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SUMMARY | Agenda Session Descriptions

CHART Austin Session Descriptions

Jump to: Keynotes | Breakouts | Pre-conference Workshops | Competency Workshops | Service Event | Event Program PDF


The Spirit of Ta-Da:  Watch What Happens When Work Becomes Play
Joel Zeff Joel Zeff
Speaker, Humorist, Author, Joel Zeff Creative
We all must take ownership of our work environment and create a foundation of opportunity and positive support. We can choose to be patient, supportive, and more flexible to change. We can choose to have fun in the workplace and still be productive. Joel teaches us just how easy it is to make these choices.

In The Spirit of TA-DA, Joel shares his experience and insight on creativity, communication, teamwork, passion, and fun. With wit, a sharp observational eye, and playful irreverence, he discusses the choices we all encounter in our careers. We each have the ability to take initiative and make the right choice to live a more creative, passionate, effective, and productive life.

In this hilarious and very interactive keynote, Joel invites members of the audience to participate in improvisational exercises to help illustrate how organizations and individuals can celebrate everyday successes to increase collaboration, productivity, and innovation.

We are very excited to have Joel join us in Austin to share seven lessons you can take away to better create a positive work environment, manage stress, and lead change. Fun at work is a BIG idea, and he will show you how to deliver!

In this hilarious, interactive session, you will:

  • Learn to celebrate work and create a positive environment
  • Learn to improve teamwork and help all partners find success
  • Learn the three keys to leading change: be prepared; be focused; be open and flexible
  • Learn the key to success: staying in the game and keeping your passion
  • Learn to promote ownership and accountability
  • Learn to encourage innovation by creating opportunity
  • Learn to enhance communication


Don't Leave Change to Chance
Aubrey McCarthy Aubrey McCarthy, VP Strategic Growth, Root, a Part of Accenture
Lanier Zimmer Lanier Zimmer, Manager, Talent & Human Potential, Root, a Part of Accenture
Rapidly responding to our changing world helps ensure we are delivering high-quality experiences for our employees and our customers. In this interactive discussion, you’ll learn a tangible framework to drive behavior adoption, tactical best practices to support people through a change journey, and how leaders can cut through the noise for their people and support rapid behavior change. Saying that the past two years has seen a lot of change is an understatement, and it makes the case for why leaders can't leave change to chance.


Hackathons: Crowdsourcing Innovative Ideas from Your Own Teams
Jamie Murdock

Jamie Murdock, Managing Vice President, Sales, Maritz Global Events

Jennifer O'Grady

Jennifer O'Grady, Sr. Director, Experience Design, Maritz Global Events

Hackathons have quickly become one of the most talked-about conference experiences, as they deliver on two key attendee expectations for events: learning and networking. Solving the challenges of hospitality businesses today isn’t easy. It takes a new way of thinking. Hackathons create a safe environment to help facilitate honest conversation and idea generation around some of the most crucial topics your company is facing.

In this session, expert facilitators will open their playbook to share proven techniques for tapping the collective wisdom at your event for the common good. From creating the right mindset and environment for more fruitful ideation to engaging a diverse set of perspectives in a constructive debate we’ll cover the full hackathon spectrum.

Participants will emerge from this session with breakthrough ideas to address industry challenges while igniting cross-disciplinary, collaborative conversations that advance learning and nurture relationships. Hackathons can create a library of solutions and potential content that can be used throughout the year (crowdsourcing on overdrive).

While hackathons typically span a day or more, participants will experience a mini-version where they will flesh out new ideas with peers, while experiencing this interactive model firsthand.

In this interactive session, participants will:

  • Understand how key components can be orchestrated to create a richer hackathon experience
  • Develop two techniques that can be applied to jumpstart, enhance, and accelerate team hacking exchanges
  • Generate a multitude of solutions to a specified challenge to see firsthand how effective crowdsourcing can be

View From Above: A Discussion with 3 COOs who Started Their Careers in Training
Joleen Goronkin TJ Shier

Jason Lyon

Kendall Ware

Joleen Goronkin
President, People & Performance Strategies

TJ Schier, COO, BigShots Golf

Jason Lyon, President and COO, Flatbread Company

Kendall Ware, COO, In-Shape, former President, Cinnabon

As trainers we know that team member education and engagement is at the core of any successful brand and a necessity for a successful operation. Join us for a discussion with 3 Chief Operating Officers who not only see training as an integral part of their strategy but also started their own careers as trainers. Jason Lyon, TJ Schier, and Kendall Ware will discuss topics such as aligning training to strategic initiatives, gaining buy-in from the C-Suite, connecting to operators and training ROI. In addition, they will share stories of how they navigated their careers in training towards leading brand operations. This discussion will be moderated by Joleen Goronkin.


