AHF Elections

2022 Elections

It is a privilege to present this year’s candidates. Please read their candidate statements prior to placing your vote.

The elected candidates will serve their terms beginning January 1, 2023. The voting period is May 5 through May 20. Voting will end on May 20 at 5:00 PM EST.

Who is Eligible to Vote?

  • Institutional members – Primary contact only
  • Retired members

 

If you did not receive the email with the link to cast your vote, and you are the key contact for your institution or are a retired member, please email [email protected]

Business partner, educator, affiliate, and student members are not eligible to vote.

Open Positions:

 

Candidate Statements

PRESIDENT-ELECT CANDIDATE

Leisa Bryant, MBA, MA, RD, LD
Executive Director
Food & Nutrition Services
University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, TX

Background Statement:
I have over 20 years of healthcare experience in Healthcare Food and Nutrition Services and have long championed “finding the sweet spot” for good nutrition, patient and employee satisfaction and business operations. My professional growth is credited to the benefits and valuable resources and tools offered by The Association for Healthcare Foodservice (AHF) such as mentoring, benchmarking express, educational conferences and webinars, networking and professional support. I am passionate about teaching, learning and mentoring, and seize every opportunity to put my passion into practice. I was recognized in November 2017 as Director of the month by Foodservice Director Magazine and as one of 18 Future Foodservice Leaders of 2018 by Foodservice Equipment & Supplies Magazine. I have served on the AHF board for over 4 years and I am currently the Treasurer-elect and representative on the Editorial Advisory Board. In 2019/2020, I served on the Common Market in Texas Board in support of connecting communities with quality food from sustainable local farms.

Priority Statement:
My membership and BOD experience have afforded me the unique opportunity to serve, support and amplify the AHF mission through:

  • Promoting the organization and expanding its membership through networking, inclusivity, and championing the value of AHFs membership.
  • Expansion of the AHF resources and tools to ensure easy access and availability of evidence-based information to its members.
  • Advocating for self-operation among Healthcare Executives using data from Benchmarking Express 

TREASURER CANDIDATE

Thom Pastor, MBA, CDM, CFPP
Nutrition Services Manager
Saint Charles Healthcare
Bend, OR

Background Statement:
With more than 11 years in hospitals I’ve served as the Executive Chef, Nutrition Services Manager for two critical access hospitals and the Food Service Manager for two acute care hospitals. Since joining healthcare and AHF I have earned multiple degrees, spoken at conferences in New York and Oregon, helped build a hospital, managed through multiple disasters (and now a pandemic), served as a culinary school advisor, served many charities including ChefsCycle for No Kid Hungry and World Central Kitchen. Support from AHF and its membership have been instrumental in all these accomplishments. I’m proud to continue my service.
AHF Experience

  • Secretary – Current
  • Director-at-Large – two terms
  • Chapter Leadership Committee
  • E-Library Committee
  • Co-President – Oregon Chapter


Priority Statement:

With five years’ experience on the Board of Directors, I’m proud to have been part of this organization and our work supporting self-operators.

My priorities are:

  • Supporting the professional development of self-op food service leaders.
  • Providing resources to help operator members lead their teams to success.
  • Foster strong networks between operator members as well as between operator members and business partners.
  • Provide assistance to healthcare leaders looking to take their operations from contract management to self-op.

It will be my pleasure to continue this work supporting operators.

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TREASURER-ELECT CANDIDATE

Neal Lavender
Executive Director of Food & Nutrition Services
JPS Health Network
Keller, TX

Background Statement:
For the last six years I have been the Executive Director of Food and Nutrition Services at JPS Health Network in Fort Worth, Texas. I have over twenty-eight years of experience in the healthcare foodservice industry.

  • AHF Advocacy:
    • AHF Board Member – Director at Large (2020 – Present)
    • AHF North Central Texas Member (2016 – Present)
  • Committee Work & Support:
    • Membership Committee (2022 – Present)
    • Education Committee Chair (2020 – 2021)
  • Awards:
    • 2020 AHF Exemplary Leadership Award
    • 2021 Visionary Award


Priority Statement:

I would appreciate your consideration as Treasurer Elect on the AHF National Board. In this role, I will support AHF to the best of my abilities ensuring smart financial decisions for our membership. I do believe I am perfect for this role as I am someone who is known for being meticulous and having strong financial acumen. I also have a proven track record for managing multi-million dollar budgets through my career. I look forward this next term working with our AHF leadership on your behalf.

