Keeping the retail community strong is Retail Council of Canada’s top priority. In light of the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates, we are re-scheduling our 2020 STORE Conference to September 14-15, 2020.
If you are a member of RCC, please take advantage of the regular Coronavirus/COVID-19 updates and resources we are providing to keep you informed and prepared. Visit RCC's COVID-19 update page for more information.
2020 STORE Conference Speakers
Founder and CEO
GDR Creative Intelligence
Kate is a futurist with a retail, consumer, brand, hospitality and technology specialization, making complex societal shifts and emerging technologies relatable for any audience. As the CEO and founder of GDR Creative Intelligence, Kate is the innovation partner to around 30 of the world’s largest consumer brands. Every presentation she gives contains research and analysis that has been stress-tested for relevance and impact with multi-national corporations, often at board level. Kate delivers compelling big picture narratives explaining how retail, brands and hospitality are changing as a result of economic and social shifts, the technology revolution and the imperative move towards sustainability. She advises on the future of customer experience, how marketing is evolving, and how the best of the best are using tech to adapt to new customer behaviors and expectations. She takes a cross-sector, global view of innovation, which includes anywhere there's interaction between brand and consumer, either online or offline.
President & CEO
Birks Group Inc.
Jean-Christophe Bedos is currently President and Chief Executive Officer of Birks Group Inc., formerly Henry Birks & Sons, a leading manufacturer and retailer of luxury jewelry and watchmaking since 1879 in Canada. Before joining Birks, Mr. Bedos was previously working at the upscale jeweler, Boucheron International (Kering), in Paris, France, where he served as President and Chief Executive Officer after a successful career in the Richemont Group in Paris and London and the iconic Cartier House.
In July 2018, Birks won the prestigious Brand of The Year Award. This annual event is the ultimate recognition for global brands. The evaluation process involves a three-step process: evaluation, online audience voting, and branded consumer market research. Birks has been the only brand to receive the award in the retail jewelry category, outperforming an impressive competition with its dedication and passion behind the fine jewelry brand. Mr. Bedos currently sits on the Board of Directors of Birks Group Inc. He is a member of the Board of the Montreal General Hospital Foundation and a member of the Global Advisory Board of the London Business School. He is an active member of the "The Future of St. Catherine Street" committee and has co-chaired the McCord Museum and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra fundraisers. Mr. Bedos is a builder of quality brands in the luxury distribution sector, and brings a very relevant experience after having spent his entire career, more than 30 years, in fine watchmaking and jewelry. Mr. Bedos earned a Master of Business Administration from London Business School - Sloan Masters Fellowship Program, with honors in Marketing and Brand Management, a Bachelor of Law in International Business from the University of Paris Panthéon-Sorbonne; an honors degree in European Affairs from Trent University, Nottingham, England; and a Bachelor of Business Administration from the Toulouse Business School, France.
Chief Executive Officer
David became the fourth generation of his family to work in the shoe business when he joined the ALDO Group in 1996. The tradition dates back to his great-grandfather, who was a cobbler in Algeria in the 1800s. David is a first-generation Canadian born and raised in Montreal. His mother hails from Scotland and earned a one-way ticket to Canada as part of a Commonwealth immigration program. David’s father took a longer route, moving from Morocco to France to the US before landing in Montreal.
A lover of geopolitics and a real history buff, David holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) with concentrations in Geography and History from Queen’s University and an MPhil in Land Economics from Cambridge University. Prior to joining the ALDO Group, David spent several years working in real estate development in the areas of commercial leasing and resort development.
David was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the ALDO Group in April 2017. Prior to becoming CEO, he spent two decades working in almost every corner of the business, from Operations to IT to Buying. In 2001, he took his first leap as an executive leader, heading the Call It Spring brand, where he tripled profits in a two-year period. Soon afterwards, David moved to the Aldo brand where he led the second wave of expansion in the US, opening 250 stores in just three years.
David played a key role in the ALDO Group’s omnichannel journey by leading several innovative in-store technology projects, improving the customer experience and using the eComm platform to its full extent.
In 2010, wanting to leverage the ALDO Group’s expertise in fashion footwear, David created ALDO Product Services (APS). This wholesale division was created to serve other retailers and quickly became a $100 million business in a matter of just 18 months. By 2017, APS proudly served many of the world’s largest retailers and (fun fact) helped them sell $1 billion worth of shoes.
David has also been an agent of change within the company, pioneering new business models and evolving core processes. His mantra, “make a big company feel small”, really embodies his leadership style, which translates into three key actions: be kind to ourselves and each other, strive for simplicity and make processes people-friendly.
As CEO, David has been driven since day one to elevate the company’s culture and to put into words why its people do what they do – their purpose. He built a team that looked at the DNA of its people; together they studied the company’s history and heritage and used its values as a foundation to define the ALDO Group’s purpose: A journey to create a world of love, confidence, and belonging.
