Meet 2020 LBDN Sponsor: National Restaurant Association and ChiTech Board Member Kevin Steele

Hello, ChiTech friends and family! Here is the next post of our 2020 Little Black Dress Night (LBDN) Sponsor Series. Please meet Kevin Steele with the National Restaurant Association! Kevin is National Restaurant Association’s Chief Information Officer and a ChiTech Board Member.

The National Restaurant Association is the largest foodservice trade association in the world. It represents and advocates on behalf of more than 500,000 restaurant businesses. The National Restaurant Association serves its members by advancing and protecting America’s restaurant and foodservice industry. As Chief Information Officer, Kevin leads the association’s technology organization focused on oversight and delivery capabilities. He is responsible for digital platforms, applications and infrastructure that support the association’s mission and business interests. Additionally, Kevin is a strategic advisor on cybersecurity and technology-related trends affecting the restaurant industry.

We sat down to chat with Kevin – check out what we learned below!

What is the National Restaurant Association’s mission?

Our mission is to serve the restaurant industry and impact its success. We:

  • Strengthen operations, mitigate risk and develop talent
  • Advance and protect business vitality through national, state and local advocacy
  • Drive knowledge and collaboration

How did you become familiar with ChiTech?

I was introduced to ChiTech in 2015 by a colleague. The opportunity was to join an advisory board for the school to provide insights on the tech skill needs of the tech industry. That relationship grew into a board position with the school.

What part of National Restaurant Association’s mission aligns with LBDN?

We are deeply invested in the support and promotion of women and diversity in technology.  LBDN is a celebration and extension of that objective that we not only support but also participate in.

Why did you agree to support LBDN? Do you have a personal connection to the event?

My personal connection is two-fold:  1. As a board member, it is great to see the impressive role that the students play in a professional industry event.  2. As a leader in the ChiTech community, it is a great gathering of other leaders and an opportunity to learn from their experiences

Is this your first year at the event?

This is my fourth LBDN.

Any advice for high school students heading to college and pursuing careers in leadership, tech or entrepreneurship?

Whatever you decide to pursue, it should be a commitment and a passion. If you don’t really want it, it will be difficult to reach your best potential. The good news about tech careers is that there are many, many ways and industries in which you can use your skills. I have been in airlines, fast food, retail and insurance – just to name a few. 

My father was in tech and I was exposed to it early. I had a great interest in tech before college and that passion was my biggest driver.

If you could go back and give your younger self a piece of advice, what would it be?

Don’t sweat the small stuff and trust your gut.

Choices that you make in your teenage years are important. Doing what you feel is right for you is important.

What are you listening to on your phone these days?

I actually listen to National Public Radio quite a bit.  I’ve become a bit of a news junkie, for better or worse. 

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