"We all eat, and it would be a sad waste of opportunity to eat badly."
- Anna Thomas
A lifelong lover of food being the granddaughter of farmers, Gwyneth joined the Golden Gate Restaurant Association (GGRA) as the Executive Director in February 2014. Prior to coming onboard, Gwyneth spent 10 years at IBM as the Manager of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs. Gwyneth is also a Director of the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency and Commissioner, San Francisco Parking Authority, following six years of service as a Planning Commissioner for the City and County of San Francisco. Prior to IBM, Gwyneth was the Director of Government Relations for the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, a legislative aide to Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, and a staff assistant in U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer's office. Gwyneth is involved in a number of civic and philanthropic organizations and has received numerous awards for her leadership, including being named by the San Francisco Business Times as an Influential Woman in Bay Area Business in 2014, and was previously recognized as an Industry Leader by Professional Business Women of California in 2013.
"There's peaches on the shelf, potatoes in the bin. Supper's ready, everybody come on in."
- Canned Goods, Greg Brown
Donnalyn's career at the GGRA began in 2001, giving her resident sage status among our ranks. She leads GGRA’s efforts to educate members, oversees the GGRA’s Food Safety Certification Program, and directs the GGRA Scholarship Foundation that provides annual scholarships to students working their way up in the industry. Donnalyn sits on advisory boards for City College Culinary and Hospitality program, San Francisco State University Hospitality Management and SFUSD Academy of Hospitality & Tourism, to assist students with job shadow or internship opportunities. In the greater community she supports Old Skool Café by providing California Food Handler Card exams to their student-workers, and she works cooperatively with Self Help for the Elderly to direct industry workers looking for additional training to the Worker Training Classes at CCSF’s new Chinatown North Beach Annex Campus.
EVENTS & SPONSORSHIP DIRECTOR
"[She’s] a party rocker from night ‘til noon, and it’s about to be a champagne monsoon."
- Champagne Showers, LMFAO
A midwesterner by birth, Californian at heart, and a New Yorker by sheer gumption, Layla is GGRA’s resident party-starter. She’s the force behind Eat Drink SF and other events throughout the year.
Prior to joining the GGRA, Layla worked for the San Francisco Symphony, Straus Communications and Slow Foods Nation, where she helped produce one of the largest food festivals in U.S. history with more than 85,000 attendees. She took over as Events Manager at Patrick David’s Catering before moving to Napa Valley to plan events at The Culinary Institute of America and Auberge du Soleil. After seven years in the Bay Area, Layla left for New York City to work for StarChefs.com. She executed Rising Stars Awards and Tasting Galas across the country and helped manage the International Chefs Congress. Layla returned to San Francisco and joined AF&Co where she was part of the team that rebranded SF Chefs to Eat Drink SF and led project management for Eat Drink SF 2014.
MARKETING & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
"Real G’s move in silence like lasagna."
- 6’7”, Lil Wayne
Jenais is a Northern California native raised in the redwood forest with an abundant garden and orchard. She leads GGRA’s efforts to share its story, continue to increase its value proposition to its members, and grow its community. Prior to joining GGRA, Jenais worked as an independent consultant for small brands helping them tell their story and reach a broader market. She led marketing and business development for pioneering sustainable coffee roaster and wholesaler, Thanksgiving Coffee Company, was a project manager for the R&D division of the national brand, Flying Food Group. And there was a brief stint as a private cook in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
COMMUNICATION & POLICY INTERN
"Let’s get together for some good pizza eatin’, and you can leave your wallet cuz I’m treatin’."
- Pizza Party, L’Homme Run (Vampire Weekend)
Samantha plays the critical role of gatekeeper as the GGRA’s Communications and Policy Intern. This position combines the two loves of her life: food and government relations. Interested in shaping policy to represent the needs and concerns of the restaurant industry, Samantha loves every day she spends in the mix at City Hall as much as the time she devotes to exploring the varied culinary landscape of San Francisco.
While pursuing her Master’s degree in Public Affairs and Practical Politics at the University of San Francisco, Samantha also maintains the selfless job of keeping this city caffeinated, working as a barista. Prior to joining the GGRA team, Samantha worked for the Recreation Department for the City of Chino Hills and in the District Office for her local State Assemblyman from Chino Hills.