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Community members will gain access to what MUFSO has been known for throughout its 60-year history – idea sharing, innovative thinking and crucial industry insights.

Restaurants Rise powered by MUFSO to feature keynote speakers Erica Dhawan, Soledad O’Brien, Omar Johnson and Vijay Vaitheeswaran

Speakers to share insights and intelligence for restaurant operators to adapt to changing business realities

Restaurants Rise powered by MUFSO announces a roster of keynote speakers focused on preparing foodservice and restaurant leaders for the changing business realities they face amidst the coronavirus pandemic and global recssion, while also looking toward innovation and growth opportunties.

Presented this year in an all-digital format throughout October 2020, the virtual event’s headliners are:

  • Erica Dhawan, founder & CEO of global consulting firm Cotential, who will speak on Oct. 6 in a session titled “Get Big Things Done: The Power of Connectional Intelligence”
  • Soledad O’Brien, award-winning journalist and entrepreneur, who will speak on Oct. 13 on the topic of “Communicating in Times of Change”
  • Omar Johnson, former chief marketing officer of audio equipment company Beats by Dre, and former vice president of marketing at Apple, whose session on Oct. 20 is titled “The Best Idea Wins”
  • Vijay Vaitheeswaran, United States business editor for The Economist, who will speak on Oct. 27th about “The Disrupted Economy: What Lies Ahead for Business?”

In addition to being leaders in innovation, these keynoters reflect MUFSO’s ongoing commitment to featuring speakers of color.

Registration is now live at These sessions are free for restaurant leaders wh will be able to attend the sessions live or view them on demand, along with other sessions in which industry experts share best practices, allow for peer-to-peer networking and more.


From left: Erica Dhawan, Omar Johnson, Vijay Vaitheeswaran, Soledad O’Brien

Dhawan, today’s leading authority on Connectional Intelligence (CxQ) and the Founder & CEO of Cotential, shows business audiences how CxQ is leaving no industry untouched—from healthcare and sports to education and politics. Erica’s book, "Get Big Things Done: The Power of Connectional Intelligence" guides her presentations where she shares how CxQ raises the intersection of knowledge, ambition and human capital on a global scale. She talks about how today’s movers and shakers capitalize on CxQ to achieve personal and professional goals.

O’Brien is an award-winning documentarian, journalist, speaker, author and philanthropist. She is the CEO of Soledad O’Brien Productions, a multi-platform media production company dedicated to telling empowering and authentic stories on a range of social issues and a thought leader whose public engagement garners wide attention.

Johnson is a marketing and branding keynote speaker, entrepreneur, former CMO at Beats by Dre and former VP Marketing at Apple. As the former chief marketing officer at Beats by Dre and former VP of Marketing at Apple, Omar Johnson has created strong consumer connections with the brands he’s represented. He drove explosive growth at Beats, leading groundbreaking campaigns with celebrities such as LeBron James, Chris Rock and Eminem – helping to take a $20 million company to a $1.1 billion dollar global icon and category leader.

Vaitheeswaran is the US business editor of The Economist, its former China business editor & bureau chief, is an award-winning writer. He served as an advisor on sustainability and innovation to the World Economic Forum/Davos. Vaitheeswaran is a leading authority on China, global health, international trade, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology.

Restaurants Rise is a digital initiative formed this summer to build a community of foodservice leaders ready to discuss new ways to lead during this time of disruption.

MUFSO 2020 will deliver education, connection and inspiration for the restaurant industry in a new, state-of-the-art virtual tech stack. It will offer 16 keynotes, more than 40 best-practice sharing sessions, networking events, one-to-one or breakout gatherings, speaker Q&A, virtual exhibition booths and more. The community will bring together thousands of industry leaders set on reshaping the future of foodservice at its most crucial moment. Live sessions will be held each Tuesday and Thursday in October.

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