February 10 - 12, 2020
JW Marriott Miami, FL
SVP, Regional Director of Stores
Saks Fifth Avenue
John Antonini is the Regional Vice President & Director of Stores for Saks Fifth Avenue based in New York City. In his current role, John has the responsibility of leading both the brand’s historic New York City Flagship and the overall Metro New York market. An executive with Saks since 1999, John has held a variety of leadership roles leading stores and regions in both the US and Canada.
John holds a Master in Business Administration from Walsh College of Business and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing & Finance from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.
John’s appreciation for the finer things extends well beyond the wearable art that Saks Fifth Avenue sells to a passion for luxury travel and fine California wines. He resides in New York with his wife and three sons.
Head of Real Estate,
Bonobos & Walmart Digital Brands
Andrew Neelon is the Head of Real Estate Strategy at Bonobos, the men’s e-commerce brand known for better-fitting clothes paired with exceptional customer service. In addition, Neelon is now the Head of Real Estate & Strategy of Digital Consumer Brands at Walmart U.S.
eCommerce. He is responsible for developing and implementing the real estate strategy for Walmart-owned brands including Bonobos, ModCloth, and Eloquii.
Prior to his role as Head of Real Estate Strategy, Neelon served as Chief of Staff at Bonobos, where he worked in tandem with Bonobos’ executive team overseeing a wide range of top line projects and initiatives across different areas within the organization. Before Bonobos, Neelon worked on the capital planning team at Hudson’s Bay Company. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Commerce from the University of Virginia in 2013.
SVP, Customer Experience & Operations
Brian Seewald is the SVP of Customer Experience & Operations at DSW. Brian has been with DSW for 7 years, beginning his DSW career with a focus on eCommerce and omni-channel operations. He then had the opportunity to take on the newly created Transformation function, focusing on the execution, adoption and change management necessary to maximize large, transformational projects. Brian then moved back to his roots in leading the DSW Digital Team. In his current role, Brian and his team are responsible for driving a seamless customer experience for all DSW customers. Prior to DSW, Brian held various roles in merchandising, planning, and eCommerce. Brian is passionate about the evolution of the retail customer experience, and how retailers must change in order to meet the changing expectations of their customers. He and his team are in a unique position in moving that experience forward for DSW.
SVP, General Manager of Retail
Samsung Electronics America
As Senior Vice President and General Manager of Retail at Samsung Electronics America, Michael Forrest is focused on creating an in-store brand consumer experience that’s as innovative as the company’s products. Michael drives the retail strategy across all channels and products within the U.S., working to continuously elevate the Samsung brand through cutting-edge experiential retail solutions. At the helm of over 60,000 retail locations nationwide, Michael and his team deliver a best-in-class experience for Samsung consumers with the goal to highlight how Samsung products can impact and improve their lives.
With 26 years of experience, Michael’s passion for people and helping brands engage with consumers have allowed him to build an impressive track record of developing teams that work synonymously to achieve superior levels of performance. Having previously held positions at LVMH, Microsoft, Apple and Nordstrom, Michael has an extensive history of producing multi-million dollar revenue growth and driving dramatic improvements in profitability and customer satisfaction.
Michael lives in the suburbs of Seattle with his wife Lynelle and their two children.
Emmanuele Vinciguerra is the President Americas for Vilebrequin. In her current role, she manages retail, wholesale and ecommerce for North and Latin- America and the Caribbean and she is responsible for implementing the Omni channel channel strategy globally. Prior to Vilebrequin, she served as the CEO of Artspace, the online marketplace for contemporary art. Previously Emmanuele had a 10-year career with LVMH in Paris as a general merchandise manager in luxury fashion and design. She started her career as a management consultant with Bain & Company. She holds a Degree from ESSEC Business School and a MBA from Harvard University
Gavin Felder is the Global Chief Financial Officer of KFC, a subsidiary of the defining global restaurant company Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM). Yum! Brands, Inc. has nearly 46,000 restaurants in 135 countries and territories and is one of the Aon Hewitt Top Companies for Leaders in North America. The company’s restaurant brands – KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell – are the global leaders of the chicken, pizza and Mexican-style food categories.
In his current role as Global CFO, Gavin oversees Strategy, Digital & Technology, Financial Planning, Supply Chain and IT Security for the KFC worldwide business, which spans over 22,500 restaurants across 135 countries. During his tenure as CFO, Gavin has led the KFC Global business to 4 consecutive years of positive same-store sales growth and double-digit operating profit growth, whilst increasing the global restaurant footprint by over 2,500 outlets. At the same time, he has led the digital transformation of KFC from a traditional bricks-and-mortar experience to a globally scaled omnichannel giant, building a $4billion online sales channel from a standing start.
Gavin lives in Dallas, Texas with his wife and three daughters.
Kelly leads retail growth and development for Warby Parker —
a lifestyle brand offering designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while
leading the way for socially conscious businesses.
At Warby Parker, Kelly is responsible for all things “brick and mortar.” Her areas of responsibility include Real Estate, Store Design, Construction, Facilities Maintenance and Asset Protection.
A retail industry veteran, Kelly has over 25 years of retail industry leadership experience. Prior to joining Warby Parker, she served in development, real estate and construction executive leadership roles for various companies throughout her career, to include New York & Company, Spencer Gifts/Spirit Halloween, Burlington Stores and A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts.
CEO & Co-Founder
Stephen is the co-founder and CEO of Burrow. Stephen developed a passion for building companies when he co-founded an international education consulting business out of college. He gained experience growing well-known brands as a strategy consultant at Accenture. More recently, he invested in several high-growth businesses while at Commonfund Capital. Stephen has a B.S. from Cornell University and an M.B.A. from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He enjoys angel investing and outdoor sporting activities.
General Manager, Head of Retail Activation, Global Flagship
Tiffany & Co.
Jieh is currently leading the activation of in-store initiatives, innovation, and the evolution of the retail and employee experience for Tiffany & Company’s global flagship in New York City. This multi-year transformation encompasses the all aspects of the customer experience and includes a dramatic physical store renovation, the first of this scope and scale since 1940. Jieh also led Marketing & Strategy globally for the Love & Engagement business after joining Tiffany as a founding member of the corporate strategy & business development team.
Prior to Tiffany, Jieh was a consultant with McKinsey & Company, where she focused on the luxury, retail, and consumer goods industries. Jieh also worked with Lululemon Athletica during their early stage growth, identifying and prioritizing markets and categories for expansion and defining a path from $300M to $1B in sales.
Jieh started as an entrepreneur in college, launching her first company, Gotham Events, to create memorable celebrations at both an intimate and extravagant scale in New York City. She also helped develop “The Apprentice”, a reality television program where contestants competed in entrepreneurial ventures in an effort to win an “apprenticeship” with Donald Trump.
