The Keynote Addresses are FREE for all registered attendees.
Keynote 1 — Scott Svenson
Co-Founder and CEO
Tuesday, March 20: 8:30 – 9:30 am
After founding and selling two successful businesses in the U.K. — Seattle Coffee Company and Carluccio’s Ltd. — Scott and Ally Svenson returned to their hometown of Seattle to raise their four boys. They saw the need for a more inspired fast casual dining option and soon their entrepreneurial spirit kicked in, resulting in the launch of MOD Pizza in 2008.
Recently ranked as the fastest-growing restaurant chain in America, MOD currently has more than 305 locations across the U.S. and U.K., and recently raised an additional $73 million for further expansion. The Svensons attribute MOD’s success to a people-first culture, and a shared motivation to use the business as a platform to make positive social impacts. Scott will speak about the powerful culture and philosophy driving this purpose-led business, and the concept of “Spreading MODness.”
Keynote 2 — Ann Kim
Owner and Executive Chef
Pizzeria Lola, Hello Pizza and Young Joni
Wednesday, March 21: 8:30 – 9:30 am
Ann Kim is the owner and executive chef of Pizzeria Lola, Hello Pizza and Young Joni, all in Minneapolis. A Korean immigrant, she credits her culinary palate’s development to time spent helping her mother and grandmother make traditional staples such as fermented bean paste and kimchi. Her college years at Columbia University in New York City ignited her passion for pizza and laid the foundation for her dream of building a restaurant business in Minneapolis, and her years as a freelance actress fostered her value of creativity.
She opened her first location, Pizzeria Lola, in 2010. Its artisan, wood-fired pizzas have been lauded both locally and nationally. In 2014, it was named the Independent Pizzeria of the Year by Pizza Today. Kim’s second restaurant, Hello Pizza, is East Coast inspired and frequently tops “Best of” lists. Young Joni, which opened in late 2016, features an eclectic menu spotlighting wood-fired items and has been named one of the “Best New Restaurants in America 2017” by GQ Magazine and Eater.com. Kim recently received her first James Beard Award semi-finalist nomination in “Best Chef Midwest” category and won “Best New Chef: North” at the Tastys Awards. Her newest project, Young Joni, was named 2017 Restaurant of the Year by the Star Tribune, the state’s largest newspaper.