2020 Speakers

Be sure not to miss one of the most esteemed collection of experts in the industry.  These hospitality veterans will bring their unique experience, perspective and relentless focus on practical application of knowledge, approaches, and solutions.

Ana Alfonso

Ana Alfonso is the President & CEO of Workforce Dynamics Consulting.  A company founded on the premise that people are the most important asset of an organization and their contributions can be tremendously powerful. While most companies agree with this in principle, competitive businesses, scaling or going through hypergrowth, have unique challenges that require more tailored solutions.

Ana has strategic experience in people operations and a strong focus on integrating business and culture to increase management’s effectiveness.

She has built her career as a broad-based generalist in Human Resources and Shared Services business operations and has worked in both multi-national and domestic business settings.  Ana has a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University in New Jersey and a master’s degree in International Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University in Florida.  In addition, she has completed Human Resources Management Studies, Human Resources Strategy Studies and Psychology of Leadership certifications through e-Cornell and holds active SPHR and GPHR certifications from the Human Resources Certification Institute.

As an executive staff member, in both startups and enterprise businesses, Ana has helped companies improve their human capital performance by optimizing systems, processes and policies to a best in class operating level.  She helps clients mitigate employment risk by integrating regulatory compliant solutions with business objectives, and also works with legal teams and investor groups in due diligence audits during funding, buying or selling companies and M&A activities.

Ana has been a speaker at the Human Resources Association of Broward County annual conference on the topic of human resources innovation and legacy and has been a guest panelist at numerous local events. She frequently participates in community events throughout South Florida.

In 2017 And was invited to join the Greater Miami Society for Human Resources Management, where she holds a Board seat and continues to serve as Vice President of Development.


Her ability to help clients identify challenges, find solutions and produce strategies that generate results makes her an essential partner to executive teams of companies that strive for rapid growth in their markets.

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Mercedes Badia-Tavas

Mercedes Badia-Tavas provides legal and business guidance to clients on a broad range of immigration law cases, with focus on Fortune 500 and
small companies alike. Mercedes supports her firm’s offices and clients across various states on immigration employment transfers and up-to-date

As an immigrant herself, Mercedes finds particular fulfillment in helping companies and individuals immigrate to the United States and participate in the
American dream through startups and business transactions that also can benefit the U.S. economy.

Mercedes attributes much of her practice today to her dedication to resourcefulness from years of experience, meticulous preparation and organization skills. This entails a thorough understanding of her client’s industry, operations, culture, practices and financial goals in order to lay out realistic
expectations and alternative strategies, as needed. Mercedes believes in being organized in her approach and documentation as a way of helping her clients
manage costs. She and her team are committed to employing systems-driven tracking, timely updates and follow-ups with clients, and being pragmatic when unexpected issues arise.

Mercedes advises on a range of employment-based immigration needs, including temporary (nonimmigrant) and permanent (immigrant) visas for executives,
managers, investors, professionals, aliens of extraordinary ability, and essential, specialized and skilled workers. She works hand-in-hand with clients on their corporate global mobility policies and compliance documentation regarding sponsoring foreign nationals for employment-based visa classifications. She is regularly involved in I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification (EEV) and H-1B Labor Condition Application compliance.

Mercedes also provides in-house and on-site training on immigration planning for personnel transfers, immigration-related due diligence for mergers and acquisitions, consular applications, and naturalization and citizenship initiatives. She guides clients through internal immigration program administration and monitoring, and trains human resource personnel and other managers on the evolving areas of immigration law and practical integration of immigration policies, procedures and compliance statutes to everyday business operations.

Born in Cuba and bilingual in Spanish and English, Mercedes has sincere compassion for and sensitivity to her clients, keenly aware of the legal land
mines and tedious pathways they would navigate through the U.S. immigration system. Whether Mercedes is advising on an immigration matter for an individual relocating from abroad, transferring within the U.S. from another employer, entering the U.S. workforce from student status, looking to build a U.S. business or someone part of a cultural exchange program, she provides her experience with the same strong zeal and commitment toward the best outcome.

Notably, Mercedes has been featured on NPR and Spanish-language broadcasts on immigration topics, many of which included audience call-ins. Prior to joining Barnes & Thornburg, Mercedes had built her own legal practice over nine years as the founding partner of Badia-Tavas Law Group, representing similar categories of clients she now services, with a little more individual and familytype immigration cases involved. She has traveled and lived throughout Latin America.

Professional and Community Involvement
Executive board member and past chair, American Immigration Lawyers
Association (AILA) Chicago Chapter
Member, American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Congressional
Advocacy and several government liaison committees
Member, American Bar Association International Section
Member, Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois
Member, UNO Metropolitan Leadership Institute of Chicago
The Best Lawyers in America, 2016-2020

 “Observations on Argentine Arbitration,” American Review of International
Arbitration, Parker School of Comparative and International Law, Columbia
 Contributing author, several articles in various volumes of AILA’s Immigration
& Nationality Law Handbooks, including articles on “Employer Sanctions,”
“Visa Options for Trainees” and “Proper Uses of the B-1 Visa”
 Advised private university on immigration compliance issues according to
DHS requirements as a designated institution of higher education approved
to issue F-1 International Student Visas, and J-1 Exchange Visitor Visas.
Provided guidance on individual student issues related to visa status and
allowable employment authorization situations.
 Represented institutions of higher education before DHS to obtain the
nonimmigrant O-1 visa for professors and researchers, based upon the
foreign national’s extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences or business.
 Represented medical institutions affiliated with institutions of higher
education to obtain H-1B cap exempt status for foreign physicians and
 Represented universities to obtain EB-1 immigrant visas for permanent
residency based on the foreign national’s extraordinary ability or national
interest waivers given the field of study and contributions to the United

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Alka Bahal

A recognized leader in immigration and nationality law, Alka counsels clients on legal and strategic issues arising from the international movement of key personnel, from the individual transfer of high-ranking executives to high-volume transfers of expert staff.

Alka is co-chair of the firm’s Immigration Practice Group, focusing on corporate immigration. She has extensive knowledge and in-depth experience in obtaining non-immigrant and immigrant visas on behalf of clients, as well as counseling, training and developing compliance programs for employers. In addition, the practice supports the global movement of client personnel.

