Frederic M. Seegal
Senior Advisor, PJ Solomon Company
A graduate of Harvard Law School, Harvard Business School, and Cornell University, Frederic Seegal has held a number of senior positions at investment banking firms, including president of Wasserstein Perella and co-head of domestic investment banking at Salomon Brothers. Seegal is a trustee of the New York City Center, the San Francisco Symphony, and Chairman of the Board of the Parrish Art Museum. He has been the president of the American Ballet Theatre and has served on the boards of the San Francisco Opera, the Neuberger Museum, and Southampton Hospital.
Chief Pastry Officer, Big Night Restaurant Group
With six cookbooks to her credit and numerous awards, Luchetti has helped to define what great pastry in America means. As Chief Pastry Officer for Big Night Restaurant Group, she oversees the pastry operations for the Cavalier, Marlowe, Park Tavern, Leo’s Oyster Bar, and Petit Marlowe. Prior to that, Luchetti was executive pastry chef at San Francisco’s Farallon and Waterbar Restaurants. She began her culinary career on the savory side of the kitchen at San Francisco’s legendary Stars restaurant before switching to the sweet side and becoming pastry chef. The petite powerhouse is the author of Stars Desserts, Four Star Desserts, A Passion for Desserts, A Passion for Ice Cream, Classic Stars Desserts, and The Fearless Baker. Luchetti’s honors include the San Francisco Focus Magazine Pastry Chef of the Year, the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs Golden Whisk Award, the 2003 Food Arts Silver Spoon Award, and the James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef. The San Francisco Chronicle chose Luchetti as one of 20 Visionary Chefs in the Bay Area, and she was inducted into the Culinary Pioneers of America. She is inducted into the James Beard Foundation Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America. From 1994 to 1999, she served as chairperson of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs. Luchetti is also the founder of #dessertworthy, a social media movement aimed at enjoying desserts. She currently serves as a dean of the International Culinary Center.
Woodrow W. Campbell
Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
Under Woodrow W. Campbell’s leadership, Debevoise has built one of the largest private equity fund practices in the world. Since 1993 Debevoise has acted as counsel for sponsors of or investors in over 675 private equity funds with committed capital of more than $454 billion. Concentrating on private equity, venture capital, and hedge funds, Campbell is ranked in the highest “senior statesmen” category for private equity fund formation in Chambers Global (2004-2005) and Chambers USA (2005).
President, Jamestown Properties
Michael Phillips is a principal and the president of Jamestown. Phillips is a driving force behind several nationally recognized adaptive reuse developments, including Chelsea Market in New York, Industry City in Brooklyn, and Ponce City Market in Atlanta. He is nationally recognized for his creative leadership and his ability to build distinctive urban communities. Phillips is the vice chair for the James Beard Foundation, and sits on the boards of Friends of the High Line and the Real Estate Board of New York.
Principal, Quantum Media
CEO/Co-Founder, Mus ED Works
An Emmy Award–winning TV producer and executive, Erica Gruen is known for masterminding one of television’s biggest brands as President/CEO of the Food Network. Gruen was digital when digital wasn’t cool: way back in 1994, she started one of the first digital advertising agencies, Saatchi & Saatchi Interactive, and was named to New York Magazine’s first “Cyber 60” list. Along with the Branded Entertainment unit she also founded there, she built groundbreaking branded content for a select set of Fortune 100 brands. Today Gruen creates brand, content, and business development strategies for the world’s largest media and entertainment companies and for the emerging startups that seek relationships with the same. She has been a technical advisor to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a mentor in Kaplan TechStars, FOOD-X, and other tech accelerators, and an advisor to and investor in leading food tech, ed tech, music tech, and green tech ventures. Gruen is also a senior advisor to the mid-market M+A bank, Oaklins DeSilva+Phillips, and an adjunct clinical professor at NYU Steinhardt, where she designed and teaches entrepreneurship courses to both Nutrition & Food Studies and Music Business students.