Jieh received an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BA in Art History & Studio Art, magna cum laude, from Barnard College, Columbia University.
Co-Founder & Co-CEO
Rachel is the co-founder and co-CEO of Snowe, the direct-to-consumer homewares company that’s won accolades from Architectural Digest, Fast Company, Forbes, and Vogue, among others. Rachel began SNOWE in 2015 with co-founder Andres Modak, while the two were outfitting their first home. Uninspired by mass-market budget buys, and unimpressed by pretentious luxury brands, the two Wharton grads set off to create their own company of well-designed, high-quality home essentials. Snowe’s luxury-quality pieces at non-luxury prices – as well as their innovative retail spaces in NYC – have won them many awards, loyal customers, and much industry recognition.
Prior to founding SNOWE, Rachel worked in real estate investment banking at BGC Partners, advising hotel and lifestyle clients; previously she managed a boutique co-working brand, a subsidiary of SL Green. Rachel holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of Michigan and an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
SVP, Branding and Creative
Alex and Ani
Kate Richard is the SVP of Brand and Creative at ALEX AND ANI. Within this role, Kate oversees strategy through creative innovation and business development, bringing synergy and alignment within the company. With a driving passion for building the brand’s unique story, product landscape, and growth, she works closely with CEO, Founder, and Chief Creative Officer, Carolyn Rafaelian, to establish an even stronger connection between the teams who help define ALEX AND ANI and in turn, keep fans connected to the brand’s evolution.
Jessica Goldman Srebnick, is CEO of Goldman Properties, an award-winning creative real estate firm. Goldman Properties is known for transforming depressed urban areas into iconic neighborhoods such as SoHo in New York City, and Wynwood, site of the acclaimed Wynwood Walls, winner of the 2016 “Global Award of Excellence” - Urban Land Institute.
In July 2015, Goldman Srebnick founded Goldman Global Arts (GGA), a Miami and New York based creative collective with co-founder, artist Peter Tunney. For its inaugural project, in 2015, the Miami Dolphins NFL franchise commissioned GGA to infuse a global art aesthetic into the newly renovated Hard Rock Stadium. GGA continues to produce thought provoking large scale, creative projects for a variety of organizations, most recently for the American Airlines Arena.
EVP, Direct to Consumer
Paul Zaengle leads direct to consumer efforts for the fast growing premium basics brand, Stance. Paul has 20 years of experience, including 18+ in the apparel and footwear industry. In his most recent role as SVP of US retail at lululemon athletica, he led lululemon's multi-channel US retail and ecommerce efforts and oversaw their rapid expansion from 2012-2015. Prior to that, he served as the VP of global ecommerce at Columbia Sportswear from 2009-2012. There, he led and launched all of Columbia's brands into the ecommerce space, both domestically and internationally. Earlier in his career, he was the VP of Interactive Technology at Ralph Lauren, and helped launch ecommerce for the brand. He was also an inaugural member of the Shop.org Think Tank.
EVP, Licensee Operations, Business Development & Retail Education
Gene Lunger is the Executive Vice President of Retail Operations (Ashley HomeStores) for the global manufacturer, Ashley Furniture Industries. Ashley is the world’s largest manufacturer of furniture, and the #1 home furnishings retailer in North America. Gene’s responsibilities encompass Licensed Store Operations, Business Development, Licensee Marketing and Retail Education. As a 30+ year home furnishings retailer, Gene’s approach to leadership has been influenced heavily by a lifetime of adventure in the outdoors, stretching and growing his personal comfort zone climbing mountains across the United States. The lessons learned at altitude give him a unique perspective on life, business growth, survival and success in a wildly evolving retail environment. Gene resides in Ft Lauderdale Florida with his wife Canicia.
CEO and Co-founder
Sweet Tree Apothecary & Cannabis Company
Tony is the CEO and co-founder of Sweet Tree Apothecary & Cannabis Co., a rapidly growing retail cannabis chain based out of Alberta, Canada. Sweet Tree has been granted several licenses in Alberta, and has additional licenses pending across Canada. Tony has been a leader in the hospitality industry for 20 years in Alberta, where he owns and operates 3 successful full-service restaurants. Tony is passionate about curating exceptional employee and customer experiences, building brand loyalty, and using locally relevant marketing as a key tactic in each community in which his businesses operate. It is his personalized approach with his team and customers that have delivered success and business growth. Tony is applying the same accomplished tactics he has developed from the hospitality industry to the emerging and exciting cannabis industry.
Founder & CEO
Sadie Kurzban is the 28-year old founder and CEO of 305 Fitness. Named "the next fitness cult leader," by the New York Observer, Kurzban, a graduate of Brown University, has been featured in numerous media outlets like Good Morning America, Harper's Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, the TODAY show, Vogue, Refinery 29, and Fast Company for her unique ability to turn painful workouts into outrageous fun.
Just months out of college, Kurzban launched 305 Fitness, a dance cardio workout with a live DJ. She won Brown University's prestigious Entrepreneurship Pitch Competition and took her $25,000 prize to launch 305 Fitness in New York City. In six years, Kurzban has grown a tremendous following. Over 100,000 clients have experienced the brand, which boasts a family of 100 instructors and 50 DJs. 305 Fitness currently has 6 locations in New York, Washington D.C., and Boston, with weekly pop-up experiences in Los Angeles.
Sam Karshenboym is the Chief Operating Officer at 305 Fitness. Since joining in 2015, he has overseen the company's growth to five studios across NY, DC, and Boston, and a pop-up in LA. Prior to joining 305 Fitness, Sam worked in media at companies including The New Yorker, Disney Interactive, and ABC, where he got his start as an assistant to Shonda Rhimes.
VP, Store Planning, IT, Strategic Planning & Analytics
Cherie Brandt is a designer, store planner and retail strategist at Macys, Inc. In her current role as Vice President Store Planning, IT, Strategic Planning and Analytics, she uses her thirty years of experience in retail design to turn high level concepts into full brand experiences. She is passionate about the future of department stores and is excited to be a part of this transformative time in retail.
Shweta Bhatia, vice president of technology for Kohl's, supports omnichannel fulfillment and innovation for the national retailer based in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. In her role, Bhatia has the responsibility of leading Kohl's next generation in-store learning labs to test and scale technology-driven solutions for customers and associates, as well as leading Kohl's omnichannel fulfillment technology portfolio. Bhatia has held a variety of leadership roles in technology across digital, stores and omnichannel fulfillment areas. Prior to joining Kohl’s, she was a technology entrepreneur.
