Future Stores Seattle 2019

June 04 - 07, 2019

The Sheraton Seattle

Meet The Speakers

Jon Grosso
EVP, Director of Stores

Jon Grosso, executive vice president, director of stores, is responsible for all store operations and administration, and has led the organization's efforts to achieve the highest engagement scores in the industry, while continuing to focus on delivering excellent service to Kohl's customers. Under Grosso’s leadership, Kohl’s has grown from 300 to 1,158 stores. 

Grosso is leading his team of more than 100,000 associates to drive the relevancy of Kohl’s stores and think differently about how to serve today’s consumers. Grosso is committed to ensuring Kohl’s associates are ‘Digitally Savvy’ by bridging the gap between Kohls.com and Kohl’s stores to provide customers with an easy and seamless omnichannel experience.  He championed the ‘Store Manager as CEO’ concept, which empowers each store manager to use local market knowledge and actionable insights to make decisions at the individual store level. And, to continue delivering best-in-class customer service and high associate engagement scores, Grosso promotes a ‘Hospitality Mentality’ approach across his entire team, always putting customers first. 

Grosso has been with Kohl’s for 17 years. Prior to that, he held progressive positions in store operations for Macy's, including vice president of operations. He has more than 30 years of retail experience.

Grosso currently serves on the board of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. He is also on the Penn State Board of Visitors, where he serves as the Chair of the Honor and Integrity Committee, and has been honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award. Grosso earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Penn State University.

Andy Adams
SVP, Store Development & Design
Bobby Farahi
Dolls Kill
Drew Green

Drew Green is an award-winning entrepreneur and expert in managing high-growth companies. Previously recognized as a Top 40 Under 40 and nominated for CEO of the Year, Drew has been acknowledged throughout his career. In 2017, he was awarded the Innovation in Retail award by the University of Alberta. In 2018 he was an EY Pacific Entrepreneur of the Year category winner and Chain Store Age Breakout Retailer of the Year.

At INDOCHINO, through a commitment to an experience-based omnichannel commerce strategy, Drew has built one of the world's fastest growing apparel brands. Under his leadership since 2015, the company has grown at a compound annual growth rate of 48% and become EBITDA positive—in 2017, EBITDA improved by over $8M USD. Drew has expanded its retail network across North America to include 36 showrooms by end of 2018, with an additional 20+ showrooms planned for 2019.

To date, Drew has established up to $90M CDN in strategic long term capital commitments, setting the company on a path to become a globally recognized brand. The stage is now set for international expansion, with 7-8% of the company’s revenue expected to come from customers outside North America in 2018.

INDOCHINO continues to focus on innovation. In 2018, the company expanded beyond formalwear into new categories to include custom casual pants, casual shirts and outerwear. Drew is committed to continuously improving fabric assortment, enhancing the product and reducing delivery times to become the undisputed worldwide leader in custom apparel.

Prior to INDOCHINO, Drew founded and was CEO of SHOP.CA, Canada’s first multi-merchant marketplace, which is now owned by EMERGE COMMERCE, a company he leads as Chairman and major shareholder. EMERGE has successfully combined six eCommerce brands globally over the past two years and raised significant capital towards global expansion. Throughout his career, Drew has played key leadership roles at companies that have created billions in shareholder value: DoubleClick (acquired by Google), SHOP.COM (acquired by Market America) and Flonetwork (acquired by DoubleClick).

A sought after technology, ecommerce and retail expert, Drew has presented to hundreds of thousands of industry peers, leaders, students and entrepreneurs through events, conferences and educational forums. He customarily gets the audience to high five before he begins. In 2017, he gave the keynote presentation at Internet Retailer in Sydney and the National Retail Federation's Big Show in New York, attended by 35,000 retail executives. In 2018, Green has been a keynote speaker at over 15 events, including the World Retail Congress in Madrid. Drew has been quoted in more than 2,000 articles including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Globe and Mail, National Post, Washington Post, Toronto Star, Fortune, Forbes, Bloomberg, Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Bloomberg, BNN, CNN and CBC.

Drew is a founder, chairman, shareholder, mentor and/or member of the board for 15 private companies that drive innovation and growth across global commerce, consumer products, artificial intelligence, technology and real estate industries. He is a proud member of the Board of Directors at The Scarborough Hospital Foundation, which oversees a network of hospitals in one of the most underprivileged and underfunded urban areas in Canada. He plans to significantly develop this Canadian district in the decades ahead.

Lauren Brindley
Group VP, Beauty & Personal Care

Lauren Brindley is a seasoned global senior executive with extensive experience in retail merchandising, strategy development, brand management, marketing & omnichannel across all sectors of retail, including both mass & prestige markets. She has successfully led businesses in 5 countries across 3 continents: - Europe, Asia and North America.  

Lauren has a proven track record of building transformational customer led strategies & delivering strong performance results through a unique approach of balancing innovation with fundamental market analytics and executional excellence. 

Her current role as Group Vice President, General Merchandise Manager for Beauty & Personal Care at Walgreens has made her accountable for creating & delivering Walgreens beauty transformation strategy. She leads all aspects of the business from merchandise buying, strategic planning, distribution, marketing and the customer care model delivered by the retailer’s beauty consultants across the nation & numerous digital channels. 

She joined Walgreens in September 2015, after working for Boots in the UK & Asia for over 10 years. Her recent roles included Customer Proposition Director where she was credited with creating the company’s new Retail Customer Strategy, and Head of Prestige Beauty, where she spearheaded the company’s significant market share gains in the fragrance and prestige beauty markets over a number of years. She also led the relaunch of the company’s prize No7 brand in 2010. 

Prior to Boots, she started her professional career at Tesco, where she held numerous key marketing & commercial roles. 

Brindley currently lives in Glencoe, Illinois with her husband Rob and their two young sons.

Claudia Mazo
SVP, Retail
Lands’ End

Claudia Mazo is the Senior Vice President of retail for Lands’ End, Inc. In this role, she is responsible for developing and leading Lands’ End’s retail store strategy.  She oversees store operations, field management and marketing for the retail business and is responsible for successfully developing and executing retail go-to-market strategies, growing top-line revenue and driving profitability for the Lands’ End Shops at Sears and Lands’ End’s stand-alone retail stores.  

Mazo brings over 15 years of retail experience and is a senior business executive with a proven track record. She possesses a wealth of experience in the wholesale, retail and international markets where she has successfully developed and implemented retail and distribution expansion strategies for global brands.

