2024 Business Speakers

Kate Sumption | Director of Marketing, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants & Rusty Bucket Restaurant and Tavern

Gretchen Moore | Director of Marketing and Operating Partner, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants

Kate Sumption and Gretchen Moore, Directors of Marketing at Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, will dish up their expertise at MBA Research Conclave this fall. Kate and Gretchen will discuss marketing strategy across a multi-concept (20, to be precise!) restaurant company. Make your reservations!

Kate’s Bio:

Kate Sumption joined the Rusty Bucket Restaurant and Tavern family in 2010 and currently serves as the restaurant company’s director of marketing. In this role, she oversees all digital marketing, advertising, public relations, local store marketing, restaurant openings, special events and promotional efforts. Sumption also oversees the marketing strategy for their virtual brand, Cluck Norris, that launched in 2020.

In 2023, in addition to Rusty Bucket and Cluck Norris, Kate began overseeing the marketing strategy and initiatives for a handful of Cameron Mitchell Restaurants (CMR) Specialty Concepts including Cap City Fine Diner and Bar, Lincoln Social Rooftop, Marcella’s, Molly Woo’s, The Pearl, Valentina’s, and Budd Dairy Food Hall.

Prior to joining the Rusty Bucket and CMR team, she worked for The Columbus Dispatch for four years in two different sales positions and two years prior she gained valuable sales experience at the Truberry Group. After Kate earned a Bachelor of Science in consumer affairs from The Ohio State University, she served as the store manager at Arden B for three years.

While in college, she was a host and server for a family-friendly sports-bar national chain and fell in love with working in the restaurant and hospitality industry. For those interested in pursuing a career in the industry and have a strong passion for the work, she suggests investing in your opportunities and surrounding yourself with positive mentors and team members because you can go from the dish room to the board room.

Rusty Bucket and CMR’s culture and the people are her favorite things about working for the company. Her favorite menu items are Rusty Bucket’s Buffalo Chicken Sandwich and the Cacio e Pepe at Valentina’s.

She is a member of the Ohio Restaurant Association and National Restaurant Association’s Marketing Executives Group. She also sits on the marketing committee for Festa.

Kate resides in Hilliard, Ohio, with her husband, Brian, and their two children and silver lab, Lane. When she’s not working, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, traveling and watching sporting events.

Gretchen’s Bio:

Gretchen Moore joined the Cameron Mitchell Restaurants (CMR) family in 2012 and currently serves as Director of Marketing and Operating Partner. She directs marketing efforts for CMR’s portfolio of fine dining brands including the nationally acclaimed Ocean Prime brand with 18 locations in 15 states plus the District of Columbia, and three additional locations set to open over the next 12 months. She oversees marketing strategies, restaurant openings, digital marketing, advertising, national and local public relations initiatives, as well as promotions, special events, and cause marketing activities.

Her passion for the industry, great teammates, and CMR’s culture & philosophies are some of the reasons Gretchen loves working for CMR. Although she enjoys all CMR restaurants, her all-time favorite dish is the tenderloin from Martini Modern Italian.

She earned two Bachelor’s degrees in Strategic Communication and Spanish language from The Ohio State University. She is also a Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA) and is a member of the Ohio Restaurant Association and National Restaurant Association’s Marketing Executives Group.

Gretchen was named a “Next Up” Columbus honoree by Columbus Young Professionals (CYP) Organization recognizing rising leaders in the community. She is also a graduate of the Columbus Impact Academy, CYP’s 15-week immersive leadership and community impact initiative designed to provide a comprehensive experience for emerging leaders and high potential professionals.

She resides in Worthington, Ohio with her husband, Jon, and their two dogs, Luna & Rosie. Outside of work she enjoys cooking, entertaining, exercising and travel.

JD Cummings | Senior Vice President of Recruiting, Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers

We’re thrilled to announce our opening session keynote speaker—and it’s a name you may recognize. JD Cummings, Senior VP of Recruiting at Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, was a conference favorite at #MBAConclave22 in Minneapolis.

