Thank you to all of our 2016 speakers
Vice President, Strategy & Insights, Profitero
Keith Anderson is Vice President, Strategy & Insights, for Profitero, a VC-backed global provider of ecommerce intelligence for retailers and brands.
An industry analyst and trusted advisor for global retailers and brand owners, Keith's insights on technology and retail have been featured in the Financial Times, Re/Code, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, Shopper Marketing Magazine and more.
He has been a featured speaker at events hosted by the Retail Council of Canada, Food & Consumer Products of Canada, Canadian Office Products Association, Shopper Marketing Expo, and other retail, technology, and media events.
Partner and VP Strategic Alliances, Mirego
Simon Audet has over 15 years’ experience in the high-tech sector and in digital product development. Prior to founding Mirego, he worked as a software developer and architect at various word-class companies, including Taleo and Copernic.
At Mirego, Simon supports clients in seizing the numerous opportunities mobile can bring to their industry. He led the digital revolution of many Mirego retail partners such as Rona, Aldo and Sobeys-IGA.
Managing Partner, Retail and Consumer Goods Practice, Oliver Wyman Germany
James Bacos is Managing Partner of the Retail and Consumer Goods Practice of Oliver Wyman globally. In a career spanning almost three decades, he has advised the leaders of many of the world's largest consumer-driven organizations on strategy, as well as operational and organizational excellence. James has an undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of Lund, Sweden and an M.Sc. from the Sloan School at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. James is a frequent speaker on the topic of disruptive change. He is based in Munich, Germany.
President, Stitch It Clothing Alterations
Jennifer Baird, president of Stitch It Clothing Alterations, heads the only national alterations company in North America. Jennifer and the entire team at Stitch It are committed to their ethos to make people look and feel great in their clothes!
Jennifer’s professional career with Stitch It began as a part time associate in London, Ontario, where she worked while finishing her degree at King’s College University. Following graduation, she began working her way through the company ranks and assumed the role of Director of Operations in 2009, which was a direct result of the energy and enthusiasm she invested into Stitch It. In June of 2012, Jennifer was appointed president, following in the footsteps of her father and founder of Stitch It, Alain Baird. Growing up in her family business, Stitch It has always been part of her life and she is now leading the company into the its next phase of successful growth.
Residing in Hamilton, Jennifer is actively involved in her community. She was a founding member of both CLIC (a young professionals group created for the Art Gallery of Hamilton) and FUSE (a young professionals group created for the Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation).
VP Technology, Loblaws Digital
Raif currently heads up technology at Loblaw Digital - the team responsible for digital and e-commerce at Canada's largest retailer. Prior to Loblaw, he spent his career as founder or CTO of venture backed startups in Silicon Valley and Toronto, 3 of which were acquired and 2 reached millions of users. He also had a tenure at a seed-stage VC firm in San Francisco where he cut his teeth on the startup ecosystem. He holds an MBA from UC Berkeley, and B.Sc. in Computer Science & Mathematics from Queen's University.
Vice President, Corporate Merchandise, Sales and Marketing, Nine West Canada
Rick Bettencourt is Vice President, Corporate Merchandise, Sales and Marketing for Nine West Canada. Operating as chief merchant, he strategically leads the recently acquired company through organizational changes, while retaining talent and driving results with a positive outlook.
An industry senior executive with a twenty-year track record of successful strategic and tactical leadership within the fashion industry. Rick leads five divisions for Nine West Canada, including E-Commerce and is responsible for driving positive sales growth through diverse product assortments and comprehensive marketing campaigns. Prior to NWC, Rick founded The Academy Showroom Inc. and held several senior roles with luxury fashion retailer Holt Renfrew.
Manager, Digital Communications, Sobeys Québec
Judith Blackburn joined Sobeys Québec in November 2015 as Manager of Digital Communications, responsible for digital strategies and activities for the Québec division. Since joining the team, she has worked on the launch of the new IGA mobile application in partnership with the Mirego agency.
Judith has 15 years of experience in the digital marketing world, starting as a web developer in 2001 and now managing a team of passionate e-commerce experts, social and content specialists, and email marketers.
Prior to Sobeys, Judith worked at Reitmans Inc as an e-commerce specialist for the Addition Elle banner where she worked closely with the marketing team to deliver successful digital campaigns. She also worked at Cirque du Soleil for 9 years managing digital marketing projects that included the launch of touring shows, corporate websites, marketing campaigns, and more.
President and CEO, Retail Council of Canada
Diane J. Brisebois, CAE, is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Retail Council of Canada (RCC). She oversees the largest retail association in Canada serving over 45,000 retail establishments including independent merchants, chain stores, mass merchants, big box and online retailers. RCC’s membership covers all segments of the retail market including general merchandise, grocery and pharmacy.
Diane joined RCC as its President and CEO in January 1995. Diane has held CEO positions in the not-for-profit sector representing various industries for the past 35 years.
Diane has and continues to serve on a variety of Boards across North America.
Ms. Brisebois is Immediate Past Chair of the Fair Factory Clearinghouse (FFC), an organization established to enable collaboration between vendors and retailers in assessing and improving workplace conditions globally.
Ms. Brisebois is also the Immediate Past Chair and a member of the Executive Committee of the Forum of International Retail Association Executives (FIRAE) which represents retail associations from more than 30 countries brought together to collaborate on issues affecting the retail sector globally.
Ms. Brisebois also served for many years on the Board of Covenant House Toronto, on the Board and as Chairman of the Traffic Injury Research Foundation and on the Board and as Chairman of the Canadian Society of Association Executives.
She currently serves on:
Ms. Brisebois is a native of Montreal, Quebec and now resides in Toronto, Ontario.
Executive Director, Fashion, Prestige Beauty, and Solutions,The NPD Group
Rick Brown leads The NPD Group’s Fashion and Beauty practices in Canada and also oversees the company’s growing portfolio of customized Solutions services. He joined NPD in 2007 and brings with him 12 years of market research experience. Rick offers NPD’s clients innovative and tailored approaches that provide actionable insights to resolve business issues and identify market opportunities. Rick holds a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Toronto.
CEO and Co-Founder, Reshift Media
Steve Buors is a leading authority on digital marketing for multi-location businesses. He works with national and international brands to develop inventive strategies using existing and emerging technologies to find new customers, increase sales, and combine the best of national brand strength with local relevance.
Steve is CEO and co-founder of Reshift Media, a full-service digital agency that specializes in developing and implementing industry-leading social media, search and website/mobile strategies to enable brands to achieve tangible business results. Reshift Media often collaborates with other advertising agencies to develop, implement and manage digital strategies that amplify existing media campaigns.
Prior to co-founding Reshift Media, Steve was a senior executive in the news media sector where he led teams responsible for bringing numerous digital innovations to market. An early adopter of new technologies, Steve was at the forefront of the industry during the birth and rapid growth of search, social media and of course, mobile. Anticipating the radical impact mobile content consumption would have on the media industry, Steve and his team were the first news organization in Canada to launch on both the iPhone and iPad during the early days of mobile news and video consumption.
As a senior executive, entrepreneur and thought leader in the digital marketing industry, Steve has spoken at a variety of events, hosted many webinars and actively contributes to a number of blogs. Steve has lived and worked in Manitoba, Alberta and Ontario during his varied career. He currently lives in Toronto with his lovely wife and three children. He has served on several volunteer boards including the YMCA, Digital Alberta and OARC, a resource for the hearing impaired.
