The Diversity Agency
Andria Barrett is with The Diversity Agency, which is not only a Speakers Bureau, but also includes Diversity & Inclusion Consultants and Strategic Consultants connecting Companies & Government with Black Entrepreneurs, Consumers & Communities. Born and raised in Canada (with an allegiance to the Toronto Raptors), one of Andria’s very first jobs was in retail. Andria speaks on Diversity & Wellness and is looking forward to participating in this year’s event. Andria is an active investor supporting female entrepreneurs and is active in her community and serves on the board of PACE, Canadian SME and the Culinary Tourism Alliance.
Founder and CEO
Lauren Chan began her career as a plus-size model at Ford Models in New York City. She later spent time as a fashion writer for outlets like Vogue before landing as a fashion editor at Glamour. There, she oversaw the fashion features team and owned the size inclusion beat. Over time, Chan became fashion's foremost expert on size inclusion, but despite her efforts was not able to access plus-size clothes beyond cheap fast-fashion outlets. Her smaller peers regularly wore high-fashion garments, reinforcing the narrative that thin women are of higher value. To refute that disadvantage, Chan created Henning. As a luxury plus-size brand, Henning allows women like her to wear high-quality clothing, and thereby be seen as high-value people. Her goal: to eliminate the inequality that plus-size women face by harnessing fashion to change the way they are perceived—and, more importantly, the way they perceive themselves.
Three Time Best Selling Author
China Marketing Expert
Ashley is a renowned China marketing expert, entrepreneur, bestselling author and vlogger. She was recognized as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Marketing and chosen as an Asia-Pacific Top 25 Innovator by the Holmes Report. Ashley’s been named a “Guru on digital marketing and fast-evolving trends in China” by Thinkers50, as well as one of Top 20 Visionaries of the Media and Technology Industry by Adello Magazine. She is the founder of a China-focused social media agency Alarice and China insights and digital training company ChoZan. Ashley runs the world’s #1 YouTube business vlog about the China market, consumers and social media at Ashley Talks. She is an author of 3 Amazon bestsellers about digital China. Ashley is an active supporter of women in business and is the creator of the self-development program FIRE. She’s regularly featured in media such as BBC, CNBC, CGTN, SCMP, Forbes, WSJ and more.
Senior Vice-President Operations Support and Chief Information Officer
Mr. Eubanks is an executive with significant experience in technology leadership. He is currently the Senior Vice-President Operations Support and Chief Information Officer of goeasy Ltd., which provides leasing and lending services across Canada. Prior to his employment with goeasy, Mr. Eubanks was the Chief Information Officer at the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) and the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS). Prior to that Mr. Eubanks served in progressive leadership roles focused on technology in the retail industry having worked for Canadian Tire Corporation and Best Buy International. Mr. Eubanks also serves as a Director on the Board of the innovation hub Communitech. Mr. Eubanks is a graduate of York University, ICD-Rotman Directors Education Program.
Associate Director, Food & Drink, Canada
Joel Gregoire researches and writes reports on the Canadian food and drink industry for Mintel. He comes to us after stops at NPD, Loblaw's and OMD, where he amassed a breadth experience in the industry. Joel has a Bachelor's Honours Co-op in Political Science and History from the University of Waterloo.
Co-founder and Chief Brand Officer
Emily Heyward is the Co-founder and Chief Brand Officer at Red Antler, the leading brand building company for startups and new ventures. Emily works closely with founders to develop purposeful, strategic visions for their startups and has led branding efforts for top companies such as Casper, Allbirds, Betterment, and Prose. After beginning her career in advertising, she started Red Antler along with her co-founders to directly apply consumer insights and brand positioning to launching and growing new and beloved businesses. In 2018, Red Antler made Fast Company’s list of Most Innovative Companies in Marketing and Advertising and was dubbed the “cult brand whisperer”. Emily was named among the Most Important Entrepreneurs of the Decade by Inc. Magazine, and has also been recognized as a Top Female Founder by Inc. and one of Entrepreneur's Most Powerful Women of 2019. As a brand strategy expert, Emily is frequently interviewed by the press, with commentary appearing in Forbes, Bloomberg, Inc., Fast Company and Adweek. She’s also been a featured speaker at TechCrunch Disrupt, 99U, and the Fast Company Innovation Festival. Her first book, Obsessed: Building a Brand People Love from Day One, was published by Portfolio, a division of Penguin Randomhouse, in June 2020. Emily graduated Magna Cum laude from Harvard University, where she studied postmodern theory and consumer culture. Born and raised in New York, she currently lives in Southampton with her wife and son.