Vice Chair and Treasurer
Retired Partner and Senior Vice President, Wellington Management Co., LLP
Nancy Lukitsh has been active in the investment management industry since 1993. She spent the majority of that time as senior vice president, partner, and director of marketing at Wellington Management Company, where she was responsible for the development and execution of the firm’s global marketing strategy. She currently serves as a trustee of the Columbia Atlantic (Mutual) Funds. Prior to joining Wellington Management, Lukitsh was a partner at McKinsey & Company, where she led their East Coast healthcare practice and also served a range of clients in the health insurance and financial services industries. Currently, Lukitsh serves as an Overseer for the Huntington Theater Company; and on two visiting committees at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is a graduate of MIT with a degree in Earth and planetary sciences and received her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Christian T. Brown
Managing Director, NOLA Holdings, LLC and Chairman, McIlhenny Company
Christian T. Brown is the managing director of NOLA Holdings, LLC, a private equity investment firm owning interests in numerous niche businesses. He is the chairman of the board of McIlhenny Company, the 150-year-old family-owned maker of Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce. Brown is the treasurer and a member of the board of directors of Avery Island, Inc., a family-owned land management company. Civically, Brown serves as the chairman of the Greater New Orleans Foundation; the chairman of the Selley Foundation; a board member of the National Audubon Society and the inaugural chairman of the Audubon Society Louisiana; and a founder and former chairman of the Pro Bono Publico Foundation, which provides grants to the New Orleans public school system and its support entities.
Peter B. Cameron
Partner, Farberware & Chief Executive Officer, Acuity Management
Peter Cameron is the Co-Owner of Farberware Licensing and Chairman/CEO of Acuity Management Inc. Acuity is an investment management company that owns and operates several commercial real estate and manufacturing enterprises. He was formally the CEO and Co-Chairman of Lenox Corporation. Cameron previously served as CEO of Waterford Wedgwood plc, a manufacturer of fine china and crystal products, and from 1997 to 2003 he held the position of CEO and president of All Clad Holdings, a manufacturer of cookware products that was acquired by Waterford during his tenure. From 1988 to 1995 he served in various senior level management capacities within Hanson plc, including chairman of U.S. Industries Housewares Group, and president and CEO of Farberware, Inc. Prior to that, Cameron was CEO and president of Revereware, a leading manufacturer of branded cookware to department store and mass merchant channels. Cameron has also held senior management positions at Polaroid Corp., Bowmar Instrumental Corporation, and Starcraft. He graduated with a B.S. in economics from Northeastern University, and serves on the boards of Northeastern University, Chapel Hill, the International Housewares Charity Foundation, Acuity Management, Farberware Licensing Co., Hartmann, and Lenox. He formerly served on the Board of Directors, New York Botanical Garden Association, International Housewares Association, and Bronx Green-up.
Lisette Derouaux is an executive and start-up adviser with nearly two decades of experience in both nonprofit and for-profit management in the hospitality, entertainment, and internet industries. As a mother of two young daughters, she is passionate about food, education, and the opportunity to make healthy, sustainable food available to children and families of all backgrounds and socioeconomic positions. Her expertise and passion have been shared with many organizations, including Hidden Villa, a non-profit educational organization that uses its organic farm and wilderness space to teach the community about the environment and social justice. At the Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula, Derouaux designed and implemented a program to teach underprivileged youth how to shop for produce and prepare healthy, low-cost meals for under $5. As co-founder and partner in the Jivan Fund, Derouaux is committed to supporting food start-ups and chefs who envision sustainable, organic, and avant garde culinary experiences for their dining guests. From 2004 to 2008, Derouaux was the first business development executive at Skyrider, a start-up focused on combating digital piracy by leveraging peer-to-peer technology. Prior to that, Derouaux served on the board of Just Think, a media literacy organization. And from 1997 to 2003, she was the executive director and vice president of Quincy Jones’s Listen Up Foundation. Derouaux graduated with a Diplome de Maitrise en Commercialisation et Gestion in Marketing and Hotel Management from the Ecole Superieure Pratique de Commercialisation in Belgium.