VP, Concept Design
L’Occitane en Provence
Paul joined L’OCCITANE in 2012 and has been working within the Architecture & Design industry for the last 15 years. He is in charge of all aspects of Design, Construction & Merchandising, for a store portfolio of over 250 locations in North America. Most recently, Paul has successfully launched entirely new L’OCCITANE in-store Concepts in North America, specifically aimed at enhancing the customer experience in unique and innovative ways. Prior to joining L’OCCITANE, Paul’s previous employers include Kenneth Park Architects, Rawlins Design, and Bowker Sadler Architecture. He has worked with top retailers such as West Elm, Tourneau, Rolex, True Religion Brand Jeans, and MAC Cosmetics, and in top locations such as Harrods London, Bergdorf Goodman New York, and the Fontainebleau Miami. In 2017 Paul was named one of 10 “Retail Design Influencers,” as part of design:retail magazine’s Portfolio Awards program.
VP, Retail Experience
Andrea Wasserman is the VP of Retail Experience at Verizon, where she’s focused on reimagining how customers discover and buy technology products and services. Her team works across operations, design, technology, and marketing to evolve and define everything from merchandising to new store concepts to product launches to customer-centric physical/digital experiences.
Most recently, Andrea served as a consultant to retail tech startups seeking to establish partnerships within the retail industry. At the same time, she was a Senior External Advisor at McKinsey & Company focused on retail and consumer goods. Through her website: captaincustomer.com, Andrea continues to write broadly about customer experience.
During Andrea’s time as SVP and Head of Direct-to-Consumer at Nine West, her team rolled out associate-facing technology in stores, increased the number of product categories sold online, and launched Nine West’s first mobile app. Andrea also served as SVP/GM of eCommerce for Hudson's Bay and Lord & Taylor, directly and indirectly leading teams and processes across merchandising, marketing, operations, and product/technology.
Andrea earned her BS from Cornell University and MBA from Columbia Business School. She and her family reside in downtown Manhattan, where she’s active with UJA Federation of NY’s fashion and technology divisions and mentors start-ups through the New York Fashion Tech Lab and XRC Labs, among others.
VP, Global Store Design
Kambiz has created new retail concepts, flagships, design prototypes and managed roll-out strategies for Verizon, Nike, Starbucks, BCBG, Hervé Leger, Max Azria, Fila Sport, Isaac Mizrahi, Xcel Brands and a series of independent retailers. In addition, he served as creative retail consultant to Gap’s Old Navy, as well as creative director of experiential marketing projects for Google, Sunrun and Sleepy Giant. In his role as head of Design at Verizon, he oversaw all aspects of branded environments, including architecture, digital communications and in-store messaging.
He currently oversees the design of Foot Locker Inc’s branded spaces -Foot Locker, Footaction and Champs- and all aspects of the retail experience, including the development of new retail omni channel concepts.
The Nike Portland LEED Platinum store was selected by Design:Retail as Best Designed & Best Green store of 2012. Kambiz and his team redefined the Starbucks experience with localized LEED new concepts. Winner of a 2013, 2012, two 2011 & four 2010 ARE Awards, a 2011 VMSD and 2011 AIA Awards. His projects have been featured in design magazines -VSMD, Interiors & Sources, Design:Retail- and USAToday, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Seattle Magazine, the Harvard Business Review, Forbes and the Huﬃngton Post.
Kambiz managed BCBG's Global Concept Design team, in addition to prototyping all fixture fabrication in Asia. Designed over 50 FILA Sport stores worldwide -published in multiple retail design books & magazines- and was granted a global “Merchandise Display System” design patent.
After graduating from Architecture school, he studied film production design with industry legend Lawrence Paull (Blade Runner, Back to the Future, etc) and won Best Production Design at the 2006 Milan Film Festival. He production designed “Good Time Max” directed by James Franco and screened at film festivals worldwide. His latest film design concept of the motion picture “Teleios” -for which he created all spaceship concepts and aesthetics- premiered at the 2016 London Sci-Fi Film Festival.
Kambiz has spoken at Global Shop, Retail Facilities Summit, Retail Design Forum, ELLE's Trend School, Retail Spaces 2014 & 2016, and was jury member of the Architizer A+ Awards and the Retail Design Institute’s 43rd International Store Design Competition. Kambiz speaks four languages and is passionate about design, filmmaking, travel and good coﬀee.
SVP, Global Human Resources
Shannon Sisler is a business-minded, progressive leader with a successful track record building, strategically directing and transforming Human Resources (HR) practices that enable high-level success for global corporations.
Currently, Shannon is the Senior Vice President and Global Head of HR at Crocs, a fun, progressive footwear company headquartered in CO. Previously, Shannon served as the Senior Vice President of HR at Western Union responsible for global talent acquisition, talent management, total rewards and organization effectiveness/workforce strategy. Shannon was also the Vice President of Talent and Diversity at DaVita and was responsible for leading efforts to optimally select, assess, develop and retain teammates while managing corporate social responsibility and diversity initiatives. Prior to DaVita, Shannon was the Senior Vice President and Global Head of HR at Janus Capital Group and started her career at Level(3) Communications and Accenture.
Shannon earned her Executive MBA from the University of Denver (DU) and a Bachelor’s degree in Finance, from the University of Colorado (CU) at Boulder. Shannon is passionate about promoting education and advancing women/girls. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Girl Scouts of Colorado and the University of Colorado Leeds Board of Alumni and Friends. She recently concluded her Director responsibilities at the Leadership Investment and completed the Ashoka Executive in Residence program volunteering for Fundación Escuela Nueva in Bogota, Colombia. Shannon was recently selected as a Remodista 2019 Women2Watch honoree and was recognized by the Colorado Diversity Council as one of the 2015 Most Powerful and Influential Women. Over the years, her HR teams have been spotlighted in numerous publications including Chief Learning Officer, TD and Training magazines.
Shannon and her husband are the parents of three children and enjoy global travel and spending time in the CO mountains.
CEO - Americas
Jason McNary is the Chief Executive Officer and Management Board Member with UNode50 for the American and Latin American markets. Jason oversees full responsibility for the brand to include Retail, Wholesale, Buying, Planning, Visual Merchandising, Finance, I.T., and Operations at a strategic level
Jason has held several executive leadership roles ranging from VP of Retail with Calypso St Barth where he grew the business from 24 stores to 45 stores in a short two year time frame. Here he was known for promoting several leaders to the director level and bringing a team focused mentality to the organization. At Hoss Intropia as President for Americas, Jason had oversight of buying, planning, retail, wholesale, logistics, and operations. While with Hoss Jason and his team developed the business with aggressive growth in profitability and top line sales as well opening and establishing entry way into the Mexican market through franchise partners.
Previously he was the GM+ President for Americas market with agnes b Jason oversees full P and L responsibility for the business in the Americas with all Buying, Planning, Finance, Retail, Ecommerce, Art Galleries, Marketing, and Communications reporting into him. While at agnes b he has opened the door to wholesale as a new business for agnes b as well established entry way into Canada.