Former Chairman & CEO of Best Buy; Author, The Heart of Business - Leadership Principles for the Next Era of Capitalism
Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School
Acclaimed for his ability to put people and purpose at the heart of business, Hubert Joly rebuilt Best Buy into one of the nation’s favorite employers while dramatically growing the company’s stock price. Recognized as one of the top 100 CEOs in the world by the Harvard Business Review, one of the top 30 CEOs in the world by Barron’s, and one of the top 10 CEOs in the U.S. by Glassdoor, Joly’s leadership as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Best Buy has been praised by his colleagues, consumers, and investors alike. In 2012, the retail industry was suffering, and Best Buy was no exception. However, under the direction of Joly, the retail giant not only survived, it thrived, to the benefit of all of the company’s stakeholders. To accomplish this, he employed a powerful philosophy: pursue a noble purpose, put people at the center of the business, create an environment where every employee can succeed, and treat profit as an outcome, not the goal. His greatest achievement, however, may have been to make himself dispensable: he decided to step down as CEO in 2019 and as executive chairman in 2020, and passed the baton to a diverse, new generation of leaders, which included appointing Corie Barry as CEO, and building a board of directors that had a majority of woman directors and three black directors. Hubert Joly currently serves as a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School. He is also a member of the board of directors of Johnson & Johnson and Ralph Lauren Corporation, a member of the International Advisory Board of HEC Paris, and a Trustee of the Minneapolis Institute of Art. He is the author of the bestselling book “The Heart of Business – Leadership Principles for the Next Era of Capitalism.”
Sarah is CEO of Mastermind Toys, Canada’s largest specialty toy and kids book store. She leads 69 stores coast-to-coast and online with thousands of employees including stores, head office and warehouse – bringing to life their reputation as Canada’s Authority on Play, and creating a world class employee and customer experience. In 2020, Mastermind Toys was named The Most Innovative Retailer of the Year, and Sarah was recognized as a Global Influencer in Customer Experience. Sarah is a passionate, energetic leader with a track record of delivering results while leading transformational change at organizations. Previously she was the Senior Vice President, Customer Experience and Omni Channel Strategy at Scotiabank where she led the bank from #5 to #1 in customer experience ratings. She spent a decade with The Boston Consulting Group, where she advised Fortune 500 companies on large scale retail customer centric transformations and cultural change. Sarah holds both an MBA and an Engineering degree from Queen’s University. She is a lecturer at the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University in the MBA program, and a guest speaker at Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University in their Innovation in Retailing & Services program. She is a board member at the Canadian Toy Association, the first-ever retail member in the organization’s history. She is also a jury for the 2021 Canada’s Marketing Hall of Legends, one of the nation’s most respected and renowned industry awards.
CEO and Founder
Evio Beauty Group
At the age of 21, Leifso was living in a women's shelter when she founded the concept for Evio, a Canadian clean beauty company that is redefining luxury beauty to be kind, conscious and affordable. Evio’s line of cosmetics and skincare products are affordable, inclusive, vegan, cruelty-free, toxin-free, gluten-free and paraben-free, and are ethically and consciously produced. Evio’s mission is to create a more conscious and kind future with products and packaging that are made with good-for-you, sustainable ingredients, including hemp, avocado, rosemary, elderberry and cocoa seed butters, to leave less of an imprint on our planet. From humble beginnings, Leifso has raised millions through strategic alliances and has won the support of a coveted board of directors and advisor to grow Evio into a respected thought leader and a direct-to-consumer brand with distribution across North America. In 2018, Leifso secured a spot as an alumni member of the esteemed Sephora Accelerate program and was selected as one of Chatelaine Magazine's 2018 Women of the Year. In 2019, Leifso spoke at Forbes Under 30’s first-ever Global Women Summit in Israel, Cosmetic Executive Women’s Future of Cannabis in Beauty in Los Angeles, and the CAFA Fashion & Retail Forum in Toronto. Most recently, Leifso was recognized as one of 2020’s Top 25 Women of Influence. “We want to live in a world in which each person is empowered to live their authentic truths, with brands that make them feel luxurious, regardless of their social status. At Evio we believe in celebrating all forms of beauty and making a positive difference and breaking stigmas along the way.” - Brandi Leifso, CEO and founder of Evio
AmberMac Media Inc.