Over the years, Alka has developed an in-depth understanding of the ways in which immigration compliance and visa processing are affected by the delicate interplay among the law, current political machinations and the needs of businesses. She is particularly fluent in the bureaucratic process, political nuances and comprehensive understanding of the current, ever-changing immigration laws. This enables her to provide effective, mindful, and creative representation to her clients. She provides clients with a full range of immigration related legal services which are carefully crafted to reflect each client’s goals and objectives.

As many employers know, immigration laws are enforced by government agencies around the world that often provide restrictive responses to immigration and the legitimate needs of businesses to employ the best workers regardless of nationality. Alka assists employers in meeting their needs efficiently and effectively, while endeavoring to minimize the inconvenience, delay, expense, and potential liability related to immigration issues. She offers advisory services to help navigate the complex areas of work authorization and immigrant and non-immigrant visa services as well as develop foreign national workforce policies, training programs, and corporate compliance strategies, such as I-9 Compliance, to respond to workplace needs. Further, she conducts on-site preventive training programs designed to meet clients’ specific needs.

In the course of her career, focused exclusively on corporate immigration law, Alka has represented a wide variety of clients, from Fortune 500 corporations to publicly traded companies, to medium-sized, privately held corporations to small start-up ventures, high-net-worth individuals and nonprofit organizations across the country. Alka has developed a niche in representing fashion houses of all sizes around the world and has become well known for her attention and creative solutions to employers’ hiring needs.



Other industries Alka has assisted include:

  • Biotechnology
  • Construction
  • Fashion (clothing, cosmetics, shoes, handbags, eyewear and more)
  • Financial services Franchises
  • Health care, religious and other nonprofit entities
  • Hospitality
  • Higher Education
  • Information technology
  • Manufacturing
  • Media and entertainment
  • Payroll processing services
  • Retail
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Telecommunications

Alka has an extensive practice advising clients with regard to Federal Employment Eligibility Verification, including I-9 consulting, corporate I-9 policies and best practices, auditing, training and inspection defense. She conducts elite customized training programs and workshops for employers in person and over the web to address specific needs, including best practices, legal requirements, corrective procedures and remote hires. She provides clients with comprehensive I-9 audits, including full-scale remediation, training, program review and revision with ongoing spot checks to ensure continued compliance.

She has also defended a wide variety of clients, from small family owned businesses to large-scale employers with thousands of employees, in I-9/IRCA Inspections conducted by the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Her years of experience in this area have allowed her the opportunity to develop relationships with DHS personnel across the country and become well versed in the complicated federal anti-discrimination laws, formal and informal compliance guidelines so she may support clients in ensuring compliance, avoiding federal audit, and building a strong defense against potential fines and sanctions.

She also has a wide range of experience with non-immigrant visas, assisting numerous clients in negotiating the complex maze of regulations, policies and operational instructions that must be navigated to obtain these visas, clearing processing both in the U.S. as well as at U.S. embassies worldwide.

  • Professional worker visas
  • Intracompany Transferee visas
  • Treaty Trader and Investor visas
  • North American Free Trade visas for Canadians and Mexicans
  • Free Trade Agreement visas for Chileans and Singaporeans
  • Tourist and Business visas
  • Artist and Athlete Visas
  • Extraordinary Ability in science, education, arts, business or athletics visas
  • Entertainer visas
  • Exchange Visitor Visas
  • International Cultural Exchange Visas
  • Foreign Medical Professional visas
  • Student and Scholar Visas
  • Religious Worker Visas
  • Derivative Family Immigrant Visas (spouses/children)

Similarly, she has an extensive experience with immigrant visas, employing a nuanced understanding of the most recent changes in the law relevant to all types of matters before the Department of Labor, the Department of Homeland Security, the National Visa Center and U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide.

  • Labor Certifications
  • Immigrant Visa Petitions
  • Multinational Executives and Managers
  • Outstanding Professors and Researchers
  • Exceptional Ability in science, education, arts, business or athletics
  • Nurses, Doctors, Physical Therapists and Other Healthcare Professionals
  • Religious Workers, Returning Permanent Residents and Journalists
  • Employment Creation/Investor
  • Employment-Related Family Immigrant Visas (spouses/children/brothers/sisters)

Also a member of the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice Group, and a leader of Fox Rothschild’s cross-practice global workforce team Alka works in tandem with the firm’s labor, employment, and benefits lawyers, to provide integrated cross-border advice, counseling, and strategic planning. Alka has assisted with a variety of management-side negotiations related to immigration matters, and has provided guidance and training on I-9 and Social Security mismatches to employers of all sizes. She also coordinates with other Fox Rothschild attorneys to provide clients with a full range of legal services requiring the skills of lawyers practicing in a variety of disciplines, ranging from customs, international, tax, corporate, business reorganization, employment, real estate, trusts and estates and litigation groups.

Alka has filed more than 10,000 petitions relating to the employment of non-immigrants and the acquisition of permanent residence. Alka is committed to strategic immigration planning, responsive to the unique needs of business clientele, and mindful of the enormous importance of timely and cost-effective legal representation.

A noted speaker and author on corporate immigration topics, Alka regularly hosts seminars on business immigration, immigration compliance and strategic planning and has authored numerous published articles in this area, as well as visa-related topics.

Alka is permitted to represent immigration clients in every jurisdiction of the United States and all Consulates worldwide.

Before Fox Rothschild

Prior to merging with Fox Rothschild, Alka was the Chair of the Corporate Immigration Practice Group at Grotta, Glassman & Hoffman. Prior to that, Alka built and managed a highly successful business immigration practice operating in all jurisdictions worldwide.

Beyond Fox Rothschild

Alka serves as a delegate for the New Jersey State Bar Association’s General Council.

In 2014, Alka became the Chair-Elect of the Immigration Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association.

In 2011, Alka was appointed to four American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) committees including Customs and Border Control, Department of Labor, ICE, and Technology, which she serves as the co-chair on.

In 2008, Alka was appointed chair of the Immigration Law Committee of the Essex County Bar Association.

