Head of Omni Channel
Frank + Oak
Scott Adel currently serves as Head of Omnichanel for the Canadian lifestyle brand Frank & Oak. He is a seasoned retail sales and operations professional whose main responsibilities include leading their omnichannel efforts, store operations and growth strategies, and developing and overseeing the execution of the in-store customer experience. Scott is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) in good standing who has built an extensive 17 year retail career integrating technology and business processes in unique ways to drive engagement and business growth.
Chief Executive Officer
Nadir Ali has over 20 years of leadership experience in information technology solutions, complex systems integration, business consulting, M&A, and tech investing. As CEO of Inpixon, Mr. Ali oversees the strategic direction of the company and its worldwide operations working with the executive team and 130+ employees. Passionate about delivering innovative solutions for IoT and data analytics, Mr. Ali regularly addresses audiences around the globe about new technology and the future of mobility in security, retail, finance, and more.
Vice President, Consumer Insights
Carman Allison serves as VP of Consumer Insights for Nielsen Canada. Carman has his finger on the pulse of the CPG landscape and is relied on by manufacturers and retailers to provide them with the consumer insights they need to make strategic and impactful business decisions. With 25 years of experience he shares his insights on consumer shopping, industry trends and buying and media consumption behaviours and attitudes through thought leadership reports, industry presentations and his two monthly columns in Canadian Grocer and Grocery Business magazine.
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.
Vice President, Member Programs & Services
Retail Council of Canada
Sonny Brar comes with over 14 years of Retail, Human Resources, Health, Safety, Energy and Environment experience. He is currently the Vice President of Member Programs and Services at Retail Council of Canada and is an honors graduate of Criminology, Justice and Public Safety from Manitoba. Along with other functions, Sonny leads and supports RCC’s HR, Health, Safety, Energy, Accessibility and Member Programs, as well as supporting multiple RCC committees, and lastly sits on the Workplace Safety and Prevention Services H&S Steering Committee and Canada’s Retail Health & Safety Committee. Sonny has also had great successes in his tenure and has been a recipient of 3 Presidential Excellence awards with Maple Leaf Foods and Toys“R”Us along with several H&S successes with his tenure at Sobeys and Ikea.
Diane J. Brisebois
President & 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.
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.
Retail Industry Manager
As the Retail Industry Manager at Hubba, Phil is responsible for uncovering both emerging trends and insights that may impact businesses engaged in commerce. With 20 years of experience under his belt, Phil helps brands and retailers adapt to the the new realities of retail and the next generation of commerce. Phil is a frequent speaker at industry events in Canada and the US, across multiple verticals, and is a featured writer in trade publications such Retail TouchPoints, Pet Product News, BikeBiz, and more.
As Country Manager for Breitling, Deepak Chopra is a passionate retail leader and change manager dedicated to delivering results. Deepak as worked with some of the biggest brands, including Burberry, Brooks Brothers, Harry Rosen, Banana Republic, and Nine West - Jones Apparel Group, Inc. Deepak has over 22 years of experience in leading teams and bringing out their very best, especially in flagship stores, where the pressure to succeed is at its greatest.
Vice President, eCommerce & Marketing
As the Vice President, E-Commerce and Marketing, James is responsible for leading the marketing efforts at Roots with a focus on partnerships, loyalty, non-traditional and digital marketing. Additionally, he is responsible for the company’s digital and integrated omni-channel commerce programs. He joined Roots 15+ years ago and has functioned in a number of roles within the organization primarily focused in the areas of digital commerce, marketing and direct to consumer sales. His role in marketing at Roots and his passion for integrating digital technologies into marketing programs and physical stores have lead to Roots winning numerous awards and accolades including being nominated as a finalist for a Webby award in a category with brands like Google and Adobe. James has also spoken to audiences and industry journals worldwide on the topics of marketing, social media and online retail and co-authored a book published by Aspatore Books.
Vice President, eCommerce
Tara has recently joined The Source team as Vice-President, eCommerce. The Source is the place for I WANT THAT, offering top brands and the latest tech. Personalized customer service, innovation and simplifying the complexity of the technology experience are at the heart of what they do. Tara has been focused on pushing the boundaries of eCommerce in Canada, leveraging technology and innovation to build an unparalleled Omni-channel customer experience. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce from the University of Guelph, and has been in retail for the majority of her 20 year career as a customer-centric advocate, with a focus on marketing, customer experience, ecommerce and technology.
Solution Architect, Retail Solutions
With more than 25 years of experience in retail, Randy has a deep understanding of the industry. In his role as Solution Architect for Retail Solutions, Randy provides best practices and management consulting to organizations looking to improve their business and store operations through an enhanced customer experience across all channels. His consulting background combined with his technology expertise has made him a true thought leader and subject matter expert for all things retail.
Regional Vice President, Brand Solutions
Tammi Dondiego is a Sales Director at Criteo, where she leads a team responsible for over $47 million in sales for the Criteo Brand Solutions division, formally HookLogic which she joined in 2013. As a results-oriented sales executive, she continues to grow key advertiser accounts for the company including Google, Philips, and Nestle. In earlier roles, Tammi served as a sales executive at Bizo, a B2B display ad company later acquired by LinkedIn, and in sales at Monster.com. Tammi holds a Bachelor’s degree from Manhattan College and lives with her husband in Hoboken, NJ.
The UPS Store
As President of MBEC Communications Inc., the Master License Franchisor of The UPS Store in Canada, David Druker carries with him extensive experience in operations, retail sales and franchising. He is a current member of YPO, and is an active board member with the CFA (Canadian Franchise Association). A graduate of Concordia University, David had previously worked in the telecommunications industry for nineteen years for Cellular Solution and Cantel (now Roger Wireless) before joining The UPS Store network. In 1993 he became Cellular Solution’s first franchisee and subsequently grew to own and operate multiple franchise locations in Quebec and Ontario. By mid-1998, David operated multiple Roger’s kiosks in Price Costco outlets in Quebec and Ontario, and multiple retail stores with corporate offices in both Montreal and Toronto. At its peak he was managing a network with more than $10 million in annual revenues and a team of 110 employees. After close to two decades in the wireless industry, a detailed analysis revealed that the wireless market was transitioning from acquisition to maintenance. An entrepreneur, who prefers the challenges of growing a business, David chose to seek new opportunities. The UPS Store certainly fits the bill. Having been introduced to The UPS Store concept during a Florida visit, David decided to investigate the opportunities available in Montreal for this winning concept. He applied for a franchise in Canada, and in 2005 acquired the Area Rights for the province of Quebec. At that time, this consisted of seven existing stores in Quebec that were in the process of being rebranded from Mail Boxes Etc. locations to The UPS Store*. In the ensuing years, The UPS Store in Quebec grew significantly and by 2008 had over 23 franchises in Quebec. Under David’s leadership, this region enjoyed a strong local support structure with ongoing marketing campaigns and regular network meetings that had been put in place. This, in turn, had also led to a double digit average annual increase in same store sales.
