Executive Director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance
Andrew Rigie is the Executive Director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, an association representing restaurants and nightlife venues throughout the five boroughs.
Andrew was born into the hospitality business, working at his family’s third-generation bakery in Queens, N.Y. He later “got his apron dirty” by working multiple positions within the industry before joining the New York State Restaurant Association in 2004. There he recruited members, was a grassroots organizer, and provided resources and consulting services to restaurant operators, including its Nightlife Association chapter that represented bars and nightclubs. In 2009, Andrew took the helm of the 80+-year-old association’s New York City operations as its Executive Vice President.
Rigie utilized the knowledge he gained working inside the industry and on its behalf, to become the founding executive director who launched the independent New York City Hospitality Alliance in 2012. Since then, The Alliance has grown into a premier organization delivering information, education, services and representing thousands of restaurants and nightlife venues in the halls of government and in the media.
Chief Operating Officer at Union Square Hospitality Group
As Union Square Hospitality Group’s Senior Advisor, Coraine liaises between Chief Executive Officer Danny Meyer, USHG’s senior leadership, and its family of businesses, strengthening and reinforcing USHG’s culture of enlightened hospitality amidst unprecedented business growth.
Coraine has held various leadership positions at USHG for over two decades, primarily serving as Chief Operations Officer, where he was responsible for the performance of USHG’s acclaimed business brands.
As Chief Development Officer, he directed the conceptualization, incubation, and launch of numerous new businesses, including Eleven Madison Park, Blue Smoke, Shake Shack, Maialino, North End Grill, and Untitled at the new Whitney Museum of American Art. Coraine also collaborated on the 2009 launch of Hospitality Quotient, USHG’s leadership development and training business. Most recently, Coraine oversaw the relocation, design, and development of the company’s flagship brand, Union Square Cafe, in its new space.
Chef and Owner of Restaurant Marc Forgione and Peasant
Chef Marc Forgione is the chef and owner of Restaurant Marc Forgione and Peasant and the co-owner of Khe-Yo. He won season 3 of Food Network’s The Next Iron Chef at just 31 years old, making him the youngest winner in the show’s history.
Among the many accolades, Restaurant Marc Forgione was recognized with a glowing two-star review in the New York Times and received a Michelin star. Chef Forgione is also the author of “Marc Forgione: Recipes and Stories from the Acclaimed Chef and Restaurant.”
CEO and Founder of Tripleseat
Jonathan Morse is the CEO and founder of Tripleseat, a catering and event management platform an event and sales web application platform for restaurants, hotels, and unique venues, used by more than 15,000 customers at restaurants, hotels, and unique venues in 30 different countries.
Morse has been involved in the restaurant and hotel business for more than 30 years, with roles ranging from a busboy at Abadessa’s in Hingham, Mass., to line cook at Atlantic Cafe in Nantucket, to floor manager at Backbay Restaurant Group, to New England regional sales manager for Starwood Hotels. Before starting Tripleseat, Morse was a vice president of sales for a web startup that delivered business intelligence reporting to the restaurant industry.
Executive Director of Operations at Altamarea Group
Susan Lee is the Executive Director of Operations for Altamarea Group. Her career has been paved by 25 years dedicated to the field of hospitality, food, and beverage. After graduating from Simmons College and The Culinary Institute of America, Lee held positions with Gordon Ramsay at the London, Corton, Ai Fiori, and Il Buco Alimentari. She worked for STARR Restaurant Group as General Manager of Morimoto, General Manager of Upland, then New Restaurant Team Lead at Pastis, and Director of New Restaurant Openings for Veronika at Fotografiska.
Wedding & Events Coordinator at Mad River Barn
Adrienne Cady is the Wedding & Events Coordinator for Mad River Barn in Fayston, Vt. Cady has been working in the hospitality industry for 20 years and her current role at the Barn encompasses all the things she loves about the industry.
Born and raised in the green mountains of Vermont, Cady can be found enjoying the outdoors while hiking, paddling, and snowboarding with her husband and dog.
Director of Event Sales & Services at Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurants
Gina LeBike has served as an event sales manager and director for more than 20 years. In 2017, LeBike started her own event sales consulting firm where she overhauled private dining programs and led sales training courses for more than 50 different companies.
In 2019, LeBike joined Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants, where she oversees the event
program for the chain’s 47 locations spanning across 10 states.
LeBike has earned a reputation as a passionate, innovative, skilled, action-based sales leader,
and is honored to be participating in her first Tripleseat EventCamp.
