General Sessions

Come hear our 2013 ICHRIE Conference Speakers!

Opening General Session
Wednesday, 24 July 6-7pm

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Lorna C. Donatone
Chief Operating Officer & President of Sodexo Education
Sodexo, Inc.
Lorna C. Donatone is Chief Operating Officer and President of Sodexo Education. She leads Sodexo’s business at nearly 500 public school districts and at more than 850 college and university campuses, including private K – 12 schools, in the United States, overseeing the work of more than 70,000 employees. Donatone is also Sodexo’s Worldwide Education Champion. She joined Sodexo in 1999 and has held several key leadership roles in the company, including President of School Services in 2007 and President of Spirit Cruises in 2002. She was appointed to her current role in February 2010.

Donatone has been a National Restaurant Association board member since 2005 and a trustee of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation since 2011. Donatone currently serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Women’s Foodservice Forum and was elected as a member of the Board of Trustees for The Culinary Institute of America in 2008. Currently, Donatone serves as a director on the Board of the Sodexo Foundation. She has worked to develop Sodexo’s Employee Network Groups and serves as National Executive Sponsor for Sodexo’s African American network group.

Donatone began her career in public accounting with Deloitte & Touche and has worked in the airline, banking and high-tech industries. She has a Bachelor of Science in Management from Tulane University and a Masters in Business Administration from Texas Christian University.
Second General Session
Thursday, 25 July 9-10am

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Nancy Johnson
Executive Vice President, Midscale Development
Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group’s
As executive vice president, Midscale Development, Americas, Nancy Johnson oversees business development efforts for Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group’s midscale brands in the Americas including Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM and Park Inn by Radisson.

In addition to her many years of leadership in development for Carlson Hotels, she led Franchise Operations for full-service hotels and has served as executive vice president and brand leader for the company’s select service brands. 
Before joining Carlson, Johnson was vice president and chief operating officer at Hospitality Development Corporation, and was employed with Brutger Companies, Inc., where she held various leadership positions.

Johnson was recently inducted as chair of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) board of directors for 2012. She is the founding chair of the Women in Lodging Council for the AH&LA.  Johnson also serves on the board of directors of the International Hotel and Restaurant Association and has been named one of the 200 Most Powerful Women in Travel by Travel Agent magazine. 

Johnson serves on the board of directors for The Travel Partnership Corporation (TTPC), a consortium of travel industry organizations representing all key segments of the industry. The organization enables the travel industry to have its own dedicated domain on the Internet.  
In 2002, Johnson received a Carlson Fellows award for individual sales achievement. The Carlson Fellows award represents the company's highest career achievement honor and is presented to employees who best exemplify the qualities of leadership, creativity and dedication and who are considered to be true builders of the company. 

Johnson attended St. Cloud State University, majoring in business marketing and St. Benedict College, where she studied business management.  She became a Certified Hotel Administrator in 1985 and received her Minnesota Real Estate License in 1988.
Third General Session
Friday, 26 July 9-10am


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Kelly C. Baltes
Chairman and CEO
Cheddar’s

Kelly C. Baltes, Chairman and CEO of the casual dining chain Cheddar’s, began his career in the restaurant business at a young age, earning his first position as a busboy in Iowa. Over time, and by mastering each position he occupied, he created a continuous self-driven personal growth model which has served him well throughout his career. Kelly has been a continuous part of the restaurant industry since that very first day bussing tables at the Long Branch Supper Club, and now oversees 139 Cheddar’s restaurants in 25 states.

Formerly a successful Executive Vice President of Operations with Darden Restaurants, Baltes took over Irving-based Cheddar’s from its co-founders in 2007. The restaurant group had been profitable for 30 years, but Baltes quickly found a way to make it even stronger. “We had to crystallize our values and our approach,” Baltes says.  He came up with the company’s four pillars – handmade quality food, polished atmosphere, real relationships and explicit value pricing. 

All while leading successful teams of restaurant operators, Kelly was accepted into the MBA program at Auburn University. In 2005, Kelly earned his MBA and was later honored to have been named to the Auburn University College of Business 40 of 40. This impressive honor recognized Kelly as one of the top 40 alumni who graduated in the first 40 years of Auburn University’s College of Business. Kelly remains an active alumnus with Auburn University and the College of Business.  

Kelly is dedicated and fully engaged in the hospitality industry by devoting his time to connecting with the newest leaders of the industry.  His emphasis on spending time and impacting the development of the industry’s future leaders is seen through his personal actions. Kelly has been a member of the Advisory Board at University of Central Florida’s Rosen School of Hospitality Management since 2006. He spends time on campus speaking with student majoring in hospitality as well as other students interested in the restaurant business.  Kelly has delivered keynote speeches at Michigan State, Purdue and Missouri State and has additionally addressed classes at Auburn, Virginia Tech and Georgia State and the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management’s Distinguished Leadership Series.