President, Darden's Specialty Restaurant Group
Harald Herrmann serves as a member of Darden Restaurant's Executive Team and President of the Specialty Restaurant Group (SRG) who manages the company's fine dining and upscale casual brands: Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V's and Yard House. Darden is the world's largest full-service restaurant operating company with annual sales of more than $8.5 billion, employs more than 200,000 people and serves more than 425 million meals annually. In 2013, Darden was named to the FORTUNE "100 Best Companies to Work For" list for the third year in a row. Harald previously served as Brand President for Yard House.
Early on Harald Herrmann never imagined that a part-time high school gig as a dishwasher at a local Marie Callendar's would eventually lead to a career in the restaurant industry. But the journey to chief executive officer of Yard House, one of the nation's most successful casual restaurant chains, is a path forged through hard work and perseverance.
His passion for the restaurant business was sparked by food stylist turned restaurateur Deborah Fabricant at her popular Orange County restaurant Chez Panache. Soon after, El Torito came calling and tapped him as general manager of their Irvine location at the young age of 23. His foray into restaurant management had begun and would continue to ascend as he accepted positions as Food and Beverage Director at a local Hilton Hotel franchise as well as with West Coast Restaurant Ventures, proprietors of Bistro 201, Diva and Kachina.
In the mid 1990's Herrmann was impressed by a rumored new restaurant concept that that would revolutionize the industry. The formula was simple and included the world's largest selection of draught beer coupled with great food and a classic rock music program. Herrmann's was tapped to help launch the flagship Yard House, which opened on December 7, 1996, along the waterfront in Long Beach, California. Yard House quickly emerged as one of Los Angeles County's most financially successful independent restaurants, and less than two years later Herrmann was made partner as the company began to expand into other markets.
One of Herrmann's key contributions was his development of the Yard House brand. His motto, "Recipe for Success," is reflected in the company's staff, philosophy and values through an inverted organizational model that empowers staff at all levels. As Yard House's success continued to grow, both conceptually and financially, Herrmann felt a responsibility to give back to the community and, at the same time, developed an overwhelming passion for philanthropy. He has championed a number of causes both professionally and personally, In 2005, Herrmann embarked on a personal quest to further help in the fight against cancer, a disease he is all too familiar with and one that claimed his wife, Kathie, and parents-in-law. Herrmann launched a group of books that provide support to children and their families dealing with hospital visits and/or the process of cancer treatment and loss. Love Sick, one of three books Herrmann launched, was featured on The Today Show just a few weeks after being published.
In 2009, after listening to disturbing news reports about the depletion of supplies at local food banks due to the economic downturn, Herrmann co-founded Round it up America®. The concept provided a platform for collective giving by allowing many people to give just a little back to their communities by simply "rounding up" their check total with the remaining change going to local charities. For every dollar raised, 91-cents go directly to the charities with only 9% earmarked for administrative and operational costs.
Herrmann, a native of South Africa, was raised in Orange County, California where he resides with his wife Courtney and their five children.
Co-Founder and Vice President
When Jennifer Weerheim began working at a local restaurant at the age of 15 she never imagined that it was the beginning of a lifelong career in the foodservice industry, however she realized that she had a passion for it and accepted a management position at 18 during
her first year in college. Working fulltime leading
a team of 80, while earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University at Fullerton, CA was no easy task, but Jennifer stayed focused on her goal of graduating with a marketing communications degree while honing her management skills. After graduation she continued her tenure with Claim Jumper Restaurants (1985-2003) leading hundreds of people throughout the organization and successfully pioneering multiple positions, including; Service Manager, Director of Service Operations and Guest Relations, Vice President of Service Operations, and Executive Vice President of Marketing.
In 2003 Jennifer accepted a position with Yard House restaurants, a young, up and coming brand recently recognized as one of Nation's Restaurant News Hot Concepts! Jennifer was tasked by the company's President and CEO to develop the company's overall marketing strategy and assist in building the brand architecture. During Jennifer's tenure with Yard House she successfully established a strong foundation for the company's brand development, sales and marketing, humanitarian and community related cause. Over a decade later Jennifer continues to direct the Yard House brand.