Partner, A.T. Kearney Consumer and Retail Practice
Randy Burt is a Partner in the Consumer and Retail Practice at A.T. Kearney, a global management consulting firm with 61 offices in over 40 countries. He has over 17 years of industry and consulting experience focused on food retailing, food manufacturing, and consumer packaged goods (CPG). Randy’s work with food retailers and CPG manufacturers focuses on retail and channel strategy, merchandising and trade promotion optimization, supply chain, procurement, and ecommerce. He is a regular speaker and author on food, online grocery, and analytics. Randy also spent five years with the Nielsen Company leading consumer market research functions.
Vice President, Digital, Canadian Tire Corporation
Warren Cable is the Vice President, Digital at Canadian Tire Corporation. His responsibilities cover a wide portfolio of digital touch-points including Digital Marketing (Social Media, Search, Digital Advertising), Mobile strategy and product ownership, CanadianTire.ca and user experience, Digital content production and content management, and Canadian Tire’s in-store digital initiatives.
Prior to joining Canadian Tire, Warren led the teams responsible for Merchandising and Content Management globally for Kobo Inc. and has also held senior leadership roles with responsibility for eCommerce and Digital with retailers Toys’R’Us and Chapters.
President and CEO, BBDO Canada
Over his career Dom has garnered 3 Agency of Year titles and more than 10 Gold Cassies awards for effectiveness. But the numbers he values most are how employees rate the agency itself. Dom understands it’s a talent business. That’s why his focus is to create the environment that attracts, retains and inspires the best people to work at BBDO.
Dom returns to BBDO after 4 years at Leo Burnett where he helped the agency significantly grow and consistently rank amongst the top agencies in Canada for creativity, effectiveness and employee engagement.
Dom brings an uncommon background to his role at BBDO --- he’s come through the ranks as a strategic planner. While the nature of communications continues to evolve, Dom believes that today, more than ever, insight and strategy is the crucial foundation for outstanding creative work.
Most people don’t think about how well they’d do if an actual zombie apocalypse ever happened. Dom does. He thinks he’d do ok.
Sr. Director of Digital Marketing, Walmart
Drew leads the Walmart Media Group Canada, the country’s largest shopper intent driven advertising platform.
Prior to launching Walmart Media Group, Drew was the Senior Director of Digital Marketing and Customer Acquisition for Walmart Canada with a broad portfolio including digital signage, mobile advertising and customer acquisition through search, display, affiliates and e-mail marketing.
Over the past six years, Drew has held increasingly senior positions at Walmart overseeing the development of a shopper marketing platform, creating an in-house digital strategy and buying group, and playing an instrumental role in the launch of the company’s e-commerce website, walmart.ca. In 2013, Marketing Magazine recognized Drew as one of Marketing Magazine’s Top 30 Under 30.
Previous to joining Walmart, Drew helped develop ad monetization platforms and new consumer experiences at MySpace Canada and JumpTV Inc.
VP of Retail, Instacart
Vishwa Chandra is a member of the executive team at Instacart currently serving as VP of Retail. In this role, Vishwa is responsible for partnering with new retailers on the platform and working with our 100+ retailers to expand into new markets and grow sales. Prior to Instacart, Vishwa was a partner with A.T. Kearney where over 12 years he worked with leading retailers and consumer products companies with a focus on Merchandising and Supply Chain Operations.
Head of Retail Merchant Sales and Solutions, Visa Canada
Marina Chernyak leads the Retail and Ecommerce verticals at Visa – Canada’s leading payment brand. Marina serves as the face of Visa to many top merchants in Canada, with responsibility for building relationships and partnerships while driving Visa’s digital agenda with the continued convergence of eCommerce and mobile technologies in Canada. Prior to her current role, Marina led the partnership marketing team at Visa including the merchant activation for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. Marina also held roles in acceptance strategy and market development. Before joining Visa, Marina worked in Corporate Communications and Corporate Marketing at Bank of Montreal.
Senior Vice-President, Human-centered Innovation, Leger
Scott is a senior member of Leger Marketing’s consulting team, providing high-level strategic advice and client services. With 20 years of experience in marketing research and advertising, he brings an extensive North American experience advising and managing projects for consumer electronics and retail clients. Scott currently serves in an advisor role to Leger’s Consumer Insights team and its clients. In the past, Scott has been involved with the Marketing Magazine’s Working Knowledge sessions and the Innovation Summit held at Schulich School of Business as well as being the local spokesperson for the Consumer's Choice Award, an award given to local businesses for business excellence.
Founder and CEO, Lightspeed
Founder, Never Apart
Dax Dasilva is the creative mind behind Lightspeed's suite of retail, hospitality and eCommerce tools. Seeing the technological evolution of how people live, work and shop, and the need in the market for cloud-based business platforms, he was ahead of the curve when he launched Lightspeed in 2005.
Under Dax's leadership, Lightspeed provides industry-leading omnichannel commerce tools that enable more than 36,000 small and medium-sized businesses worldwide to thrive. His vision of blending the best of the digital and physical worlds continues to guide the company today.
In 2015, Dax also founded Never Apart, a non-profit organization that brings about social change and spiritual awareness through cultural programming.
CEO, Home Hardware Stores Limited
Terry Davis is presently Chief Executive Officer at Home Hardware Stores Limited, the company where he has been happily employed and challenged in various roles since starting as a warehouse worker in 1970.
Home Hardware has over 1,000 stores in every corner of the country , with retail sales of $5.8 billion , served by four regional Distribution Centres.
In 2012 Terry was featured on the Season 2 premiere episode of Undercover Boss Canada , an experience that he enjoyed immensely. Terry and his wife Anne reside in Fergus , Ontario ; they have two daughters and two grandchildren.
Customer Intelligence Lead, SAS Canada
Monique Duquette is the Customer Intelligence Practice Lead for SAS Canada. In this role, Monique bridges her inner creative, with her passion for marketing and her inner 'geek' to help marketing organizations elevate their marketing with decisiveness and agility.
With over a decade of experience in the design and delivery of integrated marketing systems, Monique brings world-class talent and expertise at mapping marketing technology to address the inherent challenges in brand planning, managing marketing financials, creative development and agency collaboration. Monique has consulted with some of the world’s leading brands such as Bank of America, Kraft Foods & Mondelez, P&G, Warner Bros., and Viacom in the areas of integrated marketing management, marketing operations management and digital asset management.
Prior to consulting, Monique held several marketing roles where she experienced first-hand, the pain of everyday marketers struggling to gain real-time insights into their business, while striving to achieve the levels of accountability required of the modern marketer. It is her background in the 'trenches' that fires her passion for helping marketers break-free from the confines of manual management, leverage technology the right way and help them extract value from their technology investments.
A frequent speaker and guest lecturer, Monique offers a style that is refreshing, intelligent, creative and grounded in reality.
Vice President, Retail, The Body Shop
Laine Ferguson's retail career is emblematic of having done it all from the ground up. She began on the shop floor while still a teenager. From there, she transitioned to assistant manager then manager of a store. Then, she segued into advertising at the pioneering retail firm, Saffer, Cravit & Freedman. One notable client was the venerable retail chain formerly known as Dylex. Laine jumped to the client side where she managed the marketing for Big Steel. After which, Laine had stints with Loomis & Toles, The Printing House and Estée Lauder—each came with increasing levels of responsibility and accountability—before coming to work for The Body Shop. Her career at The Body Shop has been personally and professionally transformational and included a 5-year stint at the global HQ in Littlehampton, UK. While in the UK and since returning to Canada, Laine has been responsible for aiding in the revitalization of both markets. She has also been hands-on in the shop refit and the overall transformation of the business, enlivening the brand. A consummate professional and a recognized 'people' person, Laine has been viewed as a mentor, an ally and a fair but tough boss invoking high standards of professionalism. Currently, Vice-President, Retail Business Development at The Body Shop, Laine continues to apply energy, skills and experience to each and every task at hand.