National Lead, Customer Experience and Marketing
Monique Duquette is a marketing and customer experience executive with over 18 years of marketing and technology experience centered around driving revenue and superior customer experience. Working throughout North America, Monique has consulted with Fortune 500 companies across media & entertainment, retail, financial services, telecommunications, and consumer packaged goods on elevating their marketing and analytics to the next level. Monique began her career in public relations and marketing where she devised and executed compelling initiatives in B2B and B2C marketing organizations. During this time, Monique developed a deep appreciation and unique understanding of how technology can be applied to better empower marketing organizations. Monique then transitioned into marketing technology consulting where she helped senior-level executives of Fortune 500 brands develop, refine and execute on strategies related to digital asset management, direct response marketing, improved marketing operations and customer-centric marketing strategies.
Co-Founder & Chief Customer Officer
A Canadian entrepreneur, Jordan is responsible for helping global brands drive business growth by improving team performance. He has spent his entire career focused on helping retailers build meaningful connections with customers to drive profitability. Previous to Nudge, he helped launch and build AIR MILES for Social Change, and is also the Co-Founder of Carrot Rewards, the world’s first national wellness rewards platform.
Head of Financial Services, Retail and Telecom
As Head of the Financial Services, Retail and Telecom verticals at Facebook Canada, Erin leads teams that develop innovative partnerships with Canada’s top organizations to accelerate their growth. Building on her passion for technology and our transition to a mobile-first world, Erin collaborates with Canadian leaders on how to use Facebook's platforms to grow their businesses domestically and internationally. Previous to Facebook, Erin was the global lead for Microsoft's partnership with BMO Financial Group. She also led the transformation of Microsoft Canada’s national partnership with HP Canada, spanning both organizations’ respective software, hardware, and consulting businesses. Erin also has a significant track record in product management across many infrastructure and productivity technology portfolios.
Senior Vice President & CIO
With more than 25 years of entrepreneurial, retail and technology experience, Michael is currently Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at the LCBO. His former roles include Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer for One Inc., Vice Present, Architecture Relationship Management and Technology Strategy at Canadian Tire Corporation, and various senior technology roles at Best Buy International and the T. Eaton Company LTD. Michael has been a visible and significant industry representative as the President of Smart Toronto and Vice President of Information Technology E-commerce and Operations at the Retail Council of Canada. He is currently a member of the Board of Governors for North Toronto Soccer Association, The Canadian Club of Toronto, and the Impakt Corporation. Michael is a graduate of York University, University of Toronto Rotman School of Business Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) Program and the Harvard Business School Executive Program.
Executive Vice President and Ontario Division Head
Mr. Fortino is currently Executive Vice President and Ontario Division Head for Metro Inc., the second largest grocery retailer in Ontario with approximately 260 stores and over 70 pharmacies operating under the Metro and Food Basics banners. He has held several executive level positions that have concentrated on business development, brand and market positioning and new product and service development. He is also a seasoned retail professional with over 30 years of general management experience that has included a focus on supply chain, logistics, store operations and merchandising, store design and financial management. Prior to joining Metro in September 2014, Mr. Fortino held the positions of Executive Vice President of Business Development at GNC Holdings Inc., President, North America Operations at Atrium Innovations Inc., and CEO of Seroyal International Inc. He has a deep understanding of the food retail industry in Ontario following several posts at Loblaw Companies Limited, where his tenure included time served as an Officer and Executive Vice President of their Ontario Division. Mr. Fortino also proudly served as Governor for Mohawk College of Applied Arts and Technology, a Director of GNC Holdings Inc., from 2007 through 2011 and is currently a Director of Delivra Inc.
Assistant Vice President
Andrew Fuller has been a part of the CN organization for 24 years, holding progressively more responsible positions in Operations, Costing/Finance, Intermodal Sales & Marketing and Director of Marketing for CN's Forest Products Division. Andrew was recently promoted to the position of Assistant Vice President, Domestic Intermodal overseeing the Sales and Marketing activities for Domestic Intermodal located in Canada, United States and Mexico. Andrew holds an MBA from Concordia University and an undergraduate degree in business from the University of New Brunswick and has volunteered on the board for the Food Shippers of America and within his local community.
Duncan Fulton is President of FGL Sports, responsible for the overall strategic direction and growth of the Company’s more than 400 retail locations across Canada, including the Sport Chek, Sports Experts, Atmosphere, National Sports, Pro Hockey Life, Hockey Experts and Intersport banners. Prior to this appointment, Duncan served as Senior Vice-President, Communications & Corporate Affairs, for Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC) and Chief Marketing Officer for FGL Sports and Mark’s. Throughout his time at Canadian Tire, Duncan has been integral to the Company’s focus on building its brand, becoming a new world retailer, and establishing itself as the most innovative retailer in the world. Duncan's work with the Canadian Tire brand has been recognized through numerous industry awards, including being named Canada's Marketer of the Year by the Canadian Marketing Association in 2015. In 2013 alone, he earned a Bronze Lion in the media category at Cannes Lions, was named Marketing Magazine's 2013 Marketer of the Year for Canadian Tire, and Marketing Executive of the Year by the International Business Awards.
President & CEO
Roots Canada Ltd.
