2018 Annual Conference Speakers

    Ken Abosch, Partner, Aon

    Ken is a partner and Aon’s North American Broad-Based Compensation Marketing, Strategy, and Development leader. He has over 30+ years of experience consulting in all facets of human resources including linkage to business strategy, globalization, engagement, incentive design, broadbanding, and employer branding. Ken has worked with numerous organizations to help them achieve breakthrough value creation through their people and is a frequent speaker on the topic. Ken is regularly quoted in a variety of media sources including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, CBS Radio, WGN Radio, CNN, and The Osgood File. Ken holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a BA in psychology from Northwestern University.

    Tish Chism, Senior Manager, Total Rewards, Fazoli's

    Tish Chism is the Senior Manager, Total Rewards at Fazoli's. She has over 12 years of experience in Benefits and Human Resources in restaurant and automotive manufacturing. She has been a member of CRTRA since she began her career with Fazoli's in 2010. Tish has three professional designations: PHR, SHRM-CP and GBA (working toward the CEBS).



    Amy Cohen, Director of Benefits, Compensation and HRIS, Noodles & Company

    Amy Cohen is the Director of Benefits, Compensation and HRIS for Noodles & Company, headquartered in Broomfield, CO. She is responsible for leading Noodles & Company's compensation, benefits, and people management system strategies for 11,000 employees throughout the country. Prior to joining Noodles in 2013, Amy was Director of Benefits, Compensation and Payroll for Giorgio Armani Corporation in New York for nine years. Amy graduated from New York University with a Bachelors in Economics and Cultural Anthropology.



    Andy Crowley, Midwest Sales Vice President, bswift

    Andy Crowley is the Midwest Sales Vice President for bswift, representing all sales in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. He is responsible for managing a team of sales consultants and strategists who generate leads and facilitate the technical processes behind any sale within his territory. Since Andy joined bswift in 2008, he has held roles in Business Development, Implementation, Operations and Training. Prior to joining bswift, Andy worked on payroll and benefits implementations for nine years at Aon Hewitt. Andy holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He holds an MA in History from the University of California at Davis and an MA in Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

    James Dalluge, Compensation Consultant

    James Dalluge has been working in the human resources field since 2011. He has experience working in human resources and compensation in several different industries which include restaurant, retail, health insurance, manufacturing, public accounting, and transportation. He is currently a Compensation Analyst for Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores, Inc. James currently supports and consults on compensation matters involving restaurant manager bonuses, long term incentives, and merit planning. James has been a member of CRTRA since 2015. He is passionate about leveraging compensation and human resource analytics to help sustain and drive business results. James currently lives in Nashville, TN.


    Paul Damico, CEO, Naf Naf Grill

    Paul joined Naf Naf Grill as its CEO in June 2017 and brings more than 35 years of foodservice experience. His love for the culinary arts began when he worked at his dad’s catering business washing dishes and preparing food. This work inspired him to attend Johnson & Wales University where he earned degrees in Culinary Arts and Hotel Restaurant Management. Paul is a philanthropist and advocate for children and the hungry community, generously donating his time and money to causes such as the No Kid Hungry campaign for Share Our Strength and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). In 2015, Paul was honored as the Restaurateur of the Year for the Georgia Restaurant Association’s Crystal of Excellence Award. He has been recognized by his alma mater, Johnson & Wales University, as a Distinguished Lecturer and Distinguished Visiting Professor and was recently inducted into the World Association of Cooperative Education Hall of Fame. In 2016, Paul was again honored by Johnson & Wales University as they conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Business Administration in Restaurant, Food & Beverage Management, honoris causa.

    Trey Darby, Sr. Vice President, Lockton Companies

    Trey has over 30 years of employee benefits experience. He is known for seeking and implementing solutions to help his clients generate savings and to enjoy greater planning predictability. Trey provides employee benefits guidance for over 100 clients across the nation with a specialization in the restaurant industry. His clients appreciate his straightforward approach to their financial and business objectives combined with a compassion for their employees’ welfare.