Amber Mac is an award-winning podcaster, TV host, and bestselling author - and an internationally-known technology reporter, entrepreneur, and social media personality. She started her career at Razorfish in San Francisco during the dot-com boom and has since been at the forefront of reporting on and participating in digital innovation, including the future of work, commerce, and emerging technologies. Her broadcast roles include hosting innovation programs on networks such as Bloomberg, TechTV, and SiriusXM. She is also a frequent contributor to Fast Company. She has written a bestselling business book on digital marketing (2010) and most recently wrote an Internet security book (2016). In 2018, she was named one of DMZ’s 30 inspirational women making a difference in tech.
Director of Retail & Services
Eric Morris is the Managing Director of Google's Retail practice in Canada, leading sales, operations, research, strategy and analytics for Google's advertising business. Eric has held several leadership roles at Google Canada since joining in 2002. Prior to his current role, Eric led Google Canada's search and performance advertising business. Previously, Eric launched and led Google’s mobile advertising business in Canada. In 2016 Eric was named inventor and issued a patent in the United States for identifying rising search queries and trends at scale for advertisers worldwide. Eric was elected to the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada’s board of directors in 2009, including a term as Chair of the board in 2015-2017. Born in Montreal and raised in Toronto, Eric is a graduate of Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario.
Michael Schneider was appointed Managing Director Bunnings Australia and New Zealand in March 2016. Bunnings is the leading retailer of home improvement and lifestyle products in Australia and New Zealand and a major supplier to project builders, commercial tradespeople and the housing industry. Operating from a network of more than 370 stores and trade centres, Bunnings caters for consumer and commercial customers. Prior to his appointed as MD, Michael led Store Operations teams across Australia and New Zealand after joining Bunnings in 2005. Before joining Bunnings, Michael held a range of senior operational, commercial and human resources roles across regional and national markets, both in retail and financial services businesses. Michael is committed to developing diverse teams that challenge the status quo and embrace innovation to drive high performance which is critical in today’s competitive retail environment. As a leader, he is known for his collaborative, genuine and honest style and for having a real passion and energy for the Bunnings business. This has fostered Bunnings’ supportive culture which empowers team members to take responsibility and have ownership in how the business delivers its customers’ a unique and compelling proposition. Michael believes that team members’ ability to connect with customers and the local community is key to the business’ success and that this requires an ongoing investment in building the best team as well as creating a culture that builds trust, inspires action, develops people and drives performance. He is a strong advocate for emerging talent and believes in giving young leaders every opportunity to realise their full potential and develop their careers across a range of disciplines within the business. Michael holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of NSW and has completed the Advanced Management Program at INSEAD, and the Advanced Strategic Management Program at IMD.
Clint G Seukeran
Clint G Seukeran is the owner of Ganjika House, which became Brampton’s first legal cannabis dispensary on April 1 2019. He was an AGCO cannabis lottery winner in January 2019 and subsequently featured in various media including CP24, CBC Toronto, CBC Radio, and the Toronto Star.
Prior to entering the cannabis space Clint owned a food processing facility in the Dominican Republic, which supplied raw beverages and produce to various international markets including the US, Canada and the Caribbean. He holds an MBA in Food and Agribusiness as well as certifications in Food Science and Logistics.
When he entered the cannabis space in 2019 Clint was called a novice. Now in 2021 he is recognized as one of Ontario’s cannabis retail leaders. He has five retail cannabis stores in Ontario with more openings planned.
Over the past 2 years Clint and his team have built a strong customer centred retail brand, which passionately represents cannabis. Ganjika House was formed to fiercely fight the ill-educated stigma of cannabis, using brand pillars of truth and kindness.
Founder and CEO
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, Estee Lauder, BMW and LVMH.
Prior to founding the consultancy Retail Prophet, Doug spent over 20 years in the retail industry, holding senior international leadership roles.
Doug is the author of three internationally bestselling books. His latest titled Resurrecting Retail: The Future of Business a Post-Pandemic World (2021). He is also the author of Reengineering Retail: The Future of Selling in a Post-Digital World and The Retail Revival: Re-Imagining Business for the New Age of Consumerism. Doug is also the nationally syndicated retail columnist for CBC Radio and sits on multiple corporate and academic advosry boards.
