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Refire: Bold Ideas About the Future of Hospitality

We are so excited to share our favorite moments from last year’s speaker series! If you weren’t able to join us live, this is your chance to see these important conversations about our industry and our world. Over the next few weeks tune in and be sure to catch each of these inspiring speakers!

Refire takes on the issues and concerns currently facing the hospitality community by bringing fresh ideas and perspectives to the conversation. Tapping respected professionals within our industry in addition to experts and educators outside of hospitality, Refire aims to inspire strategies, solutions, and actionable change.

Irene Li: What is Open Book Management?

James Beard Leadership Award-winner Irene Li discusses her experiences implementing Open Book Management and how making her business and finances more transparent to her staff brought them together as a team and increased the success of the business.

Irene Li: Breaking Down Open Book Management

Irene already told us what Open Book Management looks like and why it could be a good idea, but how does a business actually implement this approach? Irene explains the steps (and the pitfalls) to rolling out this different approach and shares her team’s most recent results.


Irene Li: The Abundance Mindset

Irene shares her experience with Open Book Management and what she might say to those who are interested but hesitant to give it a try. 

“We need to build trust among each other as operators. Competition is boring, collaboration is what’s really interesting and hard.” -Irene Li


Conscious Lee: The Anti-Sexist Sexist

How do we talk about inherent bias? Educator and Influencer, Conscious Lee, addresses taking responsibility for our own bias and how making big change starts within ourselves.


Conscious Lee: Tipping

Conscious walks us through the origins of tipping in America and why it matters today. Another not-to-be-missed moment from the Chicago event.


Conscious Lee: Respectability Politics

How does oppression feed into respectability politics? Educator and influencer, Conscious Lee speaks about how mental health comes second to survival for many in marginalized communities.


Conscious Lee: Profits and Workers

“The worst thing that can happen for the people on top is for us to have some type of class consciousness and realize they all playing us.” 


jeanie chunn: Tipping Alternatives

jeanie chunn is a labor activist and hospitality community organizer from Seattle and she sat down with Joanna Carpenter to talk tipping and the steps it might take to improve the system. Is service charge something we may see more bars and restaurants implement?

jeanie chunn: The Subminimum Wage

The subminimum wage is about more than just money. Activist and hospitality organizer, jeanie chunn talks about how the tipped wage also relates to workplace harassment. 


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jeanie chunn: Safe Behind the Bar

Speaking about how women are treated in hospitality, jeanie and Joanna tease out the larger repercussions of dehumanizing workers and what that means for all of society.

Cynthia Pong: Resume Tips

Does it ever feel like there is a secret code to writing a good resume that both represents you well and gets seen by the right people? Cynthia Pong, a career coach who focuses on amplifying the leadership of women of color, has some simple hints to break the code and improve your chances of finding a great new job. 


Cynthia Pong: Negotiating

What if we looked at negotiation differently?  But how? Career coach, Cynthia Pong shares her insights into making negotiations of all types less stressful and more communicative.


Danielle Goldtooth: The Larger Meaning of Sustainability

The term sustainability sometimes gets pigeonholed in a certain type of environmentalism, but Danielle Goldtooth explains that sustainability can also include nourishing and maintaining ourselves and our community. Looking to the past and nurturing those ideas that stand the test of time and acting with intentionality versus disposability can also be forms of a sustainability mindset. 


Danielle Goldtooth: Food Sovereignty

How are we honoring food? Danielle Goldtooth speaks to Joanna Carpenter about what food sovereignty means in this modern world. 


Danielle Goldtooth: Supply Chain

“We need water, we need warmth, we need a roof, and we need food and none of those things are taught 

in school.” –Danielle Goldtooth, Dinè mother and Indigenous activist

Danielle speaks to resiliency and the wisdom of our elders with Joanna Carpenter.


Yannick Benjamin: Intent

What is the intent behind people’s actions? Yannick Benjamin, sommelier, restaurant owner, and non-profit founder, talks to Joanna about disability and how people are still hesitant to talk about an issue that will eventually touch everyone.


Yannick Benjamin: 61 Million

Looking at accessibility on a multitude of levels, Yannick Benjamin and Joanna Carpenter discuss the cultural, financial, and emotional impacts of creating accessible spaces.

Jenny Dorsey: Authenticity

“Authenticity is a point of view at a point in time. It’s always shifting. It’s always changing.”

Chef, author, and speaker, Jenny Dorsey is the executive director of Studio ATAO, a nonprofit organization that aims to create a more equitable hospitality industry. Joanna and Jenny sat down to talk about food, identity, and social justice. 


Jenny Dorsey: The Annexation of Hawaii

“Food history but it’s also US history.” Jenny Dorsey talks about the intersection of multiple issues that are woven into our history as a country and as an industry. What are the ways we can look at our tangible sphere of influence to affect change? 


Jenny Dorsey: The Politics of Food Aid

Jenny Dorsey breaks down how the US defines hunger and what that means to food sovereignty in the global south and across the globe. Understanding the roots and history of food aid is key to fomenting change.

Joanna Carpenter: Your Corner of the Universe

By hosting all 4 cities of the Refire Speaker Series, Joanna was the project’s glue, the throughline, this year. Her deep-rooted appreciation of hospitality, her ability to connect to each of the speakers, and her talent for synthesizing big ideas made her essential to the mission. 

What is your superpower?