2016 Beacon Award

Join us on Wednesday, September 28 at 1:00pm in the Culinary Demonstration Theater, to honor Edna Morris, Managing Director of Axum Capital Partners, as the 2016 Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show Beacon Award Honoree

We are excited to present the Beacon Award to Edna Morris, Managing Director at Axum and Industry Expert for Axum’s Limited Service Restaurant investments (LSR).  This award was created to recognize a woman leader who has truly served as a Beacon for our industry through her leadership, contributions and inspiration. Edna Morris brings over 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry, and served as President of several restaurant companies including Red Lobster and Blue Coral. The Beacon is a source of light and celebration. 

Edna Morris

Edna Morris has over 35 years of leadership experience in the food and beverage industry and 6 years with Cummins Engine Company. Currently, Edna is Managing Director of Axum Capital Partners, a private equity firm focused on early childhood education and restaurants. She leads the restaurant practice for the firm, which recently completed the acquisition of Wild Wing Café. Additionally, Edna is chief executive officer and partner in Range Restaurant Group, with 2 CityRange restaurants in upstate South Carolina. 
Since 2004, Edna has served as a Director of Tractor Supply Company (TSCO), where she chairs the Compensation Committee and is a member of the Governance Committee.  Additionally, Edna served on the Board of Einstein Noah Restaurant Group (BAGL), serving on the Compensation Committee and chairing the Nominating and Governance Committee until the close of a successful sale of the company in November, 2014.  Previously, Edna served on the Boards of Cosi, Inc. and the Culinary Institute of America. Read more.  

Prior Beacon Award Recipients


Kelli Valade

2016 Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo Honoree

Kelli Valade currently serves as Executive Vice President and President of Chili’s® Grill & Bar. In this role, she is responsible for overseeing all aspects of domestic restaurant operations, marketing, franchising and PeopleWorks for the brand. 

Kelli has been with Brinker International since 1996, holding various positions including Director of Human Resources for On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina®, Vice President of Corporate Human Resources and Senior Vice President of PeopleWorks for Chili’s and On The Border and Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Chili’s. In 2016, Kelli’s passion for operational excellence and deep understanding of the business led to her promotion to President of Chili’s. 

  Sara Moulton

2016 International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York Honoree

In the past 30 years, Sara’s illustrious career has included working in restaurants throughout the US and Europe, her mentorship with Julia Child, her positions as Food Editor of Good Morning America and executive chef of Gourmet Magazine, her time on the Food Network, and current role of author of several cookbooks and host of “Sara’s Weeknight Dinners”.  While becoming a nationally recognized chef, television host, author and educator, Sara has maintained her commitment to helping women in the industry, and is one of the founders of the New York Women’s Culinary Alliance. We are proud to present this award to her.