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Oklahoma Restaurant Association - Event Information

Event Name:ORA Academy
Event Type(s):Event
in partnership with
The goal of ORA Academy is to offer continuing education and professional development to particular demographics of ORA’s membership.
Each Academy date will consist of two two-hour sessions - one in Management/Front-of-the-House training and one in Culinary/Back-of-the-House education - held quarterly. With the exception of the April Academy, all Management sessions will be from 9-11 am and Culinary sessions will be from 1-3 pm, and each session will be $25. Registration is transferable but non-refundable.
Event Date:4/2/2019
Event Time:9:00 AM - 4:00 PM Central
Details:2019 Dates/Sessions
Tuesday, April 2, 2019
To be held at River Spirit Casino Resort, 8330 Riverside Pkwy, Tulsa, OK 74137 in conjunction with TulsaFest
*For this event, the Management/FOH session will take place from 10:30-12:00noon and the Culinary/BOH session will take place from 2-3:30pm. Cost will be $50/session/person. **Registration for the April 2 Academy sessions can be found under TulsaFest registration.
  • ORA Academy Session 2 (Morning)
    The People You Lead,
    presented by John Isbell
    Here's a hot-take for you - people are different. In fact, very different. So why do we try to lead them all exactly the same way? In this highly interactive session, based partially on a self-discovery assessment that is eerily accurate, you will learn how to quickly judge the type of leadership an individual needs and deliver on that leadership in a customized way to the learner/team member. You will take a quick 20 question assessment that is the basis for the presentation. We will talk about everything from generational differences to personality types and everything in between. This is a fun, funny, and incredibly interactive session that is sure to be a favorite at your next conference.  
  • ORA Academy Session 2 (Afternoon) 
    Brick By Brick: Building (or Re-building) Your Company Culture,
    presented by John Isbell
    Join John as he shares his experiences in helping to rebuild the internal culture of not 1 but 2 iconic brands on opposite ends of the spectrum like the Improv Comedy Clubs and IHOP. John's funny, sometimes irreverent, look at what it takes to rebuild any brand, whether it needs slightly refreshed, needs some resuscitation, or just needs to be dug up out of grave. In this session he will discuss: finding your history (there's one no matter how boring you think it is), finding your voice, understanding who you are and aren't, getting your people behind you in team environment, the role training plays, and finally - how to keep that synergy going once you have it. 
Tuesday, October 22, 2019
To be held at The Bond, 608 E. 3rd Street, Tulsa, OK 74120
  • Management 4 Session (Morning)
    HACCP Plans: How do We Figure This Stuff Out?,
    presented by TBA
  • Culinary 4 Session (Afternoon)
    Whole Hog Cooker: How To Utilize All Cuts & Pieces of A Whole Hog in Asian Cuisine,
    presented by Ben Alexander
    Join local Chef Celebrity, Ben Alexander, the VP of Culinary Operations for McNellie's Group, as he shares some of his secrets of Asian Cuisine.



Ben Alexander
VP of Culinary Operations, McNellie's Group

Vice President of Culinary Operations for the McNellies Group. Previous Executive chef at The Tavern and The Bull in the Alley. 20-year veteran of the hospitality industry. Navy veteran, Vice President and co-founder of Hearts of Steel Foundation, Dad of three ninjas.

John Isbell
As a former Vice President of Operations & Training for the Improv Comedy Clubs, a 25-unit chain of full-service comedy clubs with full bar and scratch cooking menus, John Isbell knows how funny business can be.  He was responsible for reviving the culture and history of the brand by installing culture-based training programs and operational systems.  By standardizing both front and back of the house operational procedures and training programs, he helped increase top line sales for the brand . He also learned how much of an asset a sense of humor and great communication skills can be when building toward something bigger than yourself. 
John has held leadership positions in both Training & Operations in other organizations such as Logan’s Roadhouse, O’Charley’s and IHOP.  John also spent eight years in the United States Air Force/Air Force Reserves where his last position held was Unit Non-Commissioned Officer In Charge (Unit N.C.O.I.C.) of Training and Development for the 452nd Air Reserve Mobility Wing.
John is a past President of the Council of Hotel And Restaurant Trainers (CHART), an over 500 member organization of hotel and restaurant training professionals, and currently still acts on an advisory committee.  John has been featured in many trade magazines such as Nation’s Restaurant News and Food and Wine, while also making numerous presentations at trade shows and conferences across the U.S., including 4-time speaker at the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show. 
John has a Bachelor of Science Degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in Workcenter Education & Development and holds an Associate Degree from the Community College of the Air Force in Educational & Instructional Technology.  He is a Certified Hospitality Trainer (CHT) with the Educational Institute and, in 2009, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Foodservice (HDF) by the North American Food Equipment Manufacturers Association (NAFEM) for his contributions to the Hospitality Industry. 
John currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife & 2 children. 
John’s presentation style has been called “hilarious!”, “…like he’s having a conversation with just me…” and “…engaging and thoughtful…” 
Join John as he shows you why talking about leadership and team building can be energizing, sometimes life-changing, and downright fun.
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