Mr. James A. Gabel, also known as Jim, has been the Chief Executive Officer and President at Roots Canada Ltd. since February 24, 2016. Mr. Gabel served previously as an Executive Officer and the President of the Performance Group at Wolverine World Wide Inc. in Michigan from June 2014 to February 4, 2016. He has more than 24 years' experience in the footwear and apparel industry. In his 13 years with adidas Group, (in descending order) he was President of adidas Group Canada with responsibility for the consolidation of adidas, Reebok, Taylormade and Rockport. He lived in Boston for 4 years where he led Reebok’s turnaround as the President of Reebok North America. Prior to joining Reebok, he served as Senior Vice President of adidas America, where he was responsible for all brand operations for adidas and TaylorMade-adidas Golf in Canada and for directing the two largest sales accounts teams within the U.S. Prior to this role, he served as the President of adidas Canada Ltd., where he led the Canadian operation through a period of rapid growth. He joined adidas in 2001 as Vice President of Sales & Marketing, adidas Canada. Before joining the adidas Group, he held senior level positions at Champion Canada and Mizuno Canada.
Vice President, Digital Products and Platforms
Debbie Gamble is the VP Product and Platform Development at Interac responsible for the delivery of the digital commerce and faster payments strategies. With over 25 years of experience, Debbie has been involved in early iterations of the digital economy including crypto currency, mobile commerce, electronic cash, prepaid, EMV, contact and contactless solutions on an international scale. Previous roles include co-founder and SVP Product and Strategy at Dexit Inc. and Head of North America for Mondex International (a subsidiary of MasterCard). Previous to joining Interac, Debbie has worked with The Royal Canadian Mint, Visa, Telus, Ontario Lottery & Gaming, Bell and others. She currently is an Advisor at MaRS Fintech and is one of Canada's most influential and leading authorities on digital payments, speaking passionately on fintech and innovation in payments and business transformation.
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.
Canadian Technology Industry Analyst
Mark Haar covers the Canadian audio, video, and imaging industry, with an emphasis on televisions and digital still cameras. With over 20 years of marketing and analysis experience, Mark provides in-depth insights on the key segments within the consumer electronics industry including video, home, and portable audio, car electronics, and digital imaging. Mark is often quoted in publications such as Globe and Mail, National Post and CBC, among others.
Vice President, Parcels
Appointed Vice-President, Parcels in April 2017, Rod is responsible for the growth strategy, product and solution design, overall performance and profitability of Canada Post’s Domestic and International Parcels business. Under Rod’s leadership over the past few years, Canada Post has designed, developed, deployed Parcels products and services to all customer segments in the Domestic market. Rod and his team have expanded Canada Post’s capabilities in the eCommerce / Online Retail segment to improve the customer experience for online shoppers. This has included the launch of commercialized web services, market leading returns solutions, delivery preferences such as “Deliver to Post Office”, FlexDelivery and the launch of “Delivered Tonight” a same evening delivery service in the Greater Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal areas. Over his 21 years at Canada Post, Rod has held a variety of senior leadership roles including: General Manager responsible for the integration and development of Canada Post’s Group of Companies revenue generation; Interim Lead Executive for the Parcels Line of Business; and General Manager responsible for Canada Post’s International Business.” Rod started his career at Canada Post in 1994 and has held progressively responsible roles both in the field and at Head Office in sales, business and market development, parcels product management and international business areas. Most recently he was General Manager, Domestic Parcels & E-commerce Market Development, where he expanded Canada Post’s capabilities in the e-commerce segment to support retailers, offer consumers greater convenience and help drive the incredible growth of online shopping in Canada. He is a recognized leader in the Canadian parcels and e-commerce sector. Rod holds an HBA from the Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. He lives in Ottawa with his wife and three children.
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.
Vice President & GMM
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
Robert Howard is a Managing Director with Kurt Salmon, part of Accenture Strategy, and co-leads the America’s Retail Digital Strategy Practice. He brings a unique combination of retail & CPG experience (food retailing, apparel retailing, home improvement, prestige beauty, luxury department stores), digital & technology acumen (eCommerce, mobile, social media, digital experience, technology strategy, and consumer analytics), and his passion for creativity, innovation, and customer experience transformation to solve his clients most challenging problems. Prior to Kurt Salmon, Robert held executive level positions at Deloitte, Service Management Group, and ClearBrick LLC. He has authored multiple articles and books including The Customer Experience Fiasco, 7 Steps to Customer Experience Domination, and has spoken at numerous conferences and client workshops.
Peter Kalen is one of Canada’s most seasoned retail credit executives. He spent the early part of his career at Canada Trust in the credit card and consumer lending division. He subsequently joined Citibank Canada’s credit card division (Citi Cards Canada) rising to become Senior Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer. At Citibank, Peter worked closely with Petro- Canada to launch the Citibank Petro-Points MasterCard, the first major launch of a contactless credit card in Canada, and one of the most successful credit card launches in Canadian history. Peter also managed the marketing for credit card programs with retail partners such as Staples, Ikea, Costco and The Home Depot. Peter then moved to President’s Choice Financial as Senior Vice-President, leveraging his experience partnering with retailers in credit card programs to manage the credit card business for Loblaws. In 2009, Peter moved to Sears Canada to become Executive Vice-President of Financial and Home Services. During this he lead their Financial Services organization, with the mandate to manage one of Canada’s largest retail credit card portfolios. In addition, Peter was given responsibility for several other divisions at Sears, including Sears Travel, Warranties, Sears Connect Telecom Services, Specialty Services (such as Sears Portrait Studios and Sears Optical) and Sears Home Services.
Born in Halifax Nova Scotia, Raj grew up visiting his family's retail stores on weekends with his father Madan Kapahi, who founded Wicker Emporium in 1972. During summer breaks, Raj helped in the warehouse unloading containers arriving from overseas for redistribution to store locations across Atlantic Canada. Not knowing he would eventually join the family business, Raj studied Biology at Dalhousie University and, after graduation, moved to Taiwan to teach English and study Mandarin Chinese. He lived in Taipei for 3 years, then moved to Beijing seeking to find work experience in a Mandarin language environment. After spending a year in Mainland China, Raj decided to move back to Halifax and join his family business in 2001. He now runs the business together with his father out of the head office in Halifax Nova Scotia.
