As part of the Future Leaders of Hospitality Program, each ECF student is paired with a member of the board for the duration of their college education. The program provides the students with personal advice, academic assistance and access to unique job and internship opportunities during monthly in-person meetings or video chats. The ECF board is comprised of more than 20 of the top food and beverage and hospitality executives in the city.

Students also receive mentorship and guidance from the ECF staff, which oversees the academic counseling, financial distribution, etiquette and interview training and overall functionality of the foundation.

Meet our Mentors & Mentees…

Meagan Taylor and Sean DiCicco
Meagan Taylor
Sean DiCicco
“Sean has been an incredible influence on me. My grades are good and I am really enjoying college. After our meetings I feel really motivated and encouraged to continue working hard. Sean makes me truly excited to begin a career. I appreciate his positivity and always uplifting attitude. He has been a huge part of my college journey so far and I’m very glad he will finish my freshman year with me. I cannot imagine a better mentor.”
Sol Pacheco and Michael Kennedy
Sol Pacheco
Michael Kennedy, Director of Food Operations at South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa
”I’m very fortunate to have Michael Kennedy as my first mentor, I can't thank him enough for the countless advice and opportunities he has given me. I truly appreciate all that he has done for me, teaching me a new valuable lesson with each meeting we have. Michael has not only been a great mentor but a friend and a blessing to both me and my family. I will always revere Michael for his hard work and personality.”
Geovanni Saucedo and Luiz Oliviera
Geovanni Saucedo
Luiz Oliveira, Owner of Sambalatte Torrefazione
My mentor has shown me a different aspect of hospitality leadership. I have learned of his origins and his evolution to his current position as a business owner, and appreciate the background aspect when recognizing his growth. I appreciate the conversations and advice my mentor had presented to me as I emerge myself into the industry.
Ashley Hassler and John Bray
Ashley Hassler
John Bray, Corporate Food and Beverage Director for Station Casinos
Ashley Kozell and Christopher Bond
Ashley Kozell
Christopher Bond, Vice President of Hotel Sales and Catering, The Mirage Hotel and Casino
“I feel so honored to have had Chris Bond as my first ever mentor. His exceptional guidance throughout my academics and future career has been extremely helpful. I am thankful for this opportunity to learn from him and his experiences throughout the Hospitality Industry. Chris Bond is very passionate in his career and it only inspires me more looking forward in the future. I will always continue to learn and take advice that he gives. It is nice to have a mentor like Chris Bond, someone in the industry that I look up to.”
Ben Sison and Travis Lunn
Ben Sison, Class of 2019
Travis Lunn, General Manager of MGM Grand Hotel and Casino
Brkiti Brhan and Ken Johnson
Brkiti Brhan
Ken Johnson, Executive Director of Food & Beverage for Four Queens/Binion’s
“There aren't enough words to explain my gratitude for this mentorship program and to Ken, my first mentor. Ken is one of the kindest people I have ever come across, he shows that having a passion and being a hard worker can lead anyone to their dream. My first semester in college wouldn't be the same without Ken's guidance and useful advice. I knew I could always count on Ken to give me words of encouragement when I was struggling in a class and in need of overcoming every obstacle, I came across both in my academical and personal life. Ken has become my role model and I am truly blessed for the opportunity to be his mentee.”
Cameron Keenan and Robert Chiti
Cameron Keenan
Robert Chiti, Director of Hotel & Guest Relations for TAO Group Las Vegas
“Robert has been an amazing mentor for me this year. He gave me insight and knowledge on all aspects of this industry. I can always count on him for guidance, advice, and inspiration. He has taught me how to push myself and step out of my comfort zone. I am forever grateful for all I have learned, and I look forward for what’s to come!”
Jasmine Ramos
Karla Perez-Larragoite, Vice President National Accounts-Gaming, Sysco Corporation
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn. “ -Benjamin Franklin. This quote perfectly describes Karla Perez. Her involvement within ECF is incredible, I truly look up to her personally and professionally.
Kennedy Villegas and Craig Gilbert
Kennedy Villegas
Craig Gilbert, Managing Partner of Drive This! Entertainment
"My mentorship with Craig has taught me to value myself and balance my lifestyle with school and work. Craig is a very knowledgeable and caring leader, anyone would be lucky to be paired with him."
Maria Miranda and Kelley Jones
Maria Miranda
Kelley Jones, Founding partner of Trust3 Hospitality and Kelley Jones Hospitality
Mia Salomon and Martha Morales
Mia Salomon, Class of 2019
Martha Morales, General Manager, Nobu Hotel, Las Vegas ECF Alumni Class of ‘09
“Martha is the definition of mentorship. She is beyond a leader; she is a friend and a guardian. Everything I have learned and practiced to hone my skills as a leader, has came from Martha. She is genuinely concerned about my academic, professional, and personal endeavors, too. Her figure as a role model is what I aspire to become as I advance forward in life. I am unable to express my gratitude toward her sometimes, because she constantly has sometime to provide to the table for everyone in her heart.”