Prior to joining Lands’ End, she spent approximately five years at Tumi Holdings, Inc. serving in progressive leadership roles as vice president of Latin America, vice president of retail for the East Region and most recently as senior vice president of wholesale. From 2008 to 2012, Mazo was with Esprit International where she was promoted to vice president of merchandising for North America. She also served in merchandising, sourcing and product development leadership roles at Liz Claiborne Inc. and Tommy Hilfiger Europe. 

Mazo received her Bachelors in International Business and Languages from HES School of Economics and Business in Amsterdam. 

Jeff Gaul
SVP, Property Development & Real Estate

Jeff Gaul is Senior Vice President, Property Development and Real Estate for Sephora, the LVMH owned leader in global prestige beauty retail.

In this capacity, Jeff is responsible for all aspects of store growth and he works directly with his operational counterparts in creating and executing compelling strategies while building locations to optimize Sephora’s real estate fleet in both the United States and Canada.

Jeff leads a team of professionals dedicated to all growth initiatives as it pertains to store development. His teams include Market Strategy, Sales Forecasting, Site Selection, Lease Administration, Construction, Facilities and Portfolio Management.

Prior to joining Sephora, Jeff served as SVP of Global Store Development at Chico’s FAS, Inc. for over 10 years in a variety of roles each with increased scope and responsibility. In addition to Chico's, Jeff held real estate leadership roles with Core Power Yoga, part of the L Catterton private equity portfolio, L Brands, Gap Inc., and Books-A-Million. He is a past State Retail Chairman, current Board Trustee and an active speaker for the International Council of Shopping Centers

Jeff earned his Bachelor of Science Degree from the Warrington College of Business at the University of Florida. Jeff and his wife have two teenage daughters.

Carrie Ask
Brand President, Mens Wearhouse & Moores
Tailored Brands

Ms. Ask joined Tailored Brands in October 2018. Previously, she was executive vice president and president, global retail at Levi Strauss & Company (LS&Co), where she oversaw more than 2,900 retail stores in 30 countries and partnered with the global e-commerce team to define and deliver a seamless direct-to-consumer experience. Prior to LS&Co, Ms. Ask held senior leadership positions at NIKE, Inc., Petco, Target and BC Natural Foods, and served as associate principal in the retail practice at McKinsey & Company. She is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and began her career by serving as an officer in the United States Navy. Ms. Ask earned a Master's in Business Administration from Northwestern University, Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

Nick Arambula
Chief Operating Officer
Tuft & Needle

Nick Arambula is Tuft & Needle’s Chief Operating Officer, responsible for supply chain, retail, business development, employee experience and customer experience. Nick is a reformed CPA from PwC who realized his passion wasn’t in preparing taxes and scouring the tax code. Nick’s quest to depart a career in accounting began when he moved from Phoenix to Chicago to join PwC’s consulting practice. After two years of problem solving for various Fortune 500 companies, he realized he still wasn’t completely fulfilled. A transition to pursue his MBA at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business focused his attention to building a deeper understanding of organizational strategy, operations and individual development.

 Joining Tuft & Needle to help with retail growth and operations was one of the easiest decisions of Nick’s life. As an Arizona native, he has been very passionate about the Valley of the Sun, and knew that he wanted to return after Stanford to be able to reinvest in the community that raised him. Nick is happy to be home, where he can be found building memories with his wife, Jessica, and their little girls, Chloe and Eva.

Kevin McKenzie

As Executive Vice President and Chief Digital Officer, Kevin McKenzie directs development of all digital strategy and omni-channel initiatives for Macerich. Mr. McKenzie also leads BrandBox, Macerich's new turnkey solution for digitally native brands to open and operate stores, and scale physical retail as a complement to ecommerce growth. Prior to joining Macerich, Mr. McKenzie led digital efforts for Westfield Corporation, where he drove the integration of Westfield's shopping centers around the world with emerging digital technology, as well as examined new business development opportunities, including the creation and development of Westfield’s Digital and Innovation Division, Westfield Labs.   Mr. McKenzie is a digital entrepreneur, with more than 22 years of experience in Internet, e-commerce, digital media, omni-channel and product development. Previously, he founded NinthDecimal Inc., an omni-channel intelligence company that empowers retailers and brands with the most comprehensive understanding of people by connecting their digital and physical lives. Prior to founding NinthDecimal, Mr. McKenzie was Senior Vice President, Shopping Services, with CNET Networks Inc. (acquired by CBS Corporation), a pioneer in internet marketplaces and digital publishing for consumer electronics.

Shari Rossow
VP, Retail Operations
Best Buy

Experienced leader with over 25 years retail and corporate experience. Specifically within Operations and Retail Systems and Infrastructure with responsibility for financial planning and strategic development from the vantage point of the end user. Have implemented many small and large initiatives at Fortune 50 company. Proven coach and developer of team members with a strengths based approach and use of the Enneagram methodology. My goal is and always will be to speak on behalf of the end user through my own personal experience growing up in retail. Hard work and hands on experience is what you get with me. I have been managing teams for over 20 years. Executor at heart!

Kathy Fisher
VP, Customer Experience

Kathy Fisher became the vice president of customer experience in February 2017. In this role, Kathy and her team support programs and capabilities centered around the full-price customer experience, including alterations, service and experience and selling programs.

Kathy’s career started at Nordstrom in 1995 where she was a salesperson for women’s shoes and Studio 121. For almost 20 years she’s held several leadership positions in Nordstrom’s southern California region, including jobs as the national director of personal styling and customer relationship management and national director of sales and styling.

She has a bachelor of arts in international relations and affairs from the University of Southern California.

Jim Edgett
Head of Digital Ecosystem and Channels
Jamie Hill
Head of Beauty & Experience
CVS Health
Steve Zades
VP, Global Transformational Innovation
VF Corporation

Widely regarded as a mover-and-shaker in the innovation field, author and academic Steve Zades is an award-winning entrepreneur  turned corporate executive. Since joining VF Corporation in 2014 as Vice President, Global Innovation, Zades has developed  more than 30 patented designs and led the team who received the prestigious Edison Innovation Award in 2016 for the invention of JadeFusion Denim. Today, Zades continues to lead transformational innovation initiatives for VF Corporation’s global brands, including  Lee Jeans, The North Face, Vans, Wrangler and Napapijri.