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
Global Chairman and National Leader, Consumer Markets
Willy Kruh has served as the auditor and advisor to many premier, multinational companies for more than 30 years. He is currently the Global and Canadian 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. He has responsibility for the customer strategy and growth of the Consumer Markets practice in 155 countries, while managing over 30 global retail accounts. In addition, 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 is a regular contributor of articles to major publications throughout the world, and a speaker at global seminars and conferences. He is also well known in the media, often speaking about trends and issues faced by consumer markets companies, including topics related to cross-industry investment and global expansion.
Vice President, Brand & Creative Director
Saje Natural Wellness
Involved in the Saje business since childhood, Kiara LeBlanc has inspired and assisted in the design, development and production of most Saje products that are on the shelves today. Leading the creative & product development teams, Kiara heads the innovation, supplier relation and design departments within the Saje Creative Office in downtown Vancouver. A previous student of Emily Carr, Kiara’s love for technology and design continues to inspire Saje as they push traditional retail boundaries and expand their offering across Canada.
Vice President, eCommerce & Marketing
Frederick has joined Golf Town as Vice President of Marketing and eCommerce, to turn the brand around by elevating its digital footprint and creating an interconnected retail landscape that allows eCommerce to successfully coexist with brick and mortar. From designing and implementing a cutting-edge omni-channel plan to enhancing Golf Town’s digital presence, Frederick applies an innovative approach to building emotional connections with customers. Before engaging in the journey to establish Golf Town Ltd.’s brand as Canada’s home of golf, Frederick led the Sport Chek digital marketing and eCommerce transformation as SVP of Marketing. He also brought forward ground-breaking digital change with the launch of Canada’s first digital flyer program and rollout of several eCommerce sites for the FGL and Marks banners (Sport Chek, Sports Experts, Atmosphere, Marks). For over 15 years, Frederick has influenced top organizations in roles such as Vice President for Global Brand Marketing & Digital Strategy at LG Electronics Corp in Seoul, Marketing Director for Microsoft Europe, and Marketing Director at Nokia. Prior to revolutionizing brands as a digital disruptor, Frederick’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to take part in two successful start-ups projects in Europe — one in eCommerce and another in media.
Partner, National Retail Leader and Consumer Analytics Practice Leader, Deloitte LLP
Jennifer leads National Retail Leader & Consumer Analytics Practice Leader for Deloitte Canada. She sits on the global retail executive team at the firm and leads the Consumer Analytics Center of Excellence (CoE) for Deloitte globally. Her mandate is to leverage her Retail and Consumer expertise in Omnichannel to help clients make sense of the vast quantities of data which exists in their organizations utilizing a insight-data driven approach. She focuses on assisting clients in developing insight-driven strategies to deal with an increasingly connected consumer and complex business issues. These strategies include -transitioning from a multi-channel organization to “insight driven” organizations by building and operationalizing eCommerce platforms, mobile capabilities and the re-designing the retail network. She also assists clients in embedding Advanced Analytics into her clients’ business to deliver a one-brand (“Omnichannel”) experience. Jennifer leads a multi-faceted and cross-functional team ranging from strategists to and advanced analytics teams including market researcher and data scientists. Jennifer was recently promoted to become the Managing Partner of Clients & Industries for Deloitte’s Advisory Practice, which includes over 100+ partners and 400 Deloitte staff. of She is now responsible for all topline revenue generating activities including leading Advisory’s top client account programs, eminence and thought leadership.
Canadian Toy Industry Analyst
Michelle joined The NPD Group in 2015, overseeing the launch of the Toys business in Canada. Michelle is highly regarded and comes to NPD with over 20 years in the toys and gaming space. Her experience includes time with such companies as Hasbro Canada and Disney Canada. Michelle holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the Schulich School of Business in Toronto, Ontario. Michelle often shares her industry expertise on TV with BNN and CBC, and is frequently quoted in the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, and National Post.
Senior Vice President, BI/Analytics
Matthew has over twenty years of experience in business intelligence (BI) and analytics working with customers in various industries in more than 30 countries. In his role as Senior Vice President, Matthew manages the BI & Analytics practice at Eclipse overseeing the development of next-generation, cloud-based BI solutions, built on the Microsoft Azure platform, that deliver intelligent reporting and predictive analysis to help organizations make faster, better decisions.
Vice President, Store Operations
As Vice President of Store Operation for FGL Sports, Kris has national accountability for the Sport Chek, Atmosphere, National Sports and Pro Hockey Life banners. Prior to taking on this challenge, Kris held the Vice President of Operations role with Marks and L’Equipeur. His retail experience with FGL Sports, Mark’s and Skechers spans over 20 years and serves him well in leading, developing and inspiring the 10,000+ frontline employees at FGL Sports. Kris is an avid Sports fan, enjoying golf, football, and hockey. Having three young children who are very active in Hockey and sports provides Kris with a unique view point into the positive impacts playing and participating in organized sport has for children and fuels his passion for Jumpstart.
National Retail Leader
Eric Matusiak is a sought - after consultant with over 20 years of experience working with leading retailers and consumer business clients across North America. He has provided consulting advice for organizations across multiple formats including department stores, specialty apparel, footwear and mass merchandise, and has worked in all departments and functions, from store floor to back office. This breadth of experience has given him the insight and perspective needed to identify client challenges and opportunities and provide practical, real world solutions. Currently the National Retail Leader at BDO Canada, Eric focuses mainly on the ongoing development and execution of retail industry strategies. He oversees BDO IT Solutions’ retail offerings and assets, guides growth and capability development, and manages the retail industry client portfolio with a focus on improving the customer experience and driving business transformation.
Founder & President
Jim McKay is the Founder & President of the AVLECA Group, a boutique consulting firm based in Oakville, Ontario. Jim helps clients develop an end to end strategic blueprint to drive world class culture and performance, connecting the dots from the shop floor to the board room. Jim has deep roots in supply chain, retail and the food business. His retail career started in the Produce Department at Miracle Food Mart (now Metro) as a young teenager. Following fourteen years in the Industrial Gas business he returned to the retail space in 2010 as a supply chain executive at Walmart Canada. From 2010 to 2016, Jim held positions as the executive lead for Transportation and End to End Supply Chain Strategy. Under his leadership, Jim and his teams delivered transformational change and millions in benefits to Walmart through Transport & Fuel Programs, Inventory Efficiency, Reverse Logistics and Supply Chain Efficiency.
