“Wake up every day with something to be excited about.”
Christie started her career as a newspaper reporter for U.S. Army, Europe, in 2001, where she served as a staff writer for the regional newspaper and editor of the local publication. She was eventually promoted to start a marketing office to serve the needs of the U.S. Armed Forces Recreation program covering Southern Germany. A fateful marketing seminar in 2004 led Christie to Patrick Henry Creative Promotions, which evolved into a relocation to Houston and a 4-year career at PHCP. During that time, she created programming and beverage programs for HMSHost, Consolidated Restaurant Operations, Outback Steakhouse and House of Blues.
Upon completing her MBA and starting CJL CONSULTiNG, Christie joined Sidney Frank Importing Company in 2010, handling the U.S. territory for national accounts. She managed a portfolio of 200+ national accounts and was serving in that role when Jägermeister hit its all-time sales record of nearly 3M cases. In 2016, Christie ventured into the coffee business selling the globally-leading LAVAZZA brand handling the entire U.S. again for fine dining, concessions and specialty concepts.
In 2017 she had the opportunity to re-engage in her consulting side. Christie was hired to consult for Straight Up Solutions out of Orlando to handle the AREAS, Smokey Bones and Shula’s accounts as well as to drive new business acquisitions and redevelop the company website, online presence and products. Christie is now happily helping friends and colleagues around the LBW business with their goals and strategies while fulfilling her dreams of running her own small business.
In 2018, Christie developed the charitable side of her career founding The WITI Group, a 501(c)(3) foundation focused on supporting and helping the women of the hospitality industry (The WITI Group). She is also proud to serve as a CORE Ambassador (www.coregives.org). Christie is WBENC Certified as a Woman-Owned Small business and serves as an advisory board member for Datassential’s “The Bar,” she’s a member of the Hospitality Executive Exchange Council and the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce. Christie also speaks on marketing, branding and sales strategy topics for the Women’s Business Center of Houston.
Read Christie’s story and listen to her interview with Susan Freeman on the Freeman Means Business Podcast here.
Charles C. Watson
“Challenges are simply opportunities to create solutions.”
Charles started his career in the restaurant industry as a bartender for Texas Roadhouse. He quickly moved into the bar management role and was also made Training Coordinator. After some quick success in his first quarter as Training Coordinator, which included revamping the training system, he was offered a management job at another location. Charles had tremendous success in his first year as a front of house manager boasting low labor and turnover percentages and increases in guest counts while maintaining a consistent liquor cost. His time as Training Coordinator helped him revitalize the location’s training regimen and that, along with his knowledge of everything food and beverage, gave him the opportunity to accept the promotion to kitchen manager.
Charles’ tenacity and work ethic continued to propel his career forward as he settled into the new position of head kitchen manager. Becoming an expert at every position and day to day operations, he helped his restaurant become a training center for management and a test store for potential new menu items. As part of his responsibilities, Charles implemented a detailed training system for new Texas Roadhouse managers. During his tenure, Charles’ location soared to become the #1 restaurant in the system of 450+ stores in ESF scores. As the ESF is designed to spontaneously check the restaurant from top to bottom in all things: service, food quality, sanitation, operations, training and record keeping, this is one of his proudest accomplishments.
Throughout the past six years, in addition to his day job, Charles was part of the behind-the-scenes team running the Vibe and The Flavor Experience conferences. Charles helped celebrity mixologists by training and overseeing hotel staff and bartenders in batch creation, garnishes, bar set-up, and brand placement. During the events he constantly rotated to preemptively analyze potential problems and worked to keep the events running smoothly.
Charles is outgoing, ambitious and hungry to continually develop his knowledge within the industry. He loves meeting new people and is quick to spark up a conversation with a stranger. He is excited to see what the future holds for him and CJL CONSULTING.
Jeremy J. Parsons
Mixology & Culinary Development
“Toast life every chance you get!”
In 2008 and 2009, Jeremy and Christie worked together to entirely revamp the beverage program at House of Blues, traveling together for six weeks training all Foundation Room bartenders on molecular mixology and the new beverage program. Today, they work together in a strategic partnership to help grow each other’s companies.
Jeremy is the founder of two successful international F&B businesses. The first, “Cocktails The Fluid Experience,” involves shaking up cool cocktails and promoting brand awareness with events that pop up anywhere across the country, from swanky restaurants to your local street festival. The second, “Invite Catering,” is a full-service catering company bringing the perfect food and drink pairings to special events and parties. Parsons has also created beverage programs and consulted for many notable clients including The House of Blues, Foundation Room, and Wynn Casinos. Parsons has the longest resume of brand ambassadorships and product launches in Canada and now brings his recipes, tips and expertise to home-kitchens with his newest cook book, “Invite: Cocktails, Canapés & Company.” This book is the ultimate home entertaining guide filled with Jeremy’s fan favorites that he has made for exclusive event parties across North America and the Caribbean. Jeremy is Canada’s top culinary mixologist and a main stay of morning shows nationally.
Jeremy is a regular contributor on TV shows, magazines, newspapers and blogs and is one of the most sought after home entertaining experts because of his vast knowledge of food and drink as well as his experience from running thousands of events over his career. His critically acclaimed co-authored book “Cold Tea At Three” features many of his best entertaining tips and cocktail recipes. His second book, “Invite: Cocktails, Canapés & Company” is now available via Amazon and Williams Sonoma. In the past he was featured in the role of “Entertaining Guru” on CH Morning Live as well as “Come Dine With Me Canada.”
Jeremy has worked with numerous restaurants and bars and brings his unique culinary style to every recipe that lands on a plate or gets poured into a glass that continue to wow audiences and clients alike. His innovation and creativity makes him a leader in culinary mixology and one of the most dynamic personalities in the industry.
Graphic Artist & Designer
“Passion and creativity drive life forward.”
Erin is more than a designer, she is a world-class athlete and brilliant young mind. She has been working as a freelance artist since 2013 and is currently training with the United States Rowing Team, vying for a spot on the 2020 Olympic team to compete in Tokyo.
Erin joined CJL CONSULTiNG in 2018 to work on projects for Buffalo Wings & Rings, The WITI Group and The WITI Conference. She recently graduated with a double major from the University of Notre Dame. When she’s not on the water with her team or sitting behind a computer designing gorgeous artwork, Erin spends her free time reading and enjoys writing about her experiences in training and in life.
Training since 2014 has allowed Erin the unique experience of connecting with a wide range of people interested in rowing and in the pursuits of Olympic athletes. Erin is passionate about graphic design, marketing and branding and enjoys working with clients who share her excitement in tapping into this highly skilled talent pool.
Erin’s work with CJL CONSULTiNG allows her the flexibility to focus on her career development outside of her rigorous training schedule. She has made a huge impact on CJL CONSULTiNG providing brilliant work on short deadlines. Erin’s talent flourishes in her projects and she enjoys working with Christie and CJL CONSULTiNG because the company is passionate about the projects they pitch and that energy and care makes her contributions fun to bring to fruition.