Client Resources

Immigration View Blog
U.S. immigration law comprises a system of highly complex, intricate, many-layered statutes, regulations, informal agency materials and policies which are often influenced by the current political climate. Anyone attempting to navigate this system needs attorneys well versed in the nuances of this multifaceted process. Join our experienced immigration bloggers as they provide regular updates for employers on the full gamut of immigration issues ranging from hiring, compliance and employment best practices to the latest developments in visa news and coverage of significant immigration-related decisions, as well as practical advice to ease the immigration process. View the Immigration View Blog


I-9 Process Guide (pdf)

I-9 Audit Guide (pdf)

Honors & Awards

  • Named to the list of “Best 50 Women in Business” by NJBIZ (2011)*
  • Selected to the list of “Forty Under 40” by NJBIZ (2010)*
  • Named to the list of “40 Under 40” by the New Jersey Law Journal (2009)*
  • JD Supra Readers’ Choice Award (2018)
  • Named the “Second Most Read Contributor in the United States” by Mondaq (September 2015, April 2016)
  • Named the “Third Most Read Contributor in the United States” by Mondaq (August 2014, June 2015, September 2015, November 2015, June 2016)
  • Named the “Fourth Most Read Contributor in the United States” by Mondaq (October 2014, April 2015)
  • Named the “Fifth Most Read Contributor in the United States” by Mondaq (August 2015)
  • Rated “Excellent” by Avvo

*Awards Methodology

Practice Areas

  • Immigration
  • Labor & Employment
  • EB-5 Immigrant Investor Services
  • Health Law
  • International
  • Fashion Law
  • Hospitality
  • Retail Industry

Bar Admissions

  • New Jersey


  • Boston University School of Law (J.D., 1995)
  • Marquette University (B.A., 1992)


  • American Immigration Lawyer’s Association, New York and New Jersey Chapters
  • New Jersey State Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • South Asian Bar Association
  • Essex County Bar Association, Immigration Committee, Chair
  • New Jersey State Bar Association, Immigration Law, Chair-Elect
  • American Immigration Lawyers Association Technology Committee, Co-Chair
  • American Immigration Lawyers Association ICE Committee, Chair, Worksite Enforcement
  • American Immigration Lawyers Association Customs and Border Control Committee
  • American Immigration Lawyers Association Department of Labor Committee
  • ABA Advisory Panel


  • Hindi
  • Spanish
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Jake Basham

Vice President, Human Resources, Loews Hotels & Co

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 labor relations and compliance strategies.

Bringing a wealth of experience in human resources and labor management, Jake joined Loews Hotels 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 bachelor’s degree in parks, recreation & 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 Labor Relations Committee.

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Taylor Beauchamp

Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer, Hotel Effectiveness Solutions

Taylor has worked in the hospitality industry for over 20 years in operations, corporate and technology roles with an interest in labor efficiencies and data analytics. He is the Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at Hotel Effectiveness Solutions, the leader in labor management software in the hotel industry. Taylor is responsible for the vision, design and delivery of a suite of products that helps hotels control their labor costs.

Taylor started his career in various operational roles in restaurants and hotels. He spent two years with RealTime Hotel Reports, a data analytics start-up that was later acquired by STR. He joined InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) for a number of years where he managed a global team of business analysts. Before leaving IHG, Taylor managed the labor planning and scheduling globally for more than 2,000 employees where he developed an expertise in optimizing labor in service related businesses.

Taylor earned his bachelor’s degree from the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University.

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Nigel Beck

CEO and Founder, When Labs

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.

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Lisa Bernstein

Former Senior Partner and Global Head of Human Capital and Administration, Apollo Global Management

Lisa Bernstein is a transformative leader who has successfully built two exceptional Human Capital and Administration functions from the ground up and led the development of two highly successful companies from infancy to institutionalization. Until recently she was Senior Partner and Global Head of Human Capital and Administration at Apollo Global Management (NYSE:APO). Apollo provides global alternative asset manager services, raising, investing, and managing private equity, credit-oriented capital markets and real estate funds. Lisa joined Apollo in 2008 as the Global Head of Human Capital where she has built and developed a best-in-class Human Capital Management function for the firm, which as of June 2019 employs nearly 1,300 people across 15 global offices and manages $310 billion in assets.

In her primary role at Apollo, she led the development and execution of the global human capital strategy in support of the overall business plan and strategic direction of the firm, specifically in the areas of succession planning, talent management, compensation and analytics, human capital and organizational planning, diversity and inclusion initiatives, employee engagement, training and development, and benefits. As a Senior Partner, she was a member of Apollo’s Management Committee, which is responsible for the firm’s decision-making. She served as an active member on several steering committees, including Expense Allocation, Information Security, Technology Innovation, and Real Estate. In 2017, she assumed global responsibility for facilities, corporate services, administration and real estate management for the firm. She also co-led the firm’s branding efforts, through which she lent an active voice to Apollo’s culture and identity.

She was also at the forefront of Apollo’s philanthropic and diversity and inclusion initiatives. She co-led the Veterans Hiring and Retention Initiative on behalf of Apollo’s portfolio companies and championed the engagement and advancement of talented women across the firm. She founded the Apollo Women Empower network, which supports the engagement and advancement of women throughout the firm by facilitating mentorship and networking opportunities, as well as educational and philanthropic events. She also oversaw all charitable giving on behalf of Apollo and spearheaded the creation of the Apollo Foundation, which is focused on giving back to the communities in which the organization works through financial support and volunteerism.

Prior to joining Apollo, she led the global HR function as the Chief Talent Officer for the global brand consultancy Interbrand, which is a subsidiary of Omnicom (NYSE:OMC). She joined Interbrand in 2001 and built the HR function in New York and then in North America before her promotion to the global board. In partnership with the CEO, she owned all business initiatives affecting more than 1,200 employees globally. From 1989 to 2000, Lisa was a Partner with Seyfarth Shaw where she handled all aspects of labor and employment law on behalf of Fortune 500 clients.