President & CEO
Rebecca McKillican is the President & CEO of Well.ca, one of Canada's largest online eCommerce companies specializing in health, wellness, beauty and baby. Before becoming part of the Well.ca team, Rebecca worked for the New York City-based private equity firm Kohlberg, Kravis & Roberts (KKR) within the retail and consumer group. Rebecca has also worked at McKinsey & Company. Rebecca holds a B.A. from the Richard Ivey School of Business, a B.Eng in Electrical Engineering from Western University, and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School where she was a Baker Scholar. She's a passionate online shopper, a mom to three young children. She loves shopping for green & natural products at Well.ca to keep herself and her family healthy and well.
Director of Marketing, Domestic Intermodal group
Shauna McMillan is a passionate leader dedicated to continuing to develop and improve organizations through achieving operational excellence and continuous improvement, leading to opportunities for ongoing growth and success. A creative individual who fosters collaboration in problem solving to achieve robust and effective solution. Shauna was appointed Director of Marketing for the Domestic Intermodal group at CN in Spring 2016. In her role, she is now responsible for a wide array of commercial matters including establishing marketing and pricing strategies as they relate to that business unit. Ms. McMillan originally started with CN in June 2013 as the Director of Marketing for the Automotive business unit. Prior to joining CN, Ms. McMillan was with another very large Canadian company, Canadian Tire. During her nearly 14 years with the organization she gained experience across a broad range of project management, operations and analytical environments.
Vice President, Merchandising & Marketing
Angus McOuat is Vice President of Merchandising & Marketing at Pusateri's Fine Foods, a gourmet food emporium chain based in Toronto. At Pusateri's, Angus has helped support their recent expansion including a partnership with Saks Fifth Avenue to create Food Hall experiences in the Canadian market. Since joining he has focused on building out the category management capabilities of the team, integrating marketing and merchandising activities to create powerful stories for the customer, and ensuring a strong focus on high quality new and exclusive products. Prior to joining Pusateri's Angus held a leadership position in merchandising at Canadian Tire and spent more than 10 years in strategy consulting, primarily at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), leading large retail and consumer goods projects for Fortune 500 companies around the world. Angus has a Bachelor of Commerce from Queen's University and an MBA from Harvard University.
Vice President & Executive Producer
Jacqueline Milczarek is Vice President and Executive Producer of iPoliticsLive and an established network level news anchor who thrives on educating, engaging and empowering audiences. She is an award winning journalist with a known national profile and more than 2 decades of broadcast journalism experience. In her previous role as national morning news anchor for CTV News Channel, Jacqueline set the daily agenda for breaking news in Canada. She is now tasked with innovating the live journalism experience at iPoliticsLive, leading a ground breaking team of experts to build community around topics of shared interest. Her live event discussions have advanced the public discourse on a wide range of topics from digital upset and innovation to sweeping economic, social and political change. Jacqueline’s previous roles include time spent at Global Television and most recently, the Cable Public Affairs Channel in Ottawa.
Egil Moller Nielsen
Senior Vice President, Penguin Pick-Up, Penguin Fresh
Egil Moller Nielsen brings years of global experience in executive roles within corporate strategy, end-2-end supply chain and turnaround for leading consumer product, retail and eCommerce businesses. Currently SVP & Head of Business for SmartCentres Inc. eCommerce strategy and new line of business ‘Penguin Pick-Up’ & ‘Penguin Fresh’ that combines the ease of online shopping with convenience of Brick & Mortar at more than 250 SmartCentres shopping centres. Prior to SmartCentres, he has served in executive roles around the world at Mattel-Mega Brands, Bodum Coffee & Tea, LEGO Group, ECCO Shoes and DHL. During his seven years at LEGO Group he was head of Global Distribution & Logistics, member of the corporate leadership team and one of key contributors to the successful turnaround and growth of LEGO Company – his turnaround of logistics was so successful it is taught at leading universities around the world. Egil Moller Nielsen has a MBA from Leicester University, BBA from Aarhus University and joined several executive programs at Stanford University and Harvard Business School.
You won't find anyone more passionate about retail than Linda Montalbano. She started in the industry 25 years ago on the front lines and worked her way up to become the Vice President of Retail Operations for a national retail chain. For the last 12 years she’s been the Vice President of Graff Retail, working with retailers to achieve the best results possible through their store management teams and front line associates. Although her expertise has always been in retail operations, Leadership has been the pillar to her success. Linda speaks passionately about leadership in the industry and has spoken to audiences about multi-generational workforces, personal branding and influential leadership.
Managing Director, Digital Revenue
Ashling Moore is a proud native of Toronto and a Digital Marketing professional, in that order. As the Managing Director of Digital Revenue for Metroland Media, she is charged with creating new & innovative marketing solutions for national businesses and SMBs across Canada. She started her 20+ year career in the more traditional media outlets (newspapers, flyers, trade shows, magazines & phone books) and then propelled her marketing savvy into the Digital space over a decade ago. Combining her ability to drive foot traffic to stores & online traffic to corporate sites, she offers the right mix of local awareness and results for Metroland’s clients.
CTV's Your Morning and eTalk
With more than 16 years of experience in broadcasting, Ben Mulroney is one of Canada’s most respected journalists. As the co-host of both CTV’s new program, Your Morning, and Canada’s number one entertainment show, eTalk, he brings the best to what he does as a speaker, emcee, event moderator, and interviewer. Whether on stage or in front of a camera, Mulroney draws on his incredible expertise to create memorable and entertaining experiences for all his audiences. Throughout his career, Mulroney has covered renowned events such as the Oscars, the Golden Globes, the Emmys, and the Juno Awards. Before joining eTalk, Mulroney was a correspondent for The Chatroom, and the entertainment reporter for Canada AM. He was also the host of Canadian Idol for six seasons, which was–and remains–the most successful English language show in Canadian history. In addition to eTalk, he also hosted eTalk 20, a weekly two-hour radio show that aired on 11 CHUM stations across Canada.
