Opening Session Speakers
Florida Regional Organizer, Bread for the World
Florence French is a native New Yorker who graduated from Saint John’s University with a degree in Business Management. Florence relocated to Florida in 2007 to care for her aging father.
In 2013, Florence moved away from the private sector and began her career in the non-profit world as an Organizer with Enroll America and the Get Covered America campaign for the south Florida region. In 2015, Florence became the Regional Director with Enroll America for south FL. Her time with Enroll America was a pivotal moment in her life both professionally and personally. Florence together with her co-workers, volunteers and partner organizations, changed millions of people’s lives by introducing them to the Affordable Healthcare Act.
In 2017, Florence joined Bread for the World as State Regional Organizer for Florida. Since joining Bread for the World, Florence has strengthened the Bread teams in Orlando and Miami and has formed new Bread teams in Jacksonville and Tampa. Florence is passionate about educating people about legislative policies that have created systemic issues and is focused on building coalitions who feel empowered to advocate for legislation that protect people who need federal programs to lift them out of poverty.View Profile
Professor, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois
Craig Gundersen is the Soybean Industry Endowed Professor in Agricultural Strategy in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois. He currently serves on the Technical Advisory Group for Feeding America, is lead researcher on Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap project, and the Managing Editor for Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy.
He is also a Round Table Member of the Farm Foundation, a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and a Faculty Affiliate of the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO) at the University of Notre Dame.
His research concentrates on the causes and consequences of food insecurity and on the evaluation of food assistance programs, with an emphasis on SNAP.View Profile
Texas Hunger Initiative
Jeremy Everett is the founder and executive director of the Texas Hunger Initiative (THI), a capacity-building, anti-hunger project within Baylor University. THI partners with federal and state agencies, and numerous faith- and community-based organizations to develop and implement strategies to alleviate hunger through research, policy analysis, education, and community organizing.
Through THI’s regional offices, staff members and researchers have assisted local community efforts increasing hundreds of millions of additional meals to Texans since 2009. Prior to THI, Jeremy worked for international and community development organizations as a teacher, religious leader, community organizer, and organic farmer. He frequently delivers presentations to churches, non-profit organizations, universities, and the government sector about hunger and poverty.
Jeremy earned a bachelor’s degree from Samford University and a Master of Divinity from Baylor University. Jeremy is a Next Generation Fellow of the University of Texas LBJ School’s Strauss Center for International Security and Law, a Senior Fellow with World Hunger Relief, Inc., and was appointed by U.S. Congress to serve on the National Commission on Hunger.
Jeremy is the author of the forthcoming I Was Hungry: Cultivating Common Ground to End an American Crisis, a contributing author in Food and Poverty: Food Insecurity and Food Sovereignty Among America’s Poor (Vanderbilt University Press) and The End of Hunger: How Science, Religion, and Politics Can Work Together to Make Possible (InterVarsity Press).
Jeremy is married to Amy Miley Everett. They have three sons: Lucas, Sam, and Wyatt.View Profile
President and Chief Executive for Denny’s Corporation
John Miller is President and Chief Executive for Denny’s Corporation and is responsible for leading the strategic direction of the company. Mr. Miller joined Denny’s in February 2011 and is an accomplished restaurant industry veteran, bringing more than 30 years of restaurant operations and management experience to the national diner chain. Prior to joining Denny’s, Mr. Miller served as CEO of Taco Bueno Restaurants, Inc. He also spent 17 years with Brinker International where he held numerous management positions, including President of Romano’s Macaroni Grill and President of Brinker’s Mexican Concepts, responsible for overseeing On the Border and Cozymel’s. Earlier in his career, Mr. Miller held various operations and restaurant management positions at Unigate Restaurant/Casa Bonita in Dallas, Texas. Mr. Miller is a member of Denny’s Board of Directors.View Profile
Presenters & Panelists
Executive Chef of Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa
Albert Tash is the Executive Chef at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa. With 20 years of experience as an Executive Chef, Tash’s employment prior to joining Seminole Hard Rock Tampa included Ameristar, Great Canadian Gaming and Boyd Gaming. Tash specializes in venue design and operation, menu engineering and design, as well as team communication.
A Canadian, Tash has been the recipient of many prestigious awards over the years including a President’s Award, Chef of the Year Award and a Gold Medal at the World Culinary Arts Festival.
Tash holds a Bachelor of Arts Honors Degree and a Juris Doctor Degree from the University Alberta along with Culinary Honors from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.View Profile
Racial Equity Institute
Wanda Hunter is a trainer and lead organizer with the Racial Equity Institute. Her 30-year career at the University of North Carolina (Department of Social Medicine) was in public health research with a focus on vulnerable families, racial disparities in health and community-based participatory research. She has presented at multiple scientific meetings in the United States and around the world, including an expert panel for the World Wealth Organization in Geneva. She has authored or co-authored dozens of peer-reviewed research articles. Wanda retired as the Deputy Director for the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in 2010. Since that time she has organized with the Racial Equity Institute. In her community of Chapel Hill, NC she was a founder of the Organizing Against Racism network that has expanded across the state sponsoring more than 50 racial equity workshops per year. She also helped found and continues to lead the Campaign for Racial Equity in Our Schools. The Campaign published a report in 2015, Excellence With Equity: The Schools Our Children Deserve. She is also a co-chair for her local NAACP Education Committee. She was inducted into the Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 2010 for service to the State of North Carolina and received the NAACP President’s Award for Community Service in 2013.View Profile