Carol Wight – Chief Executive Officer
(505) 343-9848 x 13
At 21, Carol opened her first restaurant. By the time she was 30, she owned three successful restaurants with 150 employees. Utilizing her entrepreneurial skills and restaurant expertise, she became an international consultant in destinations like Abu Dhabi and Tokyo.
Carol became the CEO of the New Mexico Restaurant Association in 2002 and enjoys being an advocate for the industry. As CEO, Carol is the leader of the NMRA staff. She is responsible for carrying out the mission and vision of the organization and for implementing programs and services that are a benefit to NMRA members.
John Fitzpatrick – Membership Sales
John facilitates new member sales. He answers questions from prospects and helps educate new and existing restaurants and vendors about the benefits of membership with NMRA. He participates in NMRA Board’s Nominating and Development and Membership committees. John is also a certified ServSafe instructor.
Cindy Ploen – Director of Finance and Administration
(505) 343-9848 x 16
Cindy has 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry and has held positions from cashier to general manager. She has an associate degree in accounting and has been with NMRA since August 2007.
As the Director of Finance and Administration, Cindy is responsible for all financial aspects of the Association including payroll and billing receivables. She also updates member accounts, manages office supplies and handles IT situations.
Dionne Wright-Bower – Communications and Membership
505) 343-9848 x 11
As Communication Director, Dionne is responsible for coordinating any printed or promotional material, compiling and editing e-newsletters, advertising and promotions, and member ad sales. She also manages the NMRA website and all of the various social media accounts affiliated with NMRA including the class and events calendar.
She is a graduate of NMSU and has of 13 years experience in the non-profit sector including other New Mexico trade and membership associations.
Brianna Dennis – Education Director
(505) 343-9848 x 22
Brianna facilitates the site selection, contracts, and final scheduling of our ServSafe food safety classes statewide. She is also a certified ServSafe instructor.
Candela Gomez – Events Administration and Planning
(505) 343-9848 X 12
Candela plans and coordinates special events for NMRA, including the Hospitality Industry Awards. She manages events from start to finish, including all aspects of planning. She sits on the NMRA Special Events committee.
Allison Kuper-Smith – Government Affairs Director
Allison has worked with the New Mexico Legislature since 1994. She began her relationship with the Legislature as a secretary for the then Senate Ways and Means Committee chairman. She went on to work as an analyst for a lobbying firm, then for the Senate Majority Leadership, the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, and started her own government relations business in 2006. At NMRA, Allison handles all aspects of government relations. She is the staff lobbyist and prepares NMRA Position Papers.
She graduated from the Swiss Hotel Association School, Les Roches in 1991 and completed her Masters of Science degree at New Mexico State University in 2005. At NMSU she combined her education in hospitality and tourism with her experience with the state legislature by writing her thesis on Tourism Policy Development.
Scott Sharot – Alcohol Server Instructor
Scott teaches public Alcohol Server Certification in Albuquerque and is available for private classes statewide.