Jacob Monty, Monty & Ramirez LLP

For over two decades, Jake Monty has successfully practiced at the intersection of immigration, labor, and employment laws. A nationally recognized authority on issues facing employers with large Hispanic workforces, Jake has written not one, but two books on the topic and speaks regularly in English and Spanish on navigating labor and employment matters in industries with heightened immigration scrutiny. His clients include professional baseball teams, grocery store chains, single establishment and chain restaurants, and leading companies in the construction and facility maintenance fields. Jake has been interviewed by major media outlets such as Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC regarding national immigration concerns.

Jake founded Monty & Ramirez LLP to offer an integrated approach to dealing with Hispanic workforces. He and his bilingual partners address all the critical aspects of employer advocacy, from immigration to union matters, workplace safety, and employment disputes. Jake’s practice extends nationwide; he has represented employers in courts and government investigations in California, Illinois, New York, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, and throughout Texas. Jake has held presidential and gubernatorial appointments to the University of Houston Board of Regents, the Texas Private Security Board, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the National Hispanic Advisory Council for Trump, the Border Environment Cooperation Commission, and the North American Development Bank. Jake is also active in civic and professional leadership. He serves as Outside Counsel for the Mexican Consulate in Houston, and chairs the Center for Latino Jewish Relations.


Alicia Voltmer, Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Alicia S. Voltmer is Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and AV® Preeminent® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubble®. She advises employers, from start-up companies to Fortune 500s, in a variety of employment matters. She handles client mediations, arbitrations, administrative hearings, and court proceedings involving state and federal laws including the ADA, EPA, FLSA, FMLA, OSHA, NLRA, Title VII, the TCHRA, the OWBPA. In addition, she counsels clients on day-to-day employment matters, including reductions in force, disciplinary actions, accommodations, hiring, and firing. She has been a featured speaker on labor and employment law topics before local, state, national and international audiences, has appeared as an employment law commentator on the local affiliates of Fox and NBC News, and has published numerous legal articles.
Alicia graduated magna cum laude from SMU and earned her J.D. from California Western School of Law in San Diego.


Rachel Lewis, Hometown Social

Rachel Lewis is the Owner and President of Hometown Social. Hometown Social provides customized strategic marketing, social media, advertising, branding and public relations services for hospitality and retail in the Greater Houston area. A Houston native, Rachel helps her clients to grow their business organically by focusing on their respective communities and customers, all while remaining loyal to their brand. She currently services more than 40 clients in Greater Houston, including two James Beard nominated restaurants, Wine & Food Week, MetroNational (Memorial City) and 10 annual and biannual food and wine events.


Jeff Garcia, Jeff Garcia CPA

Started my own practice over 25 years ago. Before that I was Controller for McDonald's in the Houston Region. I was responsible for approving store sales between franchisees and monitoring the financial condition and net worth of the franchisees. (approximately 85% of the stores are franchised). My practice is 100% concentrated in the restaurant industry. My firm prepares financial statements & tax returns for over 250 restaurants. I also assist clients in obtaining bank loans and preparing business plans to present to the bank or potential investors. My clients include fast service to full service restaurants.


Bill Penczak, Briggs & Veselka

Bill Penczak is a long-time foodie who travels the world as an excuse to sample great food. His day job is to run the marketing and sales functions for the 3rd largest independent CPA and consulting firm in Houston, Briggs & Veselka. Prior to joining the firm, Bill was a marketing consultant for a variety of clients, including QSR, fast casual, and fine dining concepts. Bill will be playing the role of moderator/translator of the financial aspects of running a successful concept, where the left brained CPAs on the stage will communicate to the right brained operators in the audience.


Kamal Heikal, Ben E. Keith Foods

Kamal works in the Marketing Department for Ben E. Keith Foods in Fort Worth, Texas. Ben E. Keith was founded in Fort Worth, Texas in 1906. They are the nation's eighth largest broad line foodservice distributor and operates today with eight divisions shipping to 15 states throughout the country. 

Kamal started his marketing career working for a magazine company in Austin, Texas in 2004. Within a couple of years, he started overseeing creative and marketing for some of the top-rated nightclubs and bars in Austin. In 2011 he went to work for iHeartRadio and focused on increasing their online presence in the market. Since 2014 he has worked with Ben E. Keith Foods as their Digital Marketing Brand Manager to help grow their social and online presence.


Beth Painter, Whataburger

Beth is in the Field Talent Acquisition department and has been with Whataburger for almost 5 years. She supports 68 restaurants with their recruiting needs inclusive of Managers and Team Members.


Aaron Schwartz, Indeed

As a Senior Manager with the Indeed Employer Insights Team, Aaron Schwartz leads a national team of Recruitment Evangelist's who pair platform data with industry trend analysis to share Indeed’s story and bring the value of the company’s programs and solutions to life. As an evangelist himself, he has helped hundreds of employers optimize their recruitment solutions and make the key hires they need to grow their businesses.

Aaron was a distinguished and award-winning member of the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland and also served as a Sergeant in the 931st Army Brigade in the Israel Defense Forces.


Tammy Ledyard, Pappas Restaurants

Tammy Ledyard is responsible for management recruiting for Pappas Restaurants, a family owned and operated company with 100+ restaurants in eight states.  Based in Houston, Texas, Pappas has grown to include 12 popular concepts including Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen, Pappasito’s Cantina, Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, Pappas Seafood House, Pappas Bar-B-Q and Yia Yia Mary’s.

Tammy has over twenty years of operational experience with well-known companies such as Hillstone Restaurants and Big Four Restaurants in Arizona. Tammy sources, interviews and manages development for all managers within the Pappas Organization.  She dually works in a management development role which allows her to work with Pappas managers during the training process and further through their continuing education with the company.  In addition Tammy spends time maintaining relationships with hospitality schools nationwide.  She is active in all aspects of the hospitality programs and presents often in the classrooms in order to help the students gain perspective on the industry. 

Dominic Panetta

Dominic Panetta, ZipRecruiter

Dom is in charge of over 275 active recruiting campaigns, that handles $2.4 Million in spending, annually. His 2 major industries he covers are Food & Beverage, as well as Trucking & Transport. Dom has been with ZipRecruiter for 2+ years and loves to help increase his clients talent by using repeatable and predictable techniques. As a “Hip” Millennial, Dom is an expert at letting you know the truth about what his peers think of recruiting processes.