Jennifer, who has a history of philanthropic endeavors, co-founded Round It Up America® in 2009 after listening to disturbing news reports about the depletion of supplies at local food banks due to the economic downturn. The concept provided a platform for collective giving by allowing many people to give just a little back to their communities by simply "rounding up" their check total with the remaining change going to local charities. After the program was successfully launched throughout Yard House restaurants the program began to implement in several different restaurant concepts and is now onboarding hundreds of restaurants throughout the country. For every dollar raised, 91-cents go directly to charity, with only 9% earmarked for administrative and operational costs. In its first few years Round It Up America® raised over $1 million by guests simply "rounding up."
Today, Jennifer serves as a Round It Up America® Founding Board Member and Board Vice President. She also serves as Co-chairman, leading the board for the National Restaurant Association's Marketing Executives Group. In 2010 she received the Excellence in Philanthropy Award by the Orange County Community Foundation, and was named one of 2012 Women of Influence by The Griffin Report.
Paul practically grew up in the restaurant business. His father worked at the Ritz in Paris for 14 years, and his mother worked as a personal chef to a wealthy family. As immigrants his parents always worked hard to achieve their American dream. His father eventually became a partner in a restaurant in Hollywood called Frascatti Grill, at Sunset and La Cienega, on the Sunset Strip. Paul loved spending time at the restaurant with his father, he loved the energy and he loved watching his father work with his staff. Paul definitely caught the restaurant bug. All through college, while he studied engineering he worked in restaurants as an oyster bar cook, a server, a bartender and a shift lead and loved it. After college he continued his restaurant career as a manager at Claim Jumper restaurants.
Paul has always tried to combine his passion for the restaurant industry and his technology background. Eventually this desire to combine his passions led him to establish Posnet Computers. It was the beginning of a new era in retail computers. Posnet systems incorporated touch screens and easy to use interfaces and became Aloha's number one reseller and continued their growth until they were purchased by Javelin Systems. At Javelin Systems Paul began to work with large corporate accounts leveraging his background in computers with his knowledge of restaurant POS software to help develop efficient solutions.
Later at Go2.com Paul found himself working on the cutting edge of wireless location and mapping technology. Go2.com developed a real world application that enabled phones to be used to create orders that interfaced with restaurant POS systems. They took mobile consumers and let them interact with brick and mortar retailers. With the help of software partners, Aloha and Compri, they created the first wireless phone-to-retail POS interface with tests at locations such as Burger King, Johnny Rockets, and Nokia Corporate Offices. They were honored with the Best Consumer Wireless Product at the Internet World Wireless show in New York.
Paul is currently Vice President of Sales at Double Line Solutions, a leading provider of QSR and HME products with service in California, Nevada and Arizona. The executive team at DLS has more than 40 years of experience in restaurant technology. From POS systems to hardware manufacturing and complex systems design, DLS understands technology and the hospitality industry. They provide consulting services for operational integration of Kitchen and Hostess solutions and go far beyond simple sales and support. They provide the link between Operations, Management and the latest technology, resulting in a better guest experience, reduced labor and lower food cost. DLS can take on all aspects of system installation, including project management, stainless steel design, and POS system integration.
President & CEO, California Restaurant Association
Jot Condie joined the California Restaurant Association in 1999 and was promoted to the position of president and chief executive officer May 17, 2004. Before this post, Condie served as the association's vice president of government affairs and public policy, where he was the restaurant industry's chief lobbyist and political strategist in California. In that role he built the CRA Political Action Committee into one of the largest small-business trade association PACs in the state and raised $18 million from the restaurant industry to fight Proposition 72 in 2004.