This year, JD is returning to share Raising’s Cane’s secret sauce of success: The company was recently named one of the best workplaces in America by USA Today. You won’t want to miss it!

Corey Timlin | Head of Consumer Banking, American Express

We’re excited to welcome Corey Timlin, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Head of Consumer Banking for American Express to our #MBAConclave lineup!

Corey will share the innovative work at American Express, including what he’s learned from spearheading the company’s thriving Consumer Banking practice. American Express, long a mainstay on Fortune’s List of Best Workplaces in Financial Services & Insurance, took the top spot last year.

Corey’s Bio:

Corey joined American Express in January 2022 and is based in Powell, Ohio. As Head of Consumer Banking, Corey and his team are focused on growing the portfolio by delivering members Everyday Banking products with unparalleled value, service and convenience

Prior to joining American Express, Corey worked for JP Morgan Chase for 15 years in a variety of Consumer Banking roles, most recently as Head of Core Products & Pricing, leading checking, savings and CD product lines. In addition, Corey spent a number of years in Marketing Analytics roles focused on growing and deepening customer relationships. 

Corey is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (Business Administration) and lives with his wife and two young daughters (ages 8 & 6). While most of his free time is spent with his girls, the remainder is spent reading, playing board games and card games with friends, and watching sports (mostly Notre Dame.)  

Kent Johnson | Chief Executive Officer, Highlights for Children, Inc.

Kent Johnson, CEO of Highlights for Children, will be joining MBA Research Conclave 2024!

Highlights for Children’s mission is to help children become their best selves: curious, creative, confident, and caring. Highlights creates experiences through content that engages, delights, and fosters joyful learning in children, all in service of building a kinder, more empathetic, and optimistic world.

Operating across both consumer and educational markets, Highlights for Children and its subsidiary, Zaner-Bloser, reach millions of children, families, and educators in the US and beyond, in print, video, and across many digital platforms.

Kent will share the story of Highlights magazine, a global brand known for its commitment to social responsibility.

Kent’s Bio:

Kent S. Johnson is Chief Executive Officer of Highlights for Children, Inc. and a member of the corporation’s board of directors. He is also the great-grandson of the company’s founders, Garry and Caroline Myers, who began Highlights in 1946.

Kent has served on the board of directors of Schurz Communications, Inc., of the non-profit MarketingEdge.org, and of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. He currently serves as a board member for Momentum-Excellence. He is also an active member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO).

He received his bachelor’s degree from Amherst College and his Doctorate in Physics from Harvard University. Prior to joining Highlights, Kent served in various roles in research and development, manufacturing, and operations in the biotech industry. He lives in Bexley, Ohio with his wife and two sons.

Melinda Huntley | Executive Director, Ohio Travel Association

Customer satisfaction goes beyond front-line employees—our latest Conclave speaker will discuss the internal changes needed for businesses to tackle customer relations sustainably.  

Melinda Huntley, Executive Director of the Ohio Travel Association, will highlight the importance of organizational culture in enhancing customer satisfaction. Learn how the Ohio Travel Association prepares organizations to develop the skills and tools to ensure exceptional customer care.

Melinda’s Bio:

Melinda Huntley is the executive director of the Ohio Travel Association, a nonprofit organization supporting Ohio’s $56 billion travel economy through workforce development, advocacy, strategic planning, and connecting businesses to wholesale travel buyers. With career experience in public relations at Cedar Point, running a visitors bureau along Lake Erie, and helping communities develop heritage and outdoor experiences through OSU’s Ohio Sea Grant College Program, she has a unique understanding of opportunities for businesses and communities of any size.

She is a Commissioner for America 250-Ohio which will be celebrated in 2026 and serves on multiple national and statewide task forces and boards, including those focused on World Heritage inscription and trail development. She is a member of the MBA Research Business Advisory Council.