The HEFG Board of Trustees provides invaluable insight to ensure the success of our organization. Their guidance supports the sustainability of HEFG by adopting sound, ethical, legal governance and financial management policies, as well as making sure HEFG has adequate resources to advance its mission.
Our board consists of seasoned professionals from the culinary and hospitality industries. Their area of expertise help shape HEFG’s activities, initiatives, and day-to-day operations.
If you would like more information about the board or how to join, contact Nesha Mason at NeshaMason@HEFG.org.
John P. Bevilaqua
John is Founder and CEO of Creative Marketing Strategies, and Atlanta based consulting and communications practice. He was initiated into the Sigma Chi Fraternity (Delta Theta Chapter) at the University of Chattanooga where he holds a BS in Administration. He also has a Master’s in Business Administration and Ph.D. in Business Management.
I’m the Regional Director of Georgia. I’ve been with Egg Harbor Cafe since 2009 and been in the restaurant industry overall for 17 years. My passion and our companies passion go hand in hand: teaching people how to become great leaders and the best versions of themselves in life while also constantly being a student of that myself.
Chef Justin Gillette
Chef Justin Gillette is a Certified Executive Chef with the American Culinary Federation (ACF). He currently holds the position of Executive Chef of Athletics at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. During the course of his career, he has worked as an Executive Chef for Sodexo for the past 11 years. Chef has been selected as National Culinary Chair for Sodexo Diversity North America, and has also been recognized as a Global Executive Chef for Sodexo. Chef also mentors Up and coming High School Chefs in partnership with the NAACP. Chef Justin’s scope of experience also includes Princess Cruise Line, Ritz Carlton at the Reynolds Plantation, Atlanta Marriott Marquis, and Callaway Gardens.
Claire brings nearly 20 years of experience in the food service industry, working with brands including Campbell Soup Company, HJ Heinz, Church’s Chicken and Popeye Louisiana Kitchen. Claire currently leads Quality Assurance and Product Commercialization for baked goods at Arby’s Restaurant Group. She holds a B.S. in Food Science and Business Management from The Ohio State University and has studied baking and pastry at the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park.
Jill Danieli is an accomplished marketing professional with 25 years of experience in planning, developing and implementation of marketing programs for the agency and client-side (15 years at Coke). Jill is Senior Customer Marketing Manager in the Coca-Cola North America Foodservice and On-Premise (FSOP) organization supporting the Yum! Global Account team. Prior to joining the Yum! Global Team Jill was a member of the National Retail Sales team as a Senior Shopper Marketing Manager for the Convenience Retail channel.
Ophelia Santos, D.W.S., Restaurateur, Wine Instructor, was born in the Philippines to a family who loved entertaining, food and fine wine. Following a number of years working in brand management with Procter & Gamble, she opened 2 locations of IL Centro, a coffee bar, in Atlanta in the 1990s, and she has also been the proprietor of Ali-Oli, serving Italian-inspired Mediterranean fare.
Ophelia is the founder/director of WineWise, an Approved Program Provider for Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) certification classes in Atlanta, one of a handful of centers in the country. She is a certified educator for the Burgundy Wine Board and holds a level 4 Diploma in Wines & Spirits from WSET, and she is currently pursuing the most challenging course of study in the wine industry, the Masters of Wine.
Santos is also an adjunct faculty member at the Art Institute of Atlanta, teaching the beverage courses in both the associate and bachelor of science programs in culinary arts management. Until 2012, she was also the wine, beverage, and spirits editor for Flavors – The Forum for Atlanta Food Culture and Dining. She was also the US PR and Marketing Manager for Ventisquero, one of Chile’s largest wine producers. Ophelia is a member of the Institute of Wine & Spirits and of Les Dames d’Escoffier.
Kisha started her career in the tech industry at Hotels.com in 2003. Auspicious circumstances lead her to join the company at a time of transition as they were being acquired by IAC [InterActive Corp], a giant in the online space. As the company transformed into what is now Expedia Group, Kisha has had the opportunity to work in the space where tech and travel intersect. She started as a Market Coordinator helping to manage the relationships with hotels in the Caribbean. Throughout her tenure, she has worked with various Southeast markets in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida. Now, as an Area Manager for the Atlanta market, she oversees a team of account managers that support hotels in meeting their business goals by means of Expedia Group’s vast portfolio of services. Kisha has been recognized for her outstanding commitment and exemplary work over the years with numerous awards including several Market Coordinator of the Year awards and Rising Star Market Manager of the Year. Teams under her management have also won various business-related awards in recognition of their high performance. As a coach and mentor she prides herself in the professional development and promotion of those who have worked with her.
Kisha is from Jamaica and is part of a family dedicated to philanthropy throughout the island. Her passion and privilege is to support causes such as HIV/AIDS awareness and education. As an immigrant, she has helped to host events to support organizations that are near and dear to her heart, including the Annie Dawson Children’s Home for young girls who are infected with HIV. While representing her company, she regularly works with local non-profit organizations and well as speaks to young people at colleges and universities.
Chef John Szymanski
John is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Johnson & Wales University, Miami. After graduating, Chef John moved to Atlanta where he worked at the Renaissance Waverly Hotel during the 96’ Olympics, before moving to Kroger Co., to manage the Kroger School of Cooking. There he went on to develop programs for the Deli Restaurant departments including recipe and program development for the Kroger Co.
John is a Certified Executive Chef and Certified Executive Chef Administrator with the American Culinary Federation (ACF).
He has been on the Board of Directors for the ACF, Atlanta Chapter since 2001. He is the recipient of the 2002 and 2007 ACF Humanitarian of the Year Award and the 2010 ACF Presidential Award. He is the recipient of the 2007 World Chef’s Scholarship Foundation International Citizenship Award. Chef John is the President of the Georgia Environmental Health Association Foundation.
He is also a Certified Food Safety Professional registered with the National Environmental Health Association, and trains on Food Safety for the Kroger Atlanta Marketing area. Chef John has appeared on many local T.V. networks as well as Radio Stations with Food Tips and Advice.
Tracy Rogge is the Chief Financial Officer for Morrison Healthcare. Morrison Healthcare, a member of Compass Group, is the nation’s only food service company exclusively dedicated to providing food, nutrition and hospitality services to hospitals. Tracy is responsible for the financial planning and operational analysis and support of the organization including budgeting, developing and evaluating new business opportunities, contract negotiations, retention strategy and financial leadership of acquisition activities.
Prior to Morrison Healthcare, Tracy was the vice president of finance operations for Extended Stay Hotels where she was responsible for the operational accounting functions for the organization. Additionally, Tracy spent 14 years with Delaware North Companies, Inc. serving at multiple locations in both finance and operational roles, most recently the vice president of finance for Delaware North Companies Sportservice. She served as the vice president of operations for Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts at Yosemite National Park, vice president and chief financial officer of Delaware North Companies Delta Queen Steamboat Company in New Orleans, LA; and both vice president of operations and finance while at Delaware North Companies Park & Resorts at the Kennedy Space Center. Prior to working for Delaware North Companies Tracy spent 6 years in accounting management for a hospital and health services organization in East Central Florida.
Tracy received her bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Central Florida. She is a Certified Public Accountant in the state of Florida and is also a Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA) through the American Hotel and Lodging Association.
Nick Wimbush is corporate counsel at The Coca-Cola Company. Nick provides legal counsel to Coca-Cola’s North American business unit. He has been at Coca-Cola since 2016, previously working at a consulting firm and in private practice in the Washington, D.C. office of an international law firm.