Executive Vice President and CMO, goeasy Ltd.
Andrea Fiederer is Executive Vice President and CMO of goeasy Ltd., a company that helps improve the lives of everyday Canadians through its lease-to-own business unit, easyhome, and through its alternative financial services business unit, easyfinanical, which offers personal loans. Andrea’s background includes a broad range of business experience acquired in both management consulting having worked at BearingPoint, and through a variety of marketing roles that span the past 15 years. Over that time, Andrea has held progressively senior roles at some of Canada’s top organizations including TELUS, XM Satellite Radio and more recently Mobilicity. Andrea has a passion for the customer and developing great brands and innovative marketing campaigns while leading teams to do amazing things. In addition to Andrea’s Executive leadership role, she is also responsible for founding goeasy’s Women in Leadership program designed to help grow and develop female talent within the organization through mentorship, learning and support. Andrea holds a Master of Business Degree from the Schulich School of Business and a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from McGill University.
Executive Vice President, Theatro Labs
Often the man behind the scenes, Patrick is in incredibly valuable member of our founding team thanks to his knack for bringing a sense of order to chaos. Driven by his passion to “organize the world”, Patrick is responsible for Marketing, Customer Support, and various aspects of our Operations functions.
Patrick has over 15 years of broad experience in various high tech fields including Telecom, Data Networking and Cloud Computing. Patrick has held a variety of sales, operations and marketing leadership roles for established as well as start-up companies including Metaswitch, AppTrigger, Siemens, Efficient Networks and Compaq. Patrick holds a BS in Political Science from the University of North Texas.
Chief Operating Officer, Loblaw Companies Ltd.
Grant Froese is Chief Operating Officer for Loblaw Companies Limited, since July 2014.
In his role, Grant is responsible for the operating performance of the Market, Discount and Emerging Business divisions, as well as the division support functions of Control Brands, Home and General Merchandise, e-Commerce, Off-Shore Procurement, Quality Assurance and Loss Prevention. Grant’s primary focus is on maintaining trading stability across the Company’s food businesses.
Grant joined Loblaw in 1978 as a store colleague, and has become a proven merchant and operator with a strong record of delivering results. He has held various category and leadership positions within the organization, including Chief Administrative Officer; EVP, Western Market; EVP, Merchandising; and EVP, Discount Division.
Grant studied Business Management at the University of Calgary.
Chief Marketing Officer, Groupe Dynamite
Nicolas Gaudreau is the Chief Marketing Officer at Groupe Dynamite, overseeing the growth of both Dynamite and Garage banners. His overarching focus is to implement a customer-centric omni-channel strategy.
Nicolas is a Canadian digital executive, entrepreneur and lecturer, known for his track record for driving digital transformations. His past professional experiences include Sympatico, Bell and Yellow Pages. Gaudreau holds an B.Eng and a MBA from INSEAD, France. His current fields of research are in the area of mobile commerce and social shopping.
President, Graff Retail
Kevin Graff is the President of Graff Retail, based in Toronto, Ontario. Since 1988, Graff Retail has specialized in working with retailers around the globe to increase their revenue through improved staff performance. For 27 years they have had the privilege of working with many of world’s best and brightest retailers.
Kevin is widely respected as one of North America’s best retail speakers and trainers and was recently chosen as one of the Top 50 Retail Influencers. His principle belief is that retailers are losing too many sales each day in their stores that they should be capturing. Kevin’s approach to store operations and his intense focus on real, bottom-line issues continually produce outstanding results. In fact, work he has completed for his retail clients has captured the Retail Council of Canada’s Award for Best Employee Development Programs on six separate occasions.
Kevin is also the creator of Graff Retail TV, the retail community’s leading source of online sales and management training. Since being launched in 2008, Graff Retail TV has provided thousands of sales associates and store management teams with the skills they need to succeed.
Owner, LUX Beauty Boutique
Jennifer Grimm has 15 years of retail expertise as the owner and CVO of LUX Beauty Boutique, an independent specialty store selling high-end, selectively distributed cosmetic brands in Edmonton, Canada. A born entrepreneur, Jennifer is passionate about all matters of retail, from business strategy to store design, which culminates in creating an exceptional customer experience. Always innovating, she and her team have built sales per square foot to three times industry average, and are actively expanding to omni-channel commerce in multiple store locations. Jennifer graduated from the University of Alberta with a degree in Business Commerce.
Vice President, Costco Canada
Graham Hillier is presently Vice President at Costco Canada and oversees the Ecommerce Division, Costco.ca, a role he has been in since 2007.
Costco Canada serves more than 12 million members across Canada, and is one of the nation's largest retailers.
Costco.ca is now one of Canada's largest and fastest growing online retailers.
Graham studied at College Militaire Royal and Bishop's University graduating in 1982 with a BBA degree with a double major in Accounting and Human Resources.
He then started his retail career at Zellers and spent 11 years in various store, buying and marketing positions before joining Costco in 1994.
He was promoted to AGMM at Costco in 2001, in charge of Seasonal, Hardware, HABA, and Sporting Goods.
Graham has participated as a judge for the RCC Excellence in Retail Awards as well as a member of the "Jury du Concours provincial ARISTA" since 2014
Chief Marketing Officer, Indochino Apparel Inc.
Peter Housley is the Chief Marketing Officer at Indochino Apparel Inc. Indochino is at the forefront of a global suit revolution that is seeing more and more men suiting up once again. Indochino offers suits and shirts that are completely customizable and tailor made to the wearer’s personal measurements, all at an incredible value. Indochino's omni-channel experience allows men to order their made-to-measure clothing online, via mobile or in person at Indochino showrooms, now open in Toronto, Vancouver, New York, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Boston.
A senior executive with President, CEO and CMO experience including retail, hospitality, digital pure play, and consumer goods industries. Peter served as Chief Executive Officer and Director at Lavalife Inc. from 2000-2003, and returned as President from 2010-2011 to lead a subsequent M&A transition. He also served as President of Milestones Restaurants Inc. from 2006-2009, leading a change vision and delivering record sales and EBITDA results. As CEO of his Interim Management Company he held various Interim C-suite positions from 2009-2013.
Peter is an enterprise leader, with broad experience in strategy, P&L management, operations excellence, marketing management, revenue creation, talent development, and IT oversight, for companies ranging from $3M to $200M. Peter currently sits on the Board of Directors of The Friends For Life Foundation, and is also an Advisory Board Member, Ryerson University, School of Fashion.
Owner, Heirloom Linens
Bob Ianson, along with his wife Joan, are the owners of Heirloom Linens in Victoria. The company was founded in 1995 and has grown to be a respected bedding and bath retailer. Customer focused with both a bricks and mortar location and a strong online presence. Bob spent 15 years with Woodward’s Department Stores and then Pacific Linen before returning to Victoria to launch Heirloom Linens. The company just celebrated their 20th Anniversary. Well thought of in the community – Heirloom Linens “We only sound expensive!”
By profession, Joe Jackman is a reinventionist, a believer in and a practitioner of rapid business and brand reinvention. As the founder and CEO of Jackman Reinvents, Joe has pioneered an efficient and unique business model built on the need for speed and has proven its effectiveness many times over. In doing so, he has earned an international reputation for helping businesses facing decline get back to growth and relevance in record time.
As specialists in reinvention, Joe and his team collaborate with executive teams to harmonize their business and brand strategies, rally entire organizations to champion change, and systematically align all aspects of brand and customer experience: image, stores, websites and mobile platforms, social media and marketing communications, unique products and private brands, and, most importantly, the hearts and minds of employees. There is nothing as powerful as a community of people united in purpose and focused on a clear outcome, marching forward together and boldly creating the future.