Lisa is a director on the Board of Intrado (formally West Corporation) (Nasdaq:WSTC). Intrado is a privately held global provider of communication and network infrastructure services helping its clients more effectively communicate, collaborate and connect with their audiences through a diverse portfolio of solutions that include unified communications services, safety services, interactive services such as automated notifications, telecom services and specialized agent services. Apollo, through Fund VIII acquired West in a public to private transaction in October 2017. The transaction has an enterprise value of approximately $5.2 billion, including net debt and transaction fees and expenses.

Lisa currently sits as the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Change for Kids and is a Founding Counsel Member of The Arthur Miller Foundation. She is the former Chairwoman and member of The Private Equity Roundtable of Senior Human Resources Professionals. She also was an attendee at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit 2018 and is a regular speaker at industry conferences and human capital management seminars.

Lisa graduated from the University of Michigan with an A.B. in Political Science and received her J.D. from Fordham University School of Law.

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Gretta Brooks

CEO & Founder, SalesBoost, LLC

Gretta Brooks, founder and chief executive officer of SalesBoost, LLC, has developed a SaaS-based sales training technology solution for hotels to improve performance and increase results. A long-time techie and hotel executive with a passion for mentoring others, Gretta combined her expertise and passion to develop and obtain the provisional patent for the first voice analysis training system software for the hospitality industry.

A web-based, on-demand sales development tool, SalesBoost, provides unlimited sales and customer service scenario simulation and immediate feedback to improve sales effectiveness. The training is self-paced and designed in a micro-learning format, a learning technique that delivers role-based content in short, easily digestible, segments.

Having trained thousands in hotel sales for over 30 years as an executive with Omni, Hilton, and Aimbridge Hospitality companies, Ms. Brooks developed SalesBoost’s learning and reinforcement model as a solution to the traditionally expensive and often ineffective sales training offered. For more details, visit www.salesboost.com.

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Anthony Campanelli

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.

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Alice Cheng

Founder & CEO, Culinary Agents

Alice Cheng is the Founder & CEO of Culinary Agents, a professional networking and job marketing website designed for the hospitality industry.

Having spent 13 years working at IBM helping companies apply technology to solve business problems, Alice brings her experience into the hospitality industry to solve inefficiencies and gaps around talent sourcing and career development.

Passionate about helping people build careers, Alice takes leadership roles in mentoring across all industries with a focus on helping talent succeed in their careers. She currently serves as an advisor for Food X, an accelerator program for food-related tech startups and for Women in Hospitality United, a non-profit that works towards developing new standards for equity, accountability, and transparency in the hospitality industry. Alice is also a member of the Society of Fellows for the Culinary Institute of America.

About Culinary Agents

Culinary Agents is a website to find career-related information about the hospitality industry. Focused on its mission to help talent succeed in their careers within the hospitality industry, the platform empowers aspiring and existing talent to easily discover and apply to the best jobs. Culinary Agents also provides job marketing, recruiting and employer branding solutions to help businesses hire the best talent.

Culinary Agents is committed to a hospitality-driven approach, thoughtful innovation, building meaningful relationships and maintaining integrity. Its growing community spans the U.S., including all levels of talent as well as restaurants, hotels, resorts, catering, foodservice, schools and organizations of all sizes.

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Michael D’Angelo

Vice President of Labor Relations, Hyatt Hotels Corporation

Michael D’Angelo is a labor and employment attorney and vice president of labor relations 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 negotiation process. In addition, Michael serves as public relations spokesperson and liaison for media related inquiries and press releases for labor matters and negotiation issues.

Michael is also 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 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 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, Collective Bargaining, Employment Law, Employee Benefits Law, Litigation and Arbitration

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Zev Eigen

Founder, Chief Science Officer, Data Scientist, Syndio

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).

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Felice Ekelman

Principal, Jackson Lewis P.C.

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.

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Leslie Ferrier

Vice President of Human Resources, Momofuku

Leslie Ferrier began her hospitality career with Hilton Hotels Corporation in their management development program.  Recruited on campus from Johnson & Wales University, she worked in HR leadership roles for the Capitol Hilton, McLean Hilton, Fontainebleau, Rye Town & Pittsburgh Hilton Hotels.  With Loews Corporation, she was on the opening teams for the Loews House of Blues, Chicago, the Loews Miami Beach and the Loews Porto Fino Bay Hotel in Universal Studios.  She has served as Corporate Director of HR for Linens n Things, as well as, VP of HR for both ABC Carpet & Home and Aerosoles shoes.  Leslie was the founding HR leader for TxVia, a high tech start up, which sold to Google.  At Atlantic Coast Media Group, Leslie was the VP of Talent Acquisition & Development where she was nominated as one of New Jersey’s top women in business.  That same year, ACMG won fastest growing company in NJ.  During this period, she also served on the Board of Directors for Liberty Humane Society in Jersey City, NJ turning a faltering shelter into a lifesaving example of urban rescue.  As the Head of HR for Le Pain Quotidien, she opened 15 new restaurants and was responsible for 3500 employees in 90 restaurants over 8 states.  Leslie has been a featured Panelist with Bloomberg, Cornell University, the LEAPHR Conference & the Women’s FAB conference in Charleston, SC to name a few.  She is currently the Vice President of Human Resources for Momofuku reporting directly to world renowned chefs, David Chang, Christina Tosi and Momofuku’s President, Alex Munoz-Suarez.

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Cary Friedman

Global Head of Human Resources, Jefferies Group, LLC

Cary Friedman is Jefferies’ Global Head of Human Resources, based in New York. In this role, he advises the business on all aspects of its investment in people and culture. Cary is responsible for leading Jefferies’ overall human resources strategy and aligning all human capital initiatives and functions with the strategic objectives of the firm. He oversees leadership development, talent management, diversity and inclusion, talent acquisition, internal mobility, HR operations, reporting and analytics, and the HR Business Partners.

Prior to joining Jefferies in February 2018, Cary spent five years at Credit Suisse where he served as the bank’s Senior Talent Development Officer and Head of Talent Development. As the steward of all senior talent initiatives at Credit Suisse, Cary created a state-of-the-art leadership development and talent management organization. His work focused on identifying and developing world-class leaders and building a robust and global talent pipeline to help the firm achieve its strategic objectives. Prior to joining Credit Suisse in 2011, Cary spent 13 years at Goldman, Sachs & Co. where he played an integral role in creating the Pine Street Leadership Group.

