Board of Directors

AHF Board of Directors

AHF’s leadership draws from the expertise and industry experience of our most valuable resource – our member base. Comprised of healthcare foodservice professionals, from facilities large and small, from acute care and senior living, AHF’s leadership believes healthcare is best served by the self-operated foodservice model. Board members serve for a typical 2 or 3-year term with annual terms running from January-December. 

Leisa Bryant, MBA, MA, RD, CPXP, FACHE

Director, Food and Nutrition, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center


Thom Pastor, MBA, CDM, CFPP

Nutrition Services Manager, St. Charles Healthcare


Robert Darrah, CDM, CFPP, CHC

Director of Dining Services, Legacy Retirement Communities

Past President

Neal Lavender, MHS, PHR, CDM

Executive Director of Food and Nutrition Services, JPS Health Network


Patrick LaMont, MBA

Director of Food and Nutrition, Brookdale Hospital and Medical Center


Angela O’Neill, RD

Director Nutrition Services, Hunterdon Medical Center


Andrew Bergman

Director of Food and Nutrition Services, Baptist Health System


Erica Block, MS, RDN, LDN

Director Food & Nutrition Services, RUSH University Medical Center


Julie Meddles, MS, RDN, LD

Director, Ohio State Wexner Medical Center



Executive Chef, Saint Peter’s University Hospital


Simone Nicolas, MS, RDN, CDN

Nutrition Services Administrator, NY State Office of Mental Health, Kingsboro Psychiatric Center


Danielle Mason

Vice President of Consultant Services, Marra Forni

Industry Advisory Board Chair

Heather French

National Sales Director, Healthcare, PepsiCo Foodservice

Industry Advisory Board Vice-Chair

Georgie Shockey

Owner/Principal, Ruck-Shockey Associates

Industry Advisory Board Past Chair

The Path to AHF Board Leadership

AHF board or leadership service is an exciting career step and a great way to give back to the self-operated industry. AHF prides itself on leading the way in self-operated healthcare, senior dining, and hospitality and our Board leaders, volunteers and chapter leaders exemplify that sentiment.

AHF is a 501c6 nonprofit and we follow nonprofit industry best practice for board leadership to ensure we provide a diverse set of leaders that are representative, to the best of our ability, of our industries and stakeholders. AHF elections are overseen by the Leadership Development Committee (LDC) which consists of the AHF Immediate Past President (Chair), President, two (2) elected LDC members, and one Board appointed operator member. Additionally, AHF’s IAB Chair and Executive Director serve on the LDC as advisors.

Board Leadership Prerequisites

Joining the AHF board typically first requires participation on an AHF committee for at least 1 year or participation in AHF Chapter leadership. Once you have served as an AHF volunteer, you will be more prepared to serve in a higher-level leadership position. The recommended next step is to consider chairing an AHF Committee or serving in AHF Chapter leadership (although this is not required). However, if you are interested in serving on the AHF Board, you can submit yourself during the Leadership “Call for Nominations” which comes out in the 1st quarter of each year.

AHF’s Officer positions (President, Treasurer, and Secretary) are slated positions, and typically (but not always) come from existing board members. A slated position means that the Leadership Development Committee determines who will be placed into that position. This helps ensure AHF’s highest leaders have Board experience and understanding of the detailed workings of the Association. The Director At Large and LDC positions are contested elections, enabling the full AHF membership to participate in shaping the composition of the Board and the LDC with the goal of achieving the greatest representation.

Call for Nominations

Each year we open nominations for available positions on our Board and LDC. Once all nominations have been received, the LDC reviews the submissions to ensure their qualifications meet the positions for which they have been nominated. Not all nominees may be selected to run that year, but keep trying! Gaining an AHF Board seat, can be a process as we have a talented set of members spread out across the country and only a few available positions. Not being selected to run does not mean you will not be considered in the future, and the Board will note your desire for future discussion. Development of the ballot by the LDC is based on composition needs, desired skill sets, number of applications, experience of applicants, and more.

In addition to evaluating qualifications, the Leadership Development Committee (LDC) is tasked with ensuring that AHF’s nominees and leaders reflect the diversity of our industry. This entails striving for representation across various industry segments, educational backgrounds, skills sets and credentials, as well as gender, racial, and cultural diversities, among others. Due to the limitations in the number of available positions, it may not be possible to include everyone on this year’s ballot. If you are not selected to run for a board position or are unsuccessful in the elections, we encourage you to engage with an AHF committee, take on leadership roles within chapters, or explore other leadership opportunities within AHF. Your involvement and continued dedication will strengthen your candidacy for future consideration.

Click here to learn more about our Committees and volunteer opportunities.

Consider Chapter Leadership

AHF’s Chapters need you! Chapter leadership is a great way to get involved at the local level, build a tight network, and help further the Association. It is also a fantastic pathway to future AHF national leadership. Find your local chapter here and reach out to the listed president/contact to get involved!

Leisa Bryant, MBA, MA, RD, CPXP, FACHE

AHF President

Executive Director, Food, Nutrition, & Patient Transportation Services

MD Anderson Cancer Center