Educated in industrial design, in his early career Joe co-founded what is today one of Canada’s leading brand design firms and was for many years its Chief Creative Officer. He went on to tackle business challenges at one of its clients, Loblaw Companies, Canada’s largest independent retailer, as Executive Vice-President, Marketing. There he was among a group of executives charged with steering the company through its initial restructuring.
Joe’s journey to reinvention accelerated when he left Loblaw and simultaneously became Consultant and Acting Chief Marketing Officer to both Duane Reade and Old Navy, helping guide them through their reinventions.
Today Joe leads a 100+ multi-disciplinary team of reinventionists in Toronto and New York – researchers, business analysts, management consultants, marketers, creative directors, writers, designers, digital specialists, and activation managers – all focused on accelerating shareholder value creation through their groundbreaking approach to reinvention. He and his team have completed or are in progress on over a dozen reinventions, and to date have shaped hundreds of billions of dollars of sales.
Chief Global Economist, Deloitte Research
Dr. Ira Kalish is the Chief Global Economist of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd. He is a specialist in global economic issues as well as the effects of economic, demographic, and social trends on the global business environment. He has written about the economies of Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, China, Japan, Mexico and South America, and has also written extensively on global consumer markets.
Among Dr. Kalish’s recent publications were the quarterly Global Economic Outlook of which he is the managing editor; the annual Global Powers of Retailing report; China and India: Comparing the World’s Hottest Consumer Markets; China and India: The Reality Beyond the Hype, Budget Deficits: Why All the Fuss, an article in CFO Journal, and Mind The Gap, an article in Deloitte Review on changing income distribution.
Dr. Kalish advises Deloitte clients as well as Deloitte’s leadership on economic issues and their impact on business strategy. In addition, he has given numerous presentations to corporations and trade organizations on topics related to the global economy. Dr. Kalish also serves on the BIAC Economic Policy Committee which advises the OECD on macroeconomic policy issues. He is widely traveled and has given presentations in 47 countries on six continents.
Dr. Kalish has been widely quoted in the news media; his remarks have been published by the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The Financial Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, and U.S. News & World Report. He has appeared on CNN, CBS News, CNBC, PBS and BBC World Service.
Prior to his work at Deloitte, Dr. Kalish was chief economist at Retail Forward, a director at PwC, vice president at Bankers Trust, corporate economist at the Eastman Kodak Company, and researcher at the Institute for International Economics.
Dr. Kalish holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Vassar College and a PhD in international economics from Johns Hopkins University. He lives in Santa Monica, CA with his wife and daughters.
Chairman & CEO, terra20
Steve Kaminski is a serial entrepreneur who is director of 7 companies in the industries of retail, real estate and agriculture that he started or helped to start. Steve helped create Terra 20 on a really simple idea - to create a one-stop eco store, where you can find sustainable, eco-friendly products in one location. From sustainable fashion to green household supplies to all-natural baby products, terra20 has the largest selection under one roof. This new retail experience is collaborative; terra20 works closely with brand partners as well as you, our customers and ambassadors, to seek out the most environmentally sound, purest and healthiest products that we can find. We have two stores in Ottawa and we are looking to expand across Canada. Explore a better way at terra20. Find us at terra20.com.
Global Chair - Consumer Markets, Partner-in-charge - High Growth Markets, KPMG International
Willy Kruh has served as the auditor and advisor to many premier, multinational companies for the past 30 years. He is currently the Global Chair of KPMG’s Consumer Markets practice which serves many of largest international consumer brands in the world within the Retail and FDCG (Food, Drink & Consumer Goods) sectors.
As the Partner-in-Charge of KPMG in Canada’s High Growth Markets practice, Willy is also focused on assisting companies with their inbound and outbound investment strategies in the BRIC countries, particularly in India and China. He has substantial experience helping consumer and industrial companies, both public and private, in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, initial public offerings, restructuring and transaction services.
Willy regularly shares his insights with the media and live audiences on the trends and issues faced by consumer companies, including cross-industry investment and global expansion.
CEO, T & T Supermarket Inc.
Tina Lee is the CEO of T&T Supermarket Inc., Canada’s largest Asian grocery store chain. In her role, Tina is responsible for the operations of T&T Supermarket’s 23 locations and the development and expansion of T&T brand products. With a focus on fresh food and ready to eat meal options, T&T Supermarket strives to provide Asian families and Asian cuisine enthusiasts with authentic flavours in a friendly shopping environment.
Prior to her current role at T&T, Tina held various roles in corporate strategy, regional operations, and human resources. Before joining T&T, Tina was a strategy and operations consultant with Deloitte Consulting LLP in Los Angeles.
Tina holds a Masters in Business Administration from the Anderson School of Business at the University of Los Angeles, and her Honours in Business Administration from The Richard Ivey School of Business at Western University.
Tina was born and raised in Vancouver, BC, and currently lives in Toronto with her husband and two children.
Marne Levine is Chief Operating Officer of Instagram, a community of more than 300 million who capture and share the world’s moments on the service. She is responsible for helping to scale the company’s business and operations globally.
Marne joined Instagram from Facebook, where she served as Vice President of Global Public Policy from 2010 to 2014. In this role, Marne led the company’s global public policy strategy, working with governments and organizations to foster understanding and support for Facebook’s innovative technology. Marne also led the team responsible for developing Facebook’s global policies and programs.
Prior to Facebook, Marne served in the Obama Administration as Chief of Staff of the National Economic Council (NEC) at the White House and Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy. Previously, Marne was Director of Product Management for Revolution Money and Chief of Staff for Harvard University President Larry Summers. Marne began her career in 1993 at the United States Department of Treasury under President Bill Clinton where she held a number of leadership positions.
Marne holds a B.A. in political science and communications from Miami University and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School. She serves on the Board of Directors for Chegg along with several not for profits including Lean In.org, the Urban Institute, LIFT, National Endowment for Democracy, and the American Council on Germany and is a member of the Trilateral Commission. She resides in Washington, DC with her husband and two sons.
Sr. Director, Client Development, Passenger
Marc has spent 15 years of his career in consumer research starting at Mintel International where he helped brands and retailers activate market strategies through consumer and product innovation information allowing them to make informed business decisions. He later moved on to a well known customer satisfaction solution with ForeSee and their ACSI methodology then to a gamification software technology with Bunchball. He has been with Passenger as a Senior Director focused on selling consumer insights, advocacy and voice of customer solutions allowing companies to make swift, efficient and affective decisions to grow their business with current and new customers. Marc has a B.S in Business & Economics from University of Illinois at Champaign-Urban
Vice President of ALDO Group North America, Call It Spring
Nicholas F. Martire is the Vice President of ALDO Group North America, Call It Spring. Call It Spring is the ALDO Group’s second largest brand with over 1000 stores and points of sale in 43 countries.
Nicholas is one of two head merchants at The ALDO Group, leading retail, branded wholesale, omnichannel and 360 degrees of the company's brand Call it Spring. Prior to that, Nicholas co-founded and headed ALDO Product Services, the wholesale division of the ALDO Group that has led the transformation of the company into an industry-recognized wholesale distributor and third-party sourcing provider of fashion footwear and accessories.
Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, Martire studied French and Economics at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. He graduated with honours, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree and winning the prize for top student in his faculty. He recently attended Harvard Business School for post-graduate studies, where he earned an Advanced Management Program degree.
Martire’s passion for retail and footwear began while he was working for his father in the slipper trade. He continued developing his expertise in this industry and in 1998 joined global athletic leader, Nike. Martire and the Toronto-based team opened the first international Niketown concept store outside the US.
