I just had a “where has the time gone” moment when I went to the HD Expo site and saw we are only 33 days away from our 25th anniversary celebration. So in our effort of making sure you don’t miss anything the three-day show has to offer (May 4-6th at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas) here are a few conference highlights of the more than 25 compelling panel sessions.
I am so honored to announced that industry visionary and Niki Leondakis, CEO, Commune Hotels + Resorts, will be gracing our stage with me on Thursday as our Day 2 keynoter. (Day 1 is a conversation with veterans Michael Bedner, David Beer, Tony Chi, and Adam D. Tihany at 10:15 a.m.) Niki first made her mark as president and COO of Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants, growing its portfolio from 15 to 50, and is now leading the global expansion of Commune’s Thompson and JDV brands, and the soon-to-launch micro lifestyle brand, tommie. And in the midst for the recent merger with Destination Hotels, more may be on the horizon. Besides being a leading woman executive, she is known for her caring nature, creating corporate cultures where people want to work (go figure!), and gives back to Dress for Success. Accessible, knowledgeable, and passionate, don’t miss hearing from Niki as she shares her career path, secrets to success, recent projects, and what’s on the horizon, Thursday, 12:15 p.m.
Top Chef still may be one of my favorite guilty pleasures, and we have secured two alums for one impactful panel:
Wed, May 4th
Dale Talde, Chef, TALDE
Matthew Berman, Principal, Workshop/APD
John Bush, Partner, Three Kings Restaurant Group
Mike Isabella, Chef, Mike Isabella Concepts
Herbert A. Heiserman, Managing Principal, Streetsense
The unique relationship between chef and designer or restaurant operator and designer to create a memorable restaurant has long been one of the most intimate and informative collaborations in the industry. Following HD’s long tradition of pairing two different sensibilities to present a case study of a successful project, this year’s duos promise a fascinating look at the creative process.
Speaking of alums, I look forward to our Wave of the Future awards every year—those who are young enough to be considered visionary, but tested enough to considered accomplished—and in partnership with NEWH, we bring together a few alumni for an informal chat about what they have been working on and lessons learned.
Wed, May 4th
NEWH Annual Expo Breakfast: The Young Entrepreneurs
Josh Held, Founder and President, Josh Held Design
Daniel Scovill, Founder, Arcsine
Kellie Sirna, Principal, Studio 11 Design
Brendan McNamara, EVP of Marketing, Communications and Product Development, Dream Hotel Group
HD’s past Wave of the Future honorees talk trends, recent projects, lessons learned, secrets of success, industry challenges and solutions, and what’s on the boards in an informal conversation. Plus, NEWH will honor the $4,000 NEWH Product Design Competition scholarship sponsored by Symmons to September Banks, Interior Design major from Virginia Commonwealth University and the non-profit’s $5,000 NEWH Hospitality Management scholarship awarded to Rebecca Krick, Tourism & Hospitality Management major from Temple University.
This is a ticketed event, but proceeds go to scholarships and education for NEWH.
I have been doing this for many years, and I am extremely excited about the lineup we have this year—see the whole conference schedule here. And of course I can’t wait to see what the more than 800 exhibitors will be showcasing (many make their product debuts at HD Expo). We hope to see you there!