Cary’s publications include “Leadership Acceleration at Goldman Sachs” in The Handbook for Teaching Leadership: Knowing, Doing, and Being and “Coaching at Goldman Sachs: An Inside Look” in Profiles in Coaching – The 2004 Handbook of Best Practices in Leadership Coaching. Cary has spoken at major national conferences and at leading universities on talent management, leadership development, and other human capital topics.

Cary holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University.  He and his wife Tiffany reside in New Jersey with their three children.


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Alexander (Sandy) Gentles

Senior Director, Talent Point by Marriott

More than seventeen years of expertise in strategic management, business process reengineering, program/project management organizational change and business development. Regularly leads planning and execution of complex strategic solutions across a variety of functional areas. Strong foundation in business analysis and an understanding of operational challenges resulting from new strategies. Extensive experience in the high tech, hospitality, media and government industries with consistent delivery of significant business value and sales on mission critical projects.

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Gregg Gilman

Partner and Co-Chair of Labor & Employment Practice Group, Davis & Gilbert LLP

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.

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Michael Gray

Co-chair, Global Labor and Employment Practice, Jones Day

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.

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Steven Greenhouse

Former New York Times Reporter and Author of Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor

Steven Greenhouse was a reporter for the New York Times for 31 years, spending his last 19 years there as its labor and workplace reporter, before retiring from the paper in December 2014. He has written a new book, Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor, that Alfred A. Knopf published in August

As labor and workplace reporter from 1995 to 2014, Greenhouse covered myriad topics, including conditions for the nation’s farm workers, the Fight for $15, Walmart’s locking in workers at night, the New York City transit strike, factory disasters in Bangladesh, and Scott Walker’s push to hobble public employee labor unions.

Greenhouse joined The Times in September 1983 as a business reporter, covering steel and other basic industries. He then spent two-and-a-half years as the newspaper’s Midwestern business correspondent based in Chicago and then five years in Paris as European economics correspondent, covering everything from the European Union to the Velvet Revolution in Prague. He next served as an NYT correspondent in Washington for four years, covering economics and then the State Department.

A native of Massapequa, N.Y., Greenhouse is a graduate of Wesleyan University (1973), the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism (1975) and NYU Law School (1982) from which he graduated as class valedictorian.

His first book, The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker, was published in April 2008 by Knopf. It won the 2009 Sidney Hillman Book Prize. Greenhouse has also been honored with the Society of Professional Journalists Deadline Club award, a New York Press Club award, and a Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Reporting.

He continues to freelance for, among others, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Guardian, the Atlantic, the American Prospect, and the Columbia Journalism Review.

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Keith Grossman

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

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Seth Harris

Attorney, Seth Harris Law

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.

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Barry Hartstein

Shareholder, Co-Chair, EEO and Diversity Practice, Littler

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.

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Danielle Hawkins

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.

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Jim Houran

Managing Director, Aethos Consulting Group

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.

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Rick Hurd

Professor of Labor Studies Emeritus, ILR School, Cornell University

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.

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Eric Hutcherson

Executive Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer, National Basketball Association

Eric Hutcherson leads the NBA’s Human Resources department, managing a team that drives the NBA’s global workforce strategy built on a commitment to attracting, retaining, developing and engaging top talent for the NBA, WNBA, NBA G League and NBA 2K League. With a focus on people, culture and innovation, Hutcherson is responsible for leading global projects, processes and analytics that address business needs. He partners with the leagues’ senior leadership to enable, empower and develop employees in 13 U.S. and international offices guided by the league’s strategic direction.

Prior to joining the NBA in July 2014, Hutcherson was Managing Director and Chief HR Officer for the U.S. and Canada Division of Marsh, a leading global insurance brokerage firm. Before that, he held several leadership positions at Mercer, a financial services and human resource consulting firm, including Chief Human Resources Officer – Americas, and Global Leader for Mercer’s Outsourcing and Global Operations and Shared Services businesses.

Earlier in his career, he worked for Foot Locker and served as Assistant Director of Public Relations for the Boston Celtics.

Outside of the NBA, Hutcherson is a motivational speaker and created a career development training program, “Say Yes to Success.” He serves on the Board of Trustees for The Hun School of Princeton, the Board of Directors for Covenant House and the Senior Advisory Council for the National Association of African Americans in HR.

Hutcherson earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from New York University and a master’s degree in Sports Management and Administration from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He resides in Freehold, N.J. with his wife Linda and their two sons, Austin and Myles.

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Heather Jacobs

Senior Vice President People & Culture, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Heather Jacobs is Senior Vice President, People and Culture for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. Heather’s role is to ensure that the company continues to have a robust pipeline of talent to underwrite the company’s reputation, success and growth through the global talent acquisition and talent management practices.

Heather has been 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.

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Harry Johnson

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.

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Deanne Johnson-Anderson

Vice President of Human Resources , Crestline Hotels & Resorts, LLC

Deanne Johnson-Anderson is the Vice President of Human Resources for Crestline Hotels & Resorts, LLC, where she has been employed since June 2004. Crestline Hotels & Resorts, LLC is one of the leading third party management companies in the United States with hotels throughout the country and approximately 6,000 employees. Deanne oversees all human capital concerns to include benefits & compensation, legal compliance, training and development, labor relations and employee relations. Prior to joining Crestline, Deanne worked with Starwood Hotels overseeing the human resource efforts for the Mid-Atlantic region. Deanne holds an M.B.A. in Organizational Behavior and Development from George Washington University and a B.S. in Hotel Administration and Management from Cornell University.  Deanne is certified in various Human Capital programs to include diversity, behavioral assessments and team dynamics and holds her PHR and SHRM-CP.

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Tracey Kalimeris

Vice President, Talent & Culture, Accor

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.

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Harry Katz

Professor, Director of Scheinman Institute, ILR School, Cornell University

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.