Prior to joining the ALDO Group, Martire spent eight years working at Elan-Polo—one of the industry’s most respected private footwear companies. During his time there, the company rose to become a strategic supplier of footwear to some of Europe’s most prominent retailers, including ASDA, TESCO, Go Sport, and Office.
In 2010, Nicholas received a call from David Bensadoun, then Vice President of the ALDO Group; the company wanted to grow the business beyond the expansion of its retail stores, and with its sights set on building a wholesale division, Nicholas was the man for the job. Five years later, the ALDO Product Services division is valued at $1 billion retail market share with a roster of over 50 clients that includes some of the world’s largest retailers.
Martire has worked and lived in Paris, Market Harborough, Leicester, Toronto, Kingston, Fort Lauderdale, and in his hometown of Montreal.
Nicholas is also an avid cyclist—riding an average of 8,000 km per year. Deeply committed to making a difference in his community, Martire will be participating in the 2016 edition of Race Across America, the world’s toughest endurance bicycle race, and raising money to inaugurate a new cancer relief fund for the Two Ten Footwear Foundation.
When he’s not at the office or travelling for work, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Willamina, and their two daughters, Lily and Liberty. Martire and his wife both share a love of footwear, and in 2009, brought the well-known Spanish brand, Pretty Ballerinas, to North America. They continue to own and operate the Canadian store and wholesale business.
President, STAPLES Canada Inc.
Steve Matyas, President of STAPLES® Canada™/Bureau en GrosMC, joined The Business Depot Ltd. as their first employee in March 1991. During his 23 plus years with the company, Steve served as Vice President, Operations, Human Resources and Store Planning, and Vice President, Sales and Operations before being appointed President of STAPLES Canada/Bureau en Gros in July 2000. Steve’s expertise in store operations has been instrumental in growing the company from the first store to more than 330 stores currently operating throughout Canada.
Before joining The Business Depot Ltd., Steve worked for several subsidiaries of Koffler Associates, including Superpharm Ltd., and Shoppers Drug Mart Ltd., where he held a variety of senior executive positions including Field Management, Director of Merchandising, Director of Marketing, Executive Vice President, and Chief Operating Officer. Prior to joining Shoppers Drug Mart, Steve held several senior sales management positions with Abbott Laboratories.
In 2003, Mr. Matyas was honoured by the Canadian Institute of Retailing and Services with the Henry Singer Award for exceptional leadership in retailing. In 2007, Steve was inducted into the Retail Council of Canada’s Retail Hall of Fame. In 2008, Mr. Matyas was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Canadian Office Products Association. In 2009 the Ontario Special Olympics organization recognized his contributions with its Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2010 Steve was recognized as the Distinguished Retailer of the Year by the Retail Council of Canada.
Mr. Matyas also speaks four languages: English, French, Hebrew and Romanian.
President & CEO, Sephora Americas
Calvin McDonald is the President and CEO of Sephora Americas, the specialty retailer which has transformed the prestige beauty shopping experience in North America, and is owned by the world-leader in luxury products LVMH. He assumed this role in January 2014, and since that time has worked with the senior team to develop a plan to further increase Sephora’s industry leadership, which centers on a consistently innovative client experience. He previously served as the President and CEO of Sears Canada, restoring it to comparable store sales growth after many years. This followed the 18 years at the Loblaw Companies, Canada’s largest food retailer, known for its highly successful private label products, where he rose to the position of EVP, Marketing for Loblaw Brands & Corporate Strategy and subsequently EVP, Conventional Supermarket Division.
President and CEO, Canadian Tire
A seasoned retail veteran with a passion for innovation, Michael Medline’s career at Canadian Tire has been marked by bold strategic thinking, creative ideas and a steadfast drive to keep the Company on offence.
Michael has led many of the Company's most strategic initiatives, including leading the company’s relationships with its Associate Dealers, the acquisition of Mark's in 2002, the acquisition of the Forzani Group in 2011, and the acquisition of Pro Hockey Life in 2012.
Since assuming the role of CEO, Michael has infused a culture of aggressive innovation at Canadian Tire, one designed to enable the ‘old world’ of retail to rise up to meet the rapidly changing mobile and digital expectations of customers.
Michael is spearheading investments in digital across the organization, transforming how the business approaches technology, eCommerce, digital marketing, content creation, and store concepts, with the stated goal of making Canadian Tire Corp. the most innovative retailer in the world.
Michael is well known for driving change and building teams that deliver results and put points up on the board. While leading FGL Sports, Michael’s focus on innovation fundamentally changed the way the business unit operated, resulting in FGL Sports becoming the fastest growing retailer anywhere in North America.
Throughout his 15-year tenure at Canadian Tire, Michael has directly led the operations of many of the Company's business units, including Petroleum, PartSource and Canadian Tire's Automotive division, Dealer Relations, FGL Sports and Mark's. Michael was appointed President of the company in 2013 and became its Chief Executive Officer in 2014.
In addition to his corporate leadership roles, Michael is Chairman of the Board of the Retail Council of Canada, a member of the Board of Governors of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and Honourary Chair of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame 2015 Induction Celebrations and a board member of SickKids Foundation. Michael holds an MBA from the College of William and Mary in Virginia, an LL.B. from the University of Toronto, and a BA from the University of Western Ontario.
President, Saks Fifth Avenue
Marc J. Metrick, 42, was named President of Saks Fifth Avenue in April 2015. A highly accomplished retail industry executive with deep experience in strategic development, merchandising, marketing, operations, and finance, Metrick has spent the last 10 years in senior leadership roles at Saks Fifth Avenue and Hudson’s Bay Company (TSX: HBC).
Most recently he was HBC’s Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, reporting to the Office of the Chairman, where he developed corporate strategies for all of the company’s banners and sat on HBC’s executive committee. Metrick played an instrumental role in HBC’s 2013 acquisition of Saks and focused on developing the strategic plan that Saks is now successfully pursuing to position the business for leadership in the international luxury sector. He joined Hudson’s Bay Company in 2012 as EVP Chief Marketing Officer, where he oversaw all marketing and digital commerce for Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor.
Metrick spent the first 15 years of his career at Saks and had positions of increasing responsibility in buying, merchandising, finance, and ultimately becoming its Chief Strategy Officer.
Mr. Metrick has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Boston University.
Vice President, Products, Sales and Merchandising, LCBO
The LCBO has 7,850 employees, 654 stores across Ontario, and boasts annual sales of over $5 billion.
Since joining range of progressive and diverse positions within the Retail, Logistics, Sales, and Marketing divisions. More recently, Shari held the positions of Director of Vintages, Director of Spirits, and Vice President of Merchandising. She became the Vice President of Products, Sales and Merchandising in 2012.
With her team of 100, she guides and oversees the strategic direction, business planning, category, and management activities of LCBO WINES, LCBO SPIRITS & BEER, as well as VINTAGES business units in the Sales, Marketing, and Insights Division. She is responsible for developing, planning and executing all product sales and merchandising strategies along with inventory management at LCBO, pricing administration and collaborative planning with suppliers and agents.
Shari was honoured with the inaugural annual Partnership Award from the Ontario Imported Wine-Spirit-Beer Association (now known as Drinks Ontario) in 2006. She holds a diploma from L'École du Vin de Bordeaux and the higher certificate from WSET, and recently completed the IVEY Executive Management Program. As LCBO’s head buyer, Shari travels extensively, and as an international wine judge, she has judged in California, New York, Ontario, Argentina, and Chile..
Professional emcee and Anchor, CTV's eTalk
President & CEO, Toy Jungle
Misti and her husband Gary left a career on the cruise lines as entertainers to begin their entrepreneurial journey with an indoor play centre called “The Gator Pit” in 1997. Soon after, their first retail store “Toy Jungle” was born of their passion to marry a children’s story they were creating to an interesting and fun retail experience. They later also purchased the second oldest toy store in Canada called the Toybox and continue to pursue creating innovative retail concepts and children’s stories.
