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We are looking forward to hosting GFTC 2018 in Austin, Texas October 14-16, 2018.
As the world's leading food and culinary tourism conference, GFTC will leave you and your team energized with actionable take-aways to help take your Food Tourism businesses, ventures and concepts to greater heights.
GFTC is the definitive industry event; hundreds of attendees turn to GFTC for big ideas, tactical content, and to connect with leaders from the world's most influential and innovative companies. Keynote speakers, industry based sessions and panelist discussions will cover valuable topics to all professionals in the Food Tourism Industry including: marketing, branding, communications, business operations, professional development and more.
Surround yourself with Food Tourism leaders and industry professionals.
The most influential ideas and emerging trends that are reshaping the industry.
Feast on Austin's culinary delights in one of North America's cultural capitals.
Make critical connections during networking breaks and locally inspired social events.
Warren Etheredge is a Storyfinder™. He has conducted over 3,500 interviews. He is one of the founding faculty of TheFilmSchool, helping filmmakers translate their stories for screens big and small, and The Red Badge Project (http://theredbadgeproject.org/), helping combat veterans work through PTSD and other issues by teaching them the art of storytelling. In 2017, he launched a 30-week screenwriting program at the University of Washington and was appointed the VP of Curation for Heyou Media. He has hosted multiple television series including The High Bar, Scene! & Heard, Reel NW and ArtsLink. He served as the Chief Storytelling Officer for Enthrall Sports. He is the Curator for the Walla Walla Movie Crush and founder of The Warren Report. He’s a published author, staged playwright, successful producer, veteran festival programmer and much sought-after public speaker. Warren interviews the biggest names in the food world. Past subjects include: Ted Allen, Andrew Carmellini, Chris Cosentino, Helen Goh, Mariel Hemingway, Edward Lee, Jen McLagan, Nathan Myhrvold, Yotam Ottolenghi, Nina Planck, Michael Pollan, Ruth Reichl, Eric Ripert, Gail Simmons and Thad Vogler.
Cassi has made sales & marketing her passion and career upon her college graduation. She spent 6 years with a digital marketing startup firm (which was ranked on the Inc. 500 list 3 years in a row) that helped their clients across North America to increase their online presence and inbound lead generation efforts. She’s now focusing on holistic business health with her work with Cultivate Advisors- ensuring that small businesses and entrepreneurs have support and advisors who are in the ‘trenches’ with our clients. Our team of advisors partner alongside our owners in all areas of business surrounding Leadership, Marketing, Sales, Financials, Technology, Recruiting, and Operations.
Kelsey Tonner helps tour businesses all over the world create, sell and market their experiences – plus provides coaching on delivering extraordinary service. With over ten years experience in the industry, he has led trips in over fifteen different countries from Europe to the Americas and from Asia to North Africa. In 2015 Kelsey was chosen from thousands as one of eight shortlisted guides for the Wanderlust World Guide Awards. He is the founder of The Be a Better Guide Project and Online Tourism Academy, which bring the world’s top tour leaders and tourism businesses together to learn from one another, share best practices, and create incredible experiences for travelers.
G. Riley Mills is the co-founder of Pinnacle Performance Company and co-author of The Bullseye Principle. He was recently included in the list of “Top Leadership Speakers of 2018” by Inc. Magazine and has taught effective communication to executives and CEOs on six continents across the globe. Mills has guest-lectured or delivered keynotes at such events and institutions as Columbia University, London Chamber of Commerce, New York University, Young Presidents’ Organization, Cox School of Business, Singapore Management University and Manchester United.
As a writer, Mills has written for Forbes and Fast Company. He has twice been awarded the Joseph Jefferson Citation for Best New Work and is also the recipient of a 2007 NAPPA Honor Award. In 2012, he was nominated for the Distinguished Play Award by the American Alliance for Theatre and Education. His acclaimed musical, The Hundred Dresses, premiered Off-Broadway at the Atlantic Theatre Company in New York City. Mills is a proud member of the Screen Actors Guild as well as the Forbes Coaches Council. Mills co-founded The Bookwallah Organization, a charitable association whose mission is to collect storybooks and set up libraries in orphanages around the world.
Dave Leveque has been an advisor of over 250+ small businesses. Dave got his start in franchising where he helped business owners start, scale and exit their business. He has a passion for helping owners take their business to the next level. Although strong in many core skills, his main specialities are financials, time management and developing scalable systems in marketing, sales and leadership.
Lauren is founder and CEO of Devour Tours, an award-winning food tour company based in Spain. With a background in hospitality and tourism management, a passion for food and culture, and a strong belief that tourism can be sustainable, Lauren started leading tours herself in 2012. As the first food tour company in Madrid, the business grew quickly to other Spanish food destinations, including Barcelona, Seville and San Sebastian. Lauren attributes Devour’s growth to an extremely smart and hardworking team. Staff members come from over ten different countries and connect through a shared love of food, culture, and hospitality. In her “spare time” Lauren is fulfilling a lifelong dream to become a certified chef at the Hofmann Culinary School of Barcelona.