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SECRETARY CANDIDATE

Timothy Schoonmaker, MBA, CEC, WCEC, CCA, CDM, CFPP, CHESP, FMP, MCFE
Corporate Director, Nutrition Services
Rosemary & George Dawson Inn
Centra Health
Lynchburg, VA

Background Statement:

I have worked in the healthcare food service industry for 20 + years in both the contract and self-operated arena.  Serving as a Board Member for the past two years and serving on several AHF Committees has given me valuable insight into what our members are looking for in terms of support and how AHF can be the source for Self-Operated foodservice Healthcare Organizations.  My priority as Secretary is to understand what our members need, and advocate for their best interest.  As a servant leader, I am here to listen and be a valuable resource for others, and continuing to evolve AHF’s strategic plan, and the future of Healthcare Foodservice.

Volunteer Experience

  • AHF Benchmarking Committee Chair, 2019-2020
  • AHF Nominating Committee Member, 2018
  • AHF Exemplarily Leadership Award Winner, 2019
  • AHF Conference Planning Committee Member, 2020
  • AHF Self Operated Committee Member, 2021- Current
  • AHF Board of Directors (Director at Large), Current Term
  • AHF Culinary Competition, 3rd Place- 2019 (Scottsdale, AZ)
  • AHF People’s Choice- Virtual Culinary Competition- AHF-2020
  • VA Board Member- ANFP; Speaker at ACE national conference
  • Southwest Virginia Chapter of the American Culinary Federation Member; Education Committee Chair (2021), Vice President (2022)
  • Mentor, Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Central Virginia; President of the Board (2020-2021).
  • Lynchburg City Schools partners in education member

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DIRECTOR AT LARGE CANDIDATES

Angela O’Neill
Director Nutrition Services
Hunterdon Medical Center
Flemington, NJ

Background Statement:
Being a part of AHF National and our local AHF-NJ Chapter has been exciting and invaluable to my growth as a leader. It would be my pleasure to continue to serve and provide valuable knowledge to the association as a Director at Large.

AHF National

  • 2021-2022 Treasurer Elect to Treasurer
  • 2020 Co-Chair of the Conference Planning Committee
  • Committees served from 2011-present
    • Membership Committee
    • Self-op Project Team
    • Conference Planning Committee
    • Awards Committee Co-Chair
    • Nominating Committee
    • Chapter Advisory Board Co-Chair
    • Education-Webinar & Regional Networking Committee
    • Culinary Competition Committee

AHF-NJ Chapter

  • Served as an AHF-NJ Board Member 2011-present
  • AHF-NJ Chapter President- 2 terms
  • 2017 & 2021-AHF Chapter of the Year Award


Professional Recognition

  • 2021 AHF Exemplary Leadership Award
  • 2016 AHF Partnership in Leadership Award Recipient
  • 2009 Hunterdon Medical Center’s Leadership Excellence Award


Statement of Priorities:

AHF has personally provided me with a breadth of opportunities since inception and I am truly dedicated to its success and growth to remain the premier organization for self-op healthcare foodservice. Serving on the Board of Directors would allow me to continue my journey contributing and supporting the mission and strategic plans. I consider AHF members extended family and being there for family is so important to me.


Patrick LaMont
Director of Food and Nutrition
Brookdale Hospital and Medical Center
Brooklyn, NY

Background Statement:
I’ve been a Food Service Leader for more than 30 years. I started as a dietary worker and I’ve since worked in K-12, B & I, Prison and the Healthcare Industry. I’ve held numerous positions such as; District Manager, Director of Food and Nutrition, General Manager. One of my greatest accomplishments was completing my MBA and going to the Middle East as a Subject Matter expert (SME) to work on a Greenfield, Design Build project worth over $1.2B but my greatest accomplishment is marrying my wife and creating 3 beautiful sons.

Priority Statement:
My priorities would be to, listen and support the leadership of AHF in order to meet the needs of our members on the topics of today and, where appropriate share my ideas of the future and the challenges that face us today. I will make myself available and willingly share my experiences in order to, drive AHF to be the needed resources for all our self-operators giving them, a competitive advantage for success in our industry and beyond.


 

Erica Block
Director of Food and Nutrition Services
Rush University Medical Center
Chicago, IL

Background Statement:
My love of healthcare foodservice started as a student working at a hospital delivering patient trays.  My strong work ethic, can do spirit, and desire to learn has allowed me to grow in foodservice leadership positions over the past 20 years.  These characteristics will allow me to be a strong advocate for our members.   I am a change driver and continually look for ways to raise the bar.  This opportunity would allow me to continue to serve and grow in our organization.   Over the past 3 years as the Director of FNS at RUSH our program has excelled with various awards and leadership recognition.

