Women in Hospitality Conference coming to Wilmington


A Mid-Atlantic regional conference is coming to The Queen in downtown Wilmington on Oct. 22.

The Women in Hospitality Leadership conference is a professional development conference hosted by the Delaware Restaurant Association.

Panelists will lead a conversation sharing a history of women in restaurants & hospitality, current issues of gender parity and challenges facing women in the industry, and working to move the industry forward to champion women in leadership positions, a release stated.

Panelists are:

  • Dawn Sweeny, panelist (CEO, National Restaurant Association)
  • Denny Marie Post, panelist (President & CEO, Women’s FoodService Forum)
  • Joanna James, panelist (Documentary Filmmaker/Director)
  • Jenna Telesca, moderator (Editor in Chief, Nation’s Restaurant News)

“Women of hospitality often face challenges of balancing public-facing careers that don’t fit neatly into the 9-5 workday, coupled with the pressures of family and maximizing upward career mobility. Today’s women of hospitality often feel isolated on their own island, without support or resources. This conference is a unique opportunity for connection to others with similar journeys, and with those who have made it to the top of this industry,” stated, Carrie Leishman, CEO of the Delaware Restaurant Association.

Other panelists and moderators are

  • Meghan Gardner, moderator (Blue Moon, Rehoboh Beach DE)
  • Carlie Carey, panelist (One Coastal, Fenwick Island DE)
  • Rous & Angie Robles, panelists (My Sister’s Fault, Milford, DE)
  • Representative Melissa Minor-Brown, moderator (Delaware)
  • Catina Smith, panelist (Just Call Me Chef Foundation, Baltimore MD)
  • Jasmine Norton, panelist (The Urban Oyster, Baltimore MD)
  • Amanda Mack, panelist (Crust by Mack, Baltimore, MD)
  • Xavier Teixido, moderator (Harry’s Hospitality Group, Wilmington DE)
  • Carrie Leishman, panelist (Delaware Restaurant Association)
  • Carol Watson, panelist (Hotel Palomar/Kimpton Hotels, Philadelphia PA)
  • Julie Coker Graham, panelist (Philadelphia Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, PA)

The keynote address will be given by Kara DioGuardi, a former American Idol judge, Grammy-nominated songwriter, author, and restaurateur.

Pre-conferenceactivities also include a“Women & Wine” Happy Hourwith wine education, drink specials and locally curated appetizers atthe new Delaware Collective Food Hall (DE.CO)in downtown Wilmington, followed by aWilmington “Dine Out”ay local downtown Wilmington restaurants.

Also featured prior to the event will be ‘Women of Hospitality’….on Film

The documentary is a toast to women restaurateurs, chefs, farmers, winemakers and food activists.

‘A Fine Line’ explores why less than7 percent of head chefs and restaurant owners are women. Tickets include movie screening and Q/A sessionimmediatelyfollowing with filmmaker/director Joanna James.

Film screening proceeds will benefit a special Delaware Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (DRAEF) scholarship fund for female ProStart students studying hospitality and culinary arts.

Registration and more information available atwww.womenofhospitality.com

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