Monica Corral and Marisa Martino
Monica Corral
Marisa Martino
“Whether she is on the east coast helping a restaurant create their concept or in town working non-stop to plan events for the company she works for, Marisa always keeps me as one of her priorities. I admire Marisa for many things: her kindness, her passion for the hospitality industry, and her vibrant personality, but what I wish to emulate the most one day is the way Marisa manages time. Marisa's time management skills are incredible! Because she know's what is most important to her and what items on her agenda have to be completed before others, Marisa is able to make time for the things she needs to do and for the things she wants to do, like cooking with her family. I see Marisa as an amazing role model, not just for myself, but for anyone that dreams of starting their own business, making long-lasting relationships, and viewing their job as not something they have to do, but something they love to do.”
Monica Corral and Michael Kennedy
Monica Corral
Michael Kennedy, Director of Food Operations at South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa
Noe Martinez Alvares and David Suppe
Noe Martinez Alvares
David Suppe, Executive Chef of The Juice Standard
Paige Owens and Kevin Ball
Paige Owens
Kevin Ball, Corporate Vice President of Purchasing and Strategic Sourcing for Golden Entertainment, Inc
“For my first year as a college student, I couldn’t have been so lucky to have a mentor like Kevin. Whether it's professional or personal, Kevin has helped me overcome challenges and advance in my studies! Kevin is one of the most caring, joyous, encouraging people I know! He always knows how to turn a gloomy situation brighter, and I'm so grateful to have him as a role model, mentor, and friend.”
Rocio Vasquez and Eric Brady
Rocio Vasquez
Eric Brady, Career Position
“Aside of having a professional viewpoint on things, Eric emphasizes the importance of personal happiness. When having complex ideas, he knows how to simplify those concerns to have a more clear path one should go in. He never fails to strive for bigger aspirations and help one achieve their goals."
Nachely Martinez and Luiz Oliveira
Nachely Martinez, Class of 2013
Luiz Oliveira, Owner of Sambalatte Torrefazione
“Luiz is a wonderful mentor and friend. I know that I can always reach out to him if I have any questions or just need someone to talk to. He is a very smart man and someone whom I truly admire and respect.”
Claudia Soler and Marisa Martino
Claudia Soler, Class of 2014
Marisa Martino, Mentor
“My mentor and I have a close friendship, and is there to guide me in the right direction.”
Emily Hewitt and Scott Farber
Emily Hewitt, Class of 2014
Scott Farber, Mentor
“Scott Farber is an incredible mentor. He is attentive and helpful, always steering me in the right direction, and encouraging me to above all, smile and enjoy yourself.”
Vildan Buric and Michael Kennedy
Vildan Buric, Class of 2014
Michael Kennedy, Director of Food Operations at South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa
“My mentor has truly become a great friend. He is always there to help me academically and professionally, and provides invaluable advice and expertise.”
Jordan Moore and Rene Werner
Jordan Moore, Class of 2017
Rene Werner, Director of Food & Beverage for The Orleans Hotel & Casino
“My mentor is truly one of a kind. He has helped me not only professionally, but personally as well and I could never say ‘thank you’ enough.”
Karen Nava and Ana Marie Mormando
Karen Nava, Class of 2017
Ana Marie Mormando, General Manager of The Mansion at MGM Grand
Mia Salomon and Craig Gilbert
Mia Salomon, Class of 2017
Craig Gilbert, Managing Partner of Drive This! Entertainment
“Craig is always there for me whenever I need him. Not only does he give me amazing professional advice, but personal life advice as well. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be mentored by someone with such a wide variety of experience in the industry.”
Melanie Saucedo and Marisa Martino
Melanie Saucedo, Class of 2018
Marisa Martino, Mentor
Anna Tymoshevska and Christopher Bond
Anna Tymoshevska, Class of 2019
Christopher Bond, Vice President of Hotel Sales and Catering, The Mirage Hotel and Casino
“I am very fortunate to have Chris as my mentor. He is a role model, a great mentor, and a friend who is always there for me and supports me in the academic and career aspects of my life. It is a privilege to be able to learn from such an experienced professional that has taken the career path that I am just starting.”
Benjamin Sison and Michael Kennedy
Benjamin Sison, Class of 2019
Michael Kennedy, Director of Food Operations at South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa
“Thank you for the countless advice you have given me throughout my time in college, thank you for the opportunities you have created for me to grow, and thank you for being an outstanding mentor and friend to me consistently. I would not be where I am today without your help and guidance, and I am extremely thankful for that.”
Geovanni Saucedo and Craig Gilbert
Geovanni Saucedo, Class of 2020
Craig Gilbert, Managing Partner of Drive This! Entertainment
“Craig has been an amazing mentor for my second year as a college student. His advice isn’t solely restricted in my academics, but in my future career as a industry professional and on my personal life. I appreciate his guidance and concern over my growth as a young hospitality leader.”