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Jan Katz

Senior Lecturer, Cornell University

Jan Katz recently retired from the faculty of Cornell’s School.of Hotel Administration where she taught international and U.S. management, strategy and marketing. She still has a successful e-course on International Management with eCornell. In addition to her teaching in the U.S., Jan also has extensive experience teaching abroad, particularly in Asia and Latin America. She has worked with executives from a diverse set of corporations, from breweries, to resorts, to high tech industrials on the development of new management systems and international strategic plans. Her research has been published in management and strategy journals.

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Dana Kravetz

Managing Partner, Michelman & Robinson

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.

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Sandra Lopez

Market Director of Human Resources, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C.

Sandra Lopez has been in the hotel industry for 20 years and has worked for Fortune 500 companies such as Hilton and currently Marriott International. With Hilton, Sandra was Regional Director of full service and select service Hilton Brands as well as the Quality Lead for Florida. With Marriott, she has managed The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami as well as The Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove, Miami as Market Director of Human Resources and the Labor Lead for South Florida. Alongside these two properties, Sandra worked at The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan on task force and helped open The Ritz-Carlton, Golf Resort and The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota.

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Kara Maciel

Founding Partner, Conn Maciel Carey

Kara M. Maciel is a founding partner of Conn Maciel Carey and chair of the firm’s national labor and employment practice group. She focuses her practice on representing employers in all aspects of the employment relationship.

Maciel works to create workplace solutions for her clients across all industries. She defends employers in litigation at both the federal and state levels, including matters related to ADA, FLSA, FMLA, Title VII, and affirmative action/OFCCP regulations. She advises clients regarding the protection of trade secrets and the misappropriation of confidential or proprietary information, both defending employers and pursuing enforcement against former employees. When relevant, Maciel provides advice and counsel to unionized and non-unionized workplaces regarding the employer’s rights under the National Labor Relations Act, and she counsels employers on how to develop lawful strategies to comply with the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Maciel pays special attention to the issues facing companies in the hospitality industry (including hotel owners and managers, resorts, restaurants, spas, country clubs, golf clubs, and fitness clubs), and in retail, grocery, food and dairy distribution, healthcare, and trade association and non-profit sectors.

Representative Experience:

  •    Defended hospitality owners and operators and health care providers in lawsuits alleging discrimination from accessibility barriers by guests with disabilities under Title III of the ADA;
  •    Advised employers on wage and hour compliance and conducting internal wage hour audits;
  •    Testified before the NLRB on behalf of national trade association;
  •    Defended hotel chains in class actions alleging improper tip credit and tip pooling arrangements and distribution of service charges;
  •    Obtained default judgment against a former employee and new employer for destruction of evidence and misappropriation of company trade secrets;
  •    Represented management in union elections and unfair labor practice charges before the National Labor Relations Board;
  •    Secured defense jury verdict on behalf of restaurant in race discrimination lawsuit;
  •    Defended food manufacturers and distributors in claims of noncompete litigation and misappropriation of trade secret information;
  •    Represented a fitness company in discrimination claims brought by members and employees;
  •    Served as chief labor negotiator for management in collective bargaining negotiations; and
  •    Represented management in union elections and unfair labor practice charges before the National Labor Relations Board.

Maciel is a popular speaker at conferences and events across the country and writes extensively on issues related to ADA accessibility, wage hour compliance, ACA strategies, prevention of harassment and discrimination, tip credit/tip pools/service charge compliance, effective employment policies and procedures, developing a compliant employee handbook, effective strategies for labor relations, and managing a unionized workforce. Prior to founding Conn Maciel Carey, she served as chair of the hospitality employment and labor law outreach practice at an Am Law 200 firm.

Maciel received a 2014 Burton Award for Legal Writing for coauthoring the article “For Employers with High Turnover and Large Numbers of Seasonal Workers, the ACA Creates Unique Compliance Issues.” She was also recommended in the Labor-Management Relations category of The Legal 500 United States (2013) and selected for inclusion in Washington, DC Super Lawyers (2014).

Maciel lives in the Washington, D.C., area with her husband and two young children.

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Robert Mandelbaum

Director of Research Information Services, CBRE Hotels Research

Robert Mandelbaum is the Director of Research Information Services for CBRE Hotels Research.  He is based in the firm’s Atlanta office, where he is in charge of Research Information Services.  Research Information Services produces the annual Trends® in the Hotel Industry statistical report, along with customized financial and operational analyses for client projects.  On a quarterly basis, CBRE Hotels produces five-year forecasts of performance for six national chain-scales, six national location categories, and 60 major U.S cities using its proprietary Hotel Horizons® econometric forecasting model.

Mr. Mandelbaum began his hospitality industry career with Holiday Inns, Inc. in Memphis, Tennessee.  He started his career with the firm in 1983 in the Memphis office of Pannell Kerr Forster, where he conducted market and financial feasibility studies and operational analyses for hotel, restaurant, club, and conference center clients.  Prior to moving to Atlanta in November 1997, he also worked in PKF’s San Francisco office.

Mr. Mandelbaum holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University.  He serves on the American Hotel and Lodging Association’s (AH&LA) Financial Management Committee that is responsible for preparing the Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry (USALI).  In addition, he is a member of the Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) association and a past Global President of the Cornell Hotel Society.  Mr. Mandelbaum also authors articles for industry trade publications, guest lecturers at college and university hotel school programs, and speaks at industry forums.

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Robert Mellwig

Chief Culture Officer, Sbe Lifestyle Hospitality

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.

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Cathy Miller

Partner, Akerman

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.

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Ron Mitchell

Ron Mitchell is the CEO of Virgil Holdings Inc. (VHI).  VHI owns and operates technology-enabled human capital solutions, including Hcareers, the leading talent recruitment platform in the hospitality industry and Virgil Careers, a career assessment and analytics platform.  Over the past 15 years, Ron has built and managed technology-enabled consumer and enterprise businesses focused on career placement & professional development, which have assisted millions of professionals and job seekers.  Prior to his work in the careers space, Ron was a General Partner of Provender Capital Group, a $150 million growth equity fund making principal investments in the areas of media, FinTech and retail.  His professional experience also includes Morgan Stanley and McKinsey & Co.  Ron earned his AB from Harvard University and MBA from the Harvard Business School where he served as President of his class.  Ron serves as an Elected Director of the Harvard Alumni Association.