CIO & Executive Vice President, eCommerce
Rick Neuman is CIO & EVP of Technology and eCommerce at Walmart Canada. He is responsible for leading the eCommerce team in integrating and stimulating growth for Walmart in the digital marketplace, and applying modern technology to enable success of Walmart teams across stores, merchandising, and other core systems. Rick joined Walmart in 2012 as director of site experience in eCommerce. During this time, he helped establish Walmart.ca as a best-in-class retail site, while expanding the company’s online presence. Before joining Walmart, Rick held digital development and marketing positions at Sears Canada and Canadian Tire. Rick earned an honors undergraduate degree in commerce and marketing from McMaster University and an MBA from York University’s Schulich School of Business.
Supply Chain Logistics
Last Mile Logistics Expert
Gary specialises in strategic transformation within Retail Logistics. He is recognised as a visionary in “Last Mile Logistics”, the most complex area within retail supply chains. His 30-year experience is notable for rapidly transforming underperforming distribution networks and developing competitive advantage, driving growth and customer loyalty. As a leader within high growth B2C channels, he’s occupied several Interim C level roles, including leading one of Europe’s largest home delivery companies, serving many UK retailers including Amazon. Gary holds two Cranfield University Master Degrees. By profession, he is a Fellow Chartered Management Accountant. Recently, he earned CITT’s award for top academic standing, and is currently taking a Retail Management Certificate at Ryerson University. Thirty years ago, he moved into Retail Logistics to work on the largest non-grocery outsourcing programs of that era, and then headed up one of the fastest growing asset based 3PLs of the 1990s before setting up his practice helping companies accessing retail markets transform their operations and performance. Gary is on contract with Gordon Food Service, working on their Canadian Last Mile Strategies through to end of May.
Retail Adviser & Subject Matter Expert
Retail Council of Canada
Stephen O’Keefe is an external consultant on contract to Retail Council of Canada to advise on the many aspects of loss prevention affecting shrinkage and profitability for retailers. He has 30 years of experience working directly with some of the largest retailers in Canada such as Sears, Hudson’s Bay and more recently with Walmart Canada. Stephen held the role of Vice President of Loss Prevention and Risk Management with Walmart Canada, as well as a key member of a global team dealing with Mergers and Acquisitions which exposed him retail in countries such as Russia, Japan, and Brazil. Stephen acts as an advisor to the Loss Prevention network of professionals in areas such as refund fraud, organized crime, restorative justice and the various legislative issues that come up over time. Most recently he helped retailers with a very restrictive piece of the legislation dealing with privacy, now allowing for the sharing of personal information related to criminal activity without consent, as outlined in PIPEDA (Personal Information and Protection of Electronic Documents Act) as of March 2017. Stephen is currently conducting research into the Economic Impact of Retail Crime, and supporting independent retailers with their efforts to maximize profitability through his website Bottom Line Matters.
President & CEO
Craig is a special projects consultant at Retail Council of Canada, as well as Director of Applied Research at the University of Alberta School of Retailing in Edmonton. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for the past 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees. He is also President & CEO of Vancouver-based Retail Insider Media Ltd, and editor-in-chief of online industry publication Retail Insider.
General Manager, Wayfair Canada
Deborah Poole is the General Manager of Wayfair’s Canada business. Wayfair.ca is part of the Wayfair Inc. family of sites that offers an extensive selection of over 7 million unique home furnishings and décor items across all styles and price points. A pure e-commerce player since its founding in 2002, Wayfair focuses on retail technology and innovation to powers an unparalleled customer experience. Deborah is a 7 year Wayfair veteran with experience across multiple business units. She launched Wayfair.ca in January 2016 and has been scaling Wayfair’s unique assortment and customer service value proposition in Canada ever since. A graduate of Harvard (B.A.) and Georgia Tech (M.S.), she began her career as a consultant at McKinsey & Company and at software startup Vela Systems (acquired by Autodesk).
Vice President, Omni-Channel Operations (Online Grocery)
Daryl started his career at Walmart Canada in 1995, and has been a student of retail ever since. In 2003, he was promoted to Store Manager and ran a number of stores across Ontario. He was pivotal to the launch of the Supercentre business in Canada. In 2008, Daryl started running multi-unit organizations as a District Manager in both Muskoka and the GTA. Increasingly larger scope roles followed, as the Regional Director of Operations in Ontario, followed by Senior Director of Central Operations. In November of 2014, Daryl was promoted to Vice President, Market Leader and began immersing himself in the connection of the digital and physical. He launched Walmart’s Online Grocery business in the Ottawa Market, in 2015. In February 2016, Daryl moved into the eCommerce business unit in the role of Vice-President, Omni Channel and Online Grocery. He is responsible for advancing Walmart Canada’s digital efforts in the omni-channel space while leading the team that is developing and deploying the expansion of the Online Grocery business across Canada. During the same time period, Daryl served also served in the Canadian Forces Primary Reserve. He held the role of Infantry Sergeant and retired after 11 years. In his down time, Daryl is involved with the Lorne Scots Regimental Association. He has been serving as their President for the 3 years. He earned his Masters of Business Administration in Executive Management at Royal Roads University in 2014.
President & CEO
Sylvain Prud’homme was named president and CEO of Lowe’s Canada in May 2016. He is responsible for driving the Canadian home improvement business for Lowe’s, including RONA’s network of stores and independent dealers operating under other banners. Prud’homme joined Lowe’s as president of Lowe’s Canada in 2013, and he has more than 30 years of experience in the Canadian retail industry. Prior to Lowe’s Canada, Prud’homme served as executive vice president of operations and merchandising for Loblaw Company. He was also president of western operations for Sobeys and spent several years as senior vice president of operations and merchandising for Wal-Mart Canada. Prud’homme earned an MBA from the University of Montreal’s HEC business school. He is a member of the board of directors for GS1 and Lowe’s Companies Canada, ULC.