As well as serving as co-chair for the Retail Council Independent Advisory Board, Misti also serves on the board of the Neighbourhood Toy Stores of Canada.
Vice President, Merchandising Planning and Strategy, Canadian Tire Retail
Jane Nakamachi is the Vice President, Merchandising Planning and Strategy for Canadian Tire Retail (CTR). Jane is responsible for driving change in the Merchandising functions through the design and implementation of new processes, organizational structures and the incorporation of analytics and technology. Jane is currently leading an initiative to improve the Productivity of the overall Canadian Tire Retail business.
Jane has a passion for the retail business and in building coalitions to drive innovation. She has over 20 years of experience at CTR including roles in Merchandising, Store Support, Supply Chain and Marketing. Her extensive experience spans a number of roles including Category Business Manager, AVP Merchandising for the Kitchen Business, AVP Forecasting and Replenishment for CTR and AVP Store Support. Within her current role, Jane oversaw and drove the transformational change of the organizational structure across the Merchandising, Flyer Planning and Forecasting and Replenishment teams. This initiative enabled new direction and clarification to the Category Business Manager role and grow productivity within the merchandising team and across the organization.
Jane has a BBA from Wilfrid Laurier University and an MBA from Schulich School of Business at York University.
Andrew Nichols – Managing Director, Crocs Canada
Andrew Nichols is the Managing Director at Crocs Canada, an omni-channel company based in Toronto. Andrew joined Crocs in 2007, assumed his present role in 2009 and since that time has worked to stabilize and expand the Crocs brand footprint in Canada. Prior to joining Crocs, Andrew worked as a consultant specializing in retail strategy. When not working, Andrew spends time with his family in Aurora & donates his time to a variety of charities including Make-A-Wish Canada.
CEO & Editor In Chief, Retail Insider
Craig Patterson is the Editor-in-Chief of leading Canadian retail industry news publication, Retail Insider. Craig is also a retail analyst, consultant, and head of the Applied Research Department at the University of Alberta School of Retailing. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for the past 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Law Degrees.
Enterprise team Lead, Mediative
Chris leads the Enterprise team at Mediative, where he is responsible for building and growing the Research, Media and Services business in North America.
Prior to Mediative, Chris was a member of Enquiro – one of North America’s leading search marketing and research agencies where they dove deep into neuro-marketing, digital media, channel strategy, and digital location management. At Mediative, he works with teams of marketing and technology professionals to improve their interactive marketing, online sales and lead generation capabilities – from strategy through to execution. He has worked with the digital teams at enterprise companies including Allstate Insurance, 3M, Toys R Us, New York Times, Zurich Financial, Avis Budget Group, and The American Red Cross.
TV & Radio Host, Founder www.picoum.com
Isabelle Racicot is a well known charismatic television and radio host in Quebec. Since her beginnings in 1997, she has won the hearts of millions of viewers with her sense of humor, her humanity and self-deprecation. Whether she is interviewing an international star or an ordinary person, Isabelle still remains the same: a host that likes to make people shine, an interviewer that likes to listen and a human being that wants to learn.
She started out as a researcher in 1997 at MusiquePlus (Quebec’s MTV) and quickly moved up in front of the camera. Between 1999 and 2006, she travelled the globe for the daily entertainment French magazine, FLASH (Quebec’s Entertainment Tonight-Access Hollywood) to interview all the biggest stars such as Sir Paul McCartney, Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts, John Travolta, Gérard Depardieu, Jeanne Moreau, Céline Dion, etc) and cover all the international events like The Oscars, Festival de Cannes, Toronto Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, The Grammy’s and The People’s Choice Awards, etc.)
Perfectly bilingual, she also contributed to English television in Quebec for the CBC and CBC Newsworld between 2002 and 2004.
Since then, we have heard her on the radio, hosting several important daily shows and we have followed her for 4 years as she helped renovate the homes of hundreds of people with her TV show Des idées de grandeur on Canal Vie.
Between 2009-2013, Isabelle hosted 2 different shows on Quebec’s number one television station, TVA : The morning talk show « 2 Filles le matin » with topics such as death, family, sexuality, raising kids and fashion. And the Friday night number one talk show, « Ça finit bien la semaine » where local and international personalities sat down for one-on-one revealing interviews.
She is presently hosting a daily radio show, En Première Classe, broadcasted across the province. Aside from being a mother of 2, Isabelle has been named 3 times Female Personality of the year at the Sounds Of Blackness Awards and she is one of the spoke person for the Girls Action Foundation that helps young women develop a sense of self, confidence and leadership.
This energetic woman recently launched a new lifestyle and e-commerce website: picoum.com
Retail Industry Leader, Microsoft Canada
Dave Rodgerson plays a senior business development role at Microsoft Canada focused on the Retail, CPG and Hospitality industries.
Mr. Rodgerson is a Retail industry expert with more than 25 years experience working with leading Canadian Retailers in sales, marketing, operations, IT and strategic planning roles.
Mr. Rodgerson works closely with both clients and industry associations that share an interest in enhancing the consumer experience. His work has included consulting with such firms as Tesco supermarkets in the UK, Canadian Tire Corporation, Target Department Stores, Imperial Tobacco, Walmart Canada and Rogers Communications. More recently, he has been speaking about social media innovation, the Omni Channel customer experience and the adoption of new technologies by consumers. His audiences have included members of the Retail Council of Canada, and the Packaging Technology Integrated Systems conference. He has been a featured speaker at Customer Engagement Technology World and the Canadian Gaming Association.
Mr. Rodgerson has been a member of the faculty of Meritus University where he taught Marketing in their School of Business. In addition, from an academic perspective, he is on the board of the University of Alberta School of Retail and works closely with the Ryerson School of Retail Business to support their program. He has played an active role with the National Retail Federation, the Retail Council of Canada and the Conseil Québécois du Commerce de Détail.
Mr. Rodgerson holds an MBA from Queen's University in Kingston Ont.
SVP eCommerce, Walmart Canada
Simon Rodrigue, as SVP of eCommerce for Walmart Canada, is spear-heading the aggressive growth and positioning of Walmart as the leading omnichannel retailer in the Canadian market. Responsible for all aspects of the online business and integration with the stores Simon is building a high performance eCommerce team with the focus of delighting the Canadian consumer on each and every interaction with Walmart online.
Before joining Walmart.ca Simon led the eCommerce and Interactive Marketing teams at two of Canada's top retailers: Sears Canada and Home Depot Canada as well as the Site Experience organization for Travelocity North America.
Over past the 10 years Simon has led some of the largest and fastest growing online businesses in Canada and is recognized as a leader in Interactive Marketing, eCommerce and Social Commerce practices. Simon has spearheaded the evolution of traditional media plans to mixed media strategies, launched supply chain transformations leveraging direct ship best practices, implemented master data management strategies unlocking the hidden value of product data and built some of the top eCommerce teams in Canada.
Simon has also worked in various operational and merchandising leadership roles within The Home Depot Canada, and served as a Senior Business and Marketing Consultant with Nortel Networks Global Services, enabling start-ups and aiding Fortune 50 companies to develop global, emerging business strategies.
Principal & Lead Recruiter, JRoss Retail Recruiters
Jackie leads the delivery team at JRoss Retail Recruiters, Canada’s leading recruiting agency specializing exclusively in retail, with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal.