Jason attended Vanderbilt University and graduated with a degree in International Business.
VP, Retail Real Estate & Store Development
Jochen Schmidt is the Vice President Retail Real Estate & Store Development Department at Swarovski AG, a family owned crystal business run by the 5th generation of the Swarovski family.
The Retail Real Estate and Store Development Department is in charge of creating exciting retail spaces and looks after the leasing agreements, design and engineering of the architecture concepts, purchasing and production of the furniture and displays as well as the construction on-site and the subsequent maintenance. Mr. Schmidt has been with the company for over 10 years in various positions and was appointed in 2016 to the position of Vice President of the Department. Prior to that, he has gained extensive experience in Retail design, construction, business development and sales.
Mr Schmidt holds a MBA degree from the academy of economy and administration in Nurnberg, Germany as well the degree of Retail Real Estate economist at the International Real Estate Business School, Hamburg.
VP Design – Product & Store Development
Dean Handspiker is responsible for the overall vision, look and feel of INDOCHINO’s showrooms and assortment.
In the last the years he has designed and opened 34 INDOCHINO showrooms across the United States and Canada with another twenty planned for 2019. Dean has created environments that add value to the Made-to-Measure experience, environments that are both inspirational and accessible.
Prior to joining INDOCHINO Dean has held senior Marketing, Visual Merchandising and Design roles internationally with Club Monaco in North America, Esprit in Germany, Bata Shoes in Switzerland and Gloria Jeans in Russia. With each brand he has led or contributed to new concepts and rapid expansions.
Former SVP, Customer Experience
Total Wine & More
John Jordan's customer-focused career began in 1983 and has included call centers in 6-countries, with diverse B2C & B2B experience providing BPO services for clients such as Sprint and CapitalOneUK. From 2011 to August 2018, John was SVP of Customer Experience at Total Wine & More. John is the founder of Vanquish Ventures, LLC, a customer-centric consulting practice.
Pouya Boland is Founder & CEO of Chiquelle.com, winner of Best Mobile Experience of the Year & High Flyer of the Year awards at the recent Jet Shop Awards. Currently one of the youngest & fastest-growing online fashion retailers in Sweden, with marketing and sales activities in more than 20 countries across the world and an annual growth of nearly 300%. Pouya will be sharing how you to can achieve rapid growth and success on your mobile platform.
Founder & COO
Agatha Kulaga is Founder and COO of Ovenly, one of New York City's leading bakeries. With five retail locations and 150+ wholesale clients, Ovenly has been creating delectable baked goods at that perfect intersection of salty and sweet since 2010. Prior to Ovenly, Agatha's career centered on mental health and addictions research and education and community programming. As an entrepreneur, Agatha has brought this passion for social impact into business, building a dynamic company committed to radically responsible business practices that include employing political refugees and returning citizens, reducing landfill-bound waste, and providing skills training and wealth-building opportunities for employees. Agatha has been recognized as one of New York’s most “badass” leaders in food by Thrillist and her work and business have been repeatedly recognized in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, and Food52. Ovenly: Sweet & Salty Recipes from New York’s Most Creative Bakery, which she co-authored, was named best book of the season by Bon Appetit and as one of top 100 books of 2014 by National Public Radio. Agatha also mentors and consults with young entrepreneurs, is an Advisory Board Member for Women in Hospitality United and is currently working on her second cookbook.
Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer
Christina Fitzpatrick is one of the Founders and the Chief Creative Officer of Graupel Inc, on a mission to disrupt the fashion industry by eradicating size shame and inspiring individuality. Graupel utilizes 3D technology to create custom-fitting garments on-demand for every unique consumer. Before Co-Founding Graupel, Christina held a 6 year tenure at Perry Ellis International headquarters in Miami. She served as a creative lead across multiple design teams, devoting herself to implementing innovation and growth strategies within PEI's vast portfolio of fashion brands. Prior to joining Perry Ellis, Christina dedicated several years to multiple high-end womenswear fashion companies, gaining an extensive background of the processes across all areas of the industry. Christina received her Bachelor's degree in Apparel Design & Technology from Florida State University in 2012. She is a part of the Women's Chamber of Commerce and on the Board of FGI (Fashion Group International).
Director – Head of Stores, K&B Americas
Michelle Kilmer has led Kohler Co.’s K&B Americas Showroom Marketing organization since February 2012. As the Director – Marketing, Showrooms and Stores and member of Global Executive Management Team Kilmer has been responsible for significant growth of Kohler’s showrooms network, highlighted by the development of KOHLER Signature Store as well the transition from traditional trade showrooms to retail-centric consumer showrooms.
Kilmer was instrumental in developing the strategy to help reinvent Kohler’s approach to global retail and led the launch of the brand’s first Kohler Experience Center in New York in May 2017. Kohler has since opened seven more experience centers around the world, including London, New Delhi, Los Angeles, Singapore, Bangkok, Taipei, and most recently Sao Paulo. Kilmer began her career with Kohler Co. as Business Development Manager-Kohler Stores in July of 2004 where she opened the first KOHLER Signature Store in Edina, Minnesota. Since then, Kilmer has grown and developed through multiple leadership positions in both the Sales and Marketing organizations.
Prior to joining Kohler Co., Kilmer had a successful retail career holding various roles, most notably leading two other specialty retailers through growth expansions, Fitigues and Restoration Hardware. Kilmer is a graduate of Northern Illinois University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Marketing & Merchandising as well as a member National Association of Women, NKBA and Impact Chicago.
Head of Global Retail
Mars Retail Group, a division of Mars Inc.
Patrick McIntyre is the Global Head of Retail for Mars Inc. headquartered in Mount Arlington, N.J. He leads the global retail guest experience strategy and operations of the M&M’s World Stores located in New York; Las Vegas; Orlando, Fla; London; and Shanghai. His responsibilities include managing the expansion strategy alongside full accountable for global operations, including P&L, sales, guest experience, earnings, staffing, payroll, and training. He was sponsored the reopening of the Shanghai M&M’S World store which has won many awards for design and “retailtainment” alongside outstanding gallop associate engagement results.
Patrick earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business, with a concentration in International Relations, from Johnson and Wales University located in Providence, R.I. He has further studied at Harvard Business School through the executive education program. He currently resides in Minnesota where he enjoys spending time with his son and in his free time running, sailing, and traveling the globe.