Breakout Sessions

Additional session information will be added as it is confirmed.

Master the Shot: A 2-part Hands-on Video Production Experience
Jesse Maxson Jesse Maxson, Video Production Expert, WorldManager

You won’t want to miss this hands-on tutorial that will teach how to capture high-quality video, edit, and create animated text. This demo will guide users through an end-to-end workflow using Adobe Rush* and a mobile device. Part 1 will be all about mastering the shot, and part 2 will focus on bringing your videos to life through editing.

Participants will:

  • Use a mobile device to shoot, edit, and share high-quality video content
  • Learn about shot composition and framing
  • Explore video aspect ratios to determine which one works best for their video’s destination
  • Import and edit video content to fit the needs of their project
  • Learn how to add animated graphics and titles
  • Add music, filters, and effects
  • Export and archive the project

*NOTE: Participants will need to have Adobe Rush installed on their phone. You will either need to have an active Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, or sign up for the free trial (be sure that your trial is active for the date of this session).


Compliance Training: From "Checking the Box" to Engaging Learning Experiences
Bob Duprey Bob Duprey, Founder, Restaurant Playbooks
Angelina Sabatini

Angelina Sabatini, Director of Training & Development, Ford's Garage

Compliance training topics can often be dry and boring. And we all know the training is often done to “check the box” for legal requirements.

As training professionals, we want to make compliance training meaningful and relevant to employees. To do that, we must move from employees taking a course to be legally compliant to employees learning and practicing behaviors that support a physically and mentally safe environment for fellow employees and guests.

This interactive session will provide a simple but effective framework for designing and delivering compliance training via engaging and effective eLearning experiences. Attend and identify learning experiences that support your company culture and values, and that your employees will enjoy and practice.

This session will explore:

  • Why it’s important to re-think compliance training
  • How to shift from compliance to culture and values
  • A framework for delivering compliance training that is interesting, relevant, and effective

This session will provide a customizable template that can be used to:

  • Create relevant and relatable scenarios
  • Increase engagement with reflection activities
  • Support learning reinforcement


Culture Reset: Strengthening Your Business from the Inside Out
Braxton Luzier Braxton Luzier, Senior Manager, Learning & Communication, Blaze Pizza

Workplace culture is often overlooked in the hospitality industry, but now it’s loud and clear that having a healthy and clearly defined culture is an important factor in hiring and retaining staff long-term. Not only is culture important for your staff, but it also impacts your brand image, your customers, and your bottom line. With the current state of the industry and wider societal shifts, hospitality leaders have a unique opportunity right now to reset their cultures for the better. Learn successful strategies to define and immerse your business in a purpose-driven workplace culture that will help strengthen your business from the inside out.


Reducing Bias in Training Courses and Workshops
Felicia White Felicia White, Director, Franchise Training, Scooter's Coffee

Learners in the workplace are made up of a variety of language, cultural, and social backgrounds, so it is important to create learning environments where everyone feels included. Reducing bias in training courses and workshops will help create inclusive training environments that support learning comprehension and lead to lasting behavioral change. This session will address how to utilize a variety of content types, make accommodations for individuals with disabilities, and support language, cultural, and social diversity.

Participants will:

  • Discuss common bias types and categories of diversity
  • Review the “Cycle of Socialization”
  • Review the “Diversity Wheel” and complete a self-cultural profile
  • Discuss ways to use a variety of content types and incorporate customizations to account for language and cultural diversity
  • How to accommodate for learners with disabilities
  • Learn how to create an inclusive environment by being aware of use of idioms, quotes, and gender references


Design Thinking for Learning & Development: Moving from Intention to Action
Jody Huls Jody Huls, Team Member Experience Influencer, Buffalo Wild Wings, Inspire Brands
Kirstie Johnson Kirstie Johnson, Founder & Chief Experience Officer, Enlighteneer Enterprises

Design Thinking is a human-centered approach to learning design, which explores the use of empathy, discovery, and innovation to define desirable, intended outcomes. This approach creates feasible actions that deliver impact to your organization’s business results.

The framework can be used to design learning for strategic initiatives, to close discovered skill gaps, to apply to turn-key situations, plus many other applications! All members of an L&D team can benefit from this process as it helps them experience and understand challenges by stepping into the end-user’s shoes. Designing from this space will help you create solutions that are viable, desirable, and feasible for the organization and individuals.