He serves as a commissioner of the California Tourism Commission, as a board member on the California International Relations Foundation and on the Collins College Board of Advisors. He recently served as president of the Council of State Restaurant Associations and as a board director for the National Restaurant Association.
Before joining the CRA, Condie was a representative for the manufacturing industry, where he lobbied on behalf of California's Fortune 500 companies. He also served as the chief lobbyist for the Southern California Air Quality Alliance, a consortium of aerospace, manufacturing and high-tech companies.
A Sacramento resident, Condie lives with his wife, Kristen, and their four children: 2-year-old Gabriella, 9-year-old Halle and twin 17-year-olds Garrison and Jot.
Vice President of Information Technology
Phil Crawford has always had a passion for technology and leadership, but he never quite imagined a part-time college position at a hotel would blossom into a fledging career in the restaurant and hospitality industry. The attainment of Vice President of Information Technology for Shake Shack has been achieved through continual hard work, advancement in education and knowledge, and the die-hard drive for sustained perfection and self-gratification.
Phil continues today to use his skills and knowledge obtained through the years to foster growth, most recently at Yard House Restaurants for over ten (10) years, My Fit Foods and now with Shake Shack. A firm believer that technology is a key component to not only a business’s success but more importantly society’s success, he continues to innovate and use his “outside the box” methodology to create new technologies.
William Finkelstein, Attorney:
William A. Finkelstein is a Senior Counsel in the Century City office of Steptoe & Johnson LLP, where he is a member of the Intellectual Property Group. Mr. Finkelstein has extensive experience in all aspects of US and international trademark, unfair competition, and licensing law. He also advises his clients on copyright, franchising, marketing, branding, and related electronic commerce issues, and is an experienced mediator.
Prior to joining Steptoe & Johnson LLP, Mr. Finkelstein was a partner at two California law firms. He was Vice President and Intellectual Property Counsel to PepsiCo., Inc. from 1973 to 2000. Mr. Finkelstein has served as President of the International Trademark Association (INTA), the preeminent global group representing the rights of brand owners, and was on its Board of Directors for 20 years. He is a frequent speaker on trademark, franchising and licensing law, and alternative dispute resolution.
Maureen Trippe, Senior Vice President of Development
Maureen thrives on creating market presence from nothing and connecting the dots. She is the consummate networker, finding links and forging alliances wherever she goes. She easily traverses organizations, issues and relationships at all levels.
In her 10 year tenure as West Region Global Accounts Manager for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, she has grown Ste. Michelle’s on-premise chain account business by 450% with product placements at such prestigious accounts as The Cheesecake Factory, PF Changs, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, California Pizza Kitchen and Kimpton Hotels.
Maureen's background includes 10 years of National and International Account Management with Brown Forman Beverages Worldwide, where she handled accounts including Darden, Outback, TGIFriday’s International, Brinker, Wyndham Hotels, and Club Corporation of America. She also managed cruise lines and on-premise business development in the Caribbean, and was an early supporter of the Caribbean Hotel Association.
Industry involvement and giving back are passions for Maureen. She served on the Board of Advisors for the Collins College of Hospitality Management at Cal Poly Pomona for 8 years (2002-2010), and she recently re-joined the Board of Directors of the California Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (also 2004-2007). She is on the Marketing Advisory Board for Share Our Strength’s Dine-Out campaign for “No Kid Hungry,” and on the Communications Committee for the Wine Institute where she has been a strong voice for the California Wine Month program. She has been active in the Napa Valley Vintners, especially in support of Premier Napa Valley where she annually invites and entertains key industry executives, CEO’s, Board Members and Chairmen of the National Restaurant Association.
Maureen and her husband, Ned Trippe moved to Napa in 2011 where they are renovating a 1920’s bungalow downtown. She is a native of Boston and earned her BA from Marymount College in Tarrytown NY.
In her position as SVP of Development, Maureen will be responsible for continuing implementation of the national strategy for Mission Partner recruitment in order to maximize growth and customer satisfaction for the Round It Up America program.