VP, Store Operations
Mark L. Qualls is the VP – Store Operations of GameStop. GameStop is a global family of specialty retailers that makes your favorite technologies affordable and simple. In his current role, Mark oversees all day-day operations of GameStop’s 4000 domestic locations; including essential responsibilities of labor planning and allocations, driving associate productivity through innovative task simplification processes, curating content for the store/field-based communication portal - GSO (GameStop Online), elevating guest engagement/NPS, increasing employee engagement through strategic recognition/incentive programs, and budget/expense management of 400 multi-unit leaders. Mark is a 14-year veteran at Gamestop, during that tenure holding various positions from Regional Director to Director of HR to his current role in Store Operations.
Mark resides in the DFW area with his wife, three children and Wrigley, the faithful dog. Outside of work, Mark is a lacrosse coach for youth girls and works hard to share his passion for world travel and unique experiences with his family.
VP, Retail Operations
With over 2 decades of retail experience, Almira has seen and contributed to the evolution of retail operations first hand. She is currently the Vice President of Retail Operations for Roots, wherein she played a key role as one of the executive officers in the company’s recent IPO in fall 2016.
Prior to her time at Roots, she was with Holt Renfrew as the Vice President of Sales Strategy and Business Development, and at GUESS + Mariciano as the National Director of Stores for Canada. In 2016 she was a contributor for the book YOUR TURN which recognized Almira as being amongst 150 most successful women in Canada.
Outside of her work in Retail Operations, Almira has facilitated internationally and presented at the Visa Innovation Exchange Conference in Tel Aviv, in addition to multiple conferences in Beijing, Shanghai, Los Angeles, Miami, and across Canada.
GM / VP - Americas
Jeremy is the GM / VP of Americas with Suitsupply overseeing the entire business for the geography. Prior to Suitsupply he has helped shape and lead the retail strategy for growing brands like Tory Burch, Jack Spade and Lacoste.
Megan Kohout is the Vice President of E-commerce and Customer Analytics at Kendra Scott, a fashion and lifestyle brand based in Austin, Texas. She oversees all aspects of the e-commerce channel, including web development, user experience and digital marketing. She also leads all qualitative and quantitative customer analytics with a focus on driving actionable recommendations across business functions. She focuses on keeping the customer at the center of every experience this billion-dollar brand presents.
Prior to her current role, Megan oversaw e-commerce and customer analytics at Club Monaco and managed digital marketing and customer analytics at a fashion flash sale site launched by Amazon. She began her retail career analyzing customer data at Ann Taylor.
Megan received her MBA from Harvard Business School and her undergraduate degree in Economics from Harvard College.
Mall of America
Sarah Townes is the Vice President of Marketing at Mall of America with almost 20-years of marketing and advertising leadership experience working on a range of consumer retail brands including Aveda, Caribou Coffee, Gander Mountain, Marshall Field’s/Target Corporation, Sears Holdings Corporation, Tresemmé Hair Care, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Leo Burnett and many more.
Throughout Sarah's career she has spearheaded brand and re-brand strategies, AOR relationship management, creative development, production, omni-channel media strategy, digital/social media, strategic partnerships and public relations to exceed business trajectories.
As a graduate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in Advertising, Sarah has received numerous key industry accolades and local achievements and was most recently a SGB 40 Under 40 honoree.
VP, Retail Services
Carnival Cruise Line
William Butler is the Vice President of Retail Services for Carnival Cruise Line. As the largest cruise line operator in the world, Carnival Cruise Line features 26 vessels positioned in 16 US home ports, Australia, and Europe; serving over five million guests per year, with three additional vessels on order including Carnival Panorama set for delivery in 2019, sailing out of Barcelona.
William is responsible for executing the global fleetwide strategy for retail, grossing over $300 million annual retail sales. With direct ownership of six retail concessionaire partners and proprietary onboard retail stores, he develops and drives the strategic vision that delivers an experience in-line with the broader vacation experience onboard Carnival Cruise Line vessels. The multi-partner model involves levels of complexities unique to the cruise line industry and travel-retail sector with the intent to deliver industry first retail experiences.
Previous to Carnival Cruise Line, William worked for FAO Schwarz in New York City. Serving as the Store Director for the world famous flagship on Fifth Avenue, William delivered an unparalleled shopping experience to over four million guests per year.
Preceding FAO Schwarz, William began his career with Hecht’s Department stores, a division of May Company that eventually merged with Macy’s Inc. Starting in their store management training program in the Northern Virginia area, William accelerated through numerous divisions before he became Vice President Store Manager of the Fredericksburg, Virginia store followed by the Commack, New York store.
Graduating from Virginia Tech with degrees in Business Management and Real Estate, William served on several organizational boards and actively participated in the Blacksburg, Virginia community.
Outside of the office, William is an avid runner and fitness enthusiast. He serves as a community leader with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami and participates with the Candlelighters Organization of New York City.
Vice President, Retail Services
Perry Ellis International
Jennifer is an energetic and savvy retail professional providing years of proven leadership and success at Perry Ellis International. She has expanded and led the Retail Services Division for Perry Ellis International for 19 years. Her retail coordinator team services department stores in both the US and Canada. She also heads up store planning and visual presentation in department stores for multiple brands at PEI.
Senior Director, Store Operations
Kari is the Sr. Director of Store Operations and Communication at DSW, as part of the Customer Experience Team. Kari has been with DSW for 5 years. In her current role, Kari leads a team responsible for Store operations and communication as well as future initiatives in stores that make the DSW Mission, Vision and Strategy come to life for the customer. Prior to DSW, Kari was with LBrands for 25 years in a multitude of Home Office and Field roles, most recently as a Zone Vice President for Bath&Body Works. Kari is passionate about both the external and internal Customer experience and making that come alive at DSW. She and her team are looking for opportunities every day to make that a reality at DSW!
Senior Director User Experience and Product Management
Timothy Embretson grew up on a small Iowa farm where he learned to appreciate solving problems with simple ideas. Armed with a degree in graphic design and a passion to advocate for users above all else, he has helped businesses of all sizes solve complex problems. He is currently challenging traditional retail at Best Buy in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Environment Design Director
As Environment Design Director, Pete is responsible for the design and development of the customer experience at Casper retail stores and third party retailers like Target. He’s focused on bringing the Casper brand to life through activations that create joyful customer experiences and make bedtime cool again. Prior to Casper, Pete founded a small design firm called All Day Breakfast, where he worked on both residential and commercial interior projects for clients such as Sies Marjan and Alexis Bittar. Pete has also worked in Visual Merchandising for Jack Spade and Diesel.
Director, Retail Operations
Jenn is the Director of Retail Operations for MJardin Group. Jenn has a wealth of experience in retail and restaurants as a senior leader, bringing over 20 years of leadership and business operations experience to Sweet Tree and MJardin Group. Jenn worked with Starbucks Coffee Co. for 17 years in various progressive leadership roles including Regional Director of Operations, and has managed multiple large-scale full service and fast casual restaurants across Canada and the U.S. in senior leadership roles for FRESHii and Service Inspired Restaurants. Jenn’s passion for creating exceptional experiences for those she leads and those she serves in her businesses, combined with her desire to destigmatize the medical and recreational use of cannabis drew her to this stimulating industry.