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Alan Momeyer

Chief Human Resource Officer Emeritus, Loews Corporation

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.


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Erin Moran

Chief Culture Officer, Union Square Hospitality Group

As Union Square Hospitality Group’s first-ever Chief Culture Officer, Erin Moran is responsible for
strengthening and growing USHG’s culture of Enlightened Hospitality, and overseeing all aspects of the
employee experience. USHG Founder and CEO Danny Meyer hired Erin in October 2013 following a
year-long collaboration between USHG and Great Place to Work (United States), a global human
resources consulting firm for which Erin previously served as Executive Vice President of US Business.
Erin spent nearly a decade at GPTW, studying the workplace culture of organizations included on the
100 Best Companies to Work For list, and working directly with clients to create and sustain their own
great workplaces.
At USHG, Erin’s work has focused on strengthening employees’ engagement with the company’s mission
and values and evolving USHG’s employer value proposition through human resources and
organizational strategies. Most recently, Erin has worked with Danny and USHG’s executive team to
plan and implement Hospitality Included, a massive organizational initiative to eliminate tipping
throughout USHG’s family of restaurants.
An experienced speaker and panel participant, Erin enjoys addressing audiences from a wide range of
industries on organizational health, workplace culture, and the central role that trust plays in sustaining
great workplaces.
Erin is a Baltimore native, and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from St. Joseph’s University
and an M.B.A. from the Thunderbird School of International Management.

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Andrada Paraschiv

Head of Hospitality, Beekeeper

As Head of Hospitality, Andrada leads Beekeeper’s effort to help hospitality organizations improve communication and ultimately drive employee engagement and performance. Previously, Andrada served as Executive Director, Luxury Internal Communications and Engagement at AccorHotels and Executive Director, Communications & Strategy at Fairmont Raffles Hotels International. In that capacity, she collaborated with Beekeeper to bring the nearly 50,000 frontline employees working together as one dispersed, yet united, team. Andrada also served as a consultant with McKinsey & Co., working on strategy and organizational transformations with large multinational companies in the EMEA region. She holds an MBA from the Wharton School and an MA in International Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Carolyn Richmond

Partner, Fox Rothschild

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.

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Steve Rimmer

Principal, PwC

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.

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David Ritter

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).

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David Rothfeld

Partner, Kane Kessler

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.

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Joy Rothschild

Chief Human Resources Officer, Omni Hotels & Resorts

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.

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Frances Roy

SVP, Talent and Organizational Effectiveness, Loews Hotels & Co.

Frances Roy is SVP of Talent and Organizational Effectiveness for Loews Hotels and Companies. In this role, she is responsible for Learning and Development, Talent Acquisition, Talent Assessment and Management, HR Analytics, Team Member Satisfaction and Culture.

Previous to joining Loews Hotels and Company, Frances was CEO of her own company, LeaderSync (formerly Frances Roy and Associates), providing executive leadership and team development, executive coaching, talent assessment and succession planning and HR consultation.

For many years, Frances worked in the healthcare sector having served as SVP, Chief Talent Officer for Ascension Health, the largest not-for-profit healthcare provider. Previous to Ascension, she was VP of Learning and Development for Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), the largest for profit healthcare provider.

The majority of Frances’ education was acquired at Vanderbilt University where she attained her Masters and Doctorate in Education, specializing in Counseling and Organizational Consultation. She also received her undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt, majoring in Sociology and Business.

Frances is an ICF Certified Executive Coach, Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Employee Assistance Professional.

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Efrat Schulman

Partner, Jones Day

Efrat Schulman consistently obtains favorable results for her clients, including denial of first stage conditional certification and case dispositive victories in wage-hour, discrimination, and contract matters. For these results, her clients call her “outstanding,” earning her a “Next Generation Lawyer” rating by The Legal 500.

Efrat’s practice covers the entire scope of labor and employment law, including nationwide class and collective actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act and state wage and hour laws, discrimination lawsuits, and trade secret and restrictive covenant matters. She represents employers before state and federal courts and administrative agencies in matters stemming from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Family Medical Leave Act, the National Labor Relations Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and state wage and hour laws.

Efrat also advises clients on preventive measures, including reviewing pay practices, counseling on disciplinary actions and investigations, negotiating severance and release agreements, and OFCCP compliance.

She has presented at seminars on topics including wage and hour trends, internal investigations, and employee handbooks.

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Ruth Seroussi

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.

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Dave Sherwyn

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.

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Peter Slatin

Founder and President, Slatin Group LLC

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.


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Greg Smith

Senior Vice President, Preferred Hotels & Resorts

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

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Elise Smith

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.

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Steven Swirsky

Member of the Firm, Epstein Becker Green, PC

STEVEN M. SWIRSKY is a Member of the firm of Epstein Becker & Green, PC in the firm’s New York office. He is a member of the firm’s Board of Directors and Co-Chair of the firm’s Labor Management Relations practice group. His practice is focused on representing employers in labor management relations, including in collective bargaining and proceedings before the NLRB. He regularly represents employers in a wide range of industries, including retail, health care, hospitality, manufacturing, financial services, transportation and distribution, electronics, and media and publishing.

Mr. Swirsky is a member of the Advisory Board of the Center for Labor and Employment Law at NYU Law School, and is a Fellow of The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and of the American Bar Foundation.

Mr. Swirsky is ranked by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business in the fields of Labor & Employment and Labor Relations.  He has been included in The Best Lawyers in America© in the fields of Employment Law—Management and Labor Law—Management  since 2006.

From 1978 to 1983, Mr. Swirsky served as a Field Attorney with the National Labor Relations Board in Brooklyn, New York.

He is a 1978 graduate of Fordham University School of Law and a 1975 graduate of Cornell University (B.S., 1975) in Industrial and Labor Relations

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Dedra Thompson

Director of Learning and Organizational Development, Davidson Hotels & Resorts

Dedra Thompson is a Certified Professional in Learning & Performance with over a decade of successful experience in organizational and leadership development. Dedra earned her degree in Education from the University of Georgia, thus beginning her journey in learning and performance. After various roles in the non-profit world, Dedra joined Whole Foods Market in a learning and development capacity, creating a deeper appreciation and love for the role that culture and career development can have on a company, a team and an individual.