Zades has long held a vision for advancing apparel by aligning it with cutting- edge technologies and scientific research. He brought these disciplines together to establish the VF Corporation Cognitive & Design Science Laboratory in 2015, giving it a mandate to pioneer new products and develop new forms of digital and real-life consumer engagement. Working collaboratively with scientists based at the laboratory, Zades initiated Lee Jean’s ground-breaking Body Optix denim line, a collection characterized by its ability to create body-enhancing curves through precision laser technology and innovative tailoring techniques. Body Optix set a new standard for the industry by redefining  how consumers can experience fit, cut, body image and personal style. Subsequently, Body Optix won 12 international awards in 2017. 

Zades’ career started in marketing, where he worked for Procter & Gamble before serving as the CEO and Chairman of Long Haymes Carr Lintas Advertising and began managing global campaigns for Virgin and Unilever. He later founded The Odyssey Network, a brand consultancy that developed innovation strategies and new business models for clients such as Keurig Coffee and P&G. Following publication of his critically-acclaimed ‘Mad Dogs, Dreamers and Sages: Growth in the Age of Ideas’, Zades’ interdisciplinary approach was adopted  by several leading multi-national brands and international corporations. Through publication of articles such as ‘Creativity Regained’ and ‘Robert Redford’s Way with Words’ (both published by Inc. Magazine) and ‘Trade Wars’ (published by AdAge), Zades provided  fresh insights into the relationship between brand innovation and business leadership.

Zades holds undergraduate and MBA graduate degrees from of Columbia University, New York and currently holds dual executive professorships at Shanghai International College of Fashion and Innovation and Donghua University, China. Zades holds innovation masterclasses and leads creative workshops at institutions around the world, including  ESMOD (Paris), Ravensbourne College (London), Bunka Fashion College (Tokyo), Royal Academy of Fine Arts (Antwerp) and The Swedish School of Textiles.

Jeffery Eggert-Peluso
VP, Global Store Design
Jennifer Beesley
VP, Store & Brand Experience
The Michaels Companies Inc.
Aman Advani
Co-Founder & CEO
Ministry of Supply
Aman Advani is Co-Founder and President of Ministry of Supply, a menswear company focused on creating a new category of clothing: Performance Professional – through a collaboration between experienced engineers and seasoned fashion experts. Aman comes from Atlanta, GA where he studied Industrial Engineering at Georgia Tech, before pursuing a career in Operational Strategy consulting at Deloitte, and attending MIT’s Sloan School of Management.
Natalie Mackey

Natalie Mackey is a brand builder and serial entrepreneur. She began her career in finance, but soon became drawn to the idea of building companies. In 2010, she co- founded Mackey Morgan (now Crescala Development), which helped market fashion brands like Katie Ermilio, Prabal Gurung and Christian Siriano. It was during a licensing negotiation that she fell in love with the beauty business and also saw an incredible opportunity to create change. 

In 2015, she launched Glow Concept, a holding company set on disrupting the billion-dollar color industry. The portfolio brands, which include WINKY LUX, Beautiful Rights and Laqa and Co., launch products every 15-30 days. Combined, the brands sell to over 3000 retailers including ASOS, Sephora International, Glowhaus, Nordstrom, and Ulta. Winky Lux also launched a series of experience retail stores in key cities including NYC, Chicago, Atlanta & DC. 

“Our secret sauce is in our supply chain, we use technology to track trends and launch products every month. Our customers, both wholesale and retail, are counting on us to deliver newness and deliver it quickly (like the rainbow eyebrow palette). Our team starts every day by asking how we can delight the customer? How can we create some magic for her?” – Natalie Mackey. 

Zak Normandin
Founder & CEO
Iris Nova (Dirty Lemon, The Drug Store)

Zak Normandin is an award-winning entrepreneur disrupting the way businesses create, communicate and deliver consumer goods. He has over ten years of experience as a product designer in the food and beverage industry and is credited with branding more than 30 nationally-sold products. 

Zak has a unique understanding for the way people, brands and technology interact. As Founder and CEO of Iris Nova, the parent company of DIRTY LEMON and The Drug Store, he is reinventing the traditional CPG business model. Iris Nova utilizes a direct-to-consumer SMS-based ordering platform to bypass existing distribution inefficiencies and improve how consumers find and purchase beverages. Normandin is building the beverage company of the future, expanding and applying the proprietary platform to a portfolio of innovative beverage brands that meet the rapidly evolving preferences of the modern consumer.

Backed by A-List celebrities and business leaders alike, Iris Nova and its brand properties are recognized nationally by media outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Bloomberg and Vogue.

Mike Fogarty
Choice Market

Mike Fogarty is the Founder and CEO of Choice Market located in downtown Denver. Choice, which opened its first location in October 2017, is an omnichannel convenience store which combines the operating hours, transaction times, and store size of the traditional c-store with the product selection of a natural grocery and fast casual restaurant.  

Choice’s mission is to make good food accessible and convenient by locating its markets  in neighborhoods that currently have limited access to fresh food and produce.   

Choice will be launching a new format in the Fall of 2019 which will include frictionless checkout, super charging stations, fuel, bike share, scooter share and solar collection. 

Mike has been featured in The Wall St Journal, Bloomberg, Associated Press, and was recently nominated as a “Power 20” leader within the convenience store industry by CSP Magazine.

Lindsay Meyer

Lindsay Meyer is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Batch. As Batch’s CEO, she leads efforts to activate new shoppable spaces with curated home design concepts. A busy urban professional herself, Lindsay brings empathy and enthusiasm to helping her peers achieve an elevated modern aesthetic. A thought leader in the field of contextual commerce - the new practice of creating retail environments where products are placed in non-store spaces for more intimate interactions - Lindsay is passionate about discovering the best products across home furnishings, art, electronics, beauty, and food & beverages. 

Before Batch, Lindsay was the General Manager of Mission Statement, a luxury athleisure line started by Oscar-winning actress Hilary Swank. Lindsay’s experience with lifestyle-driven consumer commerce companies also includes time at One Kings Lane and Active Collective, a company she founded in 2014. Professionally, Lindsay is also known in Silicon Valley circles for her tenure as an Investment Analyst with venture capital fund Canaan Partners, and for her time as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence with Montage Ventures, from where Batch was conceived.

