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Liana Carniello
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Liana Carniello

Human Resources Director, The Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, Marriott International 

President, Hospitality Human Resources Professional Association

LIANA CARNIELLO, CHRL Director, Human Resources -The Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, Marriott International President-Hospitality Human Resources Professional Association Growing up in Niagara Falls, Canada, the gateway for young adults entering the workforce was to journey through the Travel &Tourism sector; Liana began the right of passage and never left! A strategic business partner in hotels, she brings her background in operations to every decision and guidance she makes within the Human Resources Competency Framework. She leads with data and facts to break barriers in overcoming change yet recognizes it’s the emotional and behavioral mindset shift that ultimately moves metrics. Liana has attained a Bachelor of Arts Degree(McMaster University) and a post graduate Human Resources Management Certificate(George Brown College).In 2023, Liana additionally was awarded an Honors Bachelor of Business Administration Honorary Degree for GBC for her years of contributions to students in the Hospitality sector. As a Certified HR Professional and Leader, Liana was selected to join the Hospitality Human Resources Professionals Association (HHRPA) Board of Directors as Vice President, Special Projects in 2018 and in 2021 she was elected to Chair the Office of the Association where she continues to do so as President of The Board.

Donna D'Andrea

Donna D'Andrea

Hicks Morley

Donna D’Andrea is a management-side labour relations and employment lawyer at Hicks Morley’s who provides practical and strategic advice to employers in all matters related to wrongful dismissal, human rights complaints, employment standards claims, union organizing campaigns, collective bargaining, grievance arbitration and occupational health and safety. 

Donna leads the firm’s Hospitality & Gaming Practice Group. She serves as chief spokesperson for most major hotel chains in their negotiations with unions and is known for her expert negotiation skills. Donna regularly appears before the Human Rights Tribunal, the courts, grievance arbitrators and the Ontario Labour Relations Board. She also participates in the employment and labour law aspects of business transactions, including mergers, acquisitions and business restructurings. 

In addition to speaking at employer organization and industry meetings, Donna conducts in-house seminars for clients on such topics as harassment, discrimination, accommodation, terminations, performance management and management/union relations. 

Stanley Goodman
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Stanley Goodman

Metro Diner | G-Man Hospitality

Stanely Goodman is an experienced owner and operator of hospitality operations and was appointed President/COO & Investment Partner for Metro Diner September 2016.

Prior to joining Metro Diner, Mr. Goodman held the position of Chief Operating Officer for the Baton Rouge Steakhouse Chain in Canada.

Mr. Goodman has over 40 years of restaurant experience in both Canada and the USA., including being a Joint Venture Partner for both Besito Mexican as well as Metro Diner.


Formerly Mr. Goodman was instrumental in developing the first Outback Steakhouses outside of the US, in Canada as the Joint Venture Operating Partner. These were the first restaurants developed outside of the USA. Over his career Mr. Goodman has been involved as both an Owner and Operator in a variety of Hospitality and restaurant projects in both North America and South Africa where he completed his MAP at WITS University Business School South Africa.

Mr. Goodman is also the past Chairman of the Ontario Hotel and Motel association as well as having sat on the board as a director for numerous years.

Chef John Higgins
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Chef John Higgins

George Brown College

Engaging, Entertaining and Irreverent with Decades of Hospitality Industry Experience…. Chef John Higgins!
He’s cooked for Royalty, guided the careers of thousands and always leaves those around him with insight and wisdom..  Chef Higgins who recently retired as Director of Hospitality and Culinary Enterprises at George Brown College, was television personality on “Chopped Canada” and is globally recognized as a leading Canadian contributor to the development of thousands of hospitality professionals while also helping to raise tremendous sums in support of industry education, will lead the conference’s events. John will share his witty, yet pointed views on where the industry is headed and how to navigate successfully through the current environment.

David Hopkins

The Fifteen Group

David Hopkins

David has over 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry. He began his career in restaurant management after graduating with an honours business degree from Queen’s University. From 1990-1997, David held various senior management positions within some of Toronto’s top restaurant companies. In 1997, David joined SIR Corp. to lead the financial/accounting department of one of their most profitable divisions, Signature Restaurants. During his 5 years with SIR Corp., David reconstructed the division’s information processing into a centralized accounting department and helped the division grow from 4 restaurants to 9, each with sales of over $4 million annually.  


In 2001, David left SIR Corp to form The Fifteen Group Inc., one of North America’s leading hospitality consultancies. With offices in Toronto and Vancouver, they have over 30 industry experts who cover all aspects of restaurant operations, from developing new restaurant concepts to maximizing restaurant profits through effective sales generation and disciplined cost control management. The Fifteen Group’s clients range from owner/operated establishments to multi-unit restaurant corporations. 