In this hands-on session, you’ll:

  • Learn the 5 principles of Design Thinking
  • Explore examples of how Design Thinking has impacted businesses
  • Practice applying the tools of Design Thinking to rapidly explore ideas and find the best one to match your end-user’s needs
  • Discover how Design Thinking differs from Instructional Design
  • Walk away being able to practice this in your everyday world



Increasing Restaurant-level Engagement
Galardi Group - Wienerschnitzel Training Team
David Kreitlow Matthew Steele Paul Miramontes James Ledbetter

David Kreitlow, Director of Training

Matthew Steele, Training Manager
Paul Miramontes, Senior Training Specialist
James Ledbetter, Corporate Field Trainer

If keeping restaurant-level management engaged is like running a 5K, then keeping hourly employees engaged is like climbing Mount Everest! Come and hear a lively, real-life case about motivating all levels of the restaurant, including ways the pandemic has made this group adapt on the fly. You’ll take away ideas the Wienerschnitzel training team has implemented with little budget that can make a big impact at your organization.



Game On! Tapping into Competition to Drive Results and Engagement
Rachel Richal Rachel Richal, Vice President, Training, Buffalo Wild Wings, Inspire Brands

In today’s world where people are craving connection and camaraderie, having fun in the restaurant is key to recruiting and retaining team members. If the team is having fun, the guest experience wins too, and what’s more fun than a little friendly competition? Attend and learn how the spirit of competition connected teams while driving important business metrics. Hear about the launch of an award-winning training program that proved how a culture of learning, accountability, and recognition creates lower turnover, increased sales, stronger guest metrics, higher staffing levels, more employee referrals, and ignites knowledgeable team members.

You will take away:

  • How to tap into the natural competitiveness of people to drive culture and engagement
  • How to better connect your team member’s goals to your brand’s strategic plan
  • How connecting team members to a brand’s purpose can build trust, lower turnover, drive bench strength, and support the bottom line
  • How to work with vendors to strategically incorporate their goals into yours to create an experience for your team


Leveraging Strategic Vendor Partnerships to Accelerate Results
Bill Story John Poulos Tara O'Neill Jason Lechner
Bill Story, Vice President of Training, Landry's
John Poulos, CrunchTime
Tara O'Neill, Vice President of Training and Experience, Ciccio Restaurant Group
Jason Lechner, Director of Training and Development, Pizza Ranch
Any time you enter into a relationship with a vendor, you are naturally expecting a collaborative, symbiotic partnership where you are working in lock-step with one another to achieve your goals. Unfortunately, that's not always the case, and it can be disappointing when your dream of mutually beneficial cooperation does not work out as you expected. This session will focus on how to use vendor relationships to get better results by working together as true strategic partners. When you achieve this level of teamwork with your vendors, a whole new world of opportunity to maximize your investment becomes apparent.

You'll learn how to:
  • Address short-term needs while developing a long-term, strategic focus
  • Use vendor relationships to get better, faster operational results
  • Leverage an ROI model to demonstrate value to drive initial adoption from the top down
  • Use vendor expertise and experience to help sell up the chain as well as sell down the chain


Organizations Don't Change. People Do.
Jennifer Belk White Jennifer Belk White, Sr. Vice President, HR, Mental Health Cooperative
The greatest obstacle to successful large-scale organizational changes is employee resistance and the ineffective management of the people side of change. Now that we've learned a great framework and best practices for change management from the Don't Leave Change to Chance keynote session, let's do a deep dive and put the skills to work. You'll leave this session with the start of a practical change plan for an upcoming initiative within your organization.


Training Data Analytics: Measuring the Bottom Line Impact of a Good Company Culture
Carlo Cesario Carlo Cesario, Field Training Manager, Buffalo Wild Wings, Inspire Brands
Are you able to make the business case for investing in a strong training culture? What gets measured gets done because regular measurement and reporting keeps you focused. After this session, you will have all the focus you need to prove return on investment and impact to the bottom line for strong training cultures. You will learn how to define measurement of culture, identify obstacles to making your case, and master built-in Excel functions and tools to provide a scorecard of metrics. If you are not an Excel expert, don’t fear, that’s why you’re here!

Participants will:
  • Hear how BWW measures Culture and Training at their locations
  • Identify obstacles and solve issues when it comes to making the argument for strong training cultures
  • Work through Excel functions to provide a scorecard ranking of metrics
  • Gain a larger understanding of the following Excel tools: Pivot Tables, Lookup functions, and SumIf Statements
  • Excel knowledge can be minimal for all participants


One Common Goal That All Leaders Should Establish With Franchisees
Kendall Ware Kendall Ware, CFE, CHT, Former President of Cinnabon & Carvel, Chief Operating Officer, In-Shape Health Clubs
Learn how hospitality trainers can establish clarity around the most important common goal that all franchisors have with their franchisees. You will take away a new understanding of the ever-changing franchise relationship to drive higher adoption and engagement while minimizing resistance. Trainers will walk away with the knowledge and playbook on how to align with franchisees on the common goal that will lead to a more collaborative relationship.