    Perry Doody, Co-Founder and Partner, 2by2 Strategies

    Perry Doody is the co-founder and partner of 2by2 Strategies, which is the creator of CompTrak – an enterprise wide software platform that manages all aspects of incentive, variable and merit review compensation for organizations. Perry is widely recognized as a charismatic innovator over his 20-year influential career in human resources, financial services, healthcare, information technology and software development. Perry has an MBA from Queen’s University, a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Toronto and is bronze certified in lean quality improvement.

    Susan Douglas, Senior Compensation Consultant, Topgolf International

    Susan Douglas is the Senior Compensation Consultant for Topgolf International, Inc. in Dallas, TX. She has an extensive career with over 20 years as a compensation specialist with companies like TGI Fridays, 7-Eleven, Verizon and Cadbury. She currently serves on the CRTRA board as the Membership Director.



    Victor Fernandez, Executive Director of Insights and Knowledge, TDn2K

    Victor Fernandez, Vice President of Insights and Knowledge for TDn2K, parent company of People Report, Black Box Intelligence and White Box Social Intelligence, is the company's most senior analyst. He is responsible for creating and delivering insights, content, and products that provide restaurant companies the human capital, financial, and guest sentiment business intelligence they need to run their businesses in an increasingly competitive landscape. Victor oversees the company's research projects and is also responsible for product development. He is a frequent contributor to articles covering the restaurant industry as well as an experienced speaker at industry events. Victor holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and a Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS) from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. He also has an undergraduate degree in Economics from Rafael Landivar University in Guatemala City, Guatemala, his home town.

    Kevin Froese, SVP of Sales & Marketing, Instant Financial

    Kevin is the SVP of Sales & Marketing at Instant Financial. He has more than 20 years of sales, marketing and product management experience in the business software industry, with experience and training from some of the most successful and growing, technology leaders.


    Christine Gnutek, Director Compensation, Aon

    Christine Gnutek is a director compensation in the Chicago Aon Global Performance, Reward & Talent practice. Her responsibilities include analysis and design of domestic and global broad-based employee compensation programs. Her projects include developing and assessing the impact of compensation strategies and design alternatives for clients. She serves as project manager for compensation studies, including client interface and management, staff oversight, analysis review and recommendations, and budget oversight. Christine has over 20 years of experience consulting with clients on Human Resource topics. She received a B.S. degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Actuarial Science & Finance, with distinction in Finance. She also holds the Certified Compensation Professional and Global Remuneration Professional designations from WorldatWork.

    Naser Hamdi, Data and Analytics Leader, Equifax Workforce Solutions

    Naser Hamdi is the Data and Analytics Leader for Equifax Workforce Solutions where he is responsible for driving market growth and product - and business-innovation within the big data analytical frontier. Prior to this Naser served as a business professional within the medical technology industry, professor within higher education, and public and private sector industry consultant. Naser holds a Ph.D. from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and an MBA from the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis.

    Amy Jennings, Partner, Aon

    Amy Jennings is a Partner and senior consultant at Aon, with over 18 years of experience in executive compensation. She works with both management and compensation committees to provide services in all areas of executive compensation, including: compensation philosophy and strategy, competitive benchmarking, corporate governance, transaction support, design of short- and long-term incentive plans, and board of director pay benchmarking. Amy has spoken at national and regional forums including Chicago Compensation Association, Bain Executive Network, NDI Executive Exchange, and at the annual and regional conference of the Chain Restaurant and Total Rewards Association (CRTRA). Amy is the lead Executive Compensation Partner for CRTRA. She received her B.S. in Management from Drake University and her M.B.A in Management and Finance from Loyola University.

    David Jordan, Shareholder, Co-Chair, Hospitality Industry Group, Littler Mendelson

    David Jordan focuses his practice on employment counseling and litigation, including all aspects of labor relations and employment law. He also handles disputes involving employment contracts, covenants not to compete, trade secrets and confidentiality agreements. In addition to representing employers in federal and state courts and before administrative agencies, David also regularly counsels clients on a variety of workplace issues. David is an active speaker on labor and employment law issues, appearing before trade organizations, human resource professionals and corporate legal departments. Most frequently, he works with clients in such industries as energy, retail, restaurant and hospitality, manufacturing, banking and healthcare.

