Education Sessions Schedule

Increase Your Revenue, Employee Retention & Repeat Customers By Delivering an Extraordinary Customer Experience

The collective experience of these members of the culinary community - over 100 years in total - has shown that a company's ability to grow is directly tied to their relationships with their employees and their customers. Walk away with valuable strategies to implement immediately to create a happy work environment, create collaboration and inspire your customers to be your best word-of-mouth marketer. 


Monday, July 16, 2018


2:15pm - 3:00pm


Big Bend Big Ideas Stage


Mariam Parker, Austin Food & Wine Alliance
Carol Huntsberger, Quality Seafood Market
Jill Raff, The Jill Raff Group
Kevin Fink, Emmer & Rye


mariam parker

Mariam Parker


As Executive Director of the Austin Food & Wine Alliance (AFWA), Mariam Parker is deeply invested in the growth and success of Central Texas’ food businesses. As the non-profit’s first executive director, she has worked with and cultivated relationships with the state’s top chefs, wine- and spirit experts, farmers, artisan producers and other culinary professionals. By orchestrating some of Austin’s most popular and successful food and wine events, Mariam has helped to lead the AFWA to realize its mission in providing more than $192,500 in grants given back to
Austin’s culinary community to support innovation and community giveback since 2011. Her background includes work as a social media strategist, product marketing, business development and event planner. When she isn’t at work, you can find her at one of the restaurants around Austin or planning her next culinary experience or journey.

carol huntsberger

Carol Huntsberger

Carol Fowler Huntsberger is the proprietor of Quality Seafood Inc., a Texas corporation spawned in Austin, Texas. Since 1938, Quality Seafood has provided fresh seafood for local- Austin businesses , retail customers, has feed thousands of people fresh prepared seafood from the restaurant and our food-truck. She currently serves on the Advisory Board of the McCoy College of Business Administration at Texas State University and also on the Development Foundation for Texas State University. In addition she serves on The State of Texas Department of Agriculture Shrimp Marketing Board, and The Advisory Board of Candlelight Ranch. She serves as president Les Dames D’Escoffier, Austin Chapter. Ms. Huntsberger graduated from Texas State University in 1983 with a B.B.A. in Accounting.

Carol is a native Texan, born in El Paso and raised in Dallas. She has two children, Audrey and Aaron.

jill raff

Jill Raff

Jill Raff is an experienced CX Strategist and published author.  For over 25 years, she has been delivering world-class customer service and experiences.

She is obsessed with helping service-focused businesses develop high levels of customer loyalty, increased repeat business, and reduced employee turnover by guiding them to deliver Celebrity Customer Experience™. Jill’s work is led by her 7 Ingredient Customer Experience Transformation process.

Jill developed her customer-first philosophy growing up in the “McDonald’s family.” From age seven, while shadowing her father, she experienced first-hand the results of the Ray Kroc’s philosophy of QSC & V.

Her passion, knowledge, and understanding have been shaped by global experience and working across different industries.  She discovered first-hand that the common ingredient for success was outstanding customer experience.  Jill now uses her diverse background to help businesses identify their own issues, fixing them through the power of customer connections - Transforming Transactions Into Interactions™.

Kevin Fink

Kevin Fink

Kevin Fink found his love for food, restaurants, and hospitality at an early age when he would trail his father working in the restaurant industry, learning the ins-and-outs of the culinary operations. Emmer & Rye brings a unique dining experience to Austin, as the restaurant is the city’s first to offer contemporary American seasonal small plates passed on circulating carts as part of their meal. Guests are able to order these items in addition to a weekly rotating menu using local farm-to-table ingredients.

Emmer & Rye opened in late 2015, and Chef Fink was quickly named one of FOOD & WINE Magazine’s “Best New Chefs” and one of the “Best New Restaurants 2016” by Bon Appetit. Fink was named a 2018 James Beard semifinalist for “Best Chef Southwest” and in 2017 he received the StarChefs Rising Star Award. Fink currently resides in Austin Texas with his wife and son.