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How St. Paul's Restaurants Found Resiliency

- CDT
Hopin 26

Jonathan Banks
NCXT, CEO / Co-Founder

Jonathan has spent more than 15 years helping organizations modernize their technology. Working with startups, fortune 500, and non-profit organizations across the healthcare, science, government and finance sectors, Jonathan's passion for customer experience and business strategy helps organizations realize the benefits of modern technology.

Jeff Aguy
NCXT, Co-Founder
Khalique Rogers
NCXT, Partner Excellence

Khalique wears many different hats. He is a writer, a storyteller, a public speaker, and an actor. He works as a Business Analyst for a local Black-owned management consulting company called NCXT and also does private consulting through his own company, Good Riddance. Khalique is completing a degree in Business and Marketing Education at the University of Minnesota and is passionate about advancing educational equity for youth.

Mary Rick
City of St. Paul, Director of Business Development, Planning & Economic Development
Sharon Richards-Noel
West Indies Soul Food INC, President, Head Chef, Ceo

West Indies Soul Food’s story started twenty years ago [1985], when Founder, Sharon Richards-Noel arrived in this strange new place called Minnesota … a long, long way from the sandy beaches and palm trees of her native Trinidad and her other special “homes away from home”; Jamaica and Grenada. As much as she loves her new home in the USA, the disappointment Sharon encountered when she arrived, in getting quality food and a good value for her money when eating out, caused her to embark on a mission to share the mouth-watering, authentic flavors of the Caribbean with the world. Sharon’s love of cooking is surpassed only by her love of people; a fact that is clearly evident from the first moment you meet her. The ‘Island Vibe’ shines through with every smile and “hello” from this truly passionate entrepreneur, who is as grateful as she is gracious. As an experienced chef, Sharon has a solid background in restaurant and catering operations. Her deep concern for the health and welfare of children, combined with a desire to help combat childhood obesity and hunger, and an unwavering commitment to create healthy food products - of only the very best quality - are the ingredients that brought Sharon to her new passion of cooking for schools. “School food choices can be both HEALTHY and TASTY!”, she says; and she means it.

John Gleason
Bap and Chicken, Owner & Chef

John has been a restaurant leader in the Twin Cities for over 20 years. He is currently the owner and chef of Bap and Chicken as well as The Bapmobile.


The restaurant business was already tough. The transformations of 2020 brought desperation and anxiety to the forefront of day-to-day operations. In this conversation explore how restaurant owners in St. Paul used design, technology and customer experience to survive and thrive.