Trial by Fire: Smokey Bones Journey of Rebirth in Crisis and Re-Emergence as Industry Leading

Rachael Kelly

Chief Human Resources Officer at Smokey Bones

Learning Objectives

Rachael is the CHRO for Smokey Bones. During the pandemic, Rachael led her team through drastic compensation and staff reductions, creation & implementation of COVID-19 safety practices, while facilitating overnight transformation of all aspects of organization design. This enabled the successful launch of two virtual brands, open additional locations, and a bootstrap financial recovery of the business without government assistance. Under Rachael’s leadership, Smokey Bones also expanded benefits to all employees, reduced turnover, and was certified as a Great Place To Work. Tune in for this lively conversation where Rachael shares the journey of how Smokey Bones was reborn in crisis, emerging as a top leader in the casual dining industry.


Key Takeaways:



  • Culture is the secret sauce of financial success

  • An agile and learning organization is the multiplier

  • Humancentric leadership role modeled from top executives is critical for the future of work