    Cheryle Kaiser, Survey Product Manager, Aon

    Cheryle is a Survey Product Manager for Aon Hewitt and serves as the primary client interface with all Chain Restaurant Total Rewards Association (CRTRA) members. Whether it be questions about participation, job matching or running reports on the Aon Hewitt survey portal, Cheryle has earned the reputation among CRTRA members of being the go-to person for all their needs. Cheryle previously worked as an Account Manager in the Aon Hewitt survey data services team where she worked with clients across all industry sectors to help resolve their market data needs. Prior to joining Aon Hewitt, Cheryle spent 10 years managing client relationships for sales teams in Fortune 500 Companies like ADP and NEC.


    Amanda Kreutzer, Senior Manager of Benefits, Texas Roadhouse

    Amanda Kreutzer is the Senior Manager of Benefits at Texas Roadhouse. She has been with Texas Roadhouse for the past 20 years and spent the last 18 serving in Benefits. She has been a member of CRTRA since 2012.


    Jeff Laliberte, Co-Founder and CEO, Payfactors

    As Co-Founder and CEO, Jeff Laliberte has been at the helm of Payfactors from its inception. With more than two decades of industry experience, Jeff has dedicated his entire career to compensation, starting as a compensation data analyst at consulting firm William M. Mercer. Jeff has a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and psychology from Lake Forest College.



    Sarah Lamb, Benefits Manager, Chipotle Mexican Grill

    Sarah Lamb joined Chipotle in 2015 and currently serves as the Benefits Manager responsible for the administration and oversight of all benefit programs for hourly, salaried and international employees across 2,500 units. She contributes to the benefit strategy through evaluation of new benefit programs, project management, vendor relations, benchmarking, and budgeting. Sarah has over 11 years combined Human Resources, business and leadership experience in the hospitality industry and has held other positions at various restaurant groups, hotels and a world class ski resort. Sarah holds an MBA from the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver and a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Denver.

    Grace Lattyak, Retirement Consulting Actuary, Aon

    Grace is an associate partner at Aon with close to 15 years of experience assisting clients in the financial management and design of their pension, defined contribution, and retiree health programs. In addition, Grace manages and provides consulting regarding Aon’s Retirement Income Adequacy research and has spoken on this topic at various conferences and events. She also assists clients to understand the competiveness of their total benefits’ packages through Aon’s Benefit Index analysis. Grace is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and an Enrolled Actuary. She received her B.S.B.A. degree in Actuarial Science from Drake University.

    Erin Leymann, Vice President, Pearl Meyer

    As Vice President, Erin Leymann serves as a trusted advisor to Compensation Committees and executives on all aspects of executive, broad-based, and outside director compensation. She has over 10 years of experience in the field of executive compensation consulting. She specializes in executive and board compensation reviews and assists in evaluating the appropriateness of compensation programs, including total compensation strategy, short- and long-term incentive plan designs, pay for performance alignment and change of control / employment agreements. Erin holds a B.F.A. and a M.B.A. from the University of Georgia. She is actively involved with the Atlanta Area Compensation Association and other professional organizations. 

    Howard Liebman, Ph.D., COHS/ed2go

    Dr. Howard Liebman is CEO & Superintendent of Smart Horizons Career Online Education. He is a nationally recognized educator and entrepreneur with experience founding and leading successful public and private education-related enterprises. In 2004, he co-founded the University of Miami Online High School, and as CEO facilitated the rapid growth of the company. Dr. Liebman then founded Smart Horizons Career Online Education in 2009. Under his leadership, the district has launched many innovative high school programs and forged groundbreaking partnerships with major corporations, public libraries, state departments of corrections, workforce boards, and non-profit organizations.

    Kelly Loobey, Corporate Development Manager, Cengage Learning

    Dr. Kelly Loobey is a Corporate Development Manager with Cengage Learning. For 15 years, her career has been dedicated to the education industry with a strong focus on the adult learner, successful retention, and post-secondary administration. She earned her Doctor of Education (EdD) in Organizational Leadership, following her MBA in Management, and BA in Communications.