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, TechCrunch, The Wall Street Journal and Fast Company.
John S. Thorbeck is Chairman of Chainge Capital, a firm focused on retail industry transformation. John is co-author with Warren H. Hausman, professor emeritus, of the Stanford-based “Zara Gap” metrics linking speed and investor value, case study on fast fashion implementation, and process and data innovation for superior profit performance. John is a former CEO of GH Bass & Co (PVH), and Rockport (Adidas), and senior executive for Timberland Co and Nike. John received an MBA at Harvard Business School.
CEO and Chief Sustainability Officer
Michael’s journey with IKEA began with what started as a one-year internship program in 1986. From there he quickly progressed to hold various positions with increased responsibilities at IKEA Canada, and then moved onto IKEA globally where he held strategic leadership roles in Sweden, the Netherlands and the United States. Michael has a passion for retail with a proven track record of driving growth and leading through change on both a country and a global level.
Associate Director, Canada Leisure & Lifestyle Reports
Carol Wong-Li has been writing reports on the Canadian lifestyle and leisure industry for Mintel Canada since October 2014. Prior to joining, she worked in market research consulting on both the research supplier and client. Carol has a MA in Sociology from the University of Calgary.
General Manager, Marketing
Yvonne is the head of Marketing and member of the Executive at London Drugs. Since joining London Drugs in 2018 she has advanced the marketing strategy of one of BC’s “most loved” brands by optimizing the marketing mix for owned, earned, and paid media to gain relevance, and creating meaningful customer connections.
Driving for a customer led experience is at the core of the marketing strategy Yvonne is pursuing for the London Drugs brand. By embracing and acting on the data generated from the LDExtras loyalty program and merging with the insights achieved through research and additional data sources, London Drugs is on the path to a new level of personalized customer experiences.
Yvonne has a wide background in marketing covering the vendor and retailer perspectives in a variety of the companies that have informed the work she does for London Drugs. She achieved an MBA in Executive Management from Royal Roads University in 2018 and a holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Waterloo.
Chief Customer Officer
As Chief Customer Officer at omNovos, Andrew is responsible for the success of its customers. For much of the past 25 years, Andrew has been successful in a multitude of interdisciplinary business roles by doing one thing – and one thing alone – helping his customers be successful with their customers. Truth be told, he’ll be the first to admit that he got lucky at first, but soon realized that he was having fun working closely with his customers to brainstorm and solve problems.
His truly unique perspectives and consultative approach have helped organizations around the world build, develop, and grow world-class offerings and programs.
Now Andrew gets to spend his days working with world-class retailers building digital customer engagement solutions and offerings (true personalization and not simple segmentation, and real customer Loyalty (with a capital L – not just dollars and points), and his nights trying to solve teenage problems for his two daughters. (You can imagine how much they appreciate that!)
Director of Insight
To be posted.
Creative Director In-Store Marketing
Oscar Bertola is a Creative/Design Director with 15 years of experience with TC Artisan Complete and 23 years total experience in the retail design and marketing industry. Engages a multi-discipline studio of 25 designers and collaborates with clients and various brands to ideate, design, and execute innovative and relevant solutions in the retail environment.
CEO and Co-Founder
Steve Buors is a leading authority on digital marketing for multi-location businesses such as retailers, franchises and restaurants. 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 (reshiftmedia.com), a Canadian-based digital marketing and software development organization with more than 200 clients in 20 countries worldwide. Reshift specializes in developing and implementing industry-leading social media, search and website/mobile strategies to enable multi-location, single-location and online-only brands to achieve exceptional business results.
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.
Diane J. Brisebois
President and CEO
Retail Council of Canada
Diane J. Brisebois, CAE, 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.
Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP
Brian is a management-side labour and employment lawyer at the national, and international, law firm Fasken Martineau LLP.
The Fasken Labour and Employment Practice Group (comprised of over 120 lawyers globally) is ranked Band 1 in the current Chambers Canada rankings, a ranking it has held for a number of consecutive years.
Fasken is proud to be a Partner Company in the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) in Geneva, Switzerland.