Director of Experiential Design
Caroline Brown leads the vision behind all of MM.LaFleur's physical spaces. Since joining in 2015, she founded the Experiential Design department and helped MM grow from one tiny showroom in Soho to 9 branded spaces across the nation. She has a passion for doing things differently and wants to ultimately reinvent the brick and mortar visual experience.
Head of Marketing for Retail & Hospitality
Signify, Home Of The Philips Lighting Brand
Eisenack is the Head of Marketing for Retail & Hospitality at Signify, home
of the Philips Lighting Brand. In his current role, Christoph is responsible
for setting the strategy and driving implementation of innovative LED lighting
systems capable of digitizing physical spaces across North America. Christoph
has a rich background with more than 10 years of experience in the Lighting
Industry in various role from Sales to Marketing to Supply Chain.
Director of Digital & Innovation
Mall of America
Beth Dahlke is the Digital and Innovation Director at Mall of America with more than 20 years of Creative, Digital and Broadcast experience in Advertising and Marketing.
Beth’s area of expertise covers web development, social media optimization and creative direction, plus holistic digital marketing and strategy.
Her clients have included: Best Buy, Caribou Coffee, Benefit Cosmetics, Camping World, CRAVE Restaurants, Deluxe Corp, Delta and 3M.
GM, Mizuno Experience Center
Becky Snider is a results-driven, high performing leader with extensive management experience in the retail and corporate arena. As General Manager for the new Mizuno Experience Center in the Battery at Sun Trust Park, Becky played a key role in the design, construction, and opening of the new center. As a Mizuno executive stated, Becky “made the seemingly impossible, possible,” steering the initiative from concept to reality in only four months. Her close partnership with Mizuno leadership, executives from the Atlanta Braves, The Battery, Cobb County, and firms specializing in architecture and retail design and construction led to a highly successful opening.
Becky is greatly respected for her integrity, collaborative approach, and tireless work ethic to “get things done.” Today, she continues to oversee full operations of the center and under her leadership the center is experiencing remarkable increases in sales.
Becky’s business acumen spans her career beginning as founder/owner of her own successful sporting goods’ stores. Her “boots-on-the-ground” experience allows her to lead transformational efforts when a company needs to translate good ideas into successful growth and revenue-producing operations. A proven executive leader, Becky’s expertise extends into operations, merchandising, customer service, hiring, sales, and promotions. Her detailed approach, along with her engaging relationship-building style allows her to make things happen in a way that few leaders can replicate.
UX Design Lead, Stores
Marek Szeszycki practices design as a team sport, where everyone plays a role in the success of a product or service. He champions collaboration, holistic strategy, and supporting customer needs while addressing business challenges. Currently at Gap Inc., Marek leads user experience design with a cross-functional team running lean experiments to explore new store experiences. He orchestrated user experience for the point of sale mobile applications for stores in North America and China. He also contributed to credit card enrollment, loyalty, and BOPIS programs. Prior to Gap Inc, Marek designed digital experiences with clients in finance, healthcare, transportation, and entertainment.
Manager, Store Operations - New Initiatives & Tests
Chris Rehkopf is the Manager of New Initiatives and Testing at DSW. Chris has been with DSW for 5 years, beginning his DSW career within the Merchandise Planning and Allocation department. He then had the opportunity to join Store Operations focusing on inventory management, day to day operations, and policy & procedures. Chris then took over his current role where he owns all testing, future store operations, and new store openings for DSW’s field organization. Prior to DSW, Chris held various roles from associate to store manager out in retail stores. Chris is passionate about the evolution of how we operate our stores and the innovative technology/experiences that DSW will use to continue driving the retail customer into brick and mortar locations.
GM of WW Channel & Devices Marketing
Sean Ludick is the General Manager of Worldwide Channel & Device Marketing at Microsoft. He has over 25 years of senior management experience, including a global purview spanning 4 continents – Africa, Asia, Europe & Americas. Sean specializes in global business development, retail, and sales & marketing.
In his current role, Sean has global responsibility for omnichannel plus omnipresent strategy and go-to-market execution for all 3rd party Microsoft retail partners, commercial partners (SMB), education, telco operators and authorized resellers. He leads Channel & Device Marketing teams in the field, including planning, execution guidance and sell-through P&L management. As part of the executive leadership team, Sean aligns efforts across engineering, product, marketing and category teams to generate demand and optimize sell-through for the Microsoft ecosystem and devices – Windows, Server, Surface, Xbox, Office and Accessories.
Sean and his team work to partner full funnel with key retail partners by building world class shopping experiences, accelerating digital transformation, and innovating channel marketing disciplines worldwide.
Director, Business Development, Strategic Partnerships
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Jeri Shipman currently serves as Director, Strategic Partnerships at ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Jeri is one of the leaders for New Business Development.
Jeri began working for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® in 2007 and has focused the last decade of her career building strategic business partnerships through consumer/cause campaigns. She has worked with Fortune 500 companies to create mutually-beneficial cause partnerships that authentically connects with their stakeholders and meets their business objectives. Prior to joining St. Jude, Jeri worked in marketing and sales within the for-profit space including agency, grocery, fashion and financial industries.
Senior Advisor, Strategic Partnerships
St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital
Sarah Williams is a Sr. Advisor, Strategic Partnerships for ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital - the fundraising and awareness organization of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the largest pediatric cancer research center in the world. Sarah has been with ALSAC/St. Jude since 2001. During her time at St. Jude, Sarah has specialized in fundraising, event planning, brand management, training and overseeing ALSAC/St. Jude’s national Collegiate Marketing division. Sarah currently works with St. Jude’s national corporate partners who are actively fundraising for St. Jude across the country. She has been able to assist some of the US’s top companies in raising almost $80 million for St. Jude.
Sarah has served on a variety of community boards including the Junior League of Memphis, Chi Omega Fraternity Convention Leadership Team, and Union University Alumni Board of Directors. She is a graduate of Union University, where she received a Bachelor’s of Science in Communications and Human Studies. Sarah enjoys spending time with her family. She enjoys traveling and spending time in the mountains and at the beach.
Vice President of Product Management
As VP of product management for TIBCO, Rajeev leads a team of amazing product leaders at TIBCO whose mission is to build products & technologies that interconnect everything, everywhere. Enabling enterprises to interconnect people, their applications and things, whether running on-premise in a data center, in the cloud or on-device.
