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…

Mia Salomon and Craig Gilbert

Mia Salomon, UNLV 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.”

Karen Nava and Ana Marie Mormando

Karen Nava, UNLV Class of 2017
Ana Marie Mormando, Vice President of Hotel Operations for Bellagio

Diego Salcedo and Michael Kennedy

Diego Salcedo, University of Nevada Las Vegas
Michael Kennedy, Director of Food Operations at South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa

“My mentor Michael has been extremely influential in my first year of college. It is a real privilege to be able to receive advice from such an experienced individual in the hospitality industry. It is reassuring to know that I have a mentor that genuinely wants me to see succeed, and is willing to equip me with the necessary knowledge to do so.”

Candace Kozell and Mike Olsen

Candace Kozell, UNLV Class of 2018
Mike Olsen, Director of Operations at Emeril’s Restaurants-Las Vegas

“I am very fortunate to have a mentor like Mike Olsen, who inspires those around him everyday. Mike has opened my eyes to numerous opportunities, giving me guidance, and advise that I can’t get anywhere else. I will forever be grateful to have a mentor like him.”

Anna Tymoshevska and Brent Cook

Anna Tymoshevska, UNLV Class of 2019
Brent Cook, Executive Director of Food and Beverage at New York-New York Hotel & Casino

“My mentor has helped me discover different aspects of Hospitality Industry and I was able to find my career path. He is not only my mentor but also my supporter, teacher, and motivator. I look forward to our meetings because Brent inspires me and helps me build my future.”

Jasmine Ramos and Sean Diccico

Jasmine Ramos, University of Nevada Las Vegas
Sean DiCicco, Vice President of Food & Beverage of Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino

“It is a privilege to have Sean DiCicco as my mentor. I knew right from the start he would be as helpful with my future career as he is in my personal life. I am grateful to know that I can go to him for anything. Whether it be school, my job or family related. With his experience and vast knowledge of the Culinary and Hospitality industry, I am sure to succeed. I am excited to build a stronger professional relationship and friendship with Sean.”

Mira Miranda and Ken Johnson

Maria Miranda, UNLV Class of 2020
Ken Johnson, Executive Director of Food and Beverage of Four Queens/Binion’s Gambling Hall

“I am truly fortunate to have a man like Ken as my mentor for my first year in the program. Ken is my mentor in many ways, not only does he provide academic mentoring, but also life advice and advice about the food and beverage industry as well. I feel comfortable and confident in talking to Ken about anything and everything, because I know he genuinely cares about what I have to say. Anyone who gets Ken as a mentor in the future will be lucky, because he is such a caring person and sincerely the best!”

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Daniela Sanchez, UNLV Class of 2017
Kelley Jones, CEO of Trust 3 Hospitality

“My mentor has experienced the good and the bad of the industry which makes his feedback on my path to the top priceless.”

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Geovanni Saucedo, UNLV Class of 2020
Tim Bowen, Vice President of Food and Beverage of Paris Resort and Casino, Bally’s Resort and Casino, and Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino

“My experience with Tim as my mentor has been amazing. He has provided me the opportunity to not only see his participation in the Epicurean organization, but his duties in his profession. He has given me the opportunity to observe the various regions of the hospitality field, and demonstrated his genuine interest in exposing me to this field. I deeply appreciate his guidance, and could not have asked for a better mentor.”

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Benjamin Sison, UNLV Class of 2019
Michael Kennedy, Director of Food Operations of South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa

“Michael has helped me progress as a student, an employee, and a man. I know I can go to him if I need any help or advice. He tells me what I need to hear, not necessarily what I want to hear, that is something I appreciate greatly. I am very thankful to have a mentor like Michael. It is not often a person at my age and at the point of my career to have such a fortunate opportunity. I look forward to our continued mentorship and friendship.”

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Anna Tymoshevska, UNLV Class of 2019
Sean DiCicco, Vice President of Food & Beverage of Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino

“My mentor helps me not only in academic and career development but in personal development as well. Having such an experienced professional by my side inspires me onto better and bigger things.”

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Mia Salomon, UNLV Class of 2019
Joseph Romano, Corporate Vice President of Food and Beverage of Golden Entertainment Inc.

“My mentor has taught me a lot about the food and beverage industry, something I had never really looked into before. I look forward to our meetings because I always walk away with great pieces of advice from him. ”

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Candace Kozell, UNLV Class of 2018
Aily Rodriguez, UNLV Class of 2016
Kelley Jones, CEO of Trust 3 Hospitality

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Andrea Rocca-Cappano, UNLV Class of 2017
Dave Williamson, President of Five Star Restaurants

“Dawn is someone I can come to for not only career advice but also about school and everyday life. She is super experienced in the hospitality industry and has a lot of knowledge that she is willing to share with me. I look forward to our year together!”

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Melanie Saucedo, UNLV Class of 2018
Marisa Martino, Partner at Epicurean Strategic Partners

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Kim Zhou, UNLV Class of 2016
Lloyd Wentzell, Director of Food & Beverage for JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa

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Sarah Figueroa, UNLV Class of 2019
Ken Johnson, Executive Director of Food & Beverage for the Four Queens and Binion’s Gambling Hall

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Andrea Rocca-Capano, UNLV Class of 2017
Joseph Romano, Vice President of Operations for PT’s Entertainment Group

“My mentor is a very successful man with whom I hope to share my successes. He is an involved and prominent leader and I hope to take a lot from what he has to offer.”

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Wendy Pimentel, Art Institute of Las Vegas Class of 2014
Adam Odegard, President of Epicurean Strategic Partners

“Adam is a great mentor, he is always pushing me forward.”

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Beatriz Portillo-Sorrosa, UNLV Class of 2015
Sean DiCicco, Vice President of Food and Beverage at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino

“I can ask my mentor for help on projects to advise on my own personal life. He has a lot of experience within this industry and is happy to share it with me.”

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Emily Hewitt, Johnson & Wales University Class of 2014
Scott Farber, Director of Food & Beverage at El Cortez Hotel and Casino

“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.”

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Mercedes Sanchez, UNLV Class of 2015
Jason Shkorupa, Vice President of Food and Beverage of MGM Grand

“My mentor is like a teacher and a friend to me. He guides me to a right way and provides me with opportunities to establish connections. Whenever I need help, he is always there.”

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Kim Zhou, UNLV Class of 2017
Ana Marie Mormando, Vice President of Hotel Operations for Bellagio

“My mentor, Ana Marie, is like a teacher and a friend to me. She guides me to a right way and provides me with opportunities to establish hotel connections. Whenever I need help, she is always there.”

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Daniela Sanchez UNLV Class of 2017
Brent Cook, Executive Director of Food & Beverage at New York-New York Hotel & Casino

“I can always turn to my mentor for advice and guidance.”

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Alexandria von Mohr, UNLV Class of 2016
David Williamson, Founder and
President of Five Star Restaurants LLC

“My mentor helps me to understand the industry by being resource for any questions I have may and introduces me to key players in the industry.”

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Vildan Buric, UNLV Class of 2014
Michael Kennedy, Director of Food Operations for 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.”

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Jordan Moore, UNLV Class of 2014
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.”

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Claudia Soler, UNLV Class of 2014
Marisa Martino, Partner at Epicurean Strategic Partners

“My mentor and I have a close friendship, and is there to guide me in the right direction.”

Nachely Martinez, UNLV 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.”

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Nexie Hingpit, UNLV Class of 2013
Rene Werner, Director of Food & Beverage for The Orleans Hotel & Casino

“I’m blessed enough to have an amazing mentor whom I have a lot to learn from in the time to come!”