US Director of Private Events at Zuma
Marisa Colangelo is the US Director of Private Events for Zuma Restaurants. After joining the group in 2016, she has been the driving force in establishing the first-ever private dining department in the company’s history and continues to lead the team nationally in New York, Las Vegas, Miami, and Boston day to day. She exponentially grows sales year over year, she leads and develops talented sales teams throughout the US, supports new openings, and drives marketing initiatives and event experiences while establishing company-wide SOPs.
A natural-born leader driven by her passion for hospitality, Colangelo has exceeded expectations since in her early days at Fordham University where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and business administration.
Founder, Christine Gritmon Inc.
Christine Gritmon empowers professionals to step into their personal brands in a bigger, bolder way on social media. You CAN do it — she’ll teach you how! She’s spoken on stages worldwide and is a frequent expert guest on podcasts, live streams, Twitter chats, and blog posts, as well as hosting her own weekly Twitter chat, #ChatAboutBrand, and live interview show, Let’s Talk About Brand.
Founder of Dandy Life
Shira Spiewak began her career working as an in-house sales manager in New York City. After many years on the venue side, Spiewak launched her own consulting business. She has cultivated clients throughout Manhattan, the Hamptons, and several other major U.S. cities, customizing their event sales portfolios, increasing sales, and improving customer satisfaction. With her company, Dandy Life®, Spiewak currently specializes in organizing and launching event sales programs, generating hype, and implementing new event management systems. Spiewak is an advisory member of SERV.
Director of Special Events and Catering at Ole Red Nashville
Dena Tidwell is currently the Director of Special Events and Catering at Ole Red Nashville (yes, Blake Shelton is exactly as you see him on The Voice), handling all things involving the space, décor, food and beverage selection, and entertainment for the multi-level venue.
Tidwell is striving to survive the industry until retirement, mentoring, and creating a fun, safe event that is 100 proof great fun, signature cocktails, and live country music!
Having spent almost 30 years at The Wildhorse Saloon, she followed her own mentor to open Ole Red if nothing more than to prove dogs were just as fun as horses. She spends any spare time with her 12 grandchildren, preferably in Santa Rosa Beach on a pontoon boat.
Founder and CEO of Merri
Randi Bushell is the Founder and CEO of Merri, a 3D event design and planning platform. Prior to starting Merri, she led product strategy at Jet.com and Walmart.com. Prior to those positions, she started her career in buying at Macys.com, working within a variety of verticals including furniture, women’s shoes, and men’s dress furnishings.
While planning her wedding in 2018, she struggled to make design decisions without adequate tooling to visualize the event and started building Merri the day she got back from her honeymoon.
Merri has gone on to raise over $5M in venture funding and is on a mission to streamline every aspect of event planning – from the venue to the menu.
Owner and Founder of Menta Graze
Menta Graze is a luxury experience company located in the New England area. Their unique experiences include luxury picnics, glamping experiences, bachelorette and dinner party decorating, boutique grazing boards, and more. If you have a proposal, elopement, birthday, or any special occasion, Menta Graze takes care of all decor details from start to finish. You do not have to lift a finger; just enjoy your picture-perfect event!
Communications Marketing Specialist at Tripleseat
Rachel Calkins graduated from the University of Delaware in June 2019 with a degree in marketing. Previously she was part of the Tripleseat team as a marketing intern and loved her experience so much that she returned to begin her professional career with Tripleseat, where she is currently the Communications Marketing Specialist.
You can find Rachel co-hosting Tripleseat’s podcast, Two Chicks, Three Seats, sending the Tripleseat customer newsletter to your inbox, and posting all about our amazing Tripleseat customers on Instagram.
In her free time, she enjoys watching and playing sports, traveling to new cities, cooking with her air fryer, and exploring Boston’s restaurant scene with her friends.
Director of Growth & Product Marketing at Tripleseat
Kate Kennedy has worked in the hospitality industry since she was 15, from bussing tables in high school, bartending in college and grad school, and eventually working as a Private Events and Marketing Manager for a national restaurant group.
After debating whether she should use her graduate degree in fashion merchandising, Kennedy decided she loved hospitality a little more than fashion and began working at Tripleseat in 2015. Currently holding the position of Director of Growth & Product Marketing, she loves using her vast knowledge of the industry in a non-venue setting.
When she’s not working towards Tripleseat’s world domination, you can find her hanging out on the New Hampshire seacoast with her husband and two children.
Director of Regional Accounts at Tripleseat
After moving to New York City in 2005, Pridemore began his career in hospitality as a server and bartender at a venue in Times Square. He then went on to become an operations manager for BR Guest Hospitality and helped to grow their catering division. Later, he moved to a senior managing role in events and private dining for Landry’s.
Since joining Tripleseat, Pridemore has had the pleasure of working with and building relationships with event managers from some of the top venues in the U.S. and leading an award-winning team dedicated to customer success.