2021 Speakers

Keynote Speaker

Christopher Ridenhour

For the last 20 years, Christopher has served as an Executive Leader in Healthcare management organizations. During the same time, he has traveled extensively across North America and Canada keynoting and training for National Aging Associations including Argentum, LeadingAge, American College of Healthcare Administrators, American Healthcare Association, Pioneer Network, National Center for Assisted Living, and the Ontario Association for Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors. Extraordinary participant evaluations resulted in earning the distinction of becoming LeadingAge’s highest-rated speaker/trainer. As recognition for the years of service to hundreds of organizations across Pennsylvania and the country, in 2015, Christopher was awarded LeadingAge’s Facilitator of the Year. Through measurable outcomes, research-based best practices, and laughter, his goal is to help organizations create exemplary workplace cultures defined by honesty, teamwork, accountability, and courage.


Erin Moran

Erin Moran was Union Square Hospitality Group’s Chief Culture Officer for 7 years and in that capacity, she was responsible for overseeing and enhancing all aspects of the employee experience. USHG created Shake Shack, operates 27 restaurants, runs a multifaceted catering and events business and is best known for its culture of “Enlightened Hospitality.” USHG’s Founder and CEO Danny Meyer, and author of Setting the Table, hired Erin following a year-long collaboration between USHG and Great Place to Work. Erin spent nearly a decade with GPTW where she studied the world’s best workplace cultures, helped to produce the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For and advised her clients on how to improve organizational trust. Erin is a mother of two children, Riley and Eleanore, a Baltimore native, holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from St. Joseph’s University and an M.B.A. from the Thunderbird School of International Management.


Kathy Parry

A recognized authority in personal energy, productivity, and resilience, Kathy Parry uses her passion to ignite positive changes for professional leaders. Kathy works with Fortune 500 corporate leaders, association members and talent development specialists to help professionals plan for resilience to positively move through disruptive circumstances. Attendees leave her sessions with an action list to power-up their lives and create positive mindsets towards change. Kathy holds degrees in Business and Food Management from Miami University, a Certification in Plant Based Nutrition from T.Colin Campbell Program at eCornell University and a coaching certification from WellCoaches. Ms. Parry has authored three books and lives in Pittsburgh, PA. where she enjoys a mild dark chocolate addiction and cooking for hungry friends.

Pre Conference Speaker

Timothy Schoonmaker

Timothy Schoonmaker, MBA, CEC, WCEC, CCA, CDM, CFPP, FMP, MCFE is the Corporate Director and Executive Chef and Director of the Rosemary & George Dawson Inn at Centra Health in Lynchburg, Virginia and has worked in the healthcare industry for 21 years in both contract and self op foodservice operations. Chef is a Certified Executive Chef and Certified Culinary Administrator through the American Culinary Federation,  serving as the education chair for the Southwest Virginia Chefs Association, and is a Certified Dietary Manager and Certified Food Protection Professional, serving as the membership chairperson/Newsletter Editor for the Association of Nutrition Food Service Professionals Virginia Chapter.  Chef is also a member of the Association for Healthcare Foodservice, serving on the benchmarking committee and self op committee and on the AHF Board. Chef also is the President of the board for Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Central Virginia, and serves on the Social services board for the City of Lynchburg.

Pre Conference Speaker

Julie Meddles, MS, RDN, LD

Julie Meddles, MS, RDN, LD. is a healthcare food and nutrition operations leader at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center for over 21 years. Julie began her career in practice as a clinical dietitian before moving on to a variety of management roles in Nutrition Services. Her primary responsibility currently is Director of Nutrition Services for the OSUWMC health system. Her department administers quality nutrition care and food service operations for patients, staff, students and visitors in Wexner Medical Center facilities and the communities they serve.

General Session Speaker

Mark Toomey

Mark has more than 45 years of experience in the Hospitality Industry.  Mark spent 26 years with Sodexo and his knowledge of the market and the need for clients to reduce costs was critical to their success. Mark was instrumental in moving the company into an Integrated Facilities Services Model recognizing the need for clients to control costs and reduce overhead. Since retiring from Sodexo in 2009 Mark has become a partner and shareholder with Optimbuy, a purchasing consulting company that has negotiated purchasing agreements for more than 50 clients and founded Rohan-Stratton Consulting Group. Mark is a graduate of the State University of New York with a degree in Hotel Administration and has been active in SFHM, serving on the board for six years.