In June 2017, Lindsay shared her sexual harassment story with the NYTimes. She was subsequently invited to appear on primetime television in an interview with Megyn Kelly. TIME Magazine profiled Lindsay in their 2017 “Person of the Year” issue. Lindsay’s story has also appeared in Glamour, Fortune, USA Today, and more. 

Lindsay is an enthusiastic home chef, interior designer, party planner and the mother to a rescue dog named Ralphie. She takes cues from visiting new places and identifying new trends before they catch on. The perfect mix of Midwestern mentality and California cool, Lindsay received her undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame and has spent the last decade living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Mark Voysey
CEO & Yellow Jersey

Mark is a seasoned media strategy exec starting his career with MEC in London before moving to Switzerland as Media Director for UEFA on the The Champions League. He moved to NYC to start a sponsorship consultancy that morphed into TNSSport before founding Cunning Inc. a creative brand experiential shop. Using many of the learnings from his past he has applied the experiential aspect to his cycling passion to launch Roula with a mission: To make life easier for the traveling cyclist.

Brenda Morris
Board of Directors
Boot Barn, Duluth Trading and Asarasi Water
Brenda is an operationally focused board member and executive, with extensive experience as a CFO/COO in public and closely held companies including entrepreneurial start-ups, high-growth and mature organizations. Brenda has acquired deep experience in the areas of Strategy, M&A, FP&A, accounting and treasury functions, optimization, systems, financings and IPOs. An energetic and fun-loving executive who understands the business issues beyond the financials and focuses on leading by building relationships and collaborating at all levels. Brenda is a Partner at C Suite FP and and advisor to Boot Barn, Duluth Trading Company and Asarasi water as a member of their Board of Directors.
Chris Delusky
VP, Design & Construction

Chris Delusky is a credentialed program leader with over 20 years experience in international project delivery and design management for retail, restaurant, hospitality, and residential construction programs. As the VP of Construction & Design for Eataly, his team is responsible for driving the store design, budgeting, procurement, construction, and ongoing facility management for the entire North American expansion of Eataly USA’s portfolio, as well as the store remodeling program for Eataly USA’s 6 flagship stores. 

Brent Paulsen
Managing Director, Head of Retail
Sandra Andrews
Head of Marketing & Experience
Microsoft Stores

Sandra is a customer focused, results oriented, collaborative leader with entrepreneurial spirit. Nearly 20 years in the technology industry, Sandra has experience in business development, product management, customer experience, sales, visual merchandising and marketing. She is known for her ability to get stuff done, driving programs, products and opportunities from vision to launch to execution. Her strong track record is coupled with an uncanny ability to create win-win relationships building trust and developing partnerships that benefit all including the customer. Sandra is currently with Microsoft running Marketing & Experiences, focused on the end-to-end customer journey across Microsoft Direct. Her recent projects have her gaining expertise in eSports and Virtual Reality. Sandra is married with 4 children (11,9 and twin 2 year olds) and adores spending time with her family with a passion to capture the moment digitally (photography) to hold on to them.

Andrea Wasserman
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. 

Prior to this, Andrea was the CEO of Sole Society, the digitally-born footwear and accessories company that Nordstrom backed until Vince Camuto acquired the brand in 2016.  Earlier in her career, Andrea spent six years at Nordstrom in a number of progressively senior roles across private label and cosmetics strategy, multichannel organizational development, external partnerships, and women’s apparel merchandising.  While at Nordstrom, Andrea and the team she built re-launched and re-branded Nordstrom Weddings with an industry-leading multichannel business model, new approaches to technology and inventory, and partnerships with Etsy and Blue Nile. 

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.

Missy Sage
VP, Retail Operations
Hanes Brands

Missy Sage, Vice President of Retail Operations at Hanesbrands Inc, leads the US retail channel for the company. Responsible for all Hanes, Maidenform, and Champion outlets in the US, she oversees the execution and deliverability of the brick and mortar strategy. This includes the P&L, Real Estate Portfolio, Merchandise Assortment, Marketing, and Operations for more than 230 stores.

Sage is currently leading and guiding the organization through a transformation that includes driving traffic, improving the customer experience, elevating talent and refining the portfolio initiatives for all stores. 

An expert at metropolitan performance enhancement, market share growth, and developing high-performance teams; Missy is a leader with extensive experience inspiring sales growth, service standards and operational controls that align with brand values and culture across several sectors. 

Before joining Hanes Brands, Missy held executive positions at Under Armour, American Auto Association and Bank of America. 

Angela Gearhart
VP, Brand Experience
Sleep Number Corporation
Angela Gearhart is shaping Sleep Number’s future by leading the transformation of the brand and digital integration in retail stores and experiential marketing events nationwide.  Not only is she a retail leader, but a brand architect, leading significant transformation with strategic vision and executional excellence to build Sleep Number as a global, relevant technology brand. Sleep Number consistently ranks among the top 10 most productive retailers in the U.S.

Gearhart is also responsible for Sleep Number’s award-winning experiential marketing programs to extend the brand beyond the store to drive demand and increase awareness in 4000+ nationwide events, NFL sports partnership activations and innovation events, such as CES. 

Angela has been with Sleep Number for 17 years and previously held leadership positions with retail design agencies, specialty and big box retailers. As active thought leader in the retail industry, she serves on multiple boards and speaking engagements focused on experiential retail. 

Joan Cedrone
VP, Stores
Perry Ellis International
Michelle J Snyder
VP, Retail Marketing

Michelle Snyder leads Xfinity Retail Marketing driving  strategy and plan development for its growing portfolio of stores.  Marketing strategy is anchored in educating consumers on Xfinity’s retail transformation and offering consumers omni-channel shopping solutions.   This is brought to life through creative and message development, media, and holistic plans designed to drive awareness and demand generation.  She also is responsible for all in-store marketing inclusive of communications, events and workshops.

Snyder joined Comcast in 2015.  Prior to Comcast, she held a number of consumer marketing roles including Brand, Innovation, Customer Marketing, Shopper Marketing and Portfolio Marketing at PepsiCo, Chase, Burger King and Pizza Hut.  She earned a B.A at Penn State University and an MBA from Temple University.

