Notable Women Making Honorable Contributions


Mercedes Chavez, Front of House Manager at Uchi Miami

Mercedes Chavez is the front of house manager at Uchi Miami by Hai Hospitality in Miami, Florida. Miami-born and -raised, Chavez grew up in a family with a passion for the hospitality industry. She attended Florida International University in 2010 as a pre-med student, but it was during her college years that she realized she couldn’t divert away from her love of restaurants. While still a student, Chavez began her humble adventure into the restaurant industry where she first landed a position as a cocktail server for Renaissance Hotels. She later made her way to Miami’s Pubbelly Sushi, where she began as a server before earning a swift promotion to the floor manager. Chavez later explored careers at Nikki Beach Miami, ZUMA Restaurants and Rhubarb Hospitality Collections, as well as worked as managers at El Bajareque Restaurant and The Drexel. In 2023, Chavez joined Uchi Miami as the trusted front of house manager overseeing the entire front of house operations. Though newer to the team, she’s in for the long haul. When asked what her future goals are, she said, “In three years, to become a general manager at Hai Hospitality. In five years, to be a part of Hai’s HR East Coast expansion. In ten years, to continue to invest in my career and help as many people as possible to evolve.”Notable Women Making Honorable Contributions


Elgin Woodman, Executive Chef at Constellation Culinary Group

Elgin Woodman is the executive chef at Constellation Culinary Group in Miami, Florida. Growing up in Lima, Peru, she learned recipes, techniques and flavor profiles she still uses when creating large-scale event menus in South Florida. Of course, the years of study at both Florida International University and Johnson and Wales University increased her passion for culinary as well as molded her into the catering expert she is now. Woodman has been in the catering business for over 25 years, cooking for the most prominent and exclusive clientele of Miami, including celebrities and large corporations, in addition to collaborating with renowned chefs from around the world. She joined the Constellation team in 2021 as the Executive Chef, responsible for creating, developing and executing trend-setting menus for the catering division. One of her most impressive skills is her ability to mass produce a menu item and maintain a high level of quality from the first plate to the last. After years in the catering industry, Chef knows who makes the decisions at an event. When asked for advice for younger chefs, she said, “As a catering chef, sometimes you have to put your own taste and ideas aside to fulfill the client’s vision. At the end of the event, it’s satisfying to know that you made someone’s event very special.”Notable Women Making Honorable Contributions


Sharla Evans, Director of Catering at Adrienne Arsht Center and SGWS Wynwood

Sharla Evans is the director of catering for Constellation Culinary Group at the Adrienne Arsht Center and SGWS Wynwood. Born in Saint Lucia, Sharla and her family moved to New York City where she grew up as the youngest of four children, including a twin brother. She graduated from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY in 2009 and finally settled in Miami with her high school sweetheart. Currently serving as the general manager and catering director at Constellation Culinary Group’s SGWS Wynwood, nestled at the vibrant heart of Miami’s arts and culture district, Sharla Evans oversees all facets of venue operations and catering services. In her role, she spearheads multiple chef-centric events, crafting programming, popup experiences and hospitality-driven engagements for SOBEWFF (South Beach Wine & Food Festival). At the Adrienne Arsht Center, Sharla orchestrates memorable events ranging from captivating pre- and post-show dinners to elegant weddings. Outside of her professional endeavors, Sharla is a devoted mother of two!Notable Women Making Honorable Contributions


Lillian Rojas, Director of Catering at Constellation Culinary Group 

Lillian Rojas is the regional sales director at Constellation Culinary Group in Miami, Florida. A graduate of Florida International University, Rojas has over 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry, specializing in catering and events management. She joined Constellation in 2016 as the director of catering after her demonstrated history in the industry, including having worked as director of catering at Shelborne Wyndham Grand, director of catering and special events at Morimoto Restaurant, director of catering and conference services at Morgans Hotel Group, and more. In her role at Constellation, Rojas spearheads weddings, special events and celebrity soirees at the Perez Art Museum Miami and other Constellation venues including the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, the Adrienne Arsht Center, SGWS Wynwood and more.  Rojas attributes her success to the great relationships Constellation builds with local farms to ensure every event is catered with fresh and seasonal ingredients while staying on top of buzzworthy trends.Notable Women Making Honorable Contributions


Kaytlin Dangaran, Executive Chef at Bistro at Sarasota Art Museum

Kaytlin Dangaran is the executive chef at Bistro at the Sarasota Art Museum of Ringling College and is the driving force behind the restaurant’s seasonal farm-to-table dining approach. She elevates the museum experience with art-inspired menus and draws inspiration from her diverse culinary experience and background. The French Culinary Institute-trained chef has multi-coast experience from renowned restaurants in New York, San Francisco, Miami and, now, Sarasota. During her years in between coasts, the Tampa native explored seasonal cooking, gaining expertise in a restrained style of creating dishes dictated solely by the ingredients’ seasonal availability. She’s participated in many national culinary events and cooked at the James Beard House for Taste America, representing Constellation Culinary Group. When she’s not in the kitchen, this dynamic chef is also a mother of two.Notable Women Making Honorable Contributions


Nicole Resnick, General Manager at Adrienne Arsht Center 

Nicole Resnick is the general manager for Constellation Culinary Group at the Adrienne Arsht Center. Resnick holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Affairs from Florida International University and an associate degree in Sociology and Anthropology from Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan—where she achieved near-fluency in writing and speaking Japanese. A self-described “jack of all trades,” Resnick has not only worked her way through the ranks with Constellation, but she has also held positions with other firms in human resources, bookkeeping and accounting — even as a personal assistant in the construction industry. In her current role, Resnick brings high energy and palpable passion to her position as general manager of Teatro and the Adrienne Arsht  Center’s on-site bar and food/catering programs.

Notable Women Making Honorable Contributions



Toni Roberts, Pastry Chef – The Ritz-Carlton Chicago

Chef Toni is one of Chicago’s most sought-after pastry chefs wielding the kitchen torch and other pastry tools at  The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago, the luxury hotel nestled in Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. Past experience includes interning with acclaimed pastry chef Emily Luchetti at Farallon in San Francisco during her time at Culinary Institute of America. In 2009, Roberts had the privilege of assisting Marcus Samuelsson at the White House during his guest chef preparation of the Obama Administration’s first State Dinner. Toni‘s accolades include the Jean Banchet Award for Culinary Excellence for “Rising Star Pastry Chef” and winner of’s “Best Dessert Menu ” award. Time Out Chicago also selected her dessert  as one of the “100 Best We Ate This Year.” Her passion for chocolate, superior skills and precision, and a good whisk is what brought her to be named executive pastry chef at The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago. Her decadent creations have become tasteful touches throughout the property: from Italian-inspired desserts at Torali to breakfast pastries and confections at The Café to showpieces adorning the hotel’s lobby during the holiday season. Roberts inaugurated the hotel’s in-house wedding cake program in 2023 creating over 50 glamorous cakes to date. In Chicago, she continues to participate as guest chocolatier for the AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC)’s annual fundraising event World of Chocolate.Notable Women Making Honorable Contributions