Michelle McCarthy, Chief Operating Officer
Michelle is currently the Chief Operations Officer for Round It Up America, a position that she refers to as her "dream job"; the goal is to have the non-profit running in as many locations, raising as much money, for as many charities as possible. She began working with the organization in 2012 when she was the COO for the American Red Cross, Los Angeles Region.
In her position as COO at the American Red Cross, Michelle provided leadership for all organizational and service operations including finance, emergency disaster response, information technology, communications and marketing, human resources, volunteer and community services, facilities as well as government and board relations. She was a key member of the One Red Cross Team responsible for transitioning the entire organization’s operations and financial structure from thousands of chapters to one standard enterprise system. She developed a sustainable cost structure through implementing technology systems, renegotiating lease and facility agreements to create efficiencies as well as enhance disaster recovery operations.
Before joining the Red Cross, Michelle was the Senior Associate Vice President of Finance and Administration at USC, where she was responsible for the university’s central financial office and overseeing projects and daily operations. One of her main responsibilities was overseeing the University Capital Plan, a $2 billion capital construction program aimed at developing the most competitive research facilities in the nation. In addition, she managed Trojan Services, a $180M division that included university housing, transportation, dining, a hotel and the bookstore.
Michelle earned a bachelor's degree in business administration and an MBA from USC.
As COO for Round It Up America, she is responsible for program oversight including strategic planning, board development, staff acquisition, financial management/planning, policies and procedures, information technology, identifying and cultivating partnerships at all levels to increase awareness and funding and to negotiate all contract/legal agreements.
FASS: Financial Administrative Support Services
Started in 2004 and managed as a subsidiary of The Health Trust by Ira Holtzman, CFO; this back-office accounting business line serves to help nonprofits strengthen, create efficiencies for their organizations and relieve nonprofits from the day-to-day anxieties of accounting. Their client expansion rose so dramatically over the years that the Health Trust decided to separate FASS into a wholly owned Subsidiary Corporation of the Health Trust in July 2012 with its own Board of Directors. They have 13 Accountants, 2 Independent CPA Contractor's, 2 Government Billing Specialists, 4 Finance Assistants, 4 Accounts Payable staff and 3 Couriers. Overall, 5 of the staff have active CPA licenses both independent contractor are CPA's.
Simply put, Dreambox Creations is the most experienced digital agency in the food-service industry. Working with over twenty-five national brands and a number of single-unit operators Dreambox is the, "go-to" firm for brand-conscious restaurants looking to reach customers in the most innovative, stable and secure ways possible. Customers over the company's fifteen-year history have included Yard House Restaurants, Claim Jumper Restaurants, In-N-Out Burger, Real Mex Restaurants, Black Angus Steakhouse and Grimaldi's Pizzeria.
Harkening back to an era when friendly, professional call answering was the norm, the name "Ruby" fits them to a T. When Jill Nelson founded the company back in 2003, she quickly realized that business owners and callers alike were longing for a personal connection in a desert of impersonal customer service and robotic answering machines.
Ruby's team of smart, charming "Rubys" is up to the challenge. Their mission is to preserve and perpetuate real, meaningful connections in an increasingly technology-focused, virtual world. They see the fruits of our labor in positive feedback from callers and clients, and many awards: from being a five-time "Fastest Growing Company in Oregon" to the crowning achievement of being named the #1 Best Small Company to Work for in the U.S. by FORTUNE Magazine.
Quigley & Miron, Certified Public Accountants
Quigley & Miron is a full service certified public accounting firm providing accounting and assurance, tax and management advisory services from its offices in Santa Monica and the Mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles, California. Founded in 1977, Quigley & Miron has significantly expanded and developed its professional staff and services over the years; Quigley & Miron has also invested heavily in technology resulting in a more efficient workforce and a paperless working environment. These investments allow Quigley & Miron to provide comprehensive specialized services to nonprofit organizations and taxable entities with one of a kind service and quality, at a reasonable cost.