Brian Best
P.F. Chang's China Bistro Inc.
Head of Interactive Engagement (Digital - Loyalty - CRM - eCommerce)
Brian Best is the Head of Interactive Engagement for P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, a privately-held corporation operating 3 independent restaurant brands with more than 400+ domestic and international locations. Brian is responsible for leading P.F. Chang’s digital transformation and oversees all digital, social, loyalty, CRM and ecommerce functions for the brand.

Brian has held executive-level positions for over 20 years in the digital and loyalty space, guiding multi-brand organizations through their digital evolutions, implementing innovative technology solutions, and leading high performing teams to deliver profitable omni-channel customer experiences. Prior to his tenure at P.F. Chang’s, Brian developed award-winning revenue generation programs for billion-dollar organizations such as Caesars Entertainment, Boyd Gaming, American Casino & Entertainment Properties, and Arizona State University.

Brian is a graduate of the University of Puget Sound’s School of Business and has been recognized as an industry leader in the hospitality and entertainment verticals. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including Las Vegas' 40 Under 40, and HSMAI’s (Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International) Adrian Award - Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing. He is a member of the Internet Marketing Association’s Executive International Council and is a regular presenter at marketing and technology conferences.

Dorothy Creamer
Hospitality Technology
Dorothy Creamer, editor of Hospitality Technology has been with HT for five years, starting as the publication’s managing editor. In that role, she managed daily editorial operations plus the brand’s digital channels, including its website and e-newsletters. In 2016 she was promoted to editor and now, in addition to driving HT’s editorial direction, she is responsible for the analysis and writing behind the brand’s three benchmark industry research reports. She also develops content and leads speaker recruitment efforts for HT’s three annual industry events. Creamer has been with HT’s parent company since 2009. Prior to joining HT, she led the full editorial strategy for several merchandising magazines. A publishing professional for 15+ years, Creamer started her career as an editor for a consumer publications house, where she rose through the ranks to be editor-in-chief of magazines with subjects ranging from children’s/teen entertainment, cooking, hairstyles and home décor to men's entertainment.

Chris Demery
Bloomin' Brands, Inc
GVP & General Manager, Off-Premises Dining
Chris is responsible for all Off Premises Dining activities within Bloomin’ Brands Inc., including Do-It- Ourselves (DIO) for Outback Steakhouse, Carrabbas’ Italian Grill, and Bonefish Grill, integrating with 3 rd Party delivery organizations, as well as defining, developing, and implementing smaller footprint Off Premises locations for Bloomin’ Brands.

He has more than 20 years of experience in both legacy and bleeding-edge technologies and issues, including how to leverage big data, mobile architectures, customer engagement, and enterprise-scale software implementations (like SAP). I'm currently focused on customer convenience, & aligning all customer channels with a cohesive brand-relevant experience.

Laura Rea Dickey
Dickey's Barbecue Restaurants, Inc.
Chief Executive Officer
Laura Rea Dickey currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants, Inc. Dickey served as the Chief Information Officer for eight years, and made the transition to CEO after excelling in her previous role. Dickey has worked in the marketing and information technology field for over 15 years, and has led the marketing, IT and training departments at Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants, Inc. during her time there.

After graduating from Texas Christian University in 2001, Dickey went on to work at agencies such as Murray Brown Creative Group, The Richards Group and The Point Group. Through her years of agency experience, Dickey worked with brands such as W Hotels, American Heart Association, Blue Mesa, La Madeline and Chick-Fil-A. Dickey’s specialty is the intersection of technology and marketing, turning data insights into brand and business solutions.

In her time as CIO of Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants, Inc., Dickey implemented countless new initiatives to improve the Dickey’s brand and better the business as a whole. Dickey found a way to merge technology and barbecue to create a way to better serve Dickey’s customers as well as the business, and has made Dickey’s a technology leader in restaurant industry.

Dustin Garis
P&G FutureWorks
Former Chief Troublemaker at Procter & Gamble, Global Brand Innovation Leader
Throughout his disruptive career at some of the world’s most respected companies, The Coca-Cola Company and Procter & Gamble, Dustin has become known as “Chief Troublemaker” for his innovative approach to brand-building and corporate entrepreneurship.

Dustin was a leader of global marketing innovation for P&G FutureWorks—the innovation epicenter responsible for accelerating discontinuous growth by incubating, launching, and scaling a billion-dollar portfolio of breakthrough ventures worldwide. This includes P&G’s momentous shift into services with the Mr. Clean Car Wash and Tide Dry Cleaners. Dustin also launched the P&G FutureWorks Emerging Markets division in Singapore, deploying new business models and early-stage technologies across Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

With a particular focus on how brands can enrich lives, Dustin offers examples of brands that are getting it right by “revolting against routine,” and creating memorable experiences to drive engagement among Millennial consumers and employees.