Brian dedicates most of his law practice to the rapidly unfolding labour and social developments, both at home and abroad, within the Business and Human Rights (BHR) and the Environmental/Social/Governance (ESG) fields.
Brian is counsel to the Canadian Employers Council (CEC). The CEC is the official "voice" of Canadian business, on the international stage, including at the International Labour Organization (ILO), in respect of the world of work. In January 2021, the CEC submitted a Report to the Canadian government setting out the views and perspective of the Canadian business community on a wide variety of unfolding international and domestic developments impacting the world of work and global workplaces.
Associate Creative Director In-Store Marketing
Associate Creative Director at TC Artisan with 20 years experience in POP and Graphic Design. Extensive knowledge in providing innovative and creative solutions for the retail environment. Past projects include environment and display solutions for TeleComm Retailer, Office Supply Retailer and Beverage Provider.
Retail Strategy & Transformation Leader
Sangeetha is the National Operations Transformation and Retail Consulting Practice Leader at Deloitte Canada, with 20+ years of experience in strategy and transformation across the retail industry. She has deep expertise in leading and managing large scale retail transformations by leveraging consumer insights to drive business and operational effectiveness. She helps clients deliver rapid, visible performance improvements while strengthening their organizations and positioning them to win in the long term.
Before joining Deloitte, she has spent 7 years as Head of Corporate Strategy and Development/ E-commerce for a $25B+ grocer; reporting into the CEO and as a core member of the executive team.
Chief Financial Officer
Jeffrey Chiasson has been working in finance for nearly 35 years. His expertise in financial management, corporate strategy and business leadership has led to positions in leading Canadian companies such as Holt Renfrew, White Rose and most recently, Soft Moc where he has served as Chief Financial Officer for 12 years.
Throughout his career, Jeffrey has proven to be a master at understanding consumer trends and behaviours and their impact on a company’s bottom line. Always putting the customer experience at the forefront, Jeffrey has steered companies successfully through some of the most challenging times in retail. At Soft Moc, Jeffrey has overseen a business strategy that includes nearly 130 stores in Canada and the U.S. as well as a booming e-commerce site. He looks forward to sharing his experiences about maximizing a company’s potential in the digital era.
Head of Retail
Leanne is known for being a passionate people leader, strong operator, and a partnership-focused executive. As Head of CPG, Automotive, Travel, eComm, and Retail for Facebook Canada, Leanne is responsible for leading a consultative sales team, building strategic partnerships and digital innovation with partners.
Leanne was previously with Twitter Canada where she held several positions including Head of Agency Development, Interim Managing Director and Head of Revenue. Prior to this, Leanne was Head of Advertising Products and Business Operations at AOL Canada. Leanne has more than 20 years of digital media experience specializing in sales, product strategy, monetization, partner management, client services and business operations.
Leanne holds a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree from Queen's University, is a mother of three, mental health advocate and marathon runner - including three runs in Boston. Always a brand ambassador, Leanne believes in the importance of loving what you do, loving where you work and keeping a glass half full.
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.
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.
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.
Senior Manager, Strategy and Insights | Retail & Consumer Goods
Michelle Grant is a seasoned researcher who helps global organizations build the future of their business. At Salesforce, she blends data and analysis to create thought provoking content that helps companies understand how new technologies will impact the future of their business.
President, More Rewards
Dan is President of More Rewards at the Pattison Food Group. More Rewards is a coalition loyalty program that collects rich data on over 3.5 million Canadians enabling partners to execute personalized digital offers and communication to drive profitable sales growth. By building a strong consumer brand, More Rewards has successfully moved from loyalty into travel, insurance, and data & media monetization.
Dan joined the Save-On-Foods team in 2012 and he has held various executive roles leading marketing, loyalty, private label, strategic planning, digital strategies, call centers and communications teams to success through strong consumer-based strategies. Dan Howe is a diversified international marketing, loyalty and strategy executive with previous experience with Yum Restaurants (Pizza Hut / KFC / Taco Bell) in Europe and Canada, Campbell’s Soup Company, and Nielsen Marketing Research.
Dan is actively involved in the community both at work and in his personal life with United Way, Children’s Hospitals and Foods Banks. Dan and his wife, Eva, have three teenage daughters, who can be found in North Vancouver or Whistler skiing, mountain biking, stand up paddle boarding or in an intense game of cards.
