Valerie Wiener has Senator Valerie Wiener (Ret.), a native of Las Vegas, Nevada, has been involved in politics since serving as press secretary for Congressman and U.S. Senator Harry Reid in Washington, D.C. The former Nevada State Senator (1996-2012) is the state's longest-serving female legislator born in Nevada. Senator Wiener, who retired as the Senate's Assistant Majority Leader, is also the first woman to serve in both minority and majority leadership positions in the Legislature. As a legislator, Senator Wiener focused on several health care issues, including obesity, prescription drugs, preventative health care, access to care, and more. During her legislative career, Senator Wiener authored 90 measures, 75 of which became law. She currently chairs the Nevada Youth Legislature Foundation and the Nevada Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease. Professionally, Valerie has owned Wiener Communications Group since 1988 and PowerMark Publishing since 1998. She has earned 246 awards for her communications projects, publications, speeches, and programs. In 2000, Valerie--a state record-holder in both Fitness and Weightlifting--was named the Distinguished Senior Athlete by the Nevada Senior Olympics. In her spare time, Valerie reads, writes, exercises, performs community service, and nestles with her feline companions: Patriot, Liberty, and Freedom.
Josh Wachs is the chief strategy officer responsible for developing and implementing the long-term operating plan to ensure Operation No Kid Hungry's success. Central to that plan is defining and managing Share Our Strength's role at the federal, state and local levels, building the organization's fundraising capacity, increasing its organizational profile among key influencers, measuring organizational impact through its grant-making efforts, and fostering inter-departmental collaboration around the Operation No Kid Hungry campaign. Before joining Share Our Strength in 2009, Wachs was the NBA's Vice President of Community Relations. There he oversaw NBA Cares, the league's public service and community outreach program that provides funds, community service, and locations for kids and families to live, learn and play...just as Share Our Strength works to make sure that kids and their families have nutritious food where they live, learn and play.
Edward Burger is the President of Southwestern University as well as an educational and business consultant who has led creativity and leadership seminars at the World Bank, Microsoft, the United States Department of the Interior, the International Monetary Fund, and colleges and universities around the world. He is the author of over 60 research articles, books, and video series (starring in over 4,000 on-line videos viewed by over ten million individuals). Burger has received a long list of prestigious awards including Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching—the largest and most prestigious prize in higher education teaching across all disciplines in the English speaking world. In 2006, Reader's Digest listed Burger in their annual "100 Best of America" as America's Best Math Teacher. In 2010 he starred in a mathematics segment for NBC-TV on the Today Show and throughout the 2010 Winter Olympic coverage. That television appearance won him a 2010 Telly Award and another NBC appearance led to a second Telly Award in 2013. The Huffington Post named him one of their 2010 Game Changers; "HuffPost's Game Changers salutes 100 innovators, visionaries, mavericks, and leaders who are reshaping their fields and changing the world." In 2012, Microsoft Worldwide Education selected him as one of their "Global Heroes in Education." In 2013 Burger was inducted as a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society and in 2014 he was elected to The Philosophical Society of Texas.
Tina Fritz Namian is a former Presidential Management Fellow and current Section Chief in the Child and Adult Care and Summer Food Service Programs Section within the USDA Food and Nutrition Service. Ms. Namian has nearly 20 years of experience working on Federal policy issues relating to children, including child nutrition, child welfare, and child labor. She holds a Master's Degree in Social Work from The Catholic University of America and a JD from the University of Kentucky.
Geraldine Henchy is the Director of Nutrition Policy and Early Childhood Programs at the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). FRAC is a research, policy, public education, and advocacy center working for more effective public and private policies to eradicate domestic hunger and improve the nutrition and health of low-income individuals and families. Ms. Henchy has enjoyed advocating for the Child and Adult Care Food Program for over two decades. She has been honored to receive awards for her work on Child and Adult Care Food Program advocacy from the National CACFP Professionals Association, National Sponsors Forum, National Association of Family Child Care, and the California Roundtable. Most recently, the American Public Health Association’s Food and Nutrition Section honored Ms. Henchy with the Sarah Samuels award recognizing outstanding contributions in public health nutrition. Ms. Henchy is a registered dietitian and has an MPH in nutrition from the University of California, Berkeley.
Chris Fava is CEO of the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas, a nonprofit organization that trains people for successful hospitality careers. In this role, he directs all units of the organization and is responsible for fiscal oversight and strategic planning. Previously, Mr. Fava served as Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Food and Beverage, responsible for the food and beverage operations at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, Springs Preserve, and the Academy. In this capacity, he successfully opened catering operations at The Smith Center in March 2012 and was instrumental in establishing an infrastructure for building revenue. At all three sites, he managed food and beverage staffs, oversaw all venues and events, developed and monitored budgets, and developed new catering menus. Mr. Fava also maintained executive management responsibilities and leadership of the daily operations of the Academy, including the culinary team, training, employer and student services, and contracted foods programs. Mr. Fava has 20 years of high-level management experience in the hospitality industry. Prior to joining the Academy, he served as Vice President of Food and Beverage Operations with MGM Resorts International at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. He serves as a board member for the Perry Foundation, a cabinet member for United Way of Southern Nevada, and a member of the International Special Event Society.
Chef Patrick Simon is Vice President of Sales and Culinary Operations at the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas. He is responsible for the management, administrative oversight, and direction of all culinary operations and the catering sales team. Previously, Chef Simon served as Director of Culinary Operations/Corporate Executive Chef at the Academy. Prior to that, Chef Simon was the Corporate Executive Chef for Sysco Las Vegas and spent 12 years working as a chef in Las Vegas hotels including the Silverton, the Mansions at MGM, Mandalay Bay, and the Mirage. Chef Simon has more than 25 years of experience in the hospitality, hotel, and food service industries. The American Culinary Federation (ACF) awarded him Chef of the Year 2012 for Las Vegas and Associate of the Year 2010. He is a national and local professional chef member of ACF and serves on the board of directors for Chefs for Kids. Chef Simon received an associate of culinary arts from Erie Community College, Buffalo, New York. He also holds food service and ServSafe certificates.