Trauma-informed Supervision
Jennifer Belk White Jennifer Belk White, Sr. Vice President, HR, Mental Health Cooperative
Matthew Brown Matthew Brown, Chief People & Culture Officer, Schoox
Trauma can take a toll on all of us, and sometimes this can have huge impacts in the workplace. Join us for a discussion that dives into the topic of trauma from multiple perspectives. We don't all perceive trauma in the same way, and as a result we can make some unintentional missteps that can trigger others. When we are able to use our knowledge and awareness of trauma to inform how we interact with one another, great things can happen.

Key Takeaways:
  • Discuss and explore trauma defined  
  • Explore other perspectives about trauma
  • Shine a light on 'hidden trauma'
  • Cultural insights that may help people better understand trauma/differences among culture
  • Actionable steps for how we as learning professionals can influence and reframe our approaches to training



A Menu for Change: How to Build an Inclusive & Productive Workplace for ALL
 Gerry Fernandez Gerald (Gerry) Fernandez, President & Founder, Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance (MFHA)
This session will provide a menu for change as you prepare for the DEI journey. You will walk away with a DEI framework that goes far beyond “checking the boxes.” Learn how to evaluate your company’s starting point and gaps, determine where you want to go and who will come along, identify key milestones and strategies, and establish a framework of priorities and success measures. These actionable components and compelling presenter will send you back to the office ready to lead this charge!


Training Content Formats and How to Start Authoring eLearning Courses
Brad Stutzman

Brad Stutzman, Partnerships, Growth, and Strategy, PlayerLync

Matt Nelson Matt Nelson, Founder and CEO, Modern Training
When preparing new training resources, Learning & Development teams face challenging decisions around what types of content formats to use, when to use them, and how to build them. Decisions like when to build a PDF vs. an eLearning course vs. video can carry significant implications around employee adoption, comprehension, and retention. Training teams can be even further limited in the decision-making process based on their experience using different content authoring tools.

Attendees in this session will learn, share, and discuss how to decide when to use static or interactive content formats, and will feel empowered to begin leveraging authoring platforms like Articulate Rise and Storyline to start migrating appropriate use cases to more interactive, engaging, and trackable employee experiences. As a bonus, attendees will get a glimpse into the future of emerging content formats and how to get ahead of the curve.



Break the Ice with Creative Icebreakers
Kim Carson Kimberly Carson, SHRM-SCP, Human Resources Training Manager, Rosen Hotels & Resorts

Icebreakers are great for “warming up” the room, but they aren’t always a one-size-fits-all. Knowing your audience is key to determining the best icebreaker that will really work wonders to cut out the awkwardness and foster engagement in your group. Let’s revisit what’s in our toolboxes and learn creative ways to help you rule the room!

How much does a polar bear weigh? Enough to break the ice.
Don’t you feel better now that we’ve gotten that out of the way?

Launching a Health & Wellbeing Program
Kelly McCutcheon

Kelly McCutcheon, VP, People, HiBar Hospitality

Damian Hanft Damian Hanft, VP, Culture & Brand Ambassador, Inspire Brands
This session is for people who care about the health and wellbeing of their teams. Good health & wellbeing is foundational to your employees’ personal and professional success. Many companies are launching wellness programs with content covering everything from improving sleep habits, meeting nutritional goals, and learning how to deal with stress and anxiety. Join us to hear learning from national and regional restaurant operators on the process and subsequent value of rolling out a health and wellbeing program.
Participants will:
  • Create an action plan to assess their team’s wellness needs
  • Leverage assets that are already in your business to implement the start of your program today
  • Learn how the Wellness Wheel can help create a holistic approach to supporting mental wellness
  • Engage in self-care practices


Worst. Training. Ever.
Jennifer Belk White Jennifer Belk White, Sr. Vice President, HR, Mental Health Cooperative
Want to create or facilitate a terrible training session? Want to ensure that training does not transfer to the job? Great! In this session we will explore the Top Ten ways to make your training awful.

But seriously ... we all strive to develop and implement outstanding training programs, but sometimes we fall into traps that impede our success without meaning to. In this session we will explore some ways that we inadvertently limit our training programs and the alternatives that can support the learning experience, enhance transfer of knowledge and skills, and positively impact the business.