Conference Speaker

David Hendriks CEC, CDM

Multi-unit leader for healthcare Food, Environmental, and Laundry Services, focused on patient and customer satisfaction. Experienced in both in-sourced and contract managed services along the continuum of care from acute care through assisted and independent living. Experience in design and operational implementation of foodservice production, kitchen and dining areas involving both renovation and new construction at multiple locations.
Demonstrated commitment to consolidated management approach to healthcare foodservice as well as leadership and collaboration with both peers and subordinates via multiple projects with successful outcomes, with patient satisfaction being the principal goal.

Conference Moderator

Gerald White

Gerald White is currently the publisher of Plate magazine, overseeing ad sales, PLATE’s website and its portfolio of events and customer interactions. Jerry’s entire business career has been and remains closely tied to the restaurant industry, particularly the onsite foodservice marketplace. The key to his success has been in relationship-building—bridging restaurant, foodservice and hospitality communities, and in supporting individuals, agencies, and companies as they seek to work more closely with restaurateurs, chefs, foodservice operators and their professional associations.

Conference Speaker

Simone Nicolas MS RDN CDN

Simone Nicolas MS RDN CDN is an accomplished food and nutrition professional with more than 24 years of healthcare experience and a passion for improving outcomes through nutrition, elevating the services and experience provided to patients and residents.  Simone has developed and implemented group diabetic and weight management education programs for short-term care patients and has championed individualized nutrition interventions to enhance the quality of life for adults in long-term care. A seasoned leader, she currently serves as corporate director of culinary services at National Health Care Associates, which operates a post-acute network of 39 skilled nursing and assisted living centers throughout the northeast.

Conference Speaker

Heather Dugan

Award-winning author, writer, and speaker, Heather Dugan, is a graduate of Indiana University and the founder of Cabernet Coaches®, an “all ages, all stages” group for women that fosters self-betterment through face-to-face friendships & social connection. Heather’s focus on facilitating effective communication, fostering more meaningful relationships, and equipping men and women for life-changing transitions, along with her ongoing study of social and cultural trends make her a popular speaker and relationship expert for both business and community organizations. She’s a go-to source for media seeking insights on topics such as political polarization, pandemic social impacts, dating, isolation and loneliness, relationship repair, community-building, and the impact of digital reliance, technology, and current social norms on relationship and connection.

Conference Speaker

Mary Angela Miller, MS, RDN, LD

Mary Angela Miller, MS, RDN, LD, spent 15 years as FSD for Nutrition Services at OSU Med Ctr followed by 15 more as an administrator for a wide variety of departments. She now teaches management & health policy for OSU & has launched an entrepreneurial food safety consultancy, KeepSafe Food, LLC.
She has mentored the careers of many staff & colleagues. Her willingness to develop the leadership skills of others & then facilitate their promotion was recognized when Mary was selected as a recipient of the IFMA Silver Plate in Healthcare & Healthcare Food Management’s Angela Gagliano Award. Mary was an inaugural member of AHF’s BOD & has served as a past president of one of its legacy organizations. She earned her BS from Youngstown State, master’s from Case Western Reserve & OSU’s Executive Certificate in HC Administration.

Conference Speaker

Georgie Shockey

Georgie Shockey, is the Principal of Ruck-Shockey Associates, Inc. She has over 30 years of operational and project experience. She has extensive knowledge in all aspects of hospitality management, including the management of daily operations, training, retail trends, for food and environmental services, patient transport as well as linen/laundry programs.
Georgie is experienced in conducting assessments for strategically transforming operations, making appropriate recommendations, and providing customized implementation plans. In the last two years, she and her team have helped transform over 20 major operational programs. Georgie utilizes communication skills daily to guide clients, consultants and others to effective program and leadership success.
Georgie is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a bachelor’s in nutrition. Georgie currently serves as a Director for The Ohio State University Foundation Board and is a member of the Association for Healthcare Foodservice (AHF) Industry Advisory Board and an active member of Association for the Healthcare Environment (AHE). She is a frequent speaker at leading hospitality and healthcare industry events and contributing author to industry publications.