Senior Vice President and Practice Lead
Ryan is a respected advisor in the retail technology industry. His diverse background includes several senior positions both as a retail executive as well as a consultant. Ryan has worked with a variety of retailers across home entertainment, luxury goods, apparel, specialty hardware, book publishing, tires & batteries, consumer goods, and wholesale goods. He specializes in developing technology strategies that align with corporate and customer objectives, along with technology selection and implementation projects for in-store, mobile, order management, payment security, and e-commerce solutions.
Senior Marketing Manager
Curtis P. Campbell, MBA, a New England native transplanted to Salt Lake City, is a Sr. Marketing Director with Hughes’ Large Enterprise team, and is passionate about all things technology, especially when it comes to designing best of breed solutions. As marketing lead for Hughes’ digital signage and employee training business, Curtis has helped dozens of distributed retailers leverage technology to dramatically enhance their customer experience and employee engagement. During his free time, Curtis enjoys pretty much anything outside, traveling, and spending time with his wife and four children.
Co-Founder & President
Asif Rao is the co-founder and President at Innowi, a leading mobile point of sale and payment company that focuses on retail innovation and the customer experience. Its products are deployed in over 4,000 retail stores in every state in the U.S. by the world's largest retailer.
At Innowi, Asif is responsible for mobile payment and software architecture, design and development.
Prior to Innowi, Asif worked 16 years at Motorola, Samsung and Nokia where he managed mobile OS platform strategy, planning, execution and delivered application enablers for key mobile experiences like social networking, NFC, VoIP, 3G, 4G and seamless connectivity.
Asif holds MS in software engineering, MS in RF communications engineering and bachelor’s in electrical engineering and holds 4 patents.
SVP Design Director LEED AP
Tom is a LEED accredited retail designer and creative director focused on brand development, graphic communication, environments design, and implementation (A&E). His career spans 28 years and is distinguished by industry awards and, more importantly, industry results for some of the best-known brands in the world as well as emerging brands.
He re-joins Miller Zell from his most recent role as a founding partner with Authentic Retail Group in Pasadena, California, an integrated brand development firm. Prior to that, he was creative director at Envision, the full-service environmental design studio of Palladeo and WD Partners.
Tom is a graduate of The Cleveland Institute of Art with a Bachelor of Fine Art degree in Industrial Design. His diverse client list includes projects for: General Motors, BMW, Best Buy, Whole Foods Market, Walmart, Longhorn Steakhouse, Kroger, Office Depot, Red Robin, 7-Eleven, ExxonMobil and The Home Depot. Tom’s experience includes projects in the U.S., Canada, Europe, South America and Asia.
He has led teams that produced many award-winning projects including:
• Honorable Mention, Retail Store of the Year, Chain Store Age
• Special Award Brand Extension, Chain Store Age
• Special Award, Chain Store Age
• Best Original Design, Convenience Store News
• First Place, Retail Store of the Year, Chain Store Age
• International Design Awards, ISP/VM+SD
President & CEO
As President and CEO of Natural Insight and Capango, Stefan Midford has over 30 years of experience in information technology, operations and workforce management. His extensive business background includes leadership roles at major credit, retail and marketing businesses in the U.S. and Canada, with assignments at Discover Financial Services, Sears Roebuck & Co., Sears Canada Inc. and prior to founding Natural Insight, as COO at Intersections Inc. Mr. Midford’s management experience gives him insight into the strategic challenges facing organizations with distributed workforces, as well as the specialized logistical issues that go with them. Most recently, Mr. Midford launched Capango, the nex-generation retail recruiting platform that connects retailers to passionate candidates. He is a member of the Institute for Global Work at Boston University, and a Board Member of the World Alliance for Retail Excellence and Standards. In addition Mr. Midford is an active proponent of the need for continued advancement of Science and Technology in schools, and works as a mentor for a Northern Virginia high school robotics team. He is an avid photographer and a member of Mindshare, an invitation only group of Washington DC area CEO’s leading high growth technology companies.
Leveraging 25 years of working with executives from many of the world’s best known retail brands, agencies, and technology companies, Sam’s expertise in connecting insights, corporate analysis and consumer behaviour is unparalleled. He is thrilled to be able to share his experience and insights at Future Stores 2018.
Sam is both a Board member and President of Unefi, the parent company for RMS - an enterprise retail management software and marketing automation platform that is leading the shift to technology as a critical element of unifying commerce. As President of RMS, Sam’s focus is on overseeing the leadership team, global sales and support teams.
Prior to launching RMS, Sam was focused on retail marketing as a Partner at CV Studio, where he was responsible for developing and driving strategy for global retail executions, marketing services, and data. Viewed as an innovative force in driving retail of the future, Sam has been – and continues to be – an active adviser and board member at various adtech and martech companies.
Retail Industry Executive, OKI Americas
James Greene has been working with and consulting to Retail clients for over 25 years with proven success in driving revenue growth through innovative print solutions. James has extensive experience in process improvement, document management, SaaS and cloud systems. Successfully utilizing strategic business planning and executive relationships James has successfully developed custom retail solutions designed to help clients utilize print to grow their business with Fortune 500 as well as mid-sized retailers.
Co-Founder & Chief Customer Officer
Known as one of Canada’s leading entrepreneurs, Jordan has worked with many of North America’s most prominent retail and foodservice brands to design new, transformative approaches for improving the customer experience. He co-founded Nudge Rewards with the vision that the most critical part of a brand's delivery is the interaction between their employees and customers. With extensive experience in customer loyalty, rewards strategy and mobile technology, he previously co-founded of one of Canada’s most popular loyalty programs, Carrot Rewards, designed to motivate Canadians to make better everyday lifestyle choices.
Champ is a lifelong designer, technologist and founder that has created apps, websites, platforms, and devices with important brands to shape online and offline culture. Now the founder of HYPNO, he's set on making retail a little more surprising and fun.
Creative Director - Experiential Design
Garrett Fuselier is an award-winning creative director with a background that spans over a decade in experiential design. An expert in VR, AR and other technologies that unite digital and physical space, Garrett has served as an Adjunct Professor at Kansas City Art Institute and is the creator of the VR game HOST. His work as creative lead at HYPNO includes developing a photography app with over 23 million users, heading up experiential projects for clients such as Calvin Klein, Michael Kors and Samsung 837, as well as inventing social camera products.
Regional Sales Manager
Visionary executive with more than 30 years’ experience in retail, conducting market analysis, creating brand campaigns, expanding customer base, targeting markets, maximizing profit, and optimizing procedures. The last 10 years has been focused on Digital Signage having a major role in helping BrightSign become the global market leader in the industry. Exemplary sales results include capturing significant markets via innovative solutions to complex problems, developing product support, facilitating company transitions, and continuous process improvement. Keen eye for trend-spotting and analysis applied to new market alliances and creative presentations, building sustainable customer relationships, while expanding product outlets. Exceeding expectations in designing novel solutions, quickly recognizing resources and implementing necessary changes in alignment with organizational needs, direction, and financial goals.