Mike Josifovic
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Mike Josifovic

Director of Safety and Security, Toronto Downtown West BIA

Mike Josifovic is currently the Director of Safety and Security for the Toronto Downtown West BIA, Toronto’s central hub for entertainment, arts, culture, hospitality, sports, nightlife and business. Mike worked for 34 years in a number of roles for the Toronto Police Service(TPS), retiring in2022 as a Detective and joining the Toronto Downtown West BIA in September of that year. During his time with TPS, Mike worked in several offices/positions including general uniform duties, Community Response Units, and Investigative Units. In these roles, he investigated many cases involving general criminal matters and major Sexual Assaults, Child Pornography, Human Trafficking, Frauds, and Professional Standards (Internal Officer Investigations).Mike has spoken at various organizations’ events on safety and security matters including specifically those of hospitality related priorities and concerns.

Anthony Lamanna
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Anthony Lamanna

Crime Prevention Officer - 52 District, Toronto Police Service

Police Constable Anthony Lamanna has over 32 years of policing experience and is with Toronto Police Service, currently the Crime Prevention Officer at 52 Division which covers the downtown core.

He presents the subject matter of crime prevention in a lively and entertaining manner.  He touches on the latest crime trends and covers issues from personal safety to threat and risk assessments. Prevention and an Emergency Management approach is key to mitigating risk.  He personally runs a variety of educational programs including reviewing operation’s security plans, understanding building design spaces and how they may foster elements of crime as well as de-escalation techniques.

Anthony will share key elements that hospitality operators should be aware of, and address to reduce the potential for criminal activity and increased safety.

Andrew Middleton
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Prof. Andrew Middleton

Professor, Conestoga College

Andrew Middleton, has been a Professor in the Hospitality and Culinary Arts Faculty for the past 15 years and has lead most of the programs offered by Conestoga College. He had completed a 4-year Hotel management Training with Impey Hotels in Worcestershire in the UK, F&B Management training with Hilton in France and has 20 years experience as a General Manager, and is a Graduate of the Hotel management School of Lausanne, Switzerland; the first hotel school in the world.


He arrived in Canada in 1997 and have opened and managed 4 different businesses: a country Inn, a bakery, a pub and a chicken restaurant.

Nicole Nguyen
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Nicole Nguyen

Senior VP, CBRE Limited

Nicole Nguyen is the Senior Vice President with the CBRE Hotels Valuation and Advisory Services group in Canada. Nicole has over 16 years of experience in the hospitality industry spending the early years of her career in various upper management positions with Marriott Hotels and Resort in Canada. Over the last 12 years Nicole has worked in Canada and the Caribbean in hospitality consulting practice areas including market and financial feasibility studies; accommodation needs assessments, asset management, asset evaluation and strategy, appraisals and valuation as well as franchise and management contract review and negotiation. 

Vince Sgabellone
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Vince Sgabellone

Director & Foodservice Industry Analyst, Circana

Vince Sgabellone has been a foodie since long before that became a word, developing his passion for food and cooking in his Italian mama’s kitchen. Vince has excelled in numerous roles across the food and foodservice industry for more than two decades, from sales to marketing, distribution to product development, for manufacturers to operators. As Director and Foodservice Industry Analyst at Circana (formerly The NPD Group), he shares his unique perspective on food and the foodservice industry, and helps clients unlock business growth by bringing clarity to the complexity of consumer behaviour. Vince is a regular commentator in the media, having appeared on CTV, BNN, and CBC and quoted in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and Canadian Press on numerous occasions.

Dr. Altaf Sovani

Dr. Altaf Sovani

Founder & CEO, Alzen Inc.

Altaf is the founder and CEO of Alzen Inc, a Boutique Consulting firm specializing in Hospitality, Tourism and Event industry. He has over 25 years of experience in academic leadership and as a professor in post-secondary institutions.

Altaf is an award-winning author of the book “Labor Crisis in Hospitality, Tourism and Event Industry” Finding innovative solutions for recruitment and retention of Millennials.

Altaf was recognized as one of the “30 Most Influential Educators In Global Hospitality 2023” by the International Hospitality Institute. He is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his exemplary work in the field of education and an award from Meetings Professionals International (MPI) for National Meetings Influencer. He holds a DBA from California Southern University and an MBA from University of Guelph.

Abraham Tieh
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Abraham Tieh

Director of National Hotel Tax Division, O’Connor & Associates

Abraham Tieh is the Director of National Hotel Tax Division at O’Connor & Associates, one of the largest property tax consulting firms in the country. He is a Licensed Senior Property Tax Consultant with over40 years of real estate, tax & financing experience.

With Extensive experience in commercial real estate valuations, portfolio management, & risk assessment the company has achieved over $100 million in tax savings collectively for clients during his tenure at O’Connor.

Laura Williams
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Laura Williams LL.B, CSP

Lawyer, Workplace Strategist, Speaker, Educator

Laura Williams is not your average professional; she is a dynamic force and visionary thinker who blends her near three-decades of experience in law, business and corporate strategy to help leaders and organizations navigate the ever-evolving complexities of today’s workplace. With a track record of success that speaks volumes, she's not only founded but nurtured two highly regarded firms: Williams HR Law LLP and Williams HR Consulting Inc. Laura is a sought after thought leader, keynote speaker, corporate educator, media contributor and innovator who has become one of the go-to voices helping workplaces reshape perspectives and recalibrate strategies

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