Jackie first built a highly successful career as a hands on retail operator in department, store and regional management positions with leading retailers across Canada including Tristan, Holt Renfrew, Tommy Hilfiger, Esprit, and Club Monaco. She then leveraged that experience to personally place hundreds of retail professionals and lead a team that has placed hundreds more.
Focusing originally on field operations at the Store and District Manager level, the JRoss team has continued to evolve their skills, experience and contacts. JRoss now routinely fills searches for key Head Office support roles – including Merchants – as well as roles at the Director, Vice President and C-level and field operations roles from the Store Manager level upwards.
With her hands on experience as both a retailer, and as a recruiter leading a team of top performing retail recruiters, Jackie is uniquely positioned to understand the best ways to attract top retail talent!
Partner, Consulting, PwC Canada
Ted is a partner in PwC’s Management Consulting practice. Over his 20+ year career, he has held North American executive leadership roles with strategy, technology, and human capital management advisory firms. He has advised retailers throughout the Americas on their development of banner and channel strategies, integrated business processes, and enhanced customer experience capabilities. He has served clients in every retail format and consumer products category available.
Ted specializes in working with Retail and Consumer Products companies to develop and convert strategic plans into targeted business capabilities enabled through operating model transformations. He has been accountable for large transformations teams who have developed and implemented the processes, tools and organization development changes required to introduce new capabilities in both customer facing processes and support services.
Erik Schannen was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug at 19 when he dropped out of U of T to start a publishing and multimedia business. Subsequently he was involved in the development and launch of products in fitness, VOD, and e-commerce. Currently he works as co-founder and CTO of Picoum, an online fashion and lifestyle store.
CEO, Hointer / former Technology Vice President, Global Supply Chain and Fulfillment Platform, Amazon
Dr. Nadia Shouraboura is the CEO of Hointer. Hointer is reinventing the shopping experience, making it easy and fun. At Hointer men and women have a new way of discovering, trying-on and buying great clothing.
Nadia was born in Soviet Russia and pursued her education in mathematics and science in the city of Moscow. In 1987 she began her career, after emigrating from Russia to Israel, as a software developer working on Computer Aided Design systems for industrial robotics. Her work attracted the attention of professors at Princeton University in the US, where she was offered a full scholarship for study and research. During her PhD work, Nadia performed research at AT&T Bell Labs and co-founded Starlight Multimedia, a developer of multi-media applications. Her work at Princeton resulted in several important papers, referenced by over 200 publications. She received a PhD in Mathematics from Princeton. In 1994 Nadia joined a technology startup, Diamond Technology Partners, working with a variety of major retail companies. Later she joined a JP Morgan Venture startup, Mobilocity, as its Managing Director in charge of the wireless division. Following her leadership role at Mobilocity, Nadia became a pioneer in the emerging world of energy trading, joining Exelon as the manager responsible for the energy trading algorithms and software.
Nadia joined Amazon.com in March of 2004. As Technology Vice President of Amazon’s Worldwide Operations she owned technology powering Amazon’s global supply chain and fulfillment. Nadia also served on Jeff Bezos’ senior leadership team responsible for overall direction and operations of Amazon.
Associate Vice President - Footwear, FGL Sports Ltd
As VP Footwear, Dale leads the assortment development and category purchasing at Canada’s number one sporting goods retailer – FGL Sports. Working with the company for over 15 years, Dale has held several roles throughout the organization as a Purchasing Analyst, Financial Planner, Buyer and AVP of Athletic Apparel. As the lead of footwear, Dale specializes in merchandising, brand expression and the customer experience. He has been instrumental in leading key assortment projects including the launch of the Sport Chek Flagship locations in Toronto and Vancouver. As a lead merchant, Dale has experience driving growth within several categories at FGL Sports.
Canadian Fashion and Beauty Industry Analyst, The NPD Group, Inc.
Sandy Silva is the Canadian fashion and beauty industry analyst for The NPD Group. Sandy joined NPD in 2009 as a sales executive for NPD’s fashion business in Canada,
and returned in 2013. Over the years, Sandy has worked for a number of fashion wholesalers and spent time as a buyer. In her current role, Sandy keeps a pulse on the
apparel industry, presenting key trends to manufacturers, retailers, and retail reporters.
Sandy also shares her industry expertise as a key speaker for associations
such as RCC (Retail Council of Canada), FGI (Fashion Group International), and CAF (Canadian Apparel Federation). She is often quoted in publications such as
The Globe and Mail, Women’s Wear Daily, Maclean’s, and Financial Post, among others.
President, IKEA Canada
Stefan joined IKEA Canada as President in September 2014. He has held senior leadership roles at IKEA since 2007 in the Netherlands, Sweden, and France. Stefan is best known for his high energy level, drive and results-focused attitude and has a strong reputation for his expertise in marketing, sales, innovation and change management.
Committed to embracing a culture of open and transparent communication with IKEA’s co-workers, customers, stakeholders, and media, Stefan was named 2015 IABC/Toronto Communicator of the Year. Stefan is passionate about advancing IKEA’s sustainability strategy, People & Planet Positive, and encouraging customers to live a more sustainable life at home. Stefan’s vision is for IKEA Canada to be one of Canada’s top employers.
Development, Snakes and Lattes
Aaron Slade, has been working with Snakes & Lattes since 2011. A UWO graduate, Aaron brings his experience to Snakes & Lattes, working alongside Ben Castanie and the management team as the company works on growing and developing both in the Toronto market as an entertainment venue, and through Canada's online marketplace as a board game retailer and fulfillment house. Snakes & Lattes is looking forward to opening new locations and serving new communities in the years to come
Consulting Director, Comarch
Lukasz Sloniewski is a Consulting Director with more than 10 years of experience in the field of brand loyalty and customer experience management. He specializes in omnichannel customer approach with a strong focus on engagement using the latest technologies. He has helped to design the loyalty mechanics for such clients as Coca-Cola, Heineken, BP, JetBlue, SAQ and many more.
Co-Founder, CEO & Creative Director, Frank & Oak
Ethan Song’s personal and entrepreneurial journey is deeply connected to the journey of Frank & Oak, one of Canada’s most exciting retail and fashion brands that he co-founded in 2012.
As a first-generation immigrant from China, Song understood the importance of redefining worlds and making your mark. Outfitted with a creative mindset and a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer and Electrical Engineering from the University of British Columbia, he set out to explore the intersection of art and technology to create new experiences.
From Shanghai, to Paris, to Vancouver and Montreal, Song developed his career on various continents and in various contexts, making his mark by redefining commerce. Indeed, Song understood that companies should be defined by the convergence of people around spaces and common interests, not trends. As he saw it, products and experiences should come together to create culture and community. And so, in 2012, he called upon his childhood friend and fellow entrepreneur, Hicham Ratnani and co-founded Frank & Oak with an inventive approach to integrating design and technology.
Today, Frank & Oak continues to set itself apart as a brand that redefines commerce on all fronts, from product to marketing campaigns and online or in-store shopping experiences. Song, in turn, continues to redefine the world around him by collaborating on a wide array of creative and entrepreneurial endeavours.
Vice-President, MySTORE, Retail Council of Canada
After dedicating many years to representing, supporting and speaking on behalf of retailers, Mark is recognized as a passionate and knowledgeable advocate for Canada’s independent retail community.
In 1982, Mark joined Retail BC as General Manager. In 1985 he was appointed President and in 1995 he was named President and CEO. In 2008, Retail BC and Retail Alberta joined forces and in 2009, the two associations amalgamated under a new brand, Shelfspace - The Association for Retail Entrepreneurs. In July, 2012, Shelfspace merged into Retail Council of Canada (RCC) and Mark assumed the role of Vice-President, MySTORE. MySTORE is the independent retail division of RCC, serving the needs of independent retailers from coast to coast.