A forward-thinking leader with progressive ideas, David’s commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility is one that stems from the ALDO Group’s values of Love, Respect and Integrity and cascades throughout all levels of the company. Under his direction, the company has put in progress a low carbon strategy and became the first fashion footwear and accessories company in the world to be certified as climate neutral for its offices and stores.
David and his wife Isabelle are parents to Logan, Sloan and Connor and reside in Montreal, Quebec. He is a firm believer in hands-on philanthropy and he has succeeded in pairing two of his greatest passions: his drive to give back and rally racing, by participating in a series of international racing events that helped raise over $200,000 for AIDS research. He and his wife are also dedicated to several charities, with the bulk of their efforts going towards improving education and health.
Senior Vice-President, Marketing
Canadian Tire Corporation
Susan O’Brien is the Senior Vice-President, Marketing, at Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited (CTC), responsible for all marketing and customer strategies for Canadian Tire Retail, Mark’s, SportChek, Financial Services, Party City, the Triangle Rewards program and CTC’s multi-billion dollar consumer brands portfolio, including the Helly Hansen brand.
Susan is an expert in all things branding, positioning and customer engagement and has played an integral role in the reinvention of the Canadian Tire brand through award-winning programs like We All Play for Canada and Tested for Life in Canada. Susan also spearheaded the launch of Triangle Rewards – Canada’s fastest growing loyalty program – and one of the most strategically important initiatives in the history of CTC, linking the entire family of companies under one loyalty and credit card program. Her work has contributed to the Company’s Marketer of the Year Award in 2013 from Marketing Magazine, and being named Canada’s Most Admired Brand by Leger in 2019 and One of Canada’s Strongest Retail Brands by Brand Finance in 2019.
Since joining the Company in 2008, Susan has held a number of progressively senior roles. Most recently she served as Senior Vice-President, Marketing & Corporate Affairs; prior to that she was Vice-President of Marketing for Canadian Tire.
Susan holds an MBA in General Management from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, and a Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing) from Dalhousie University. In 2002, she was nominated for Marketing Magazine’s Top 30 under 30 award, was named one of Toronto’s Brand Stars by Ad Week in 2018, and recently was awarded as one of Canada’s Marketers of the Year by Strategy Magazine.
Vice President, Business Strategy and Marketing
Eataly North America
Ennio Perrone has been working for more than 15 years in building and developing global iconic brands and organizations, working in Marketing, Product Development, Store Experience and Design, Organizational and Team Development, Business Strategies and Development in different industries, from luxury and fashion to lifestyle brands, food and beverage, in retail and wholesale, from emerging and start-up to consolidated realities in multi-cultural contexts, living in several different countries within Europe, Latin America and lately in the US.
Today as the VP of Business Strategy and Marketing for Eataly North America, he oversees all the brand, marketing and creative strategies, experiential and business activities in this new growth chapter of Eataly as a global player, keeping it true to its vision of an experiential local community rooted brand, bringing together under one roof high-quality authentic Italian food and local producers, celebrating biodiversity and sustainability for all, creating an informal, natural and simple place to Eat, Shop and Learn.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Canadian National Railway
Jean-Jacques Ruest was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer in July 2018, after having served as Interim President and CEO since March 2018. He was previously executive Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer since January 2010, with responsibility for providing the strategic direction and leadership for CN’s Sales, Marketing and CN Supply Chain Solutions groups.
Mr. Ruest joined CN in 1996 at the time of the privatization. Prior to this, Mr. Ruest worked for 16 years at a major international chemical company.
Mr. Ruest holds a Masters in Business Administration in Marketing from HEC Montréal (Université de Montréal) and a Bachelor of Science degree in applied chemistry from Université de Sherbrooke. He also completed the executive program of the University of Michigan Business School, and CN’s Railroad MBA program.
Over the course of his career, Mr. Ruest has been honoured many times by the business community, notably as 2019 Railroader of the Year and an Inductee to the International Maritime Hall of Fame in 2017.
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.
Doug is the author of two groundbreaking books - The Retail Revival: Re-Imagining Business for the New Age of Consumerism (2013) and Reengineering Retail: The Future of Selling in a PostDigital World (2017) Doug is also the nationally syndicated retail columnist for CBC Radio and sits on the advisory boards of the Dx3 Digital Conference and the David Sobey Centre for Innovation in Retail & Services at St. Mary’s University.
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.
Doug speaks regularly to major brands and organizations across North and South America, Europe, Asia, The Middle East and Australia.
Chief Marketing Officer
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.
Tal Zvi Nathanel
Tal Zvi Nathanel, CEO & Co-founder: Born and raised in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tal Zvi Nathanel moved to New York City in 2012, where he currently resides and serves as the CEO and Co-founder of SHOWFIELDS, the pioneering next-generation brick-and-mortar retail store. For nearly two decades, Tal has worked to create successful consumer products and activations through his skills in e-commerce, entrepreneurship and strategic partnerships.