AHF recent participation:

  • State of the Industry Committee
  • AHF Midwest Planning Committee
  • Self-Operated Committee
  • AHF Spotlight Award 2021

Other recent participation:

  • IFMA FS Leadership Council
  • RUSH Team of the Year 2021
  • Food Management-Magazine Best Concept Award-2021
  • General Mills Gold Star Advisory Board
  • Instructor at RUSH University


Priority Statement:

AHF has provided me with an opportunity to feel connected to like-minded foodservice professionals.  I would be honored and humbled to represent the members as a Director at Large in this vibrant community of superstars.  As a Director at Large my priorities would be to support the growth of our membership through focus on growth of the local chapters and sharing the AHF vision to those in the industry that may not know the opportunities self-operations provides.  I am committed to helping AHF flourish so that we can continue to provide exceptional value to our members and the customers we serve.


 

Simone E. Nicolas, MS, RDN, CDN
Nutrition Services Administrator 2
New York State Office of Mental Health
Kingsboro Psychiatric Center
Brooklyn NY

Background Statement:
I am an accomplished food and nutrition professional with more than 24 years of combined healthcare acute and long-term care experience and a passion for improving outcomes through food and nutrition.  Serving in a leadership role with AHF affords me an opportunity to share knowledge and positively impact the organization’s mission which is to advance self-operated foodservice.

Association position currently held:

  • AHF NY Board of Directors: President-Elect

Past offices held and/or contributions to professional organizations include:

  • AHF NY Board of Directors: Secretary
  • AHF National, Membership Committee 2020-2021
  • Conference speaker, AHF Annual Conference 2021
  • SO Connected Magazine Contribution August 2020


Priority Statement:

AHF is a dynamic value driven organization providing superior resources to members.  As Director at Large, I am committed to supporting AHFs initiatives for membership, education, and strategic planning utilizing opportunities to share my expertise and collaborate to support the organization’s operational success.


Dennis Brennan
Manager, Retail Food Operations
Reading Hospital / Tower Health
Reading, PA

Background Statement:

Dennis Brennan is a 45-year food and beverage professional with a background in hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues, and since 2003, healthcare foodservice.

Healthcare Experience:

  • Consultant, then Director for Temple University Health System Philadelphia (6 years)
  • Manager of Retail Operations at Reading Hospital (12+ years)

AHF Experience:

  • Member of Self-Op Committee (3 years)
  • Member of Conference Planning Committee (2022)
  • Member of Chapter Advisory Board (4 years)
  • President of Philadelphia South Jersey Chapter since January 2019

Since I moved into healthcare foodservice 19 years ago, I am most proud of my association with both National and Chapter AHF. I found an organization wholly dedicated to a more important aspect of the F&B industry – that of clinical patient care and service to long-term residents.

Priority Statement:

My efforts would be directed toward the growth of our organization, both operators and vendor-partners.

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LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE MEMBER CANDIDATES

Andrew Bergman, MS
Manager of Food Service
ProHealth Care
Waukesha, WI

Background Statement:
Association Positions Currently Held:

  • AHF National Conference Planning Co-Chair
  • AHF Wisconsin Chapter – Director of Hospitality and Seminar

Past offices held and contributions to professional organizations include:

  • AHF Conference Planning Committee – 2021
  • AHF Editorial Advisory Board – 2020

During my seven years at ProHealth Care, I have received the 2019 Future Horizons Award from National AHF.  Also in 2019, the great state of Wisconsin was honored with the Chapter of the Year Award from National AHF. Finally, in 2018, ProHealth Care was awarded the Benchmarking Award from National AHF.

Priority Statement

As a member of the Leadership Development Committee, my goal and commitment to the AHF Members is to present a slate of qualified candidates that possess the values and vision that is ubiquitous across self-operated healthcare systems independent of size and prominence. It is my objective to build upon the incredible foundation established over the previous decade and promote the success of the organization for years to come.


 

Ethan Headley
System Director of Nutrition
Cayuga Medical Center
Ithica, NY

Background Statement:

In my 10 years in self-operating healthcare foodservice, I have prided myself in elevating patient meals to restaurant quality dishes, purchasing ingredients from local purveyors as often as possible, and participating in numerous community activities.  I am a three-time nominee for Premier Director of the Year and placed in the Culinary Creations Contest.  In my spare time, I coach the ProStart Culinary Team for our local BOCES program.

I strongly support the mission of AHF to keep healthcare foodservice self-op to enhance the patient experience and introduce food as part of the healing process.

Priority Statement

I believe strongly in educating the leaders of tomorrow.  I strive to emulate this by working directly with my team, networking with like-minded professional, mentoring through BOCES and collaborating with students at Cornell University.  My goal for AHF is to build a robust pool of talented and successful leaders.

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