Mark has served on numerous boards during his career, including Tourism Vancouver, The Immigrant Employment Council of BC and Easy Park. At present, he is a member of the BC Small Business Round Table, and he is a national director of the Canadian Society of Association Executives.
Mark began his career in retailing with Eaton’s in Vancouver where he completed the Eaton’s management training program. Mark then joined the Canadian Federation of Independent Business as District Manager where he gained extensive experience working with small and medium-sized businesses.
He is an active volunteer and fund-raiser with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Rotary Club of Vancouver, and the Canadian Society of Intestinal Research.
Mark received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Western Ontario. He was designated a Certified Association Executive (CAE) by the Canadian Society of Association Executives, and a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Club of Vancouver.
Vice President/General Manager, Wine Rack
Sean Taylor is the Vice President Retail and Government Relations at Constellation Brands Canada and is responsible for Ontario wine retailer, the Wine Rack, Niagara and Okanagan Estate Wineries, RJS Craft Winemaking and Government relations. Since joining the Wine Rack five years ago the business has delivered outstanding sales results, growing same store sales by over 6% each year, for the past 4 years. A contributing factor to the success is Wine Rack’s immense knowledge of how consumers shop for wine and evolving their in-store shopping experience. Prior to joining Constellation, Sean worked at YUM Restaurants where he spent 20 years holding various positions ranging from operations or franchising on all their key brands.
Partner, Retail and Consumer Goods Practice, Oliver Wyman Canada
Fred Thomas-Dupuis is a Partner and Co-lead of the North American Retail and Consumer Goods Practice. His client engagements focus on large scale transformation projects, performance improvement and organizational change. He has worked extensively with retailers in Canada, the United States and Europe across a broad spectrum of topics - company transformation, building world-class capabilities, corporate strategy, pricing, promotions, assortment optimization, and supplier negotiations. Fred holds a Masters of Engineering and a Bachelor of Engineering from McGill University. He is based in Montreal, Canada.
Vice President of Merchandising, Best Buy Canada Ltd.
As Vice President of Merchandising for Best Buy Canada, Martin is one of the key strategic minds behind Best Buy’s customer-focused merchandising strategy. He oversees a significant portion of the company’s core product categories including Computing Hardware, Computing Accessories, Entertainment and Direct Import.
Known for his proactive approach and ability to both identify and embrace trends early, he has been instrumental in redefining merchandising for the company and in introducing new technologies as the business evolves. His collaborative and problem-solving approach has resulted in strong vendor partnerships, through which he has introduced new experiential based shopping experiences aimed to inspire consumers with the latest in technology.
Martin’s career with the company began in 1992 in London Ontario where he worked in computer sales at Future Shop. Throughout his 24 years with the organization he has held numerous leadership roles, and was instrumental in the development of the gaming business for Future Shop and the company’s evolution into new categories such as drones, smart home and wearables.
Director of Marketing, SEMRush
Martin Weinberg is a digital marketing strategist who has enabled both B2B and B2C organizations to be more effective in reaching their audience and inspiring action. Martin has helped turn business objectives into actionable tactics for Comcast, Ricoh, Campbell's, University of Pennsylvania, Reed Business Information, as well as many SMBs. He created the largest B2B email marketing program at Cahners for over 130 publications, and has shared ideas and insights about social media, digital strategy and online advertising at marketing conferences, universities, and corporate events. At SEMrush, Martin leads a marketing team that’s driven to help current and future customers optimize results through their suite of advanced competitive intelligence tools.
Co-Founder and President, Rent frock Repeat
For as long as Kristy Wieber can remember, she yearned for a career that would ignite her passions for art and fashion. Throughout her studies in Fashion Merchandising at Clark College in Vancouver, WA, Kristy would also draw and paint. Fascinated by cosmetics and the way in which it could transform any woman, Kristy worked with leading cosmetics brands in the U.S. and Canada, including Clinique, Prescriptives, Stila, and Philosophy for over fifteen years. Throughout her experience in the cosmetics industry, as both a makeup artist and manager, Kristy oversaw event planning, inventory control, sales strategies, team building and training.
Relocating to Canada in 2003, Kristy shifted gears and transferred into Executive Recruiting. With a creative hunger that wouldn’t die down, she took a position with The Art Institute of Toronto. Shortly after, she was recruited by the marketing firm that did all the school’s campaigns, Big Clic Inc. Here, she oversaw SEO, SEM, PPC, direct mail and email campaigns, lead generation, conversion, user experience and account management.
With over 3 years of experience in marketing and account management, 15 years of sales management experience, 10 of those years specific to retail, she was ready to start something that would bring together her talents and be part of the sharing economy at the same time. Along with her business partner, Rent frock Repeat came to life, allowing women all across Canada to RENT a new designer dress for a fraction of the retail cost. Becoming an entrepreneur to a collaborative consumption business that disrupts the retail norm has taught Kristy countless new skills and lessons and gives her a chance to make an impact on women, the environment and the retail landscape.
Co-Founder & CEO, Kiip
Brian Wong is the co-founder and CEO of Kiip (pronounced "keep"), a category-creating mobile rewards network that is redefining mobile advertising through an innovative platform that leverages "moments of achievement" in games and apps to simultaneously benefit users, developers, and advertisers. Backed by Relay Ventures, Interpublic Group, Hummer Winblad, True Ventures, Digital Garage, Amex, and others, the company has raised $15.4 million in funding to date.
Kiip has been named one of the world's 50 Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company, listed by Forbes as one of the Four Hot Online Ad Companies to Put on Your Watch List, and included on the Dow Jones FasTech50 list. After skipping four K-12 grades, Wong received his Bachelor of Commerce from the University of British Columbia at age 18, and shortly after became one of the youngest people to ever receive venture capital funding.
He has been recognized with many awards for his accomplishments and leadership, including the Top 20 Under 20 awards for all of Canada; Business Insider's Top 25 Under 25 in Silicon Valley, 30 Under 30 in Advertising, and 18 Most Important People in Mobile Advertising; Forbes' 30 Under 30 in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014; Mashable's Top 5 Entrepreneurs to Watch; one of the iMedia 25 Internet Marketing Leaders and Innovators; one of AdWeek's Seven Would-be Mobile Titans; and the AdAge Creativity Top 50.
Before starting Kiip, Wong led key publisher and tech partnerships at the social news website Digg.com, where he accelerated the company's mobile presence by launching the Digg Android mobile app.
Erin Young joined Well.ca in October 2013 as CMO responsible for Marketing and Merchandising. Since joining the team she has spearheaded efforts to re-launch the brand, enhance content marketing, improve / optimize customer acquisition, negotiate lower costs and improve merchandising. Erin has over 15 years of experience in the retail sector. Prior to joining Well.ca, Erin was a leader in McKinsey & Company’s North American Retail Practice where she led several large scale retail transformations in Canada and the US and worked closely with Drug, Grocery and Specialty retailers on the Strategy, Marketing, Merchandising and Operations topics with a focus on multi-channel. She also worked at Loblaw where she led the PC Blue Menu launch from concept to shelf. Erin is the mother of three small children and enjoys running, travelling and cooking.
Executive Director, Call2RecycleCanada
Mr. Zenobio is executive director of Call2Recycle Canada, the country’s first and largest consumer battery stewardship program. He oversees its long-term strategy, daily operations, legislative outreach and consumer outreach programs. As a battery recycling advocate, he facilitates the work of a wide variety of constituents, including the provincial and federal governments, industry stewards, retailers, municipalities, consumers and recyclers. Under his leadership, Call2Recycle has been named the official battery recycling program in British Columbia, Manitoba and Quebec and the preferred battery recycling program of the Canadian federal government.