Today, Dedra is the Director of Learning and Organizational Development at Davidson Hotels & Resorts.  A strong believer in the importance of personal and team development and the role it plays in benefiting growth and success, she has the pleasure each day to use her skills and passion to create training and leadership programs to benefit all areas of the operation.

In her down time Dedra can be found traveling the world in search of grand adventures or just hanging out in Atlanta with her husband and dog.

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Bruce Tracey

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.

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Kim Van Pelt

Senior Vice President of Talent & Culture, Accor Hotels

As Senior Vice President, Talent & Culture, North & Central America, Kim is responsible for leading the strategic direction of the Talent & Culture function of Accor across its portfolio of brands in the North & Central America Region.

Having held various senior leadership positions with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts in learning & development, hotel integrations and hotel human resources, Kim gained international experience working in Canada, United States, Europe and the Middle East. Her career path then moved her to Corporate, where she held progressively senior roles including Executive Director, Talent Management, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Vice President, Corporate Human Resources for FRHI Hotels & Resorts and Vice President, Talent & Culture, North & Central America, AccorHotels.

Passionate about company culture, building empowered teams and affecting positive change, she has a proven track record of specializing in change leadership, strategy implementation, talent management and leadership development.


Kim graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a B.A. in Sociology and a Certificate of Human Resources Management from Humber College.

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Paul Wagner

Shareholder, CFO, Stokes Wagner

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.

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Michael Warech

Owner and Managing Director, Warech Associates, LLC

Dr. Michael Warech has over 30 years of experience designing, developing, and implementing data-driven human capital solutions that demonstrably impact an organization’s bottom line. He has sold, designed, developed and managed numerous engagements for a variety of Fortune 1000 companies, across multiple industry sectors. Michael’s consulting work focuses on talent management and other competency-based human resource system applications (i.e., selection, performance management, succession planning, learning and leadership development, and, career management systems), HR transformation, HR analytics/score carding, employee engagement survey design and analysis, organization design, employment branding, organization development and change management.

Prior to founding Warech Associates LLC in 2008, Dr. Warech served as Watson Wyatt’s (now Willis Towers Watson) North American Organization Effectiveness Practice Leader. There he was responsible for designing and managing Watson Wyatt’s groundbreaking Human Capital Index® (HCI) research which resulted in the 2002 book entitled The Human Capital Edge.  Prior to that, Dr. Warech was a Principal at WLH Consulting, Inc. From 1987 to 1996, Michael consulted with Organizational Strategies, Inc. and Assessment Alternatives, Inc., both located in the New York metropolitan area.

For the last four years, Michael has also served as a Learning Solutions Architect for Harvard Business Publishing’s Corporate Learning Group. In this capacity, he has sold, designed and implemented cutting-edge learning and leadership development programming for a myriad of target audiences across all industry sectors, addressing organizations’ critical human capital needs.

Finally, Dr. Warech serves as the Program Chair for the HR in Hospitality Conference & Expo™, the only HR event specifically designed for the hospitality industry. Now in its 12th year, HR in Hospitality attracts hundreds of HR, employment and labor relations professionals from hotels, resorts, restaurants, casinos, cruise lines and all sectors of the industry. Michael is responsible for developing the curriculum/agenda and securing the talent for the three-day event, as well as emceeing the conference.

Dr. Warech has published book chapters and papers in leading peer-review journals and has presented his work in the areas of talent management, metrics and analytics, HR transformation, and organizational measurement at global and national conferences including the Academy of Management, the Society for Industrial Organizational Psychology, the Organizational Development Network, the International Quality and Productivity Center, the National Foreign Trade Council, and the HR Forum. Dr. Warech is sought out for his expert opinions on issues in the workplace and has been quoted in newspapers, magazines, and websites including the Washington Post, The Miami Herald, The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore-Sun Times, USA Today, Crain’s, Workforce Management Magazine, HR Executive Magazine, and CBS Marketwatch.

Dr. Warech completed his undergraduate work at Emory University and received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Applied Psychology from Stevens Institute of Technology.

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Christian White

Counsel, BakerHostetler

An experienced labor and employment litigator and advisor, Christian White focuses his practice on the management side of labor and employment law – 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.

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Douglas Wigdor

Founding Partner, Wigdor LLP

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.

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Celeste Yeager

Shareholder, Littler

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.

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Steve Younes

Chief Human Resources Office/Executive Vice President, Loews Hotels & Co

Steve Younes is Chief Human Resources Officer/Executive Vice President for Loews Hotels & Co. He is responsible for the delivery of all aspects of Human Resources services for the company, including continuing the implementation of the company’s people strategy and providing strategic guidance at the corporate, regional, and local levels.

Younes joined Loews Hotels with a wealth of experience in the consumer-packaged goods, financial services and health & wellness industries. Prior to Loews he served as Senior Vice President, Human Resources at Ascension, the largest non-profit healthcare company in the U.S. and largest Catholic healthcare company globally. During his tenure he led the redesign of Ascension’s human resources service delivery model supporting its 155,000 member workforce and elevated the function from a transactional organization to a true strategic thought partner.

He began his professional career as an employment attorney at the prestigious law firm of Epstein, Becker & Green, P.C. in Stamford, Connecticut, where he counted a number of hospitality organizations among his clients. Younes also served as Vice President, Human Resources & Senior Employment Counsel for UST Inc. in Stamford and there he ultimately led the due diligence effort resulting in the $12 billion sale of the company to Altria.

Whatever the industry, Younes views Human Resources as an active business strategic thought partner in enabling an organization achieve its objectives and seeks to align business goals with service delivery enhancements that support a culture of engagement, agility and innovation.

After earning a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice/sociology from Moravian College he pursued a Juris Doctor from Quinnipiac College School of Law, while also studying American and English common law at Queen’s College, Oxford University, Oxford, England. Younes resides with his family in Connecticut.

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