Meet Our Dream Team
Christie – Founder/Owner
Alex – Account Manager
Sara – VP of Sales
Erin – Graphic Design
Nick – VP of Training
Jeremy – Mixology
Christie founded CJL CONSULTiNG in 2009 while completing her MBA as a way to stay engaged in her career while completing her studies. As Founder & Owner of CJL CONSULTiNG, Christie supports clients by creating beverage marketing and training programs for the likes of Alamo Drafthouse, American Social, Arcis Golf, Drive Shack and Flagship Restaurant Group. Christie is also the host of Lawler Out Loud: Mixing up the Mainstream – a weekly podcast featuring trendsetters and newsmakers around the hospitality industry.
Prior to the re-brand of CJL CONSULTiNG in 2017, Christie was consulting with AREAS, Smokey Bones and Shula’s after spending seven years serving as the National Accounts Manager for both Sidney Frank Importing Company and Lavazza. After managing more than 200 accounts across the U.S., she was excited to bring her knowledge of the sales side full circle to help her company’s clients drive their beverage strategy forward.
Before entering the world of sales, Christie worked as a newspaper reporter and went on to create the marketing office for MWR Europe covering Southern Germany while stationed overseas with her active-duty husband. Upon moving back to the U.S. in 2004, Christie got her first taste of national accounts beverage marketing while creating training and beverage programs for HMSHost, Consolidated Restaurant Operations, Outback Steakhouse and House of Blues.
In 2018, Christie discovered her deepest purpose so far as she developed the charitable side of her company founding The WITI Group, a 501(c)(3) foundation focused on supporting and helping the women of the hospitality industry. She is also proud to serve as a CORE Ambassador.
CJL CONSULTiNG is WBENC Certified as a Woman-Owned Small Business and Christie serves as an advisory board member for Datassential’s “The Bar,” she’s a member of the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce and volunteers with the Women’s Business Center of Houston.
Christie also speaks publicly on corporate culture strategy, marketing, branding and sales strategy. You can catch Christie’s next speaking engagements on marketing and culture-building strategies on June 29th in Las Vegas during Nightclub & Bar 2021. Contact us if you would like Christie to speak to your team.
Read Christie’s story and listen to her interview with Susan Freeman on the Freeman Means Business Podcast here.
Alex began her career in the industry 12 years ago entering as a host and moving her way into serving where she has developed her passion for the business while learning more about the culinary and beverage sides of the business. She has served in all the capacities of the front of house operations and her favorite role is behind the bar. Alex loves the creative process of developing new cocktails and enjoys watching the guest experience evolve from her craft. She comes to CJL from Truluck’s while also finishing her Bachelor’s in Marketing at the University of Houston.
In her time in the industry, she has worked for chains like Carrabba’s and Tommy Bahama’s, as well as local chef-driven concepts in the Houston area. Her passion for the business has extended into professional development as she is currently pursuing her WSET 1 certification.
Entering the agency side of the business as an Account Manager, Alex is now combining her passion for marketing with her love for the food and beverage industry. She discovered her passion for our business as part of an opening team and that work made her realize that this business is where she wants to spend her career. As many people in our industry can attest, it sinks its teeth and holds on tight. Alex had that exact experience as she discovered that serving others was very fulfilling. Upon learning more about the business, she knew that there was more she wanted to accomplish.
Over the course of her career in restaurants, she has learned so much about herself. Primarily, that she has a knack for creating experiences for others and adapting quickly to new challenges. Alex is excited to join CJL and put all her experience and knowledge to work to serve our clients. She is inspired by the process of taking a program and evolving it into a customized, consumer and trend-driven success story.
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.
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.
Sara has created a career and network that has led her to the top of her field. In her 30 years of experience in the food and beverage industry, Sara has become known for her expertise in multiple areas. And as a published author of eight books on the basics of wine varietals, she really knows her wine.
Sara’s career in national accounts started as the Corporate Beverage Director for Morton’s The Steakhouse where she obtained her Certified Sommelier, Certified Specialist of Wine and Advanced Mixologist certifications. She also mentored over 100 managers through the Introductory Sommelier Exam and consistently won Wine Spectator Wine List awards at all locations.
Relocating to Dallas, Sara took on the role of Senior Manager of Beverage Marketing with Brinker International. Tasked with creating and evolving the craft beer program, Sara dove into the program by earning her Certified Cicerone designation. She led the team to develop and execute a new craft beer program including expanding to 12 taps in each Chili’s location. No small feat considering the footprint of the Chili’s brand!
Charting a new course with new opportunities, Sara then went on to serve as the Beverage Director for Fogo de Chão adding a more global approach to her repertoire of skills. Sara is always up to the challenge of learning something new, taking a new path and embracing the future. And with this technology in her hands, she is pleased to bring this experience to Wake Up Wine and CJL CONSULTiNG.
Nick started in this industry at the young age of 13 as a busboy before working his way up to Line Chef as a high schooler. With his passion for the industry and desire to learn more as a college student, Nick became a bartender for Red Lobster. It would not be long before he discovered his role as a bartender would serve as a gateway to a future career.
Behind the bar at Red Lobster, Nick was fortunate enough to be trained by some of the industry’s most talented professionals. After graduating, Nick had the opportunity to move into corporate beverage training and development, where he would spend the next five years creating corporate training strategies for some of the largest national chains. His very first corporate training program was for Gordon Biersch, which was his first of many opportunities to work with a former trainer, turned client.
After serving as a Corporate Strategist for hotel chains including Hilton and Hyatt, and restaurant chains like Darden, Applebee’s and Buffalo Wild Wings, Nick was offered an opportunity to serve as the Corporate Beverage Manager for Logan’s Roadhouse. Relocating to Tennessee, he spent five years teaching corporate beverage initiatives across the country.
Nick then moved into the sales side of the industry as the Manager of National Accounts for Daily’s Cocktail Mixes. He is proud to have developed cocktails that are still in place with global chains more than a decade later. The opportunities kept coming leading Nick to work in National Accounts for Island Oasis and eventually with William Grant & Sons. By this time, Nick had amassed nearly a decade in NAOP sales and was nowhere near finished in developing his skill sets and attributes.
Nick returned to Logan’s Roadhouse as the Beverage Director where he proudly served with another promotion to his credit. He eventually moved into a role with Levy Restaurants to serve as the Beverage Purchaser for one of the world’s largest companies. He opened several stadiums in this role. The most memorable being the bar under home plate at Wrigley Field. Nick also had the honor and privilege of creating the beverage programming for the Kentucky Derby while working for Levy and loving every minute of his career trajectory.
Using his previous experience and education on data analytics, today Nick helps his clients make informed decisions on what to offer their customers while aligning with their brand and sales strategies. He adds value to new clients while helping them improve their beverage experience whether as a corporate or consumer experience.