Beyond his leadership roles in corporate innovation and billion-dollar brands (Coca-Cola, Crest, Scope, Mr. Clean, Oral-B, Tampax, etc.), Dustin now helps other organizations accelerate their innovation capabilities and culture. He shares lessons from the world’s most-innovative brands (Google, Zappos, Southwest Airlines, Airbnb, etc.), best practices in change leadership, as well as insight into the Millennial-led social movement LifeProfit, which is now fueling an experiential brand revolution across multinationals and entrepreneurial startups.

Laura Gaudin
Director of Product Management

Jeffery Kent
ABR Holdings
Chief Information Officer
Jeffery Kent is the Chief Information Officer of American Blue Ribbon Holdings, a restaurant holding company that operates or franchises 640 restaurants across 42 states, including the Ninety Nine, Max & Erma’s, Village Inn, Bakers Square and Legendary Baking brands. This position is the culmination of twenty years of senior IT leadership developing and supporting customer-facing technologies including call centers, self-service internet applications, kiosks, automated tellers, point-of-sale devices and large-scale data warehouses.

Prior to joining ABRH, Jeff help CIO positions at the following organizations …

• The Yankee Candle Company, a leading designer, manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer of premium scented candles • Fiesta Restaurant Group which owns, operates and franchises Taco Cabana and Pollo Tropical restaurants in the southern United States, the Caribbean, Central America, South America and North India • Fiesta's former parent, Carrols Restaurant Group, from 2010 until Fiesta was spun off in 2012. • Influent, an international provider of call centers services

He also has held IT leadership positions with Wendy’s International, Huntington Banks and Texas Instruments. He is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University with a degree in Computer Engineering.

Abigail Lorden
Vice President & Group Brand Director
Abigail Lorden is a publishing executive with deep domain expertise in technology and business trends in the hotel and restaurant industries. As the brand director of Hospitality Technology (HT;, Abigail leads the sales and editorial teams of the most influential media brand covering technology in the hotel and restaurant industries, including its print and digital portfolio, plus HT's three annual events: the highly-acclaimed MURTEC (Multi-Unit Restaurant Technology Conference), HT-NEXT, and MURTEC Executive Summit.

Abigail's background as HT's editor-in-chief for more than 10 years give her extensive insight into market trends and content tools that provide value to both HT readers and advertisers. Throughout her tenure, she spearheaded HT's highly-successful market research and analysis arm, including three annual industry bench-marking studies: Restaurant Technology Study, Lodging Technology Study, and Customer Engagement Technology Study. She also plays a vital role in HT's industry events, with strategic direction of educational content, format, and sponsorship. In 2016, she co-launched HT-NEXT in partnership with HTNG, and in 2017 is leading the production of a new industry event, the MURTEC Executive Summit.

Hope Neiman
Chief Marketing Officer
Hope Neiman is the CMO of Tillster, the leader in empowering the multi-unit restaurant industry by delivering more orders, more often, in more ways. She is skilled at transforming businesses to take advantage of digital opportunities and optimizing the resulting data to truly expand the brand. During her 25+year career Hope has focused on new and innovative ways to develop Customer Lifetime Value across brands as diverse as Disney and Beachbody’s P90X.

Mike Nettles
Papa John's International
SVP, Chief Information & Digital Officer
Mike has spent almost 30 years of his professional career becoming a self-ascribed “gearhead foodie.” His background includes work for several multi-concept global restaurant hospitality brands. He has delivered technology and business solutions for some of the biggest and most respected names in the industry. Mike’s technical expertise extends to encompass the entire technology solution set enabling the business, from the design and implementation of store level order management and fulfillment solutions to the accounting and home office ERP solutions. Furthermore, Mike has taken the entire customer experience journey outside of the confines of traditional technology to bring about world-class consumer facing solutions, redefining the industry standards for what successful digital transformation looks like for both the customer and the business.

Before joining Papa John’s International as their SVP, Chief Information and Digital Officer, Mike was the VP of Architecture and IT Strategy for Panera Bread Company, responsible for the entire design and development of the industry-defining “Panera 2.0” transformative digital effort. Prior to joining Panera, Mike was the Co-Founder for Savista (formerly eMac Digital), the provider of global store solutions to McDonald’s Corporation as well as provider of complete outsourced accounting and payroll services to more than 5000 restaurants in the USA. Mike has also led the overall technology strategy and design of many solutions for brands such as Brinker International, McDonald’s, Subway, Starbuck’s, Wendy’s, Domino’s, Pizza Hut and many others, with many of these solutions still in full deployment well after their initial deployment decades ago.

Mike Nolan
Johnny Rockets Restaurant Group
Mike Nolan has more than 25 years of proven executive leadership experience within the restaurant industry, successfully leading and growing national and international brands. Nolan is currently the President of The Johnny Rockets Restaurant Group and is a member of the Johnny Rockets’ Board of Managers. Johnny Rockets currently operates and franchises over 400 restaurants in 32 countries around the world.
Previously, Mike served as the president of and member of the Board of Managers for Pieology, a fast-casual pizza chain with 135 locations, based out of Orange County, California. Prior to that assignment, Mike held several positions at Smashburger including board member, chief development officer, president, and ultimately CEO. During Mike’s five-year relationship at Smashburger the company grew from 40 restaurants to more than 300 company and franchise locations - operating both domestically and internationally
He has also held executive level management positions at Bloomin’ Brands, Inc. where he oversaw the restaurant development strategy for more than 1,500 locations across 26 countries.
Prior to Bloomin’ Brands Inc, Mike held executive leadership roles for Panera Bread Company, where he spearheaded growth strategies that grew restaurant locations from 250 to more than 1,500 locations during a 12-year expansion phase.

