Emily Williams Knight

Moderator

Knight has more than 20 years of experience and success in national and global leadership positions and is the newly appointed CEO of the Texas Restaurant Association. Most recently, she was the Managing Director of Higher Education North America at Study Group, a leading provider of international education. Her career includes senior leadership roles at Laureate Education and serving as President of Kendall College, a leader in hospitality and culinary arts education. During her time as Kendall’s president, Knight expanded access to culinary education throughout the Midwest, Latin America and the Middle East. She worked closely with the Illinois legislature to advance the industry and partnered with the Mayor of Chicago, Choose Chicago, and the Illinois Restaurant Association to drive Chicago visitors to a record 50 million per year.

Knight has extensive experience working with industry, workforce investment boards, and community colleges to create skills training programs designed to fill the growing number of restaurant and hospitality job openings. Early in her career, Knight held several leadership roles at Pearson, including head of marketing for teacher education and head of sales for the west region. Out of undergraduate studies, she was recruited into Pizza Hut’s Management Training Program and also served as a Catering Sales and Event Manager for Marriott’s Key West Resorts.

Knight holds a Doctorate in Higher Education Leadership from Walden University; an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Newbury College; a Master of Science in Management from Troy University in Alabama; a B.S. in Hospitality Administration from Boston University, where she was a Trustee Scholar and an A.S. in Hotel and Restaurant Administration from Newbury College where she was a Presidential Scholar and captain of the women’s basketball team.

Additionally, Dr. Knight is a member of several boards, including the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF), where she serves as the chair of the governance committee and is a member of the executive and strategic planning committees. 

Emily Williams Knight Emily Williams Knight Texas Restaurant Association CEO

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