Alyssa Reppenhagen
VP, Retail & Operations
L.K. Bennett, USA
Cameron Teedon
VP, Visual Merchandising
Jennifer Leavitt
VP, Marketing
Bellevue Collection

In her 30+ year career in marketing with Kemper Development Company Jennifer Leavitt has evolved the retail marketing landscape for The Bellevue Collection. As vice president of marketing, she has directed the branding, advertising, public relations and programmatic placemaking initiatives for The Bellevue Collection in Bellevue, Washington. This prestigious 5.5 million sq. ft. mixed-use property, owned and managed by the Kemper Freeman family and Kemper Development Company, is home to over 200 retailers, a Dining District of 80 Restaurants and food specialty tenants, three luxury hotel brands, two cinemas, entertainment venues, upscale residential and 1.7 million sq. ft. of Class A office space. 

Leavitt is responsible for executing the ownership/developer’s vision through programming guest experiences and marketing with traditional and new media tools for multiple assets in the Collection portfolio. Leavitt’s leadership and creativity has cultivated significant community-building through large-scale, iconic events, creating social, cultural and philanthropic opportunities. Award-winning regional events include Snowflake Lane, drawing over 400,000 guests over thirty days with a nightly outdoor holiday show recognized by both national and local media as a “must do” experience. Featuring falling snow, music, lights and over 250 costumed performers, Snowflake Lane is a strong competitive differentiator in the shopping center and destination travel space. Additionally, Leavitt has developed and executed strategic inbound tourism programs, creating a narrative for one of the top shopping/dining destinations in the Pacific Northwest. Her direction and vision for evolving the marketing initiative has contributed to the success of one of the top performing centers in the country. Leading a team of nine talented marketing professionals and strong vendor partners, Leavitt values innovative, creative collaboration and commitment to delivering memorable experiences. 

Andy Trainor
Senior Director, Walmart Academies

Andy Trainor is currently the Sr. Director, Walmart Academies. In this role, Andy and his team are responsible for the operation of the training academies which includes the training of our associates from the role of hourly supervisor through market manager, training our contact center associates, content development, academy certification audits, and establishing/maintaining the infrastructure necessary to manage the largest university in the United States. 

In his previous role, Andy spent 4 years as the Sr. Director for China Implementation for International Business Processes responsible for sharing and implementing Walmart global best practices within the China business. In this role, Andy and his team manage a locally based implementation team to work with the business in expanding the capabilities of the business functions within China through leverage and execution. 

Prior to this, Andy was responsible for the International Logistics Engineering team where he was responsible for establishing, developing, and working with the logistics engineers in 28 countries to improve productivity and processes within the logistics and transportation businesses. Prior to his international roles, Andy worked in the US logistics division where he worked on the Grocery Industrial Engineering team designing mechanized grocery distribution centers, developing process improvement projects, and managing a team of field industrial engineers. Before Walmart, Andy worked as the Industrial Engineering Manager for Fred’s Inc, a retail store chain based in Memphis Tennessee. 

Andy has 18 years with Walmart and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering from The University of Memphis and a Master’s Degree in Business from Webster’s University.

Heidi Isern
Senior Director, Customer Experience Innovation

Heidi leads a cross functional group of product managers, designers, data scientists, researchers and engineers to develop technology-enabled experiments focused on improving the customer’s retail experience. The team partners with leaders across Old Navy, Gap, Athleta, Hill City and Banana Republic. Before joining Gap Inc., Heidi spent years at the design firm IDEO and management consultancy Kurt Salmon, leading work for Fortune 500 and beauty brands across the globe.

Martin Granstrom
Senior Director, Head of Design
Sam’s Club

Martin Granstrom is the Head of Product Design at Sam’s Club, the 8th largest US retailer, serving more than 47 million members through 597 clubs in the US and more than 200 internationally. Martin and his team oversee the complete end-to-end experience for members and associates, from the club’s back room to the member’s living room—and all the interactions in between.

Martin has been a design leader for over 15 years. During his tenure, he has created and led complex and multi-faceted experience strategy & design teams, driving innovation projects for the IoT, AI and appliances and working on mobile products that are available in 80 languages and more than 224 countries--making life connected for the consumer globally. He holds patents for a system that allows multiple mobile devices to control the music playback of a lead device and for receiving user input on a graphical user interface. 

Throughout his career, Martin’s design philosophy has always been to deliver business benefits through customer engagement and delight. Simply put, it’s to ‘take it from business to buttons’.

Brian Landman
Senior Director, Visual Merchandising & Experience, North America
Foot Locker
Megan Bates
Senior Director, Real Estate

Megan Bates is the North American Senior Director of Real Estate at Tapestry, Inc.  She joined the Company in July 2017 when it acquired Kate Spade New York. She is responsible for half of Tapestry’s North America Portfolio and works across the Coach, Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman brands.  Prior to Tapestry Megan oversaw the Real Estate department at Kate Spade for five years. She supported Kate Spade’s growth through applying key internal metrics and industry data to drive a complimentary omni channel approach to the business. 

Prior to joining Kate Spade Megan led the Real Estate & Construction teams at Pret A Manger and was a member of the Senior Management team. Previous to Pret A Manger, she worked at CB Richard Ellis and was focused on the growth of Bank of America in the New York and Philadelphia markets.

Steve Freeman
Director, Product Management
Josh Shabtai
Director, Lab Productions, Lowe’s Innovation Labs
Lowe’s Companies Inc.

Josh Shabtai is Lowe’s Innovation Labs’ Director of Lab Productions and Operations. Drawing on past lives as videogame designer, start-up founder and advertising creative director, Josh leads a global team whose mission is to make the future real today: developing, testing and ultimately scaling LIL’s narrative-driven productions across the Lowe’s network. Through real-world applications, his team explores the outer edge of various technologies and use cases, including virtual reality-based education, retail computer vision; in-store robotics programs; assistive robotic exoskeletons; real-time manufacturing; and mixed reality design.

Josh has always been obsessed with fusing the digital and physical worlds in novel ways. Prior to joining Lowe’s Innovation Labs, he co-founded an augmented reality videogame studio, lm/nl, where he directed the best-selling AR title Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner for iOS; co-created the $100m+ selling toys-to-life platform Telepods; and transformed Band-Aid brand bandages into augmented reality Muppet shows with Band-Aid Magic Vision. He has previously served as creative director at IPG’s Media Lab and ad agency, JWT, and holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from Boston University.

Satya Takkallapally
Director of Technology Solutions

Satya Takkallapally is a Director of Technology Solutions for Starbucks. In this role, she is responsible for setting and delivering the strategic technology vision for Workforce Management products. Her team recently deployed a SaaS solution, including a BYOD component for front line employees,  which supports a multi-billion dollar spend across ~10,000 stores in the US and Canada.   