Train the Future: Attracting and Upskilling Your Top Talent
Yvonne Lloyd

Yvonne Lloyd, Product Manager, Career Development, National Restaurant Association

Danielle McLimore

Danielle McLimore, Product Manager, Hospitality Careers, National Restaurant Association

Monique Donahue

Jason Lyon

Chris Shand

Kate Stiteler

Monique Donahue,
Director of Professional Development & Academic Markets, RMA

Jason M. Lyon,
President & COO, Flatbread Company Inc.

Christopher Shand,
VP of Human Resources, Silver Diner Inc.

Kate Stiteler,
Senior Training Manager, Sonesta Hotels

Panel discussion covering the changing landscape of training and how to leverage certifications to not only attract talent, but also to showcase the various career paths available in hospitality.


Microlearning for Maximum Performance: Rethinking Your Content Strategy
Eric Kuhn Eric Kuhn, Learning Design Strategist, SparkLearn
Changing workforce demographics and dynamics require new methods of developing and deploying your learning content. In this session, we will provide practical examples to assist you in rethinking your content strategy and start delivering the right information to your users at the right time.


Pre-Conference Workshops

Certified Hospitality Trainer (CHT) Review and Exam
Sunday, July 31, 8:00am - 5:00pm

If you are ready to upgrade your career, there is no better sign of a pro than the CHT achievement. Sign up for this review and exam for the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) Certified Hospitality Trainer Certification. In order to attend this session, you must apply directly to AHLEI by June 30.

In this review session, you will learn how to: assess training needs, apply training tools and techniques, design instruction, measure and evaluate training, develop supervisory and management personnel, and outsource. Then, take the exam with the new knowledge and confidence to succeed!

Go to https://info.ahlei.org/chart-cht/ to register. If you have already completed the application process and are currently enrolled in the CHT program, contact the Certification department at 407-999-8195 or email [email protected].

CHT Recertification Points

Keep track of your documentation before it’s time to renew! You need a total of 50 points, every 5 years. The point breakdown for each CHART activity is as follows:

1 point per day Conference attendance
3 points per seminar Competency workshops count toward this, in lieu of the 1 point per day of conference attendance
1 point per year CHART membership
5 points per year CHART board member
4 points per presentation Competency and breakout presenters


Competency Workshops

Two of CHART's Hospitality Training Competencies will be offered as pre-conference sessions in Austin. The cost to attend each workshop is $79 for members, $99 for non-members. You will have the option to add these sessions when you register for the conference. If you have already registered and would like to add one or both of these workshops, contact [email protected].

Competency Certificate Workshop - Instructional Designer Track: Effective Learning Design
Jesse Boehm, Sr. Learning Architect, Buffalo Wild Wings | LinkedIn
James Lee, Manager of Multimedia Design, Del Taco | LinkedIn
Sunday, July 31, 8:00 am – 12:00 pm

Trainers and instructional designers have to not only understand sometimes complex issues, but also how to clearly explain it to others using the best tools. Shaping raw information into easily digestible, relevant training programs that succeed in transferring learning to the job is a tricky feat. This information-packed workshop will help you do just that.

This session covers the nuts and bolts of training program design, including:

  • Adult learning principles and how to apply them to curriculum
  • Framework for content design and making training “stick”
  • Practical design tips for a variety of training methods
  • Learning trends and technologies
  • Technical writing and proofreading
  • Page/screen layout guidelines

Competency Certificate Workshop - Executive Track: Strategic Planning
Damian Hanft, Vice President, Brand & Culture Ambassador, Inspire Brands | LinkedIn
Gabe Hosler, Vice President, Operations Support & Training, Del Taco | LinkedIn
Sunday, July 31, 12:30 pm – 4:30 pm

You've earned a seat at the strategic table, and this workshop will help you become a closer business partner with leaders in your organization.

This workshop will:

  • help you develop corporate plans and provide a strategic viewpoint on projects and tasks to inform others of the impact of various options
  • enhance your skills and techniques in effective cross-departmental communication regarding key training initiatives and proactively demonstrating training's value to the organization
  • provide tools so you can synthesize large amounts of data and bring clarity to the results of training's efforts

Soon, you will be sought after your expertise on the impact of training and development on company's success


Austin Community Service Event 
Service Event Signup

Austin Service Event FlyerHelp fight hunger and build community by sharing meals with low-income residents of Foundation Communities properties!

We are partnering with Foundation Communities, an Austin nonprofit committed to providing long-term, affordable housing and supportive services to low-income and formerly unhoused individuals and families. Foundation community properties offer a number of supportive services, as well as community events like Supper Clubs! For our service event, CHART volunteers will be packing meals to share with the individuals who live at one of the Foundation Communities Properties.

If you would like to volunteer to participate in this service event, sign up here!