of the New State Restaurant Association. Outside of the workplace Carolyn is involved with the PENCIL Partnership, and is teamed with a New York City charter school to help link the business community with the students. She is also a member of the advisory board of the Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell University and a member of the Alumni Association’s Board of Directors at Cornell’s ILR School.Read MoreLess
Steve Rimmer is a principal in New York Metro Transaction Services at PwC. Steve has over 25 years of experience in the human resource consulting field and specializes in coordinating the HR aspects of mergers, acquisitions, and spin-offs. Rimmer is a NYC-based principal in the Human Resource Transaction Services practice. He has significant experience addressing HR issues arising on private equity deals, including a specific focus on executive compensation.
Rimmer has been with PwC for 25 years, including 20 years in New York City and five years in London. Prior to PwC, he qualified as an actuary with a leading UK firm of actuaries. Rimmer is a fellow of the UK Institute of Actuaries and a certified compensation professional. He holds an MBA from the University of Manchester.
Rimmer has contributed chapters in books by PEI on HR due diligence and private equity portfolio compensation.
Rimmer has significant experience supporting projects in the hospitality sector, including developing high-level HR-delivery strategy for a luxury-hotel joint venture, conducting HR due diligence for a private equity firm and a restaurant chain, and assisting a casino in a major bargaining negotiation.
David B. Ritter is a partner in the Chicago office of Barnes & Thornburg LLP and a member of the firm’s Labor & Employment Law Department. He represents management nationwide in virtually all areas of labor and employment law, including employment discrimination and harassment claims, 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 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 represents high-level executives on issues related to employment and separation agreements. He also handles affirmative action plans, employment issues related to corporate transactions, counseling of employers on employment issues, and assists in employee training as related to employment issues.
Mr. Ritter has been commended on several occasions for his labor and employment practice. He is AV-rated – the highest honor one can receive – by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory. He has also been recognized as a labor and employment leader in the 2008-2012 editions of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, and has been listed in Best Lawyers in America every year since 2007 in the categories of Employment Law-Management and Labor Law-Management. Additionally, he is a regular contributor to presentations and publications, providing thought leadership on a wide range of employment law topics.
Prior to his legal career, Mr. Ritter worked as an employee relations assistant at Exxon Mobil (f/k/a Mobil Oil Corporation). 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.
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 Greater North Michigan Avenue Association (GNMAA).Read MoreLess
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. Mr. Rothfeld offers expertise in negotiating collective bargaining agreements, representation at grievance and arbitration proceedings and advice on contract interpretation and compliance. 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 Center for Innovative Hospitality and Labor Relations. He has been selected by his peers to be included in 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.Read MoreLess
Joy Rothschild, a 40-year associate who started in Omni’s Management Development Program, rejoined Omni Hotels & Resorts in 1998 and is the Chief Human Resources Officer. Rothschild is a dynamic and accomplished human resources executive that championed many Omni initiatives that directly impact profitability, customer and associate retention and satisfaction. Rothschild is a recipient of the now retired Omni Hotels & Resorts’ President’s Award for developing the Omni Service Champion employee recognition program and the Power of One® employee empowerment program. She is also a Hotel Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) GoldenBell Winner.
Rothschild serves on the Hospitality Board of Governors for College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism at University of North Texas, the Executive Board of the University of New Hampshire Paul College, the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Labor and Human Resources committees, and the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International Foundation’s Board of Directors.
She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in hospitality management from the University of New Hampshire’s Whittemore School of Business. Rothschild’s post-college executive education includes Harvard Business School’s Achieving Excellence through Service Program and the University of Michigan’s Advanced Human Resources Executive Forum. She resides in Dallas with her husband Hank and looks forward to visits from her college-aged children, Raef and Francesca.Read MoreLess
Sarah R. Schalman-Bergen is a partner at Lichten & Liss-Riordan P.C., who has dedicated her career to creating systemic change for workers and individuals who are not being treated fairly. She has secured numerous significant settlements for the workers she represents, totaling well over $100 million.
While representing workers in all types of industries, Sarah has successfully challenged unlawful business practices involving last-mile logistics companies, cable installation companies, home health aide companies, meat and poultry plants, landscaping companies, in white collar jobs, and in the government. This litigation has resulted both in payment of back wages and in practice changes by the companies.