    Mariann Madden, Director, Rewards, Willis Towers Watson

    Mariann Madden is a Rewards Director based in Willis Towers Watson’s Chicago office. She has over 20 years of experience as an advisor to external clients, organizational leaders and internal practitioners on global total rewards and organizational development matters. Prior to joining Willis Towers Watson in 2014, Mariann served in organizational development, talent management, and compensation consulting roles at Heitman LLC, Deloitte Consulting LLP, and Arthur Andersen LLP. In addition to her consulting role, Mariann is a member of the North American job leveling and job analysis teams, which focus on job leveling and pay equity evaluations. Mariann received a B.A. in Accounting from St. Ambrose University. She is a member of WorldatWork, the Society for Human Resource Management, and serves as a Director on the Chicago Compensation Association Board.

    Liz Mayo, Director, Longnecker & Associates

    Liz's experience spans executive and board of director compensation, annual and long-term incentive plan design, change-in-control, employment agreements, and litigation support, among other topics. She is a Certified Compensation Professional with over two decades of compensation experience, including 16 years as the Sr. Director of Compensation. She has consulted extensively with public, private, and not-for-profit companies. In addition, Liz has experience in corporate human resources, with a specific emphasis on analytics and financial metrics analysis. Liz volunteers time for several compensation non-profit boards and since 2007, she has served as a faculty member for WorldatWork and is their named subject matter expert on variable pay.

    Tim McEnery, Founder & CEO, Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants

    Tim McEnery is the visionary and chief architect behind the company’s community-based philosophy. His passion for food, wine, hospitality and people has created a powerful combination of assets built upon a culture of inclusion. His company has been propelled forward by the loyalty of its 300,000 Wine Club members, guests and dynamic employees. Tim, an industry veteran who started Cooper’s Hawk at the age of 29, has grown the company into a competitive retail operation generating nearly $220 million in annual revenue with 30 restaurants and an award-winning winery. The Cooper’s Hawk wine collection has garnered over 400 awards, while McEnery has received multiple accolades including Crain’s Chicago Business’s ‘40 Under 40’, Ernst & Young’s ‘2014 Midwest Entrepreneur of the Year’ and the LEAD Award from HR.com.

    R.J. Melman, President, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises

    R.J. Melman is the President of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (LEYE). Since joining the company in 2001, he has held numerous positions within LEYE, as well as consulting on restaurant projects outside of the company. Most recently, while serving as divisional president R.J., alongside his siblings Jerrod and Molly, created and opened more than 13 concepts, beginning in June 2008 with HUB 51 and SUB 51. Their roster of restaurants now includes: Studio Paris, RPM Italian, Bub City, Three Dots and a Dash, Ramen-san, RPM Steak, Bub City & Joe’s Live Rosemont, Stella Barra Pizzeria, Summer House Santa Monica, and il Porcellino. He is active within the Chicago philanthropic and business communities and serves on several boards and committees, including the national board for The Kitchen Community, Board of Directors for Del Taco Restaurants and on the leadership committee of YPO’s Chicago Chapter.

    Marianne Merola, Education Program Manager, McDonald’s

    Marianne Merola and the other members of the Education Strategies team at McDonald’s successfully rolled out Archways to Opportunity (archwaystoopportunity.com), a comprehensive education strategy designed to benefit those who work in either a franchised or company-owned McDonald’s restaurant in the US. Archways to Opportunity has helped employees on the path to success by providing ESL training, the online high school diploma in partnership with Cengage’s Career Online High School, college tuition assistance that can be used at any accredited institution, and education advising provided by CAEL (the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning). Since launching in April 2015, Archways launched in April 2015, has increased access to education for over 24,000 employees and awarded over $22 million in college and high school tuition. Marianne holds a Master’s degree in Human Resources and Industrial Relations from Loyola University Chicago. Her awards include Volunteer of Year from Poised for Success (www.poisedforsuccess.org) and McDonald’s Presidents’ Award.

    Rajiv Ramanathan, Associate Partner, People Analytics Practice, Aon

    Rajiv is an Associate Partner in the People Analytics practice assisting clients with linking people outcomes to business outcomes using human capital data and technology. He leads the Pay Equity initiatives for Aon and has played a critical role in developing the approach and methodology for conducting pay equity analysis. More recently he has developed predictive minimum wage modeling tools to predict wage compression and impact of macro economic factors on business outcome measures. Rajiv has worked with numerous organizations within, retail, hospitality, food and beverage.