Prior to her current role, Satya has successfully led global supply chain and enterprise resource planning technology initiatives at Microsoft, Starbucks and Alcoa. These initiatives spanned the entire software development lifecycle in support of critical business functions.

Jaime Fabricant
Director, Store of The Future Innovation & Execution, PepsiCo Beverages

Jaime Fabricant has 20 years of Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) experience and has held a broad range of roles across Brand, Innovation, Digital, and Customer marketing.   Jaime is an innovator.  Her greatest strengths are connecting data, consumer insights, cultural trends, and people to deliver innovation.  She has a proven track record of successfully managing iconic brands and she has launched new products for PepsiCo, Kellogg’s, Campbell’s, Colgate, and Claritin. Jaime has been recognized with awards including Visionary of the Year, Women in Tech, Product of the Year, and Best Event Technology.  

Jaime is now the Director of the Store of the Future team at PepsiCo Beverages.  Building on her experience in product and experiential marketing innovation, Jaime now focuses on retail innovation.  She is helping PepsiCo explore the evolution of the retail landscape, so they can best partner with retailers to drive the future of the beverage shopping experience.  Jaime believes in the power of collaboration, with both established and entrepreneurial creators, to co-create disruptive and never-been-done-before in-store experiences at consumers’ moment of choice with PepsiCo’s wide variety of beverage brands.

Jaime is based in New York City and holds a Bachelor’s degree from Muhlenberg College and an MBA from Fordham University Gabelli School of Business.

Tara Maffeo
Director, Retail Operations, Field Engagement

Tara Maffeo oversees field engagement for Sephora’s US fleet as Director, Retail Operations. Responsible for all communication, supporting platforms, and live conference moments, Tara engages over 15,000 employees with creative and effective content. Prior to her time at Sephora, Tara led store technology, training, and operations as the Director of Store Innovation at Gymboree. When it’s time to relax, you’ll find Tara caring for her many animals which include a dog, cat, two rabbits, and even a horse.

Monica Scholes
Director, Retail

Monica Scholes is the Director of Retail at ModCloth, a digitally native women’s clothing retailer that is currently expanding offline. Monica is responsible for all aspects of the retail experience for ModCloth, which is rapidly growing as the brand dives into brick and mortar spaces. 

Monica has over 12 years of retail experience between her time with Tory Burch, Margaret O'Leary, and ModCloth. She lives in San Francisco, CA with her fiance where she enjoys spending time in water in the summer, and snow in the winter. Monica frequently retreats to Portland, OR to spend time with her family. 

Kimberley Yaeger
Director, Global Retail Experience & Design

As Director of Global Brand Retail Experience at Sonos, Kimberly is responsible for leading a team to develop and deliver store environments and marketing initiatives (Retail Communications and Visual Merchandising) across all wholesale retail and owned stores.

Alice Ann Wilson
Creative Director
Fred Segal
Jennifer Matanin
Director, Retail Operations
Cole Haan
Jennifer Matanin currently serves as Director of North American Retail Operations for Cole Haan. Her oversight responsibilities include, field operations, policy & procedure, training & development, communications & workload, store controls/loss prevention, and all field omnichannel initiatives.  

In her role, Jennifer challenges her teams to lead and execute with a focus on collaboration and positive impact for the retail field and organization.  Her passion for creating and optimizing process to enhance the internal and external consumer experience originates from more than twenty-five years of retail practice. 

Prior to Cole Haan, Jennifer held the Director of Operations role at Alex and Ani.  She began her career in stores and has held field leadership positions with White House Black Market, Ann Taylor Loft and Limited Brands. 

In her free time, Jennifer enjoys sharing time with her family and actively supporting The Girl Scouts of Central Maryland and Moveable Feast, an organization focused on ensuring nutritious meals are available for those with life-threatening conditions.

Katie Whyde
Director, Visual Merchandising

Katie Whyde leads the Visual merchandising strategy, design and implementation at Evereve. She is responsible for developing the in-store experience and customer journey, creative strategy, visual communication and marketing integration for all Evereve boutique locations. Utilizing a cross functional approach, she ensures all visual concepts are properly aligned with the brand’s future growth strategies. 

Katie holds a Bachelors of Fine Art degree from the University of Dayton, with a background in Studio Arts.

Prior to her role at Evereve, Katie has worked across many channels of retail and wholesale including design projects for clients such as Wrigley, Wendy’s, Target, Office Depot and Scotts Miracle Gro as well as leading visual teams for Briggs & Riley Travelware and Chico’s FAS. 

Kari Ihle
Director, Environmental Design, Planning and Maintenance

Kari Ihle is the Director of Environmental Design, Planning and Maintenance at Evereve Inc., leading her team to create a seamless guest experience across all Evereve boutique locations and to develop strategies to better serve the in-store teams so they can focus on providing a world class customer experience.

Kari holds a Master’s in Design from the University of Minnesota and received her Bachelor’s from Iowa State University in Interior Design.

Prior to her role at Evereve, Kari has lead design initiatives and new concept development for Best Buy, Aveda, eq-life, Geek Squad, University of Iowa, Henry Ford Health System, Spectrum Health, The M.I.N.D Institute at UC Davis and worked at two of the top architecture firms in Minneapolis. 

Duncan Blair
Director, Marketing
Duncan is the director of marketing at Article, an original modern furniture brand that is re-engineering the shopping experience. There he leads a team that has helped introduce more than a hundred thousand people across the U.S. and Canada to a remarkably better way to buy furniture. With extensive experience working with both high-growth startups and established brands, Duncan oversees the company’s customer acquisition and retention initiatives, communications and growth strategies.
Trisha Yamaguchi
Senior Manager, Retail Operations

Trisha Yamaguchi has spent 12 amazing years with Sephora both in the field and at the corporate office. Currently, Trisha’s team leads strategic initiatives within Retail Operations (Returns, Cashwrap Optimization, and Credit Card to name a few) and supports the change management and store execution for other departments projects and initiatives.

Jennifer Weeden
Senior Manager Retail Operations
Cole Haan

Jennifer Weeden joined Cole Haan in 2014 overseeing all labor & workload for the North American Field.  She increased scope of responsibility in 2015 and is now a Senior Retail Operations Manager planning all aspects of communications and workload.  Jennifer works closely with field leadership to ensure store labor is optimized to drive in-store metrics, top line sales and deliver an exceptional consumer experience. 

