Tell us a little bit about yourself! Where were you before the ORA and how did you come to your role with us?
I come to the ORA with an eclectic events management background, but my education is in arts administration and I have experience working in New York City as a programming and tour manager. I spent several years traveling and had the opportunity to see a lot of the world that way. About six years ago, I moved to Columbus and since then have owned and operated a food truck, advocated for arts education across the state of Ohio and ran a nationally recognized academic contest through the Ohio History Connection. I’ve always been involved in foodservice and hospitality and it’s great to be on board at the Ohio Restaurant Association to support member events as well as to be the lead producer for the Mid-America Restaurant Expo.
The Mid-America Restaurant Expo is a signature event presented by the Ohio Restaurant Association. What are you doing to keep the event fresh and relevant for attendees?
The Expo is already a great example of what a regional trade show should be., soI’m very lucky to have inherited such a robust, dynamic, and successful show. My job is to make sure that we continue to push for excellence and grow what we can offer to our exhibitors and attendees. This year, we’ve honed in on strengthening our attendee education and developed tracks and panels that I think are going to really add value to the overall experience.
What are the new Education Tracks?
We have four education tracks that focus on the issues that hit our members and attendees the hardest including workforce development, tech & trends, food & beverage, and professional service.
What are some of the speakers your most excited about?
II'm really excited that we're going to feature a number of regionally and nationally celebrated chefs.Also, we have a panel exploring the complex issues surrounding thrid-party delivery, and several great entrepreneurs who have changed the face of the restaurant industry including Matt Fish, Martha Hoover, and Rohini Dey.
What else are you looking forward to at The Expo in 2020?
Be on the look out for a new Featured Products Showcase, the new Craft Stage at The Establishment (our beer, wine & spirits tasting area), and Innovation Alley – a specialty area highlighting products that are pushing the boundaries of our industry.