A serial entrepreneur and innovator at heart, Tal has co-founded several accomplished businesses, including Bluestone Group (which Live Nation acquired a majority stake in) and MyCheck (which was acquired by Shiji Group), and was included in Forbes Israel’s list of the “Top Young Israeli Startups in New York.” When Tal isn’t creating new experiences for consumers to explore and shop from, he likes to spend time with his wife and slide down the SHOWFIELDS slide with his 4 children.
Canadian Grand Prix New Product Awards Gala
James Cunningham returns to host the 27th Annual Canadian Grand Prix New Product Awards Gala.
James is an award-winning comedian and lecturer, and most recently, bestselling author.
James is the hilarious host and associate producer of the TV series Eat St., which airs on Cooking Channel USA, Food Network Canada, and in more than a dozen other countries around the world. He is the author of the bestselling cookbook of the same name (Eat St.), wherein he shares recipes from the most daring, delicious, and inventive street food that can be found anywhere. James can also be seen regularly on The Marilyn Denis Show on CTV.
James has been featured on many national and international network television shows including Last Comic Standing, Just for Laughs, and Comedy Now.
When not filming Eat St., James keeps himself busy performing at comedy clubs and corporate shows everywhere.
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.
Associate Director - Food and Drink
Joel Gregoire serves as Associate Director - Food and Drink at Mintel, specializing in the Canadian food and drink industry. Joel has over 18 years of experience working in market research, 15 of which focused on what matters to Canadians in terms of how they eat and drink. Before joining Mintel, Joel worked at OMD, Loblaw Companies Ltd, where he generated insights for the company’s private label brands, including President’s Choice, and The NPD Group, where he tracked consumer eating patterns and presented the analysis to top tier clients. Joel heads up Mintel’s Food and Drink team in Canada, and has personally authored over 50 reports on various topics related to food and drink during his tenure. Joel also contributes to various publications. Despite Joel’s expertise in understanding what Canadians eat, he’s still trying to figure out what to feed his kids for dinner. You can follow Joel on Twitter at @JoelDGregoire.
Founder & CEO
Joe Jackman is the CEO of Jackman Reinvents, the world’s first and foremost reinvention company. An advisor to consumer brands, retailers, B2B companies, and private equity partners for more than thirty years, Jackman has proven invaluable to leaders intent on sharpening strategy and orchestrating insight-led reinventions of their businesses. Throughout his career as strategist, creative director, marketer, and Reinventionist, he has helped companies create the most powerful and relevant versions of their brands and businesses in record time; he is widely considered to be the leading expert on rapid reinvention. In January 2020, Joe released his first book, The Reinventionist Mindset: Learning to Love Change and the Human How of Doing It Brilliantly. In it, Jackman traces his journey to becoming a reinventionist, and shows readers how to create purposeful change. Jackman lives in Toronto, Canada; works across North America; and lectures around the globe.
Alexis Lanternier est vice-président principal du commerce électronique de Walmart Canada, responsable de la stratégie globale, de l’exploitation, des ventes et des bénéfices liés aux achats en ligne. Il s’est récemment joint Walmart Canada, au début de février 2019.
Alexis travaillait pour le groupe Lazada/AliBaba en Asie du Sud-Est, où il occupait jusqu’à récemment le poste de chef de la direction de la division de Singapour. Il a réussi à amener Lazada au premier rang, en mettant en œuvre une stratégie 360 afin d’empêcher Amazon de réussir son lancement au sein du marché de Singapour. Cela comprenait l’acquisition de Redmart, le lancement de programmes de fidélisation et le développement de l’offre Express. En outre, il a occupé d'autres postes de direction chez Lazada, comme responsable de la chaîne d'approvisionnement et vice-président principal, responsable régional de la mode depuis 2014.
Avant Lazada, Alexis travaillait pour Amazon. Durant son emploi chez Amazon en France, il a été à la tête de l’équipe de vêtements et d’achats, ainsi que responsable des achats et de la demande de jeux vidéo et de logiciels. Il a redéfini l'approche de négociation d’Amazon pour les articles mode. Il a aussi réussi à augmenter la rentabilité via les négociations avec les fournisseurs, l'automatisation des processus, les économies sur la chaîne logistique et le lancement du programme Amazon Buy Back.
Alexis a plus de 13 ans d'expérience dans l'industrie du commerce électronique. Il est titulaire d’une maîtrise en entrepreneuriat de HEC Paris et d’un baccalauréat ès sciences en ingénierie de l’École Polytechnique.
Excellence in Retail Awards Gala
Ben Mulroney returns to host Retail Council of Canada's Excellence in Retailing Awards Gala.
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.