Prior to Cole Haan, Jennifer spent 12 years at Lindt & Sprüngli USA, originally within the wholesale channel.  In 2008 she found her passion and transitioned to the retail channel.

Jennifer earned a Master’s in Business Administration at Southern New Hampshire University.

Brandon Critchlow
Senior Manager Retail Operations
Cole Haan

Brandon Critchlow is a Sr. Manager of Retail Operations, Omnichannel.  He is responsible for field execution and corporate strategy for Cole Haan’s EOM (Enterprise Order Management) business practices.  His team recently activated the most current phase on their omnichannel roadmap, digital order fulfillment from store sites.  This initiative continues to disrupt the traditional interpretations of “right product, right place, right time” to meet consumer demand.  

Brandon holds a Bachelors of Science degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology - SUNY in Merchandise Management and Economics.

Prior to Cole Haan, he worked for Gap Inc. and Joe Fresh (U.S.) directing, complex, high volume flagship locations in the Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York City markets. 

Gillian Grefe
Senior Manager of Brand

 With a background in design, Gillian quickly realized her interest in directing creatives alongside a foundational, unique strategy to help start-ups succeed. Between her strategy and production positions with General Mills, Little Duck Organics, Red Antler, and her own consulting firm, Gillian has contributed to the successful launch of 25+ products and brands including Casper, Rocksbox, Larabar, Sugarpova, Banza and more. Today, Gillian leads the brand at Havenly, strategizing, creating and curating ownable digital and physical content, experiences and partnerships to showcase Havenly as a leader in the home decor space.

Scott Jacobson
Managing Director
Madrona Venture Group

Scott joined Madrona in 2007. “I was attracted to Madrona because of the firm’s partnership approach to investing. As an early-stage investor, we are truly rolling up our sleeves and partnering with the entrepreneurs we back on a day-to-day basis. We really do invest a lot of ourselves in our companies.” Scott is particularly interested in consumer apps and devices, all things e-commerce, digital media and mobile technologies that present opportunities for major disruption of large, established markets. Prior to joining Madrona, Scott worked at Amazon.com, where he held senior product and business management positions in the Amazon Kindle and Amazon Marketplace groups. He led several key initiatives, including the international rollout of Amazon’s Merchants@ platform. Earlier in his career, Scott was a Senior Consultant in Accenture’s strategy consulting practice, where he worked with clients in enterprise software, retail, and energy sectors.

Sonia Nagar
Pritzker Group Venture Capital

Sonia joined Pritzker Group Venture Capital in 2016. She is responsible for sourcing, diligence and oversight for the firm’s investments in consumer and emerging technologies. Most recently, Sonia was vice president of product and head of mobile apps for RetailMeNot (NASDAQ: SALE), responsible for cross-platform strategy and leading an app redesign that earned a 2015 People’s Voice Webby Award for Best Shopping App. Sonia joined RetailMeNot in 2014 following its acquisition of Pickie, the venture-backed mobile shopping start-up she co-founded in 2011. Prior to Pickie, Sonia was a senior associate for Booz & Company leading post-merger integration and growth strategy projects for digital media and retail clients. Previously she worked in product management, investment banking, and engineering roles with Amazon, Goldman Sachs and General Motors. Sonia is on the board of directors of Interior Define, Sittercity, Curiosity.com and led Pritzker Group’s investments in Wander Beauty and Maisonette.

Damir Becirovic
Index Ventures

Damir joined Index in 2015 and focuses on venture investments in consumer internet companies. He is particularly interested in companies that are pursuing opportunities around the rise of digital commerce and the reshaping of the labor force. Prior to Index, Damir was at Goldman Sachs, where he worked on M&A and capital markets transactions for consumer / retail, healthcare, and cleantech companies, and at Coatue, where he was involved with the firm's investments in Lyft and Avvo. Damir has also worked at Activision Blizzard, Apple and Flextronics.

Damir graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern California with a B.S. in Business Administration. He currently lives in San Francisco and can be found on a soccer field in his spare time.

Robin Li
GGV Capital

Robin Li is based in New York and focuses on investments in consumer, new retail  and urban technology for GGV Capital.   She serves on the board of directors for Bustle Digital Group, Glow Concept, Lively, and is an Observer or is actively involved with Bowery Farming, Boxed, Ibotta, Fucntion of Beauty, Poshmark, Slice, The Mighty, Wheelwell, Yamibuy and Yellow. Robin created EvolvingE, a highly active community of top entrepreneurs and executives in the ecommerce, retail and consumer goods sectors that connect at the EvolvingE annual summit and at events around the country. Prior to joining GGV, Robin worked at Flextronics' Venture Arm covering hardware and technology investments. Before venture capital, she spent three years at Teach For America as a teacher and administrator. Robin holds a BA in Art History from the University of Florence, BA in Economics and Art History from Rutgers, MS in Special Education from Hunter College and a MBA from The University of Chicago.

Joanna O’Sullivan
Samantha C. Smith
Founder & CEO

Sam Smith is the founder and CEO of Vishion, a mobile application that enables professional designers and design enthusiasts to search for decor and household goods by color, as well as ideate and organize home plans through the exploration of color.

Jennifer Braunschweiger
VP of Brand Marketing
MM LaFleur

Jennifer Braunschweiger is the Vice President, Brand Marketing for MM.LaFleur, a clothing and styling company for professional women. Her expertise is in digital storytelling and thought leadership about issues of interest to women in the workplace. Previously, she was Content Director at Meredith, where she ran a large-scale content program for a Fortune 100 client. In addition, she served as Executive Editor, Special Projects, for More magazine, where she managed partnerships, oversaw social media, and directed all fashion, finance and entrepreneurship coverage. She has presented at such events as the Pennsylvania Governor’s Conference, and appeared on the Today Show, MSNBC, CBS News and the CBS Early Show, among others. She usually pairs her MM with either bright colors or metallics—in an office-appropriate way, of course.     