Sarah also represents clients in antitrust cases involving labor markets. For example, she has prosecuted challenges to “no poach” agreements that allegedly suppressed employees’ wages, and she has defended clients against antitrust claims brought to impede their rights to organize for better working conditions. Sarah also represented the City of Philadelphia against a major bank for allegedly discriminatory practices, in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
Sarah works in partnership and routinely co-counsels with public interest law firms to lend expertise to their mission in litigation. She has served as volunteer of counsel to the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania for more than a decade, litigating discrimination and HIV-confidentiality cases. Sarah was honored for this work as an “Unsung Hero” by the Legal Intelligencer, Pennsylvania’s daily law journal.
Sarah conducts her practice according to the highest ethical standards, and has received high judicial praise, including being described as “ethical, talented, and motivated to help hard working men and women” and “some of the finest legal representation in the nation.”
Sarah routinely speaks at conferences on issues relating to workers’ rights. She currently serves on Cornell’s ILR-Hotel School CIHLER Advisory Board. Sarah was named a 2020 Pennsylvania Super Lawyer, after being named as a Rising Star in every year over the prior decade. In 2021, she was named in Best Lawyers in America. In 2015, she was honored as a “Lawyer on the Fast Track” by The Legal Intelligencer.
Prior to joining the Firm, Sarah was a partner at a plaintiff-side class action law firm, where she served as co-chair of the firm’s employment rights practice group. She has also practiced in the litigation department at a large Philadelphia firm, where she represented clients in a variety of industries in complex commercial litigation. Sarah received her J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School and her B.A. summa cum laude from Tufts University.
Ruth Seroussi, ILR ’92, Esq. is a shareholder at the Newhouse Law Group PC. She represents California and nationwide clients in federal and state courts, and in the arbitral and administrative forums.
During her more than 22 years of practice, Seroussi has guided employers in the hospitality, mortgage-lending, retail, apparel, manufacturing, real estate, health care, 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 United States Department of Labor, and state and local administrative agencies.
Additionally, she 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.
Seroussi serves as president of the board of directors for Venice Arts and secretary of the Friends of Coeur D’Alene Elementary School’s Booster Club. She 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. Seroussi has also published articles, spoken at conferences, and served on panels concerning hospitality, human resources, and labor and employment issues.
Seroussi earned her JD at the UCLA School of Law, where she was editor of the Environmental Law Journal, and her BS in Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University. She is admitted to practice before the United States District Court for the Central, Northern, Southern, and Eastern Districts of California and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
Seroussi lives in Venice with her husband Mike, two boys and dog. She is an active traveler, hiker, and outdoor enthusiast.Read MoreLess
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.Read MoreLess
Peter Slatin is the founder and president of Slatin Group LLC, which provides education and training to the hospitality and tourism industry on service to consumers with disabilities.
Slatin Group has trained thousands of hospitality employees across the U.S., through its in-person workshops and an e-learning course, Elements of Service, developed with strategic partner Slatin Media group. Clients include large convention center hotels as well as four and five-star and limited-service properties, as well as a significant West Coast airport authority.
Peter is an award-winning journalist and writes on disability for Forbes.com; he has written extensively for major national publications on commercial real estate and architecture. He was editorial director of Real Capital Analytics, the leading data and research firm for commercial property .
Peter, who is blind, is an adjunct instructor at New York University and developed a course on the intersection of hospitality and disability . A longtime advocate for disability rights. He is a director of Empire State Employment Resources for the Blind, and Colorado Center for the Blind, an acclaimed school affiliated with the National Federation of the Blind, and he has served on the boards of Lighthouse Guild and the Van Alen Institute. He has spoken internationally on universal design and access issues, and has consulted for organizations such as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority the National Endowment for the Arts and the Access Board. He holds a Master’s degree from Hunter College of the City University of New York and an undergraduate degree from State University of New York at New Paltz.
With more than 20 years’ experience as a thought leader and practitioner in the human resources field, Greg Smith serves as Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Preferred Hotels & Resorts. In this role, Greg oversees talent acquisition, organizational development, compensation and benefits programs, performance management, and employee and labor relations for the company’s worldwide team of 300 associates across 35 countries, helping to ensure a strong corporate culture and high associate satisfaction and retention.