Ph.D, Owner/Founder Vermilion Chicago
A leading restaurateur, a proponent of Indian cuisine with her unique Latin twist, and an avid supporter of women, former economist and management consultant Rohini Dey straddles the worlds of business, glamour, and philanthropy across the United States and India. She holds a master’s degree in economics from the Delhi School of Economics, and a Doctorate in Management Science from the University of Texas. She worked at the World Bank in Washington, D.C., where she managed projects in foreign investment. Later, at McKinsey & Co., her management consulting project experience and knowledge development spanned a range of industries with a focus on growth. Currently an entrepreneur, Dey is the founder, owner, and culinary director of Vermilion in Chicago. Rohini also writes on restaurants, including her “From the Gut” series for the Chicago Sun-Times and columns for the Huffington Post. Dey cofounded the James Beard Foundation Vermilion Women in Culinary Leadership (WCL) Scholarship, backed by a roster of celebrity Chefs For Women (CFW). She also established the non-profit Educate Girls Globally, to which she donates all her writing proceeds. She is on the Leadership Council of the American India Foundation. Dey is an active member of the Chicago Network, International Women’s Forum, the Women’s Forum of New York, 85 Broads, and the Economic Club of Chicago.
Jill A. Greenthal
Senior Advisor, The Blackstone Group
Jill A. Greenthal has advised and financed media companies for over 30 years. As a senior advisor in private equity at the Blackstone Group she assists with investments in the global media and technology sectors. Prior to September 2007, Greenthal was a senior managing director in the advisory group. Before joining Blackstone in 2003, she was co-head of the global media group, co-head of the Boston office and a member of the executive board of investment banking at Credit Suisse First Boston. Greenthal is a graduate of Simmons College and received her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. She is on the board of directors of Akamai Technologies, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Michaels Stores, Inc., and the Weather Channel Companies. Greenthal is also a trustee of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Simmons College, and is an overseer of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
Co-Founder, Giant Spoon
Trevor Guthrie is co-founder of Giant Spoon, one of the fastest growing, full-service agencies in the industry. Through Trevor’s vision, the independent creative shop got its start by pairing unique media opportunities with highly creative work, like GE's Fallonventions, which today is one of the longest-running and highest=rated paid segments on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon. He developed a partnership with the New York Times to introduce virtual reality to the masses, and is helping revive GE Podcast Theater by launching the eight-episode, science fiction podcast series “The Message,” which is now in its second season, entitled “LifeAfter.” In addition to leading Spotify, Cole Haan, and GE, Trevor heads the agency’s New York office. His work has helped Giant Spoon win numerous top industry awards. From AdAge A-List 2018 to two AdAge Small Agency awards in 2017, Adweek Media All-Stars 2016, MediaPost’s 2015 and 2014 Creative Agency of the Year, Adweek Media Plan of the Year and numerous Cannes Lions, One Show Pencils, and others. A Boston University graduate, Trevor resides in New York.
General Partner, e.ventures
Bernardo Hernandez is a graduate of ICADE, Pontifical University of Comillas, Madrid’s most prestigious business university. He received a master’s degree in finance from Boston College and holds the chartered financial analyst (CFA) designation. At the age of 29, after five years as an analyst and portfolio manager in the asset management industry with companies like Fidelity Investments, BBVA, and Putnam Investments, Hernandez started his first internet venture, idealista.com, now the leading real estate site in Spain. Since then, he has participated as an angel investor in other online startups, such as Tuenti, index.com, Glovo, Fever, wallapop, Verse, floresfrescas.com, and 11870.com. In May 2011, he was appointed to the jury of the Princess of Asturias awards of science and technology where has served for eight years. Hernandez joined Google in 2005, where he held various positions in the marketing and product organizations. While at Google, he led the acquisition of Zagat and ran the Zagat team until departing Google in May 2013. Hernandez was also the head of Flickr at Yahoo! until May 2015. He currently lives in Madrid, where he is partner with the early-stage technology funds at e.ventures. He is member of board of directors at Desigual and CornerJob. He is a member of the advisory board for the fortieth anniversary of the Spanish Constitution and the ministry of Justice in Spain.
