The Paramount Group, Chicago’s premier hospitality and lifestyle group, announced Amy Unell as the first-ever Chief Operating Officer for the company. In partnership with CEO Jodi Fyfe, Unell will oversee the operational side of each brand within the Paramount family including Paramount Events, Eden, The Lakewood, Lake Street Staffing, HighGround, Spaces at 1756, West Lake Market and Paramount Fresh.
“There is no other person I would rather have working beside me than Amy,” says Fyfe. “Having worked with Amy for more than thirteen years at both Aramark and Blue Plate, I know that she is able to bring a level of knowledge and vision that is unmatched and will elevate The Paramount Group in ways we have yet to imagine. Her tenacity, dedication, expertise and passion make her a driving force in the industry and we are so lucky to have her as not only our first COO, but a member of the Paramount family as well.”
Having spent the last seven years as Regional Vice President of Operations for Wolfgang Puck Catering, Unell brings more than 25 years of experience working in the food and beverage industry. She began her career under the umbrella of the Aramark Corporation as an Assistant Director at Montgomery Ward & Company. She quickly moved on to become a Director at AMOCO Properties, CNA Insurance, RR Donnelley & Sons and Chicago Classic Fare Catering, before becoming the General Manager at Bank One Plaza. Unell spent the next five years as the Vice President of Operations at Blue Plate Catering leading operational systems implementation and design, service training, culinary execution, budgeting, strategic planning and more. Following her time at Blue Plate, Unell joined Richey International working amongst the world’s top luxury hotels and resorts, traveling to 28 countries in two years before settling in California. During her time with Wolfgang Puck Catering, she was responsible for approximately $54 million in catering and retail Food & Beverage revenues for the west coast. Unell is a member of the Cornell Hotel Society (where she served as Chapter President from 1997 – 1999), Hephzibah Children’s Association and Tickled Pink (where she has been a member since the inaugural event in 2005). She was a James Beard House Dinner participant in 2002 and 2006 and spent years as a volunteer at the Chicago Food Depository. Unell originally hails from St. Louis, MO and is a graduate of Cornell University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Hotel Management.
“It is a dream come-true to be able to do what I love in a city that I love,” adds Unell. “Coming back to the Midwest, I am invigorated to work with The Paramount Group in order to grow the business in new and exciting ways. There is so much opportunity to build upon the exceptional platform that Jodi and her team have created, and I look forward to developing and implementing strong foundations and efficiencies to make those opportunities a reality.”
Says Fyfe, “Amy is the perfect yin to my yang. We understand what it takes to create and run a successful, thriving business. We have a deep bond both in business and in friendship that I know will allow us to do incredible things in the future. My passion is to provide the best experience for anyone who is affiliated with The Paramount Group, whether as an employee or customer. I am extremely proud of the team we have built as well as the first-rate service that we provide, and I am confident that Amy will help to carry on and even bolster the incredible product that we are able to offer.”
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