Over the course of his career, Greg has led human resources efforts for complex global organizations, providing counsel and direction to create successful, positive, and efficient work environments, as well as guiding companies through times of both critical expansion and mergers and acquisitions. Prior to joining Preferred Hotels & Resorts in 2018, he held executive-level positions for major hospitality brands such as Commune Hotels & Resorts, Denihan Hospitality, Kimpton Hotels & Resorts, Interstate Hotels & Resorts, and Choice Hotels International, managing human resources needs from technology systems and training and development to recruiting and executive-level coaching for up to 39,000 associates at a time. His efforts have helped achieve several work-life balance and workplace awards including Fortune’s “100 Best Places to Work.”
Based in Orange County, California, Greg holds a J.D. from Tulane University Law School and a B.A. in English Language and Literature/Letters from Tulane University
Elise Smith is the CEO of Praxis Labs, a social impact focused venture that advances diversity and inclusion outcomes through Virtual Reality based learning experiences. Prior to this work, Elise invested in and coached entrepreneurs developing diversity and inclusion solutions and published diversity and inclusion research and resources at NewSchools Venture Fund. Elise began her career at IBM Watson where she developed early iterations of Watson for Education products, led B2B sales, as well as edtech partnerships with the Watson platform. Elise holds a B.A. from Dartmouth College and is pursuing an MBA/ MA in Education at Stanford University. Elise is passionate about scaling access and opportunity with the goal of creating a more equitable society.Read MoreLess
Taylor was elected President of UNITE HERE! in November 2012. Mr. Taylor has been a leader in the American labor movement for 34 years. His union experience began as a shop steward at Harvey’s Restaurant in Washington, DC, where he worked as a waiter in the 1970s. In 1981 he was hired by HERE, one of UNITE HERE’s predecessor unions, to organize workers in the Reno/Tahoe area. He later moved to Las Vegas to help lead a citywide strike by the local HERE affiliate, the Culinary Workers’ Union.
Mr. Taylor worked as an organizer during some of the Culinary Workers’ Union’s most difficult moments, including the six-year strike at the Frontier Casino. During his tenure in Las Vegas, the Culinary Workers’ Union grew from 18,000 members to over 55,000, and achieved a positive, mutually-beneficial relationship with most major gaming companies. The union and employers partnered to form the Culinary Training Academy in 1993, which has become one of the leading work training schools in the country, moving more people from welfare to work than any other institution in Nevada. Mr. Taylor was elected Secretary-Treasurer of the Culinary Workers’ Union in 2002.
In 2004 Mr. Taylor was appointed as the Gaming Division Director of UNITE HERE. He has led major campaigns in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, and has expanded the union’s organizing in new markets such as Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Florida, and Indiana, as well as in tribal gaming.
Mr. Taylor was born and raised in Williamsburg, Virginia, and graduated from Georgetown University in 1980.Read MoreLess
Bruce is a Professor of Management at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. Since joining the faculty in 1992, he has taught courses in human resources management and leadership for undergraduate, graduate, executive, and online audiences throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Asia. Bruce’s research examines a wide range of strategic and operational HR topics, including the impact of training initiatives, flexible HR systems, employee retention, employment law, and leadership. He has presented his work at numerous regional, national, and international conferences, and his research has been published in diverse outlets such as the Journal of Applied Psychology, the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, and the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Labor and Employment Law. Bruce’s sponsors for research, consulting, and executive development have included Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Hilton Worldwide, Marriott International, Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts, Blue Hill Farm, Hillstone Restaurant Group, Uno Chicago Grill, among others, and he has been cited in USA Today, the New York Times, Fast Company, Powder Magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, and other popular press outlets. Bruce is also the Editor of the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, and serves as a Vice President for the International Network of Business and Management Journals.Read MoreLess
Brenda Tscharner is the V.P. of Human Resources for Proper Hospitality and has spent the past four years with Proper as the Company has expanded its portfolio. She has an extensive background in the luxury hospitality segment with over 25 years of hospitality and human resources experience. She began her career with Four Seasons Hotels & Resort and spent 14 years in Human Resources at four locations. She joined the KOR Group in 2001 and helped transition the portfolio from a small boutique hotel company to an international brand under Viceroy Hotels. Brenda has been involved in numerous domestic and international hotel acquisitions, transitions and openings. She has a defined skill set in team building, culture development and strategic leadership development. Brenda holds a B.A. Degree in Political Science with an emphasis in international relations from the University of California, Santa Barbara and is a graduate of the Center for Creative Leadership in La Jolla, California.Read MoreLess
Paul supported himself through seven years of college and law school at Cornell University as a bartender at several local bars. That, along with his love of food and travel, is what ultimately drew him to the hospitality industry as an attorney, and later as an Adjunct Professor at Cornell’s Hotel School.
