Tales of the Cocktail Staff Bios

Ann Tuennerman

Founder of Tales of the Cocktail®

Ann Tuennerman is the Founder and Executive Director of Tales of the Cocktail, the world’s premiere cocktail event. A New Orleans native with an entrepreneurial spirit and knack for bringing people together, Ann has grown Tales from an hour long walking tour to a week-long festival, bringing tens of thousands of cocktail experts and enthusiasts to New Orleans each summer.

As Executive Director, Ann provides the vision and strategic direction for Tales of the Cocktail, working directly with bartenders, brands and industry partners to create original experiences for all attendees— all with the lens of education and celebration. In addition to the core festival, Ann has also founded a number of other spirits-focused events and programs including Tales 365®, Tales on Tour, Tales of the Toddy® and Daiquiri Season®. Ann’s focus on giving back to the industry was brought to life through the New Orleans Culinary & Cultural Preservation Society, which she founded in 2006 with her husband Paul. The NOCCPS invests funds raised from Tales of the Cocktail events back into the cocktail industry through apprenticeships, grants, scholarship programs and more.

All this work cultivating and promoting the spirits industry has made Ann a go-to authority on cocktails and the business behind them, regularly serving as a source for national and international publications including Fortune, Imbibe, Saveur, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Condé Nast Traveler. Ann has earned awards and recognition from around the world including being named a James Beard Award Semifinalist, one of the top 10 most influential people of the past 25 years by Cheers Magazine, and BNIC Cognac Personality of the Year.

When Ann isn’t spending time coordinating each year’s events, she can be found with her husband Paul and the unofficial Tales of the Cocktail mascot, Delta Dawg.

Ron Canedo

Director of the New Orleans Culinary and Cultural Preservation Society

Long before he joined the board of the NOCCPS, Ron Canedo has been working to preserve the culinary traditions of New Orleans as one of the longest tenured managers at Mr. B’s Bistro. A native New Orleanian, Ron was raised in the French Quarter, not far from the landmark restaurant where he has spent more than 25 years. After receiving his degree from the Culinary Institute of America with a focus on restaurant management, Ron returned to New Orleans as a manager at the Royal Sonesta’s Desire Oyster Bar.

In 1992, Ron joined Mr. B’s as a manager, responsible for daily supervision of food and service quality as well as the hiring and training of front of house staff. Following Hurricane Katrina, Ron played a critical role in reopening the restaurant, working closely with Owner Cindy Brennan and General Manager Randy Stein to redesign physical spaces and train an entirely new wait staff. During his time at Mr. B’s Bistro, the restaurant has been recognized for its first-class cuisine and service by international publications and organizations including Food & Wine, Gourmet, and the James Beard Foundation.

Melissa Young

Director of Operations

If you’re wondering who holds the purse strings at Tales of the Cocktail, it’s Melissa. As Director of Operations Melissa manages the overall event budget and company finances in addition to leading the logistics of executing more than 200 Tales of the Cocktail events in five days. If you’ve ever been to Tales you know that is no easy task. Melissa joined Tales of the Cocktail as an intern in 2007 and has been a key contributor in helping to grow the event to where it is today.

Emily Coleman

Director of Partnerships

Emily is originally from Houston, went to school in Charleston and has now, luckily for us, settled in New Orleans. After interning with Tales of the Cocktail, Emily joined the team full time in 2012 and now serves as the Director of Partnerships, ensuring the flawless execution of every event for our sponsors. When Emily isn’t busy bringing Tales of the Cocktail events to life, she's traveling the world with her new husband, Jason (feel free to congratulate her if you see her at Tales).

Alex Smith

Sponsorship Manager

Alex joined Tales of the Cocktail in 2014, first as an intern and then later that year as a full-fledged, flag-waving member of the Tales team. As the Sponsorship Manager, Alex stays busy with a number of roles including managing sponsorship relationships across all of our events. Prior to joining Tales of the Cocktail, Alex gained valuable experience in Baton Rouge for various start-up companies in the online marketing and consumer technology fields. Then, like so many others, she fell in love in New Orleans and has called it home ever since.

Christina Sudderth

Presenter Relations and Logistics Senior Manager

Every year thousands of drinks are served at Tales of the Cocktail. We have Christina Sudderth to thank for that. As Tales of the Cocktail's Presenter Relations and Logistics Senior Manager, Christina is responsible for coordinating with every presenter and panelist, as well as ordering over 10,000 of bottles of spirits needed to create the incredible cocktails that are served. Originally from Dallas, Christina joined Tales of the Cocktail as a volunteer in 2008 and has been a core team member in growing the event ever since.

Kandyse Aube

Programs and Logistics Manager

Like many other Tales team members, Kandyse got her first taste of the spirits industry as a Tales of the Cocktail intern. Now she manages our Education Fellowship Program, the Market at Tales, and Tales 365 Membership Program. Kandyse brings knowledge of community relations and hospitality experience from a broad range of industries to Tales of the Cocktail®. When she isn’t busy promoting Tales of the Cocktail, you can find Kandyse hiking around City Park with her fiancé, Kelsy, and their adorable dogs, Mallory and Evie.

Jeremy JF Thompson

Marketing Manager

Born in Los Angeles and raised in half a dozen countries, Jeremy JF Thompson settled in New Orleans by way of San Francisco and New York. After 4 years as a bar manager and consultant, followed by 6 years as a trade marketing specialist in the spirits industry, Jeremy went on to create a strategic event marketing company, through which he founded, publicized and sold the New Orleans Daiquiri Festival to Tales of the Cocktail, just over a year before coming to work for Tales. In addition to overseeing all aspects of Tales of the Cocktail's digital marketing, he is very passionate about continuing to develop new opportunities for the Tales brand. When he’s not working (Ha!), Jeremy loves researching digital trends, enjoying American whiskeys, and dancing to old Soul and R&B tunes with his wife.

Courtney Schultz

Events Manager

If you attend an event at Tales of the Cocktail outside of our home bases of The Monteleone and The Royal Sonesta, chances are Courtney had something to do with it. She manages all off-site events for Tales of the Cocktail including the production of the annual Spirited Awards. She also works directly with local vendors on product and signage to ensure that events are executed flawlessly. When Courtney isn’t working to bring Tales of the Cocktail events to life, she enjoys exploring great food and drinks (convenient as she lives in one of the world’s best cities for that) as well as spending some quality time with her dog Lux.

Lindsey Reynolds

Managing Editor

A native Texan, Lindsey Reynolds bounced from Portland to Paris to Mississippi before she came to her senses and finally settled in New Orleans. She was part of the first-ever social media team for Southwest Airlines, worked in hospitality public relations in her hometown of Austin, and was a fellow for the Southern Foodways Alliance while receiving her M.A. in Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi. When she isn't editing stories for Tales, she enjoys champagne cocktails, chubby animals, and bad puns.