Chair – Maryann Ferenc

Maryann Ferenc has spent her lifetime in the restaurant industry, beginning her career in her parents’ restaurant in Detroit as a bus girl. A passionate advocate for independent businesses, Maryann established Mise en Place in 1986, along with co-proprietor Chef Marty Blitz.

Maryann received a degree in theater from Wayne State University, while managing a gourmet health food restaurant. In an effort to use her minor in theater management, she left the restaurant business and worked as an assistant to the director of Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. During her time there, Maryann worked in the food and beverage department and founded the hospitality division. Maryann helped introduced New American cuisine to Tampa Bay and was involved in the downtown renaissance when she moved Mise en Place to Kennedy Boulevard at Grand Central Avenue in 1992, occupying a space that dates back to the early 20th century.

Mise en Place is now Tampa’s premier restaurant for Modern American cuisine, 30 years later. Mise en Place Hospitality group has expanded with the addition of Cafe by Mise en Place located at Tampa International Airport, Montados at Sparkman Wharf, and a boutique hotel property, the Berkeley Beach Club in Pass-A-Grille.

Maryann’s charitable work involves feeding the hungry while actively supporting downtown and Tampa's independent businesses network. A visible and powerful presence in Tampa Bay, Maryann is indelibly linked to multiple community organizations, including Feeding America Tampa Bay, Taste of the NFL, Visit Tampa Bay, Tampa Independent Business Alliance, Tampa Downtown Partnership and the Tampa Bay Chamber.

Maryann served three two-year terms on the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board which advises the Secretary of Commerce and the President. In that role, she was co-chair of the drafting team for the Board’s recommendations regarding the USA’s Five-Year Tourism Strategy. Maryann also sits on the Women in Travel and Tourism Board, is a past member of the US Travel Association board, is past chair and current member of Visit Tampa Bay and current board member and immediate past chair of VISIT FLORIDA. As a member of the University of Tampa Entrepreneurial Center Advisory Board, Maryann continues to work to improve the landscape for small business in Tampa Bay.

Maryann is the proud recipient of numerous awards, including most recently, the Feeding America Tampa Bay Hunger Hero Hall of Fame and the Tampa Bay Beaches Tourism Person of the Year. Past honors include the WomenNetwork of Tampa Bay’s 2009 Women in Business Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2009 Lou Groza Let's Kick Hunger Award, the 2011 Tampa Bay Business Journal Businesswoman of the Year award, the 2014 Gonzmart Family Ambassador of the Year award, and the 2016 Tampa Bay Chamber Leadership Award.