Born and raised in Ottawa, Jeff received an honours degree in Economics from Princeton University and achieved his Chartered Accountant Designation, while holding a position with Ward Mallette Chartered Accountants. Making the leap to retail, Jeff joined Giant Tiger Stores, where after a number of years in operational and management roles, assumed the presidency. In this capacity, Jeff helped grow the business from a regional discount chain with 250 million in sales, to 1.4 billion in sales nationally as the third largest discount chain in Canada. In 2009, Jeff joined Farm Boy with a mandate to expand the business. Under his leadership, the company has grown from a nine store chain in the Ottawa region to now 23 stores in Ottawa, Kingston, the GTA and Southwestern Ontario with further expansion plans underway.
CEO & Creator
THE TEN SPOT
Kristen Wood is the CEO + Creator of THE TEN SPOT Beauty Bars, Canada's fastest growing beauty services company with locations across Canada. Starting with a single store in Toronto’s then up-and-coming Queen West neighbourhood, THE TEN SPOT has become one of Canada’s beloved brands, in part due to Kristen’s quirky humour and commitment to excellence. Kristen was named Canada's Top Young Female Entrepreneur in 2015, along with being named one of PROFIT/Chatelaine Magazine’s top 100 female entrepreneurs in Canada for the past three years (2016, 2015, 2014). THE TEN SPOT has been ranked as one of PROFIT 500’s fastest growing companies in 2016 + 2015. Kristen is a frequent speaker on entrepreneurship and women in business. She lives in Toronto with her husband and way too adoarble five year old son, Jack.
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
Peter van Stolk
Peter van Stolk is the CEO of Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery or SPUD.ca™, the largest pure play online grocer in Canada. SPUD.ca is focused on creating meaningful relationships with Canadians around the benefits of local, organic food within the $100 billion annual Canadian grocery market. SPUD.ca operates in 4 markets and utilizes proprietary technology. This allows the company to provide free delivery throughout the 4 Western Canadian cities it services. With 400 employees, SPUD.ca is building community among its customers both online and off with a unique omni-channel strategy of hyper local small markets through its retail brands, Be Fresh Local Market and Organic Acres Market. Van Stolk believes: “Food will have the greatest impact on our generation. How we think about food, how we buy food, and how we consume food will change, and we are excited to be a part of this transformation”.
Nicole Tapscott is General Manager of Casper, Canada. She leads the growth strategy of Casper's largest market outside of the US, splitting her time between Casper's headquarters in New York City and her hometown, Toronto. Prior to joining Casper, Nicole was Director of Partnership Marketing at Relationship Science, and Head of New Media and Collaborative Platforms at the World Economic Forum. She began her career consulting to major retail organizations at Accenture, and led international teams to identify new partnerships and marketing opportunities in lead generation, customer retention, and community engagement. In 2012, Nicole received her MBA from INSEAD.
Buytopia.ca & Snap By Groupon
Tech titan Michele Romanow is an engineer and a serial entrepreneur who started three companies before her 28th birthday. The newest (and youngest ever Dragon in 28 countries) entrepreneur to join CBC’s hit show Dragons’ Den, Michele is the co-founder of e-commerce platforms Buytopia.ca and Snap By Groupon, which have saved millions of users hundreds of millions of dollars. She is also the co-founder of clearbanc.com, an online financial service for freelancers, independent contractors, and entrepreneurs. Snap by Groupon (previously called SnapSaves) was acquired by Groupon in 2014, and Buytopia.ca, who accelerated their growth by acquiring seven smaller competitors, ranked #3 on the "Profit Hot 50" list of the fastest growing Canadian companies, and #1 on Chatelaine's W100 list of fastest growing companies. Additionally, Michele’s work has been profiled in Forbes, The New York Times, INC, The Globe and Mail, and Chatelaine. She is also a Cartier Women’s Initiative Award global finalist.
Kate Ross LeBlanc
Saje Natural Wellness
Kate Ross LeBlanc is the CEO and Co-Founder for Saje Natural Wellness. Featured in the Top 100 Women Entrepreneurs list by Chatelaine Magazine, Kate has also been nominated for the YWCA Woman of Distinction and Canadian Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Currently serving as the ICSC Retail Chair for British Columbia Kate is passionate about retail, product innovation and design. She travels the world every year inspiring the Saje product line and design teams to evolve, expand, create. Kate was recently honored as the Entrepreneur Of The Year 2016 Pacific for Retail and Hospitality.
Jen Lee Koss
Co-founder & Builder
Jen Lee Koss is Co-founder and Builder of BRIKA. Jen is a Juilliard-trained cellist, a mother of three, and a graduate of Harvard University, Oxford University, and Harvard Business School. She spent over a decade working in management, consulting, investment banking, and private equity before Co-Founding BRIKA with her partner Kena Paranjape
Senior Vice President, eCommerce
Best Buy Canada Ltd.
As Senior Vice President of eCommerce for Best Buy Canada, Thierry Hay-Sabourin oversees the company’s rapid growth in Total Retail and continued expansion into the online market. Responsible for the eCommerce strategy and vision for the organization, Thierry has been instrumental in the development of the company’s online approach and emergence as a leader in Canadian ecommerce. Since 2004, Thierry has played an integral role in the management and innovation behind the Best Buy website. He has spearheaded many significant projects including the introduction of the company’s online community forums and blog platforms. Thierry has been instrumental in bringing Best Buy Canada’s Total Retail initiatives to life, such as launching Reserve and Pick Up, eReceipts, Multi-Channel Fulfilment, Delivery Promise, Ship-from-store, and Marketplace. These initiatives contributed to Best Buy Canada being awarded with ‘Best Omni-Channel Integration’ at the Canada Post eCommerce Innovation Awards in 2014, 2015 and 2016, and named winner of the ‘Omni-Channel Award’ at the 2016 Retail Council of Canada Excellence in Retailing Awards. Thierry holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from HEC Montréal, where he was also a part of the first cohort in Canada to achieve a Graduate Degree in eCommerce.
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.
Erin is the Managing Director at 88 Creative, a Toronto-based creative communications agency. Prior to 88 Creative she was the Managing Editor at startup publication BetaKit, and director of communications at Sprouter, which was acquired by Postmedia in 2011. Erin is a frequent speaker with the National Speakers Bureau, writes a monthly column for the Financial Post, and is a tech commentator on CTV News. She has appeared in publications including The New York Times, Forbes, CNN, and Canadian Business, and was named one of Marketing Magazine's top 30 Under 30 marketers. Her claim to fame is being retweeted by Oprah - twice.
Founder & Owner
Melissa Austria has been a fixture in the menswear industry for over 20 years. Her early career in retail started at the veritable Harry Rosen, which started her passion for menswear. From there she moved to wholesale, working as a Sales Manager and brand builder for such collections as Mexx, Claiborne for Men, Valentino and Clavin Klein menswear and launched Kenneth Cole men's sportswear and tailored clothing divisions in Canada. Dealing with the majors such as Holts, Harry's, The Bay and all of the best independent menswear stores across Canada helped to educate Melissa on the Canadian male consumer and the needs of the retailers. Sensing a void in the Toronto menswear retail landscape, Melissa opened Gotstyle The Menswear store in 2005, featuring a diverse range of over 35 different menswear brands appealing to the different life styles of a guy (casual, social, business) and their different body types. Within the second year of business, Gotstyle won Best Menswear store from NOW magazine, and won consecutively for 6 years in a row. In 2011, Gotstyle opened their second store, a 6,700 sq foot men's and ladies store in the Historic Distillery district and launched their e-commerce site.