Founder and Chairman, Arabella Advisors
As founder and senior managing director of Arabella Advisors, Eric Kessler helps builds philanthropy strategies, evaluates non-profits, and provides back-office management services for family philanthropists, professional foundations, and corporate donors around the world. Together with his team of colleagues, he has impacted billions of philanthropic dollars going to issues from food and nutrition policy to education reform to global health. He founded and serves as president of the New Venture Fund, a non-profit fiscal home for donor collaboratives and incubator of innovative new non-profits. Eric co-founded the Chef Action Network, now a program of the James Beard Foundation, and conceptualized its Chefs Boot Camps. Earlier in his career, Eric served as a White House appointee, helping to manage conservation issues during the Clinton administration. Just prior to starting Arabella, Eric lived in the former Soviet Union, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East, where he advised civic organizations promoting democratic reforms for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, whose board he now sits on. Eric is an active investor in a range of restaurant, consumer, and supply-chain businesses that contribute to a better food system.
John H. Kessler
Senior Vice President, RBC Wealth Management
John H. Kessler joined J.B. Hanauer & Co. as a financial advisor in 1970 and ultimately rose to the position of chairman and principal stockholder. In May 2007, the company was acquired by the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). Kessler specializes in fixed-income portfolio management and has been recognized by RBC for his accomplishments through his appointment to the RBC Chairman’s Council. He is the past president of Banyan Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida, a past board member of Mountain Ridge Country Club in West Caldwell, New Jersey, and a member of the New Jersey Professional Golf Association, where he has run countless fundraisers over the past thirty years. He serves on the board of trustees for the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach, Florida, where he is currently the treasurer. John is involved with the United Way of the Palm Beach and the United Jewish Appeal. Kessler received a degree in business administration from Monmouth University in New Jersey, where he has been a trustee since 1997, in 2009 was named a life trustee, and in 2016 was named trustee emeritus. Kessler and his wife, Henni Kessler, led the fundraising effort for the University’s football stadium, which now bears their name.
CPA, Partner, CohnReznick, LLP
Cindy McLoughlin is a partner with CohnReznick and the leader of the firm’s national hospitality industry practice which has over 100 individuals servicing over 500 hospitality clients. With more than 25 years of experience, McLoughlin has developed extensive expertise in providing audit and advisory services to mid- to large-sized companies. She is part of the capital markets group with a focus on private equity transactions and liquidity pre-IPO strategy for hospitality companies. She services clients predominantly in the restaurant space with an emphasis in fine dining, emerging brands, fast casual, and has an expertise in franchising. McLoughlin is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSCPA), the Institute of Management Accountants, and the International Franchise Association (IFA). McLoughlin received the Corporate Leader Award from Long Island Women’s Agenda, was named one of Long Island Business News’s “Top 40 under 40,” and one of Long Island’s Top 50 Most Influential Women in Business. Additionally, the Long Island Center for Business and Professional Women selected McLoughlin to receive their Achievers’ Award. McLoughlin is a board member of the American Heart Association, a board member for the Marty Lyons Foundation, and an advisory board member for Friends of Karen. She holds a B.S. from California State University.
