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Current USBG Executive Director, Aaron Gregory Smith, Departs After A Decade


USBG LogoLAS VEGAS, NV (MARCH 27, 2024) – The United States Bartenders’ Guild (USBG) announces today the members of the selection committee undertaking a nationwide search for the organization’s next Executive Director (ED), and the qualifications for candidates applying.

The full job description can be found here.

Per the organization’s by-laws, a selection committee has been empowered by the Board of Directors to conduct a search to fill this top role at the USBG. Members of the committee include leaders and luminaries from all over the globe, reflecting every aspect of the hospitality industry.  Everyone from bar owners and bartenders to supplier and producer representatives has a seat at the table.

“Forming a broad-based coalition to work together as a committee reflects the USBG’s commitment to ensuring that all voices are heard, and all interests are represented in the selection process. Part of building an association is aligning competing interests, negotiating between those interests and finding common ground so we can move forward together.” says outgoing ED, Aaron Gregory Smith.

Committee co-chair, and organizational adviser, Jessica Pettitt adds, “When assembling the committee to select the next ED, it was important that everyone have a seat at the table, and we’ve formed a bold committee who have allocated their valuable time to a mission to find the best possible new hire who will take the USBG to exciting new heights.”

The committee’s mission is to honor the organization’s pillars of advancing advocacy and education and they are seeking a candidate capable of doing the same. The ideal candidate is also responsible for shaping the future of the USBG and the USBG National Charity Foundation (NCF) by driving strategic initiatives, expanding membership, and ensuring financial sustainability. The USBG’s next Executive Director will be the public face of the organization.  They should be a strong communicator capable of building deep and warm relationships while remaining organized and paying keen attention to detail. As the ED it is expected they will also provide assertive leadership for staff accountability and serve as a revenue generator.

The search for this ideal candidate is a transparent process for the seven USBG stakeholders and two non-voting co-chairs, Jessica Pettitt and Marc Pitman, both outside consultants who count between them more than 40 years of association and philanthropic expertise. The members of the search committee are:

  • Ingrid Shawn Rodriguez, US Brand Educator, WhistlePig Whiskey; USBG National President
  • Reza Esmaili, Senior Ambassador, California Brandy; Former USBG Board Member 
  • John Gakuru, Founder & CEO, Coruscent Co; Board of Directors, Tales of the Cocktail Foundation
  • Elina Malkin, Spirits Sales Specialist, High Road Wine and Spirits; Former USBG Chapter Officer
  • Robin Nance, Professional Photographer, People Centered Visionary
  • Mark Schulte, Beverage Consultant, Former Diageo Executive
  • Bradley Thomas Stephens, Owner, Epic Restaurant Group; USBG Board Member

They seek a new ED who has the qualifications below and is capable of handling the following responsibilities:


  • Proven nonprofit leadership experience with a strategic mindset
  • Success in business development, fundraising, and financial management
  • Strong understanding of the hospitality industry and risk management
  • Commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all organizational activities
  • Exceptional communication skills and collaborative leadership style
  • Experience navigating industry shifts and evolving revenue models


  • Align programs with organization’s mission, adapting and innovating to meet member needs
  • Lead community building and launch the USBG Academy for skills-based learning
  • Drive advocacy and educational initiatives, advancing career pathing in hospitality
  • Develop strategies for financial sustainability and revenue diversification
  • Expand membership through targeted recruitment and engagement efforts
  • Collaborate with stakeholders to shape strategic goals and growth forecasts

To apply, please submit your resume, a cover letter outlining your relevant experience, and a one-minute introductory video uploaded to YouTube as an Unlisted video link to the application form:

Applications will be accepted until May 15, 2024. USBG values diversity in all its forms and is committed to an inclusive and transparent recruitment process. We hire without regard to race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender, sexual orientation, sexual identity, age, religion, creed, disability (actual or perceived), medical condition, including genetic characteristics, marital status, domestic partnership status, citizenship, military service, height, weight, HIV/AIDS status, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law or local ordinance. BIPOC and people of diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.

If you, or anyone you know, is a good fit for this role, please apply. If you have search-related questions, please contact Marc Pitman and Jess Pettitt, Co-Chairs, at

About the United States Bartenders’ Guild

Founded in 1948, the United States Bartenders' Guild ® is the national, member-led not-for-profit association of bartenders and other hospitality professionals that unites and elevates the bar industry through education, community, and advocacy. Through its network, the USBG connects members with peer-to-peer learning, expert instruction, service projects, and skills-based competition, all while fostering a fun and healthy environment and reinforcing the importance of the ‘third place’ in neighborhoods across the country.

Media inquiries:

Colin Baugh

Emblem Public Relations 



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