Director of Digital Commerce
Steve Quintin is Director of Digital Commerce for Grocery Gateway. Grocery Gateway, owned and operated by Longo’s, has been delivering groceries to homes and businesses in the Greater Toronto Area for 20 years. Steve is responsible for developing and executing Grocery Gateway’s core capabilities and roadmap in the ecommerce space. Most recently, he lead the team responsible for the relaunch of the Grocery Gateway web and mobile experiences. Steve has more than 10 years of experience in e-commerce, serving in executive roles at an online gaming company that developed products and services for the largest international gaming brands - William Hill, 888, Ladbrokes, Loto-Quebec, Paddy Power and many others.
Retail Industry Leader
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.
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.
Vice President, Client Management, Merchant Services
Simona Salter is Vice President of Client Management for Merchant Services at American Express, where she oversees overall strategy for the growth and development of new and existing relationships across the company’s merchant network. A seasoned marketing strategist and digital trailblazer, Simona is an integral member of the senior leadership team, focusing on driving growth and engagement for the brands and relationships across the American Express network. She is a passionate leader within the American Express People Leader Learning Path program and is an active mentor to individuals both inside and outside the organization.
Partner, Advisory Services
Ernst & Young LLP
Ted is the National Leader of EY’s Consumer Products and Retail Sector and a member of EY’s Global CP&R Advisory council. Over the past twenty plus years, Ted has had the opportunity to advise clients throughout the Americas with respect to the improvement of their top line growth and bottom line performance achieved through both business and technology transformation initiatives. He has served clients across the entire value chain from manufacturing through to consumer goods and every retail format imaginable. Ted is a frequent industry speaker and lecturer on the topics regarding the role of disruptive technologies on shaping customer engagement and their impact on business operating models. He holds a degree in Industrial Engineering and an MBA in Operations Research from the Schulich School of Business.
Vice President and General Manager of Merchant Services Canada
A skilled executive with a passion for partnerships and collaboration, Kerri-Ann Santaguida is the Vice President and General Manager of Merchant Services Canada at American Express, where she leads the Global Merchant Services Business across Canada. Kerri-Ann and her team work closely with millions of merchants across Canada that accept American Express and serve as an acquirer, processor and marketing partner for merchants of all sizes, including small, regional and global businesses. Since taking over the role in September 2015, Kerri-Ann is responsible for leading a high performing team of more than 100+ employees with a focus on providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success.
Senior Vice President, Retail and Chief Human Resources Officer
Best Buy Canada Ltd.
As Senior Vice President, Retail and Chief Human Resources Officer for Best Buy Canada, Kamy Scarlett is accountable for sales and profits in over 180 stores across Canada, in addition to enacting the human resources and talent management strategies for the company. Kamy began her career in retail over 30 years ago, starting with a role at the Hudson’s Bay Company. She has harnessed invaluable experience in both line and support functions, for iconic Canadian retailers such as Dylex, Hudson’s Bay, Loblaws, Grafton Fraser and now Best Buy Canada. Often referred to as a ‘unicorn’ for her uniquely defined experiences in retail, Kamy’s background has included such roles as VP of Retail at the Bay, and SVP of Marketing for Hudson’s Bay Company and its four banners, as well as serving as the SVP of Talent Management at Loblaw. In her role at Best Buy Canada, Kamy brings a wealth of knowledge, a strong leadership mentality, and an acute skillset to lead her teams. Known for her passion for people and ability to lead cultural transformation, Kamy believes the qualities that lead to successful change are the same qualities that make a strong leader. Enacting the willingness to change requires a culture that’s based on faith in leadership and firmly rooted in open strategy and transparent communication. Kamy helps to embody this message of trust and relay it to her teams, remaining firm on the idea that people only fear change when they don't understand or trust the intention behind it.
President & CEO
National Retail Federation
Matthew Shay is president and CEO of the National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association. Shay serves as chief advocate and spokesman for the nation’s largest private-sector industry employer, responsible for creating one in four U.S. jobs — 42 million working Americans — and generating $2.6 trillion in annual GDP. Since his arrival in 2010, Shay has transformed NRF into Washington’s most powerful voice supporting the retail industry, leading the organization to new levels of effectiveness on policy issues, increasing awareness of the industry’s economic impact and expanding political engagement. Under his tenure, membership has more than doubled to 18,000, revenue has doubled and advocacy investments have grown significantly. Shay led the implementation of a new strategic plan for the organization, allocating significant new financial and human resources to government relations and advocacy, a new approach to communications and public affairs, and increased focus on delivering member value. The plan has led to legislative movement on key issues like patent litigation reform, sales tax fairness and data security; the creation of the This is Retail industry perception campaign; NRF’s most successful annual convention in its 100-year history; and the expansion of the NRF Foundation, which awarded over $1 million in educational scholarships last year alone. Shay previously served as president and CEO of the International Franchise Association, which represents more than 1,200 franchise companies in retail and other industries around the world. During his time as CEO, the IFA adopted an aggressive public policy agenda that led to a series of initiatives to restore much-needed credit to cash-strapped retail and other franchise businesses during the last recession. Shay has been recognized by CEO Update as one of the top 50 nonprofit chief executives in Washington. He serves on a number of boards and committees, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the American Society of Association Executives where he serves as chair-elect of ASAE and chair of ASAE Foundation, Good360, So Others Might Eat, the U.S. Capitol Historical Society and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Association Committee of 100.
General Manager, Canada Retail
Michelle Smye has over 30 years of leadership experience with Hallmark Cards, Canada. As General Manager – Canada Retail, Ms. Smye has developed a reputation for effective change management, pursuing opportunities that will create sustainable value for the future of the organization. Leveraging knowledge, energy and optimism, she has forged strong relationships with independent retailers and is a passionate advocate for their Canadian flagship stores - both corporately and independently owned.
As an award winning sales, ecommerce, marketing and technology leader, Sean has over 15 years’ experience in high growth B2B, B2C and C2C industries. Prior to founding Engagement Agents, Sean was the Director of Sales & Marketing for Stitch It Clothing Alterations, North America’s largest alterations service provider with 85 locations in major shopping centres. While helping Stitch It drive in-store sales through innovative marketing campaigns, he discovered a significant problem; every retailer, like Stitch It, pays into the shopping centre marketing fund via their lease, but a whopping 90% of retailers do not engage their shopping centres' physical & digital marketing channels which they already pay for. This results in many problems including billions in lost impressions, traffic and sales collectively to retailers & shopping centres. With the support & involvement of Stitch It, Sean developed Engagement Agents, a world class solution to help retailers & shopping centres gain competitive advantages, save time and money, while increasing impressions, traffic and sales to their stores, website & social media! Prior to joining Stitch It Sean founded Trend Trunk, Canada’s largest fashion marketplace, which was a finalist for three Canada Post Ecommerce Innovation Awards and Preferred One, one of the largest retailer gift card marketing companies in North America. In addition, Sean was recognized with “Guy Who Gets It” Award by Illuminessence Magazine for valiant contributions to gender equality, social justice and community development.