FISH Speaker

Gregory Gorgone, CDM, CFPP, FMP

Greg is a graduate and former Chef Instructor of Johnson & Wales University with over 35 years of experience in food service and hospitality management. With a successful track record in the restaurant and hospitality industry, Greg has brought his unique insights and leadership style to the healthcare industry to deliver a more patient centered, culinary driven experience while still keeping careful focus on financial objectives and Resident/Patient Satisfaction Scores. Energized by the changes in healthcare food service, Greg has been helping transform Senior Living Communities and hospitals into a more hospitality-based food service model. In addition to his operational experience, Greg has managed concept development projects, kitchen design and grand openings for hotels, restaurants, QSRs and healthcare operations.

FISH Speaker

Jeff Sinelli

Jeff Sinelli serves as Founder, CEO, and Chief Vibe Officer of Sinelli Concepts and its subsidiary brands. He often says, “Anything is Possible.” That includes creating and growing iconic brands, including Which Wich? Superior Sandwiches; Genghis Grill; Paciugo Gelato & Caffe; Burguesa Brands; and Supernova Coffee. Aggregately, these concepts have grown both domestically and internationally, to nearly 1,000 locations.

FISH Speaker

Sandra Sydnor

Sandra Sydnor, M.B.A., Ph.D has over 20 years of industry experience as a multi-unit franchisee and executive leadership positions in marketing research and communication agencies. Her research spans resilience science and climate change; family business; regenerative design; and mindfulness sciences and practices.
Dr. Sydnor has authored and/or co-authored over seventy articles in peer-reviewed journals such as Journal of Foodservice Business Research.
Dr. Sydnor is the Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion for the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Purdue University. Accordingly, she collaborates with multiple stakeholders (stakeholder groups, university, community, businesses) to define, understand, assess, foster and cultivate diversity.

Conference Speaker

Maureen Leugers, MBA, RD

Maureen Leugers, MBA, RD, is the owner of Maureen Leugers, LLC, a consulting company focused on assisting healthcare foodservice operators, as well as businesses and associations supporting them, achieve extraordinary results by providing a pragmatic approach to the business. In 2019, Maureen retired from Gordon Food Service as the Director of Non-Commercial Customer Marketing, spending over 20 years sharing her industry knowledge and operational expertise to define the healthcare strategic direction for the company, as well as guide, support, and lead healthcare foodservice operators to achieve operational excellence. Previously, Maureen was the Division Director of both Environmental Services and Nutritional Services at Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne, IN, providing her with a strong knowledge of foodservice operations. Maureen received her MBA from Saint Francis College and has a B.S. in Dietetics from the College of Mount Saint Joseph. She is a former instructor in the Business Department at University of Saint Francis. Maureen is the author of the college level textbook, Controlling Costs in Foodservice. She has been honored for her contributions to the industry by the Indiana Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, The Association of Healthcare Foodservice (AHF), ASHFSA, Dietitians in Business and Communications, and Dietetics in Health Care Communities (DHCC).

Conference Speaker

Sherry Frugé

Sherry Frugé has a diverse background in the healthcare industry. She began her career as an Ophthalmic Technician in Chicago. From there, she moved into healthcare sales, working for Lincare, a home health provider. She later joined Philips Healthcare as a regional sales manager focused on their neonatal products. In 2010, Sherry joined Gordon Food Service and spent eight years growing the national healthcare business. In 2018, Sherry joined the GPO Health Resource Services, LLC as their Senior Director of Business Development. All these experiences enable Sherry to look at the industry through its many facets, and to understand and provide valuable insight to healthcare providers.