Founder & Principal
M.E. LeBlanc & Company
Michael has 20+ years of brand/retail/marketing leadership experience and is considered by many as a pioneer in the Canadian omni-channel and e-Commerce retail space. As an award-winning insight driven strategic marketer with a passion for holistic retail brand/customer experience, Michael has been on the front lines of retail industry change for his entire career with brands such as Black & Decker, Levi Strauss & Co, Hudson’s Bay, CanWest Media, The Shopping Channel and Herbal Magic. After spending almost three years advocating and lobbying for the Canadian retail industry at Retail Council of Canada (RCC), Michael formed M. E. LeBlanc & Company to leverage this knowledge and experience back onto the front lines and regularly is invited to share his insights on the current and future retail industry in Canada and around the world.
Chairman Global Retail Group & UK Head of Retail
An experienced international business professional with over 15 years’ experience in advisory, research and analytics focussed on the retail and consumer goods sectors. Paul was previously the Group Managing Director at Planet Retail. He has also worked in the retail sector for T-Mobile Stores in Germany in Merchandising & Store Operations.
Paul co-chairs the KPMG/Ipsos UK Retail Think Tank as well as the European Retail Think Tank Next Generation Retail. He teaches retail best practice for GS1 the global retail standards organisation and is a regular event speaker and press commentator on the sector.
During his career Paul has:
- Created the 2020 Commercial Retail & Digital Strategy and Implementation plan for one the world’s top 10 hub Airports. Focussing on the future retail, f&b and passenger services business models and delivering the first pilots within a 6-9 month timeframe.
- Led a feasibility study for a UK Symbol Group retailer analyzing the potential roll-out of a franchise model. In this context developed a front-end roll-out and organizational change plan to be implemented over the period of 24 months to open 50 franchised stores.
- Established the international expansion strategy for a UK mid-market specialist retailer through identifying the entry markets and relevant business models. Produced a clear implementation plan and relevant operating model changes required to deliver £10m Ebitda from the international business within 4 years.
- Assisted the leading UK non-food multichannel retailer in their commercial transformation by designing and implementing the new operating model focused on dynamic pricing, demand driven supply and a customer centric focus
- Led a strategy project for a global fashion retailer analysing their 1,000 store international operation delivering key recommendations on entry and exit markets and developing guidelines for all future store openings defining, location, size and category mix. Goal of the project was to assist the program in doubling Ebitda over the period of 3 years
- Worked with the Board and the Merchandising teams of a leading North American based retailer to transform their food to go and private label offering
- Transforming Planet Retail from a European focussed grocery research program to a global pan-retail analysing program which resulted in doubling the staff headcount and doubling the turnover over the period of 5 years
- Headed a research project for a Russian multi-channel retailer analyzing different options of introducing a loyalty card scheme and comparing global best practice and the impact of loyalty schemes
Penney Mctaggart Cowan
Vice President, Marketing & Member Experiences
Penney brings almost 25 years of experience in consumer research and marketing when she joined Calgary Co-op in 2018 as Vice President, Marketing & Member Experiences. Passionate about data and consumer understanding she is deeply involved in the loyalty initiatives for Calgary Co-op. She holds a B. Sc. (Biology) and a M.B.A. Penney is incredibly proud and honoured to be part of Calgary Co-op and its deep roots in the community. Being local is special not only in the products Calgary Co-op offers but in its ability to connect with the community and support its neighbours when they need it. As the current chair of the Calgary Co-op Foundation, Calgary Co-op lives its purpose to enrich our member communities by addressing food security among vulnerable populations. She is also passionate about food and wine, and always excited to try new products and experiment with new ingredients.
Visa Payment Fraud Disruption
Dr. Megan Munroe has served as an Intelligence and Cybercrime Analyst on Visa’s Payment Systems Intelligence team since February 2020. With a specialty in digital payment threats, including cryptocurrency and NFT fraud, her daily mission is identifying and disrupting threats to the payments ecosystem. Dr. Munroe holds a PhD in International Relations, and prior to joining the Visa team she served in state government and law enforcement fraud prevention and intelligence analysis roles.
VP Business Development In-Store & Direct Marketing , Premedia,
Joined TC in 2013 to lead the new In-Store Marketing initiative since then TC has grown into the largest provider in the country as the in-store partner for almost all of Canada's largest retailers.