Amberly Rundell
Mannix Marketing, Inc.
Digital Marketing Strategist
Amberly Rundell is a digital marketing strategist at Mannix Marketing, an award winning digital marketing agency that specializes in hospitality and tourism marketing. She blends her passion for internet marketing, food and travel to help 50+ restaurant and hotel clients in various sizes find a presence on the web and convert more sales.

Amberly has specialized in digital hospitality marketing for 10+ years and has worked with companies such as Walt Disney World, Nickelodeon, Hilton, Marriott, Holiday Inn, Six Flags as well as numerous local restaurants throughout Upstate New York. She specializes in social media marketing and is a regular speaker at local conferences, Chamber of Commerce’s and hospitality marketing events.
Having ran hundreds of social media campaigns for her restaurant clients, she knows what works and what does not and enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience with others. She spent three years living in South Korea where she taught internet marketing courses to corporate executives and CEOs.

Scott Scherer
Jersey Mike's Franchise System
Scott Scherer is Chief Information Officer (CIO) for Jersey Mike’s Subs, a fast casual franchise restaurant chain known for its authentic fresh sliced/fresh grilled subs. The company has been recognized most recently as:

• #1 Fastest-growing Limited Service Chain and Fastest-growing Sandwich Chain in the 2017 Nation’s Restaurant News Top 100
• #1 on the Franchise Times Fast & Serious List (2016) for “Smartest Growing Franchise”
• #2 Most Craveable Chain Sandwich by Restaurant Business.
• #10 on list of the 25 Best Fast-Food Chains in America (2017) by Business Insider and Restaurant Business.
• Ranked in: QSR magazine’s 2016 The QSR Top 50 (#40), 2017 Fast Casual Top 100 Movers & Shakers List (#48), 2017 Technomic 500 (#55), Franchise Times’ 2016 Top 200 (#116) and Entrepreneur’s 2017 Franchise 500 (#21)

Scott is responsible for all technology design and deployment for the 1,500 Jersey Mike’s restaurants open and under development nationwide, working with his team to create and manage a custom Point of Sale system that integrates programs and services for franchisees and the franchisor. These include PCI Compliance; Gift Cards; Online Ordering; CCTV Loss Prevention Systems; and Enterprise Reporting including food cost and labor management.

Under Scott’s leadership, Jersey Mike’s won a 2015 CIO 100 Award by CIO magazine and two Hospitality Technology Restaurant Breakthrough Awards, in 2014 and 2012, for the company’s single proprietary, fully integrated technology platform.

Janneke van Geuns
Head of Insights & Analytics, Food, Beverage & Restaurants
Janneke van Geuns is head of insights & analytics at Google. She is leading a team of analysts who are responsible for taking analytics and search intent data to tell stories, drive strategy and prove impact for Google’s large food, beverage and restaurant advertisers. Before joining Google, Janneke was a director of strategic analytics at creative advertising agency FCB. Originally from Amsterdam, The Netherlands, she moved to the United States 9 years ago to get her M.Sc in integrated marketing communications at Northwestern University where she specialized in marketing analytics.

Dave Wallinga
Panda Restaurant Group
Vice President - Guest Marketing
Dave leads all paid, earned and owned media efforts, guest care and insights, and local store marketing for Panda Restaurant Group, the world leader in Asian dining experiences. Panda is the parent company of Panda Express, America's favorite Chinese restaurant with more than 1,900 locations in the U.S. and a growing international presence that includes Canada, Mexico, Dubai, Guatemala, Japan, Saudi Arabia and South Korea.

Prior to Panda, Dave founded and led three different digital marketing agencies including DNA New Media Group which, when launched in 1994, was one of the first interactive agencies in North America. His more than 30 years' experience in marketing and organizational communications includes a wide range of brand and product launches; integrated and digital marketing campaigns; and employee communication for some of the world's leading brands including the American Cancer Society, Ameritech, BP, Britney Spears, Business Objects, Chicago Board of Trade, Citibank, eBay, FedEx, Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Intel, McDonald's, Oracle, Sara Lee, UPS and YUM! Brands.

Dave is also a faculty member of the U.S. Marketing College, a pro bono program to teach marketing and communication strategy and best practices at the U.S. State Department and other agencies of the federal government.

Earlier in his career, Dave was a principal with Chicago-based Communications Research and Development and held various corporate and marketing communications management roles for Ameritech. He began his career as a broadcast journalist for KOMU-TV (ABC affiliate) in Columbia, MO.