    Sandy Sakaida, Director, Benefits, The Cheesecake Factory

    Sandy has been the Director, Benefits for The Cheesecake Factory located in Calabasas, CA since 2013 and is responsible for the overall strategy and administration of the Health and Welfare Plans and Retirement Plans. Sandy has over 20 years of experience administering benefits plans for large multi-state companies in the health care, financial services, technology and hospitality industries. Sandy has a B.A. degree from the University of Southern California.

    Patricia Simmons, National Health Solutions Leader, Aetna National Accounts

    Tricia is a registered dietitian nutritionist responsible for strategic guidance to Aetna’s National Account customers interested in multi-year health and well-being solutions. She works closely with new business and account teams to source programs and capabilities that drive engagement, improve health behaviors, and create a culture of well-being. Tricia has a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Bowdoin College and a Master’s degree in nutrition from the Harvard School of Public Health. She completed a post graduate fellowship in counseling and communication at the University of Washington in Seattle. She is WELCOA certified and a member of the Health Enhancement Research Organization’s (HERO) Think Tank.

    David Sovich, Workforce Solutions Data and Analytics Team, Equifax

    David Sovich is a member of the Equifax Workforce Solutions Data and Analytics team and a Ph.D. candidate in finance at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. His research focuses on how households interact with financial and labor markets. David’s research has been cited by The New Yorker, Fox Business, and the St. Louis Post Dispatch and is currently under review at The Review of Financial Studies. Prior to joining Equifax and academia, David worked on the inflation-linked trading desk at Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO) in Newport Beach, California.

    Tracy Spencer, Senior VP of Employer Groups, Pharmaceutical Strategies Group

    Tracy Spencer, Senior Vice President and National Employer Consulting Practice Leader at Pharmaceutical Strategies Group (PSG), is an accomplished industry leader focused on pharmacy benefits consulting and strategic client management. She is responsible for developing and delivering strategic pharmacy consulting solutions to large National and Regional employer clients. Tracy has over 22 years of health care benefits experience developing and expanding relationships with C-suite and executive leadership of numerous Fortune 500 companies. She is a recognized industry expert who has demonstrated success in evaluating market trends, PBM evolution, industry dynamics and client business needs. Tracy develops custom client benefit strategic plans that help clients meet their short- and long-term goals.  Her recommendations have helped clients achieve strong financial and service results including significant health plan savings, increased member engagement and improved overall satisfaction.

    Greg Stoeckel, Managing Director, Pearl Meyer

    As Managing Director, Greg Stoeckel serves as a senior advisor to Compensation Committees and executives on all aspects of executive and outside director compensation. Greg’s primary responsibility is providing sound and authoritative guidance and advice to his clients regarding their executive and outside director compensation programs. He has over 20 years of experience as an executive compensation consultant, having first worked as a financial analyst in the banking industry. In addition to executive compensation expertise, Greg is well versed in areas such as business strategy, performance metrics, corporate governance (including institutional shareholder perspectives), accounting, tax, and SEC disclosure. Greg received a bachelor’s degree from The University of Michigan and a master’s degree from Indiana University. He is a Certified Equity Professional (CEP) and a member of various professional organizations including WorldatWork. Greg also serves on the Advisory Board of the Atlanta Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) and leads the annual Atlanta Directors Exchange, which is a director networking and educational session.

    Clinton Wolf, Senior VP – Health and Insurance Services, National Restaurant Association

    Clinton Wolf is Senior Vice President, Health and Insurance Services, and his primary responsibility is managing the partnership with UnitedHealth Group. He joined the National Restaurant Association in 2017 after a 17-year career with UnitedHealth Group. There he served in several areas across the organization including leading efforts in finance, operations, medical network negotiations and building and managing products on behalf of small, mid-size and large multi-site employers. Most recently he worked on the joint venture between United Health Group and the National Restaurant Association. Prior to joining UnitedHealth Group, Clinton was a consultant with Deloitte and served in strategic and capital planning for the Washington University School of Medicine. Clinton earned a BA in Business and History from Drury University and an MBA from Washington University in St Louis.