Dec 09, 2016

Biz Mix – Motivate. Mentor. Move. Hospitality Executive Exchange East Coast Focuses on Conversations, Cocktails and Connections



HEE Focuses on Conversations, Cocktails and Connections

December 19, 2017

Hospitality Executive Exchange (HEE) wrapped up 2016 with a successful East Coast program that created a one-of-a-kind forum for an exclusive gathering of hospitality food and beverage professionals, in beautiful Key West. HEE continues to resonate and shine in the marketplace as one of the most productive program offerings in the hospitality industry. Stuart Melia, Vice President of Beverage for Craftworks Restaurants and Co-Chairman of the HEE Advisory Board, stated, “HEE has become successful because there is a strategic focus on real conversations in a unique environment where colleagues can exchange ideas, insights, and information, as well as be provided the perfect platform to openly discuss problems and solutions without feeling pulled or pressured to be here or there. It’s the most productive program in the industry with actual take-aways for both multi-unit operators and select suppliers.”

Top left: Jen Robinson, The Pineapple Group and Celebrity Chef Jeremiah Tower.
Top Right:
Jayne Portnoy, JP Consulting and Stuart Melia, Craftworks Restaurants.
Bottom: Roberto Serrallés, Sixth generation distiller of Serrallés USA.

HEE hosts two programs a year – one on the West Coast and one on the East Coast – and both provide an opportunity to forego the traditional conference format, with all the participants having to be invited to partake in the face-to-face meeting format. HEE East was held at the beautiful Casa Marina, a Waldorf Astoria property, the perfect backdrop for the theme of the East program, which was “Motivate, Mentor and Move.” HEE balances the right amount of educational topics and networking with some laid-back, relaxed outings, to truly create something unique. The conversations and topics in Key West were true to the theme; they inspired and ignited the group with fresh, relevant and renewed energy. The program had an all-star line up of speakers including Bonner Paddock, Young’s Market; Mark Bickford, Sodexo; Joe Smith, Monin USA; Celebrity Chef Jeremiah Tower; Adam Billings, iMi Agency; Jayne Portnoy, JP Consulting; and Roberto Serrallés, sixth generation distiller, Serrallés USA.

Top: Bonner Paddock of Young’s Market.
Bottom, right: Catherine Stanton Schiff, Edrington America and Todd Howell, Darden Restaurants.
Bottom right:
Craig Koch, Areas Arena and Adam Flieri, TopGolf pulling the sail on the sunset cruise.

HEE East also celebrated CORE and hosted a CORE family – Claire Davis and her mom, Kristin, and her grandmother. Jen Robinson, CEO of The Pineapple Group that owns and manages HEE, stated, “One of the greatest joys is to see what giving back truly means and being able to include a CORE family for HEE was something that inspired all of us. We were so honored to be able to have a birthday celebration for Claire and to get to know her family. We are so thankful for CORE and the amazing work they do everyday for so many industry families.”

Top, left: A group unwinding at a Key West nightspot.
Botton, left:
Beautiful weather and wonderful meals at HEE Key West.
Right: A beautiful Key West coastline at sunset.

HEE is very productive but there is also some relaxed fun that is included with the itinerary. The Key West program included a sunset sail hosted by Breakthru Beverage Group, a Zombie viewing and a conch tour of the island. Following our final dinner, we ended the program with an on-your-own Duval Street experience.

HEE is already planning for the West Coast program, which will be held April 2-5, 2017 at the Omni Rancho Las Palmas, Rancho Mirage, California.

For more information or to join the conversation, please contact Jen Robinson at