Paul grew up living in the United States, Canada, Liberia and Kenya, before returning to the U.S. to attend Cornell starting in 1982. He then worked on a refugee camp in southern Sudan (now South Sudan) for three summers during college. Since graduating from law school in 1990, his practice has been devoted to labor and employment law, primarily representing hotel and restaurant management companies and owners. Paul’s international background gives him a unique and valuable perspective in the hospitality industry, which draws its strength from cultural and ethnic diversity. The practice of labor and employment law in the hospitality industry requires as much sociology and anthropology as it does classic legal training, and he remains a dedicated student of these disciplines.
He has extensive experience litigating labor and employment cases in federal and state court, private and public arbitration, and administrative agencies including the EEOC, USDOL, NLRB, and numerous state and municipal agencies. Wage & hour class and collective action litigation represents a growing percentage of this work. Paul spends as much time counseling his hospitality clients to avoid litigation as he spends aggressively representing their interests when claims are brought against them, focusing on training, leadership, compliance audits, and organizational design. He designs and implements manager and employee training for clients throughout the United States on the subjects of discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, retaliation, leadership and general workplace conduct.
He also counsels his clients in matters of traditional labor law, and represent their interests in union campaigns, collective bargaining, and related disputes. His labor practice extends outside the United States to include labor consulting in Canada, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
Paul is honored to be an adjunct professor at the Cornell Hotel School, a position he has held since 1998. He teaches Hospitality Business Law, Employment Law for Managers (including discrimination, harassment and retaliation), and Labor Relations in the Hospitality Industry. The synergy between his law practice and his academic appointment the Cornell Hotel School – the premier hotel management program in the United States – is not only professionally enriching, but also makes him a more effective advocate for his clients.Read MoreLess
An experienced labor and employment litigator and advisor, Christian White focuses his practice on the management side of labor and employment law – concentrating on the hospitality industry. Christian counsels on issues related to discipline and discharge, employment discrimination, wage and hour compliance, and provides regulatory compliance training, as well as negotiates collective bargaining agreements, defends employers against union claims and grievances, and conducts labor awareness and contract compliance trainings. Prior to joining BakerHostetler, Christian was Associate General Counsel for AccorHotels, where he spearheaded all labor and employment legal issues for the North American division of one of the largest hotel companies in the world. As former “in-house” counsel, Christian is particularly mindful of the need for outside counsel to know the business and understand the need to address business practicalities and operational concerns. As such, he seeks to give practical, efficient and effective advice that helps avoid or lessen disputes before they become larger concerns.Read MoreLess
Douglas H. Wigdor is the Founding Partner of Wigdor LLP. Mr. Wigdor has been at the forefront of some of the most widely publicized sexual harassment and sexual assault cases that have made headline news around the world. Some of his notable representations include the hotel maid in the Dominique Strauss-Kahn sexual assault case, the rape victim in the Delhi Uber case that led to numerous executive resignations, NBA All-Star Charles Oakley in a defamation lawsuit against James Dolan and Madison Square Garden, multiple clients in the seminal “shop and frisk” cases, and over 20 employees at Fox News in their claims of gender discrimination, race discrimination and retaliation against the network. Mr. Wigdor regularly appears on television and is frequently quoted in the media. He has also been profiled in the New York Times, Bloomberg, and the London Independent. Mr. Wigdor is also an arbitrator, serving on the AAA Panel. He served as a Law Clerk to U.S. District Judge Arthur D. Spatt and previously worked as a prosecutor and at Morgan Lewis. Mr. Wigdor earned his B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis, his M.A. from Oxford University, and his J.D. from Catholic University.Read MoreLess
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; health and safety; and 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. 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.Read MoreLess