Wenda Harris Millard
Vice Chariman, MediaLink, LLC
Wenda Harris Millard is vice chairman of MediaLink LLC, a leading strategic advisory and business development firm that provides critical counsel and direction to the media, advertising, and entertainment industries and to companies and investors that interact with those sectors. She joined MediaLink in 2009 and in June 2017, relocated to London to launch MediaLink in Europe. Millard is former co-CEO and president/media for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. A seasoned executive with over thirty years of publishing and marketing experience, Millard was chief sales officer at Yahoo! from 2001 to 2007. In 2015, Millard was named a Maker in AOL’s Makers: Women Who Make America. She has received numerous industry awards including being named one of the “100 Most Influential Women in Advertising in the Last 100 Years,” receiving the 2011 Oracle Award from Springboard, the 2009 ad:tech Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2007 John A. Reisenbach Award for Distinguished Citizenship, the 2006 “Advertising Person of the Year” Silver Medal Award from the AAF, and the 2005 Matrix Award for “Women Who Change the World.” Millard serves on the board of the Advertising Research Foundation, and has served on the boards of the Advertising Council, the American Advertising Federation, the Advertising Education Foundation, and others. Currently, she sits on the boards of Caleres, Inc. and Simulmedia. She served two terms as a trustee of Trinity College in Hartford. Millard holds an M.B.A from Harvard University and a B.A. from Trinity College.
Mary Sue Milliken
Chef/Owner Border Grill Restaurants and Border Grill Truck
A pioneer of world cuisine since the creation of City Café and CITY Restaurant in Los Angeles in the 1980s, Mary Sue Miliken is also a preeminent ambassador of modern Mexican cuisine at her Border Grill Restaurants and Truck in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Los Angeles International Airport, and the Huntington Library. After becoming the first female chef at Chicago's Le Perroquet in the 1970s, she trained at a two Michelin-star, female-owned restaurant in Paris. She later joined a handful of progressive women chefs to found Women Chefs & Restaurateurs. Along with chef Susan Feniger, her business partner of more than 30 years, Milliken has authored five cookbooks, starred in nearly 400 episodes of Food Network’s Too Hot Tamales, hosted several popular food-centered radio shows, and won a James Beard award. In 2013 Milliken and Feniger were honored with the California Restaurant Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Milliken advanced to the finale on Bravo's Top Chef Masters, winning $40,000 for Share Our Strength, where she is a longtime board member. As one of three chefs on the James Beard Board of Trustees, she’s passionate about the role of chefs in our communities and chairs the Education Committee while also serving on the Impact Committee. A passionate food policy advocate, Milliken can often be found working alongside the L.A. Food Policy Council, PEW Charitable Trusts, OXFAM, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and other organizations that help to shape sustainable food systems.
Chairman, Compass Partners, L.L.C.
Richard Perlman is the founder and executive chairman of ExamWorks Group, Inc. the global leader in the independent medical exam industry. Prior to that Perlman was executive chairman of TurboChef Technologies, Inc., the world leader in speed-cook technology, of which he acquired control in 2003 and sold to Middleby Corporation in 2008, PracticeWorks, Inc., the world leader of dental practice management software and digital radiography, which he sold to Eastman Kodak in 2003, and AMICAS a leading medical practice management software company which was sold to in two transactions to Cerner Corporation and Merge Technologies, Inc. Prior to Perlman’s involvement in the public markets, he acquired several private companies in the home furnishings, automotive replacement parts and real estate industries where he was the controlling shareholder and chief executive. Perlman is also the Chairman of Compass Partners, LLC, a merchant banking firm specializing in middle market companies which he founded in 1995. Perlman sits on the boards of various private companies in which Compass has invested. Perlman is the donor of the Perlman Grand Prize for the Wharton Business Plan Competition and serves on the Executive Advisory Board of the Wharton Undergraduate School, the Wharton Entrepreneurial Advisory Board and is a member of the Sun Valley Center for the Arts and the Boys and Girls Club of Sarasota. Perlman is a graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and received his M.B.A. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Business.