Doug Stephens is one of the world’s foremost retail industry futurists. His intellectual work and thinking have influenced many of the world’s best-known retailers, agencies and brands including Walmart, Google, Home Depot, Disney, BMW, Citibank, and Intel. Doug is also listed as one of retail’s top global influencers by Vend.com. Prior to founding Retail Prophet, Doug spent over 20 years in the retail industry, holding senior international roles including the leadership of one of New York City’s most historic retail chains. His unique perspectives on retailing, business and consumer behavior have been featured in many of the world’s leading publications and media outlets including The New York Times, The BBC, Bloomberg Business News, TechCrunch, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal and Fast Company.
Canadian Fashion & Footwear Industry Analyst
Tamara has over 10 years of experience in the Canadian fashion industry. Over the years, Tamara has excelled as stylist, designer, merchandiser and creative director. She has worked closely with the top Canadian retailers to build assortment plans and merchandising strategies. Tamara joined The NPD Group in 2015, helping the world's top brands and retailers navigate the Canadian landscape using data and market intelligence insights. She keeps a pulse on the fashion and retail industry, presenting key trends to manufacturers, retailers, and retail reporters at CBC, Globe and Mail, and National Post, to name a few.
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.
Canadian Sports Industry Analyst
Matthew Teeple covers the Canadian apparel and footwear industries with an emphasis on sports and recreation. He has immersed himself in the Canadian sports landscape, embracing not only Canada’s national pastime, hockey, but also baseball, golf, soccer, and more. Matthew provides in-depth insights and industry expertise to many of the leading brands and retailers in the global sports marketplace. He focuses on categories such as running, outdoor, fitness, and athleisure.
Co-Founder & Co-CEO
As Co-CEO in charge of supply chain and logistics at Surmesur, François Thériault constantly seeks out new opportunities to enhance the client experience, from the choice of fabrics to how the finished product is delivered. He was inspired to co-found Surmesur with his brother, Vincent, when their world travels revealed the potential to offer a new way for men to shop, with more and better options to create truly unique products. François stresses the importance of providing a personalized, “human” experience throughout the creative process, a key component of the company’s success.
Co-Founder & Co-CEO
Vincent is a passionate entrepreneur whose main motivation is to do things differently. The Surmesur concept is proof that he is not afraid to walk the unbeaten path. Since creating Surmesur in 2010 with his brother, François, he has enjoyed exploring new facets of entrepreneurship while wearing several hats in management, design and marketing. Vincent is actively involved in his local Chamber of Commerce, mentors university and college students to achieve success in their entrepreneurial projects, and is a frequent conference speaker. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Université Laval.
Retail President, Retail Business Group
Don Unser leads The NPD Group's recruitment and business development efforts for its panel of retailer partners, representing more than 900 retailers worldwide. Don also oversees Corporate Marketing, Financial Services, NPD’s Public Sector practice, Connected Intelligence, and the Entertainment practice. Prior to joining The NPD Group, Don was a 20-year veteran at Hewlett-Packard and held a variety of positions with the company. While at HP, his responsibility spanned the retail, online, and contract outbound sales channels across 13 categories, 100+ partners, 20,000 outlets, and contract stationer branches throughout the U.S. Don managed the company's relationship with all U.S. retail outlets and oversaw sales, finance, marketing, and operations of the company's consumer product portfolio. Don holds an MBA from the University of Tampa and a BS in Business Administration from University of Central Florida.
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”.
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
Director of Global Retail Services
Underwriters Laboratories of Canada
Melissa works with global retailers, distribution partners and re-sellers on the education of ever changing safety standards. Her team focuses on Commercial and Industrial products including all electrical, wire and cable, building, life and safety products and performance materials.
Vice President, Partnerships & Platform
Brad is VP Partnerships and Platform at SweetIQ. A seasoned local marketing and business development professional, Brad has delivered industry leading products such as the first global Yellow Pages open API platform, now copied +6 times across the globe. In his role at SweetIQ, Brad leverages his ability to build top tier relationships, and has been instrumental in the development of SweetIQ’s API.
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.
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.
Chief Marketing Officer
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 the shopping experience and onsite merchandising, accelerate new customer acquisition, expend Well.ca into physical retail and strengthen vendor management. She has over 15 years of experience in the retail sector. Prior to joining Well.ca, Erin was a leader in McKinsey & Company 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.
Founder & CEO
Ben Zifkin is a successful repeat entrepreneur and best selling author of 'The Rise of The Craft Brand”. He has spent the last 15 years helping some of the world’s largest organizations leverage technology to compete in business. Living and working in North America, Europe and Asia, he has become a trusted advisor to senior executives of Fortune 1000 companies. Ben has built three organizations with successful exits and raised significant venture funding. His companies have been recognized as Top 3 Best New Startups, Top 20 Most Innovative Companies, Fast 50 – Companies to Watch and Hot 50 Fastest Growing Companies. His most recent business, Hubba, is the fastest growing B2B network connecting brands and retailers. Through this network, Hubba is building out the world’s richest, most comprehensive data set of product information. Hubba is routinely recognized as one of the most powerful companies powering the next generation of commerce. Utilizing years of experience dealing with large organizations, Ben has focused his effort to shining a spotlight on amazing craft brands and their products. Heavily involved with the technology community, Ben sits on the Board of Directors of Ladies Learning Code, an organization focused on increasing the digital literacy of women, and The Upside Foundation, a charity that works with startups to donate 1% of their equity in support of local communities. In addition, Ben advises HackerYou and Toronto’s MaRS Discovery District, and mentors at The Next 36 and Founder’s Institute.