Co-Founder & CEO
Internet entrepreneur with deep expertise in artificial intelligence (Artificial Intelligence Engineer Nanodegree) and Innovation Management (Executive Innovation Management Certification). Eduardo has a strong background in agile development, IT management and Internet, and worked for the past 20 years as a developer, manager, director & CTO for several companies in the E-commerce & Fin Tech industries. Two years ago he founded Facenote and focused on his lifelong passion, artificial intelligence and how it can help people in everyday's life.
Bob leads the PlayerLync team as President and CEO. Bob prides himself in building great teams to capitalize on new market opportunities, leveraging technologies to solve real business problems in mainstream markets. His business acumen, management, and sales skills have positioned Bob as a standout technology leader with 20 years of experience building companies from their inception to industry leadership.
Prior to PlayerLync, Bob was Chief Operating Officer and Board Member at Telesphere Networks (now Vonage Business), one of the largest privately held cloud communications companies in North America. He was responsible for all strategic and tactical initiatives within Operations, including product management and pricing, implementation, field operations, support, information management and development, and strategic customer relationships. Before joining Telesphere, Bob was co-founder, President, and CEO of Unity Business Networks, an industry leader in Hosted PBX / Cloud Communication services to large multi-site businesses throughout the US.
Paulsen leads by example and believes in a balanced lifestyle. He embraces this philosophy through his work with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, the Food Bank of the Rockies and United Way. He pushes himself weekly on the tennis court and is a proud husband and parent of 2 wonderful children.
Co-founder & CEO
Jon Croy is a co-founder and the chief executive officer at Point Inside.
He has been working on indoor positioning technologies, indoor mapping and
spatial analytics for over 20 years. He holds over a dozen related
patents. Under Jon's leadership, Point Inside has created the world's
largest collection of indoor airport maps has processed over 300 terabytes of
spatial and analytic data. Mr. Croy previously worked at Telecommunication
Systems where he deployed VoIP E9-1-1 solutions and created the product vision
and strategy for next generation E-9-1-1 systems.
Mike Callender is a charismatic enthusiastic, hands-on entrepreneur, who believes that everything can be made to work better.
Having worked in retail since he was 15, he has extensive experience within the industry. Specializing in business analysis and strategy, team leadership and change management, he’s passionate about innovation and keeping retailers at the top of their game.
Mike founded REPL in 2007 with Chris Love and has guided the company from start-up to worldwide success. As chairman and visionary at REPL, he spends time with customers understanding what they need and immerses himself in all the latest retail trends.
Mike is keen to share his experiences and insights in retail to help others, an objective he has been able to fulfill in his role as an inspirational speaker at events across the world.
Jeff Carr is a veteran enterprise software executive with more than two decades’ experience in the HCM and Learning and Development markets. Before joining Inkling as CEO, Jeff was most recently the COO of Zenefits and prior to that, the CEO of PeopleFluent and President of Saba.
Alex Otañez currently serves as the COO for Shockoe, a mobile app agency known for introducing impactful mobile solutions that drive today’s leading brands. Shockoe is one of Virginia’s fastest growing digital companies and is featured in Inc., Forrester, Gartner, and RVA Magazine.
Alex has more than 10 years of experience in digital transformation and custom app development in a range of industries including consumer goods, retail, and finance. Today, Shockoe works to bridge the gap between IT, marketing, and store operations to create mobile experiences for global brands including Capital One, American Express, Walmart, Caribou Coffee, A.C. Moore, and Winn Dixie.
Alex resides in Richmond, VA with his wife Mary, daughter Emma, and their bulldog, Don Vito. When not focused bridging the mobile gap, Alex is out fishing with Emma and Don Vito, or on a new adventure with Mary.
David has more than 20 years of experience marketing to retail and hospitality companies. His broad marketing experience is focused on designing and executing successful strategic marketing plans, demand generation, public relations and branding through customer-centric messaging. He has significant experience marketing retail technology and services with an emphasis on customer experience and POS systems.
Chavie Lieber is a senior reporter at Vox.com, where she covers business, consumerism, and tech. She spent four-and-half years writing about fashion and retail for Racked, receiving awards for her business feature reporting. Chavie is a graduate of the Columbia Journalism School and former religion reporter; she has been published in the New York Times, New York Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Haaretz.
Corinne is an editor for Retail Dive, and also serves as the host of ‘Conversational Commerce’, the publication’s official podcast. She hails from the cornfields of Illinois, where she also earned her BA in Journalism and French at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Before coming on board with Industry Dive, she made the great migration east to work for U.S. News & World Report and The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Al McClain is CEO and co-founder of RetailWire.com, the expert discussion community for the retailing community. He has spent 30+ years in the retail, tech, and CPG spaces. Al's career highlights include sales and management stints with Luzianne-Blue Plate Foods, Bestfoods, Red Rose Tea, and Progressive Grocer (Trade Dimensions and Retail Insights divisions). He also co-founded IdeaBeat.com in 1997, a precursor to RetailWire.com. Frequent RetailWire clients include Oracle, IBM, SAP, IRI, Emarsys, Intel, iQmetrix, Infutor, Listrak, etc.
Al has spoken extensively at industry events for the National Grocers Association, the Institute for International Research, the Magazine Publishers Association, the d2 Digital Dialogue Conference, and the Category Management Association. He has written for publications such as Nielsen Wire, Loyalty Management, and Forbes.com. He also contributes to SupermarketGuru.com and represents Phil Lempert on speaking engagements, research, etc. He lives in South Florida.
Program Director - Future Stores Miami 2019
Worldwide Business Research
Ellen Granoff is a Program Director at Worldwide Business Research where she directs both eTail Europe and Future Stores Miami. After graduating Cum Laude from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., Ellen moved to New York City to pursue a career in events. When she isn't at her desk in WBR's Bryant Park offices, you can find Ellen running outside on the East River running path or at one of New York's many fine pizza establishments.
Vice President of Innovation
Joel Larson is the Vice President of Innovation at Innowi, a leading mobile point of sale and payment company that focuses on retail innovation and the customer experience. Its products are deployed in over 4,000 retail stores in every state in the U.S. by the world's largest retailer.
Prior to Innowi, Joel worked at Corporate Walmart as the Program Lead for all checkout innovation programs. Joel led the Scan & Go program, Check Out With Me (Mobile POS) program and a complete re-design of the self-checkout. Joel holds multiple patents in the checkout and retail industry.
Joel spent 6 years on active duty in the Navy as a nuclear engineer as well as a search & rescue swimmer. Joel is regarded as the only Naval Academy midshipman to swim the English Channel.
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