Chef/Owner, Bacchanalia, Star Provisions Market + Cafe, Floataway Cafe, Little Star, and W.H. Stiles Fish Camp
A nationally recognized chef, Anne Quatrano is known for her commitment to freshness, flavor, and simplicity. A longtime advocate of sustainability, Quatrano prides her menus for using locally grown seasonal and organic ingredients, frequently harvested from her own organic gardens and hen-houses. Together with chef-husband Clifford Harrison, Quatrano operates some of Atlanta’s most celebrated restaurants: Bacchanalia, Floataway Café, Star Provisions, and W. H. Stiles Fish Camp. Originally from Connecticut, Quatrano developed deep roots in Georgia by spending summers at her mother’s family farm, Summerland, where she and Harrison now make their home. Quatrano has been nominated for numerous James Beard Awards, and won Best Chef: Southeast in 2003. Additional culinary recognition has included Food & Wine’s 10 Best New Chefs (1995), induction into the National Restaurant Association Fine Dining Hall of Fame (1998) and the YWCA Academy of Women Achievers (Class of 2006), a StarChef.com Rising Star Mentor Award (2007), and the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs Golden Whisk Award (2008). Quatrano has served on the board of directors for the James Beard Foundation, Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, and Georgia Organics, as well as on various committees for the James Beard Foundation and Southern Foodways Alliance. In 2010 Quatrano launched Sunday Supper South, an annual fundraising event in Atlanta that donates its proceeds to the James Beard Foundation Scholarship Fund. In 2013 she spearheaded New South Family Supper, an annual event benefiting the Southern Foodways Alliance. Quatrano is also the author of Summerland: Recipes for Celebrating with Southern Hospitality (Rizzoli, 2013).
Walter C. Richter
Vice Chairman, Deloitte LLP
Walt Richter is a vice chairman of Deloitte LLP and the managing partner of the Office of the Chief Executive Officer (OCEO) program. As managing partner, Richter oversees interactions with Deloitte’s largest clients. He also is a member of the executive committee of Deloitte & Touche LLP. Prior to joining the OCEO, Richter was the managing partner of Deloitte’s Connecticut practice. He is the audit committee chairman and a trustee of the James Beard Foundation, and is a board member of Ridgefield Animal Organized Rescue. He also has served on the board of trustees for the Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountants’ Education Trust Fund.
David W. Rivkin
Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
David W. Rivkin is co-chair of the International Dispute Resolution Group of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP and president of the International Bar Association. He has broad experience in the areas of international litigation and arbitration, and has handled arbitrations throughout the world and before virtually every major arbitration institution. In 2012, the American Lawyer’s AmLaw Litigation Daily named Rivkin one of two “Global Lawyers of the Year.” In 2011, the National Law Journal named him one of the country’s “Most Influential Attorneys.” Rivkin serves on the Council of the American Law Institute, for which he is also an adviser to several of its Restatements, and he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He was appointed by the U.S. State and Commerce Departments to be a founding member of the NAFTA Advisory Committee on Private Commercial Disputes, and he is currently a member of the U.S. Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on Private International Law and a member of the Sanctions Subcommittee of the Department of State’s Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy. In 2008, Rivkin served as a member of the Ad Hoc Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport at the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, after previously serving on the panel for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. Rivkin graduated magna cum laude from Yale University with a B.A. in history, and received a J.D. from Yale in 1980.
John V. Washko
Director of Food and Beverage – Americas
Luxury Collection – Waldorf Astoria/Conrad Hilton Hotels
A respected leader in the luxury hospitality industry, John Washko was responsible for maintaining Auberge Resorts’ award-winning brand standards, particularly in the areas of food and beverage. Washko joined Auberge Resorts in 2010, following more than 20 years with Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts. During his Four Seasons tenure, he held various operational leadership positions within the company’s Food and Beverage and Rooms divisions throughout the United States and internationally. While with the Four Seasons Hotels, Washko was also part of opening teams worldwide including Dublin, Istanbul, and Costa Rica. He spent his last five years as the company’s Corporate Director of Food & Beverage, for the America’s, guiding 26 hotels and resorts. A member of the James Beard Foundation for more than 20 years, Washko has served as a Trustee for the past 10 years, including Chairman of the Awards Committee. His work on behalf of the foundation garnered him the James Beard Foundation “Angel Award” in 2007. He is a member of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs culinary society. Washko Resides in San Francisco, as principal for JVW Consulting, LLC.
Founding President (1986-1995)