Conference Speaker

Joseph Ninnemann

Joe Ninnemann brings dynamic leadership in order to maximize Food Service operations in an effort to provide the highest quality food service to all patients and customers in the community. With nearly 23 years of Food Service industry experience, spanning both restaurant/hospitality and health care food service, Joe brings a comprehensive approach to all levels of Food and Nutrition operations. Joe uses his experience from all levels of a food service operation, to connect with employees and further drive engagement. Joe’s education with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and Economics, also provides him the opportunity to objectively evaluate operations to drive financial results at a site and enterprise level. Joe is currently the Regional Director of System Food & Nutrition Services for Advocate Aurora Health, supporting North & Central WI; and also serves as the Program Coordinator for the Culinary Apprenticeship Program.

Conference Speaker

Steve Carlson, FCSI

Steve Carlson, FCSI is the President of Rippe Associates, Inc. Steve has worked in foodservice design and consulting since 1982. His combination of creativity and sensibility is illustrated through his attention to detail and concern for quality—add that to his extensive industry knowledge, and it equals successful designs specific to each project.

Conference Speaker

Carri Sullens

Carri Sullens has over 20 years of experience in foodservice design and operations and is an expert in creating dynamic, energy-conscious designs that engage and delight guests. In her role she shepherds healthcare projects along with her staff through the stringent health and safety protocols of OSHPD and CDPH in California. A senior associate member of FCSI, she has overseen the planning, design, and management of numerous high-profile hospitality, healthcare, and educational facilities as well as workplace dining environments.

Conference Speaker

Gary Goettl, MPH, RDN

Gary has over 25 years of experience in Food and Nutrition support services. Gary is passionate about the hospitality business and that is reflected in his work in many facilities across the country. Gary has a wide-ranging portfolio of food service design experience, specializing in healthcare foodservice design. Gary excels at enhancing retail environments, finding retail solutions for the healthcare industry. Gary has been involved in developing new retail concepts, recipe portfolios, and all-inclusive healthcare retail business plans. A broad portfolio of patient dining experience, driving patient satisfaction, rounds out Gary’s professional accomplishments.

Conference Speaker

John Herzog

John Herzog has over 30 years of food service experience including holding positions from dishwasher to General Manager in the fine dining arena.  Embarking on a healthcare foodservice career in 2008, John was instrumental in process improvement initiatives and kitchen/café renovations at a national level as a Food Service Director.  Once a former client, John joined the team at Don Miller & Associates in 2017 and has participated in meal service transition projects for DM&A clients throughout the United States as a Project Manager, Culinary Lead and Support Success Coach.  Currently, John is the National Sales Director for DM&A.

Conference Speaker

Jim Doak, CCC

Jim is the founder of JWD Consultancy and an award-winning chef that continues to deliver results with innovative and break through products & concepts for multiple segments in the restaurant and foodservice industry while driving sales and profits for his clients. Jim draws upon his over 35 years of experience in companies such as Ignite Restaurant Group, Applebee’s, Culver’s and many other legacy brands to strategically drive and lead creativity to new heights. He is a creative visionary that conceives new product ideas that are executable and easily replicable resulting in consistency of experiences. His philosophy is to provide innovative solutions on demand for his clients with value added thinking that is beyond expectation.

FISH Speaker

Ken Toong

Ken Toong has been the Executive Director of University of Massachusetts Amherst Auxiliary Enterprises (AE) for the past eleven years. The AE umbrella includes UMass Dining (Residential and Retail), Conference Services, Campus Center Complex, Hotel UMass, the UMass Store, the University of Massachusetts Club Boston and UMass Trademark and Licensing Administration for the UMass System.

Nationally, Ken is one of the most recognized faces and frequent presenters in higher education’s dining and auxiliary segments.  He is a big believer in the Mediterranean diet and has implemented many Mediterranean principles at various operations at UMass. Through Ken’s visionary direction, UMass Dining has become one of the nation’s most awarded programs for its innovative and quality programs, focusing on foodservice sustainability, authenticity, student success and health & wellness. Notable recognitions include Global Restaurant Award in Sustainability in 2016 , being voted #1 for Best Campus Food in the nation from Princeton Review 2021 edition, making it five years in a row and the most recent recognition of “Best New Facility” for Worcester Commons by Food Management Magazine. In 2013, the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA) recognized Ken as one of the recipients of the Silver Plate Award.