Kenny is the founder of Eating Europe. Having successfully launched two other start-ups previously he founded Eating Italy in 2011, in Rome where he resides. Since then the company has grown into one of the largest food tour operators in Europe with branches in Rome, Florence, Paris London, Amsterdam and Prague and rebranded as Eating Europe in 2014. Kenny serves as the company’s Managing Director and oversees a primarily remote team spread out across the region. The company has proudly welcomed over 125,000 clients since its inception and has been recommended by the NY Times, Conde Nast Traveler, BBC, Forbes, and USA Today among others. Kenny is an advisory board member of the Global Food Tour Association and regularly speaks at industry events on Culinary Tourism conferences, including most recently at the 2017 World Travel Market in London.
After graduating from the Pamplin School of Business at Virginia Tech, Shane started two successful start-up companies including a bag manufacturing business and a seasonal indoor/outdoor lighting company. Shane later started Chicago Food Planet in 2006 to show his love and passion for Chicago food, architecture, history and culture. Shane started Food Tour Pros in 2009 to help industrious individuals start and operate their own Food Tour businesses in cities and town across the globe and now has over 350 clients internationally. Shane launched what would become the Global Food Tourism Association in 2015 to help unite, educate and inspire clients, colleagues and competitors in an effort to ensure the quality and longevity within the Food Tourism industry. Shane has been a featured speaker at industry events including IACP, TasteTrekkers, GFTC and OCTA and appearing in publications including the Chicago Tribune, USA Today, New York Times and CNN. Shane has traveled to over 45 countries and starting in 2009, he drove his motorcycle from Chicago, IL to Patagonia, Argentina, covering more than 40,000 miles as part of his ongoing culinary and educational efforts.
Stephen Adler is a lawyer and politician who is the Mayor of Austin, Texas, since January 6, 2015. Steve has been a practicing attorney in Austin in the areas of eminent domain and civil rights law for 35 years. For eight years he worked as the chief of staff and later general counsel to State Senator Eliot Shapleigh in the Texas Legislature. He has also worked with or board chaired Austin-based nonprofits and civic organizations, including the Texas Tribune, Anti-Defamation League, GEN-Austin, Breakthrough Austin, and Ballet Austin. In 1978, he graduated from Princeton University with a B.A from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He then attended the University of Texas at Austin School of Law and received his juris doctorate in 1982. Adler has argued before state appellate courts, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and the Texas Supreme Court and was named a Texas Super Lawyer from 2007-2013 and one of the Best Lawyers in America in 2007-2014.
Joseph Martin has worked in the creative industry for 17 years gaining experience in design, marketing, and leadership. As the Director of Product for EzTix, he is passionate about building real-world communities and improving corporate culture. He is an active voice in Chicago through Google Startup Weekend events and mentoring students. His ideas on experience design have been featured in the Observer, Website Magazine, and paved the way for speaking opportunities locally and internationally.
Gina has spent 6+ years in the event industry ranging from wedding planning to large scale event production. In most recent years, she has focused on food & beverage including private dining coordination, catering, and event operations at a Chicago distillery. Gina is also closely involved in her community as a City Ambassador for Choose Chicago and an Associate Board Member for a local organic farm, Growing Home. Gina joined the Chicago Food Planet team over 2 years ago to bring her food & beverage passion into the Food Tourism industry. Building the private sales sector of Chicago Food Planet has truly been a rewarding challenge and is always striving to exceed goals, whether sales or otherwise, and continuously perfect the art of building and executing corporate events and building new and long-lasting partnerships.
A motivated business leader, Casey is a passionate entrepreneur. Casey got his start in owning a home service franchise. He successfully exited in a sustainable way with 90+ franchise owners and over 600+ employees. Casey went on to co-found Cultivate Advisors. As the CEO of Cultivate, his team has helped over 1000 small business owners reach their growth objectives through core business skill development and scaleable systemization. Casey’s mission with the company is to simply help business owners achieve their dreams and take back control.
Corporate America drop out after 10 years of working for John Deere & Dell Computer. Andy and his wife Lindsey created Austin Eats Food Tours in 2011, beginning with public walking and bus tours across some of Austin’s most iconic neighborhoods. What truly fuels both the passion and success of Austin Eats however, are its corporate and private events that run daily and make up over 80% of annual revenue. Andy leverages his corporate background to keenly customize each event to fit uniquely with the type of company, atmosphere and objective of the event, and personality of each of his clients. A fast-paced food tour for 150 Facebook summer interns looks and feels very different than Dish Network’s CEO taking his executive team on an intimate culinary event. He markets “Unforced Team-Building” & customization to each client while balancing scalability & growth on the operations side.
ounder & CEO of the EzTix Event Ticketing Group, Jeremy has been involved in the food and beverage and tourism industries for more than 20 years.
Growing up in an entrepreneurial family full of chefs and restauranteurs, Jeremy literally learned to walk inside a family owned restaurant. After university, Jeremy worked for some of the largest North American travel, entertainment and tourism brands before founding EzTix in 2006.
From its humble beginnings helping culinary events promote their events online, EzTix has grown from a small Canadian start up in Vancouver BC to a multinational team of world class professionals passionate about supporting the culinary tourism industry across nearly 40 countries around the globe.
Everyday EzTix technology facilitates thousands of transactions between consumers and businesses in virtually every major tourism market on the planet.
Our Partners are businesses who know the power of sharing their message with the Food Tourism Industry's most influential and passionate brands, marketers, business decision makers, and operations managers. A partnership with GFTC is a powerful forum to make personal and professional connections with the industry’s highest performing businesses. We love building integrated platforms to meet our sponsor’s objective(s).