KNOXVILLE — Two Knoxville women were recognized by the Iowa Restaurant Association as a few of the 40 “Women to Watch.”

More than 100 nominations were submitted across the state of Iowa, and Megan McKay of Peace Tree Brewing and Mindi Sudman of One Eleven Public House secured their respective spots.

The list highlights women in the hospitality industry who are “blazing new trails, leading by example, and impressing their peers, customers and managers daily,” according to the news release.

The honorees represent several sectors of the industry, ranging from purveyors and entrepreneurs to chefs and business development professionals.

All of the women will be featured in the Food and Beverage Iowa Business Quarterly. A synopsis of each woman’s industry story will be launched on the Iowa Restaurant Association website as well.

“Many of this year’s honorees are pictures of resilience,” Jessica Dunker, President and CEO of the Iowa Restaurant Association, said. “Many started cottage businesses in the midst of the pandemic. Others took extraordinary steps to save long-standing family ventures, while others were innovators within the context of an organizational role. Every single one understands her role as a mentor and encouragement to other women. Each exemplifies the multitude of opportunities hospitality holds for women.”

For more info and to purchase tickets for the Celebrating Excellence Awards Ceremony, visit

Sarah Stortz can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @sarah__stortz.

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