HR consultant, Specialist in quality of life and well-being at work
Marie-Josée Nucci is a consultant for a human resources firm (GoRH), and is specialized in mental health and well-being in the organizations. She is driven and leads teams to engage, mobilize and achieve high quality performance, all while maintaining the human connection to the tasks involved. She accompanies businesses with the implementation of programs, webinars, coaching pertaining to wellness and quality of life in the workplace.
Prior to this role, she worked for several retailers and occupied different functions such as Director of Operations, Project Manager, Planning & Allocation Manager and Store Manager. Furthermore, she collaborated with psychologists on multiple projects whereby providing changes that impact the work environment positively and productively.
Recently she completed a certification at the Canadian Mental Health Association (Psychological Health and Safety Champion Training program) in addition, a certification at Montreal University in Quality of life in the workplace.
John Orr is Ceridian’s SVP of Retail. Having spent 30 years focused on retail technology, his core focus is to help retailers understand how workforce and human capital technology can be used to achieve strategic business outcomes; specifically, how to drive profitability while affording a level of care to associates so that they in turn can better serve their customers.
John holds an MBA from Georgia State University in marketing and decision science and an undergraduate degree from the School of Engineering at Auburn University.
Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP
Chris is a Partner in Fasken’s top-ranked Labour, Employment, and Human Rights group. His practice has focused on labour, human rights, and public law matters, including at the international level.
Chris has an active international practice advising Canadian, foreign, and multinational organizations on ESG / Business and Human Rights (including the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and OECD Guidelines), international labour standards and labour rights, Human Rights Impact Assessments and supply chain due diligence, and cross-border industrial relations and dispute resolution in the social context.
Chris is counsel to the Canadian Employers Council (CEC), the exclusive representative of Canadian employers concerning global labour and employment issues. Chris served as counsel to the CEC in the Supreme Court of Canada concerning the impact of international labour and human rights standards and norms in the Canadian context.
Chris has experience dealing with the International Labour Organization and its constituent bodies, the OECD National Contact Point process, and other international authorities dealing with labour and human rights matters.
Chris has served as an adjunct faculty member at Western University Faculty of Law, the Queen’s University Faculty of Law, and the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources at U of T, where since 2017 he has co-taught an annual graduate-level course on International Law and Policy Development.
Chris has written and spoken extensively on Business and Human Rights and international developments, including on “Defining labour rights in a globalized world: a Canadian perspective” and related topics.
Dr. Sarah Reid
Head of Doblin Canada
Doblin Canada, a Deloitte Business
Dr. Sarah Reid leads Doblin Canada, Deloitte’s design-led innovation practice. She brings deep expertise in sociology and consumer psychology to help clients make products and services that elevate the human experience. She works closely with Canadian family businesses, large corporates, and governments to tackle issues of consumer trust, digital disruption, affordable housing, and climate change with innovation and service design.
She earned a PhD in Sociology at the University of Toronto and held a postdoc at Rutgers School of Management. Her work is published in the Harvard Business Review, the Behavioral Scientist, the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, and Work & Occupations, and numerous Deloitte Insights reports.
CEO & Founder
The Phluid Project
Rob Smith, the CEO and Founder of The Phluid Project, has created a brand, combining his profession, which is retail, along with his passion, a commitment to social justice.
After graduating from Michigan State University, Rob began a long retail career, spanning over 30 years, orchestrating multi-billion dollar businesses through merchandising, e-commerce, marketing, product development and supply chain management.
He worked his way through Macys for over two decades, working within four divisions and finishing with his final position as GMM/EVP Macys Corporate in product merchandising.
Gaining new experiences, Rob became GMM/EVP at Victoria’s Secret direct. He was the Children’s Global Chief Product Officer for Nike, Levi’s Jordan, Hurley, and Converse with Haddad Brands.
Rob mentors numerous fashion brands and designers, leads the CSR committee as a Board of Director for Steve Madden Ltd., and raises critical funds for LGBTQIA+ organizations.
He’s the former Board Chair for The Hetrick-Martin Institute, which empowers, educates and advocates on behalf of LGBTQIA+ youth around the world and has also served on the board of directors for Athlete Ally, eliminating homophobia and transphobia in sports.