Geovanni Saucedo and Tim Bowen
Geovanni Saucedo, Class of 2020
Tim Bowen, Vice President of Food & Beverage at Bally’s, Paris and Planet Hollywood
“Tim has vast experience and knowledge of the hospitality industry, specifically food and beverage, giving me the opportunity to learn a lot under his guidance. He has provided me with opportunities to learn hands on, as well as observe him perform as a professional in his work environment. Tim is dedicated to aiding me with my career development and making sure I am on the right track. I am more than fortunate to have Tim Bowen as my mentor, he is one of the most caring people I know, and I always look forward to having our mentor meetings!”
Jasmine Ramos and Kelley Jones
Jasmine Ramos, Class of 2020
Kelley Jones, Founding partner of Trust3 Hospitality and Kelley Jones Hospitality
“As Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” My mentor, Kelley Jones is the perfect example of this quote. He has done nothing but push me in the right direction and give great advice. Kelley has treated me like family right from the start and I appreciate his generosity more than he’ll ever know.”
Maria Miranda and Tim Bowen
Maria Miranda, Class of 2020
Tim Bowen, Vice President of Food & Beverage at Bally’s, Paris and Planet Hollywood
“Tim has vast experience and knowledge of the hospitality industry, specifically food and beverage, giving me the opportunity to learn a lot under his guidance. He has provided me with opportunities to learn hands on, as well as observe him perform as a professional in his work environment. Tim is dedicated to aiding me with my career development and making sure I am on the right track. I am more than fortunate to have Tim Bowen as my mentor, he is one of the most caring people I know, and I always look forward to having our mentor meetings!”
Ashley Hassler and David Suppe
Ashley Hassler, Class of 2021
David Suppe, Executive Chef of The Juice Standard
“I am so grateful for my mentor. He has truly made a large impact in my life, and has helped me through so much personally and even professionally. He is more than a mentor to me; he is a close friend for life. I am thankful for the time he has given me to mentor me, give me advice, and help me out. Not many people would do that. I know the mentorship with him will eventually come to an end, but our bond will last stronger. I look forward to the future of our friendship, even after ECF.”
Kennedy Villegas and Martha Morales
Kennedy Villegas, Class of 2021
Martha Morales, General Manager, Nobu Hotel, Las Vegas
“Any student would be lucky to have a mentor like Martha Morales. She has been the biggest supporter of my academic and career endeavors during my first year of university. Her guidance has allowed me to grow more knowledgeable about the industry of Hospitality, and the experiences we shared has given me the opportunity to realize my true potential in becoming a professional in the field. I am grateful for Martha and everything she has done. When I am a leader, I wish to pass on this mentorship bond with future students of Hospitality and ECF.”
Brandon Scarberry and Sean DiCicco
Brandon Scarberry, Class of 2021
Sean DiCicco, Senior Vice President of Food and Beverage at Caesars Entertainment
“Robert has been an amazing mentor for me this year. He gave me insight and knowledge on all aspects of this industry. I can always count on him for guidance, advice, and inspiration. He has taught me how to push myself and step out of my comfort zone. I am forever grateful for all I have learned, and I look forward for what’s to come!”
Noe Martinez and Michael Kennedy
Noe Martinez, Class of 2021
Michael Kennedy, Director of Food Operations at South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa
“The relationship I have with my mentor is the first of its kind that I have experienced. It’s a hand of guidance along with real world example. It’s helping better myself to become closer to my goals. It’s a relationship that empowers me in various ways. This relationship, simply put, is incredible.”
Monica Coral and Ken Johnson
Monica Coral, Class of 2021
Ken Johnson, Executive Director of Food & Beverage for Four Queens/Binion's
“I am extremely grateful to have Ken as my first mentor. Ken has provided me with so much more than an educational experience of the food and beverage industry, he has taught me what it takes to be an executive in any industry. As one of the most caring people I know, Ken is someone who I can trust with providing me with professional and personal advice, not just because I am his mentee, but because he genuinely wants to see me succeed. No matter how busy Ken may be he does everything with an optimistic point of view while always staying true to himself, which are only a few of his astounding characteristics that I wish to see in myself when I work in the hospitality industry. ”
Rocio Vazquez and Kevin Ball
Rocio Vazquez, Class of 2021
Kevin Ball, Corporate Vice President of Purchasing and Strategic Sourcing for Golden Entertainment, Inc
“It is an honor to have Kevin as my mentor. He never fails to make me feel special and no matter how busy he is, he always makes sure that I am doing well personally and academically. It is always a joyous moment whenever we get together.”
Ben Sison and Linda Sim
Ben Sison, Class of 2019
Linda Sim, Vice President Sales and Special Events Live Nation Clubs & Theatres, House of Blues Entertainment
“Linda is an amazing mentor to me. She encourages me and helps me progress educationally, professionally and personally. She sets an incredible example for me to learn from. I do not take her advice for granted, I know she has my best interest in mind and she has been where I am before. I am so grateful and blessed to have a mentor like Linda who I know has my back and is always there for me.”