Mindy McNeely
Market Sr. Director
Best Buy
Tom Narr
Director Retail Operations
Best Buy
Kristin Schoenstein
Portfolio Director
Future Stores

Kristin Schoenstein has been a Program Director with Worldwide Business Research since 2010 and has been producing events since 2004. She currently specializes in the retail and eCommerce sector where she heads up the Future Stores portfolio and eTail East. She also successfully launched and grew WBR’s customer experience portfolio. In her role, she is responsible for market research, content creation and speaker faculty management for each event. Prior to WBR, she produced events in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sector and got her start organizing educational programming for physicians. In her free time, Kristin heads out to the East end of Long Island where she enjoys fishing, boating and days at the beach with her husband and two daughters.

Koko Alexandre
Director, New Business
Karen Bomber
Director of Retail Strategy

Karen Bomber is the director of Retail Strategy at Honeywell. In her role, she leads the strategic direction of Honeywell’s In-Store Connected Retail Solutions Portfolio, helping to improve productivity by leveraging technology for retailers across the globe.

She has more than 20 years of experience in the retail industry. Prior to Honeywell, Bomber served as director of product marketing at InVue and in various leadership roles at Sensormatic and Tyco. She holds several patents in the AIDC, RFID and retail technologies.

Bomber received her bachelor’s degree in packaging science from Clemson University.

Paul Bradley
Head of Product
Curtis Cambell
Senior Marketing Manager
Jeff Carr
Jordan Ekers
Co-Founder & Chief Customer Officer
Nudge Rewards
Known as one of Canada’s leading entrepreneurs, Jordan has worked with many of North America’s most prominent retail and foodservice brands to transform associate engagement, frontline performance, and the in-store experience. Ekers co-founded Nudge Rewards with the mission to help brands with the most critical part of their delivery: the human interaction between frontline staff and customers.
Tom Erskine
CMO/SVP Product
One Door
Bobbi Frioli
VP Sales North America

Bobbi Frioli a global B2B sales leader who builds over-achieving SaaS sales teams and produces results by leveraging sales, operations and technical expertise. Her managed experience has lifted sales teams to revenues ranging from $3M to $73M. 

Ned Gammell
VP, North America

Ned is the VP of North America for Concrete Platform.

Ned has worked with some of the worlds largest and most innovative brands for over 10 years, helping them to leverage best in breed ‘collaborative’ technology to connect their employees and partners around the world. Previously part of the original start up team at UK tech company, Huddle Inc, Ned joined Concrete Platform in 2011 to help scale their operations both in Europe and the US. Since moving to New York to open Concrete’s US office in 2014, Ned is responsible for all US operations, which is now the dominant and fastest growing market for Concrete. He is proud to work with a number of America’s most exciting retail brands such as L’Oréal, Kate Spade & Co., Tory Burch, Calvin Klein, Tiffany & Co., and many more.

Outside of work, Ned is passionate about surfing, motorbikes, theatre and music.

James Greene
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.

Scott Langdoc
SVP and Practice Lead

Scott Langdoc has 28 years of management and technology experience, including as a retail and hospitality IT executive, store systems vendor technology leader, industry strategy consultant, and global market research analyst.  Scott has held retail and non-retail CIO positions, including Raley’s Supermarkets, PDQuick, and USCS International.  He was CTO at retail vendors Fujitsu Retail and ParTech, Inc.  He ran the retail industry practices at AMR Research (acquired by Gartner) and founded both IDC’s global retail practice and the strategic consultancy firm RetailCENTRIC.  He specializes in strategic planning, cloud transitions, N-channel technology architectures, customer-facing systems, food safety, and consumer engagement.

JoAnn Martin
VP, Industry Strategies

JoAnn Martin brings 20+ years of retail, merchandising and supply chain expertise to JDA as vice president, retail industry strategy. In this role, she counsels global retailers on industry-leading best practices and technology advancements and collaborates with JDA’s product development and innovation teams to align on addressing the challenges of today’s retailers. 

Prior to JDA, JoAnn was senior leader at the Luxottica Group but spent most of her career at Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW), where she was vice president of planning and merchandise operations. She has deep expertise in softlines and JDA solutions in that vertical. JoAnn’s has led many transformative system implementations throughout her career.  Her expertise covers retail strategy, omni-channel, digital commerce, merchandise financial planning, assortment planning and change management.

JoAnn is a graduate of Miami University, where she received her Bachelors of Arts degree in Finance and Marketing.

Alex Otañez

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.

Bob Paulsen
Co-founder & CEO

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.

Matthew Sebek
VP, Digital
World Wide Technology (WWT)

Matt helps companies dream and develop delightful digital experiences through creative thinking, human-centered design, and industry thought-leadership.  As a Computer Scientist that cut his teeth in B2C retail, he has a unique ability to understand Business objectives and eliminate the downstream challenges that exist in enterprise IT. Matt leads the strategic vision of WWT Digital and leads high touch, B2C customer accounts such as Panera, Papa John’s Pizza, Wegmans, Lowe’s & Little Caesars.

Kevin Swanwick
Senior Director, Retail Solutions
Manhattan Associates, Inc.
Kevin Swanwick has 30 years of experience in the retail technology and store systems sector, spanning multiple generations of technology and nearly all aspects of software sales, marketing, design and delivery. Kevin is currently senior director of retail solutions at Manhattan Associates, where he oversees stores systems and helps clients address today’s omni-channel retail challenges.
Chris Taylor
Founder & CEO
Square Root
Chris Taylor is Founder and CEO of Square Root, an Austin-based SaaS company whose store relationship management platform, CoEFFICIENT, helps leading auto and retail enterprises leverage data science to align their organizations, increase transparency, encourage collaboration and improve store performance.

Craig Witsoe has been the Chief Executive Officer of Elo since 2012.  Prior to Elo, Mr. Witsoe led efforts in various aspects of retail technology for over 20 years, with global experience in digital displays and retail commercial lighting.

Building on Elo’s 40 years of touchscreen innovation and over 20 million global installations, Craig has led Elo’s latest generation of innovation focused on bridging the physical store and on-line shopping experience. Elo is making in-store e-commerce a reality with its industry leading commercial touchscreens, cloud-based Eloview content delivery software, and EMV payment integration.  Elo has also modernized the world of interactive POS technology with its aesthetically pleasing, yet durable, new systems.        

Working with some of the largest retailers around the world, Craig is in a unique position to see the best in-store digital interactive experiences, approaches to in-store on-line shopping and, more importantly, what retail will look like in the coming years.

Learn more about Craig and connect with him on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/craigwitsoe

Saira Zia
VP, Global Retail Excellence

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