Today, Rob leads and mange’s The Project Project, a leader in gender-free fashion. Phluid, joining a global movement of freedom, authenticity and self-expression, leads with values, a powerful community and a fearlessness to challenge the status quo. Phluid thoughtfully expands into new spaces where they can offer insight, education and impact.
Rob lives in NYC with his husband, Rod Grozier, and his dog, Jackson.
Joe is a Partner in Toronto with Deloitte’s Sustainability and Climate Change practice and leads the market for eastern Canada. Joe brings over 26 years of experience in providing strategic advisory services to clients in the Consumer sector including various retail segments such as grocery, general merchandise, apparel and automotive. Joe has offered a variety of services around climate change, ESG strategy and operations, supply chain, food waste, plastics and circular economy, risk management, digital enablement and reporting and disclosure.
Joe has also spent time in the consumer industry working in a leadership capacity in automotive manufacturing and retail for Walmart. Joe frequently contributes to Deloitte’s external thought leadership and is often a speaker at related industry and sustainability conferences.
Chief Human Resource Officer
Best Buy Canada
To be posted.
Vice President, Digital and In-store Commerce
Jason is currently vice president, Digital and In-store Commerce at PayPal where he is responsible for helping retailers accelerate growth and transformation in our now ‘digital-first’ world. Jason is a lifelong student of consumer behavior with a passion for helping retailers and brands connect and engage shoppers in new and innovative ways. With more than 20 years of experience in technology, business intelligence, retail and consumer packaged goods, Jason draws upon a depth and breadth of experiences from his leadership roles at companies like P&G, Clorox, Catalina, Ask Jeeves, Global Streams and KindUrth Wellness.
Before joining PayPal, Jason was president and co-founder of an innovative start-up health and wellness brand, KindUrth. With technology at the forefront, Jason built a best-in-class e-commerce and CRM platform to drive high conversion and loyalty. Before that, he spent nearly 16 years at Catalina, leading business development and analytics teams responsible for helping retailers and brand manufacturers optimize their marketing investments and expand loyalty programs.
Chief Human Resources Officer
Longo Brothers Fruit Markets Inc.
Liz Volk, Chief Human Resources Officer at Longo Brothers Fruit Markets, believes that an organization’s results are achieved through highly engaged teams delivering on a clearly defined customer strategy. A CHRE, Liz has acquired over 25 years of experience working in fast paced, multi-unit retail environments since graduating from the University of Western. She joined the Longo’s team in 2006 with a mandate to develop a long-term people strategy aligned to the company’s strategic plan. In 2014, she embarked on an assignment in Operations to fully understand and experience the business from a customer and team member perspective. The past 14 years of growth has been an exciting journey requiring innovation in areas such as total rewards, talent acquisition, learning & development, communications, safety, sustainability and well being.
Longo’s was started by Tommy, Joe and Gus Longo in 1956. Longo’s currently has 33 stores including 6 urban format stores, “The Market by Longo’s”, operates Canada’s largest on-line grocer, Grocery Gateway and employs over 6,000 team members. Longo’s is a family owned and operated grocery retail business committed to creating meaningful and long-lasting relationships with customers based on trust, loyalty and the appreciation of great food.
National Retail Leader Joe Solly, Sustainability Leader
Marty Weintraub is the National Retail leader for Canada. For the past 20 years, he has advised retail clients on developing and implementing enterprise-wide retail transformation and operational improvement programs that impact business processes, organization designs and technology enablement. These programs result in his clients realizing significant improvements to sales, margin, SG&A and working capital in a world of retailing where traditional ways of operating are no longer sufficient.
President, Chief Financial and Operating Officer
Frank Zitella has nearly 30 years of experience in finance, strategic planning and governance. Mr. Zitella joined DAVIDsTEA as CFO in December 2018 and was subsequently promoted to the position of Chief Operating Officer in May 2019. Prior to joining DAVIDsTEA, he was CFO of Loop Industries, Inc. (Nasdaq:LOOP). Prior to that and for more than a decade, he served as CFO of DST Health Solutions, a subsidiary of SS&C Technologies Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq:SSNC). From 1998 to 2006, he was CFO of International Financial Data Services, a joint-venture between SS&C and State Street Bank, where he successfully maximized profitability and top-line growth. Earlier in his career, Frank gained M&A and transaction experience as a senior manager with PricewaterhouseCoopers. He also previously worked as a senior internal auditor for Coca-Cola.