Sessions & Speakers

INNOVATION WORKSHOP Embedding a Culture of Innovation into Everyone’s DNA

Presenter: Duncan Wardle, Independent Innovation Consultant, iD8&innov8

The ability to think creatively is the one core human truth that will remain relevant in the brave new world of Artificial Intelligence. But haven’t we all been told we’re not creative and end up believing it?

We were all kids once, and it is that childlike curiosity that led Einstein and Edison to discover major new theories, and Walt Disney and Steve Jobs to create major new industries. Our education and corporate structure may have taught us that there is only one right answer, but Duncan Wardle will prove that everyone is creative! Employ a tangible innovation tool kit that normal people can use to “Think Different” in order to solve real challenges in the marketplace.

Bio: Duncan is an independent innovation consultant at iD8&innov8, helping companies embed a culture of innovation and creativity across their entire organization. Leveraging a unique Design Thinking process, Duncan has shared his creative consultant services and innovation workshops with thousands of employees and executives at companies such as Coca Cola, Disney, Forbes, Ford, Johnson & Johnson, McKinsey and the NBA. Formerly VP of Innovation & Creativity for The Walt Disney Company, he spent his 25-year career developing some of their most innovative ideas and strategies – ideas that would forever change the way the company expands its impact, trains its employees and solves problems creatively.

ECONOMIC OUTLOOK Managing in an Uncertain Economy

Presenter: Alex Chausovsky, Director of Speaking Services and Senior Analyst, ITR Economics

Hear ITR’s expert views on what to expect from the economy in 2020 and beyond, including topics such as industry trends, investment activity, trade, pricing, interest rates and more. Also learn about a method that uses your own data to make better-informed decisions based on the economic environment. Leading indicators help to identify where you are in the business cycle and which inputs should guide your business strategy to help make the right decisions at the right time.

Walk away from this session with:

  • Clear, practical, and actionable business advice based on the current economic environment
  • An understanding of the impact of government policy on the economy
  • Expectations for the pricing environment and interest rates

Bio: Alex is an accomplished Speaker and Consultant at ITR Economics. He is a highly experienced market researcher and analyst with more than a decade of expertise in subjects that include macroeconomics, industrial manufacturing, energy efficiency, automation, and advanced technology trends. He has consulted and advised companies throughout the U.S., Europe, Brazil, China and Japan for the last fifteen years.

MERCHANDISE YOURSELF Merchandising You! How to Best Present You & Your Team

Presenter: Susan Lazaro, Director of Shopper Merchandising and President of women’s Linc (wL)

Hosted by Women’s League

Dive into ways to apply merchandising skills to your personal brand. What is your image? Are you shoppable? Operational? Sustainable? Susan will offer tactics to help you–and your team–become The Hero within your company.

Bio: An avid champion for mentoring, Susan is Director of Shopper Merchandising and President of women’s Linc (wL), Coca-Cola’s Business Resource Group supporting diversity and inclusion priorities. She began her career with Coca-Cola Enterprises 19 years ago as a Sr. Buyer within Procurement. Since then, she has held various roles across Supply Chain, Procurement, HR Information Systems, Shopper Marketing and Commercialization. She is a 5-time past mentee/mentor for Pathbuilders, an Atlanta-based organization focused on developing high-performing women and creating gender-diverse organizations.

Retail Panel: Defining Customer-Centric in a Nontraditional Retail World

Guest experience has always been crucial to the success of hospitality ventures like hotels, restaurants, resorts and cruise ships. Now, service retailers such as banks are heavily investing in space design that is not just efficient but also highly engaging and customer-centric. Join, and a panel of retail industry experts for a discussion about the urgency to bring customer experience to the forefront of all retail environments — from hotels and cruise ships to banks.

Panelist: Angela Kuzma, Vice President, Restaurant + Bars, Global Operations, Marriott International

Bio: Angela leads the global center of expertise for the Restaurant + Bar discipline at Marriott International. She is committed to the future of hospitality and strongly supports the continued movement on the importance of sustainability of the environment, people and culture of the industry. Bolstered by a passionate and talented team, she is responsible for operationalizing on-strategy execution for brand, continent and discipline specific R&B programs for Marriott’s 30 brands and 7,000+ hotels across 122 countries. Generating 1/3 of global system-wide revenue, Marriott is today the largest operator of hotel-based food + beverage operations across restaurants + bars and meetings + events in the world.

Prior to Marriott, she was the Executive Vice President of Operations for Aparium Hotel Group, a nationally acclaimed luxury lifestyle hotel and development group out of Chicago. Angela has worked in the hospitality sector for over 25 years with a strong focus in food and beverage. With a wide range of hospitality experience running the gamut from pastry, marketing, catering, hotel management and F+B operations to design and concept, procurement and business planning, she has honed her craft and business acumen within prestigious groups to include Mark’s Restaurant Group, The Fireman Group, China Grill Management (Gansevoort Hotels, Morgan Hotel Group, Empire Hotel) and Soho House NY.

On a mission for midlife self-discovery she back-packed solo for over a year through the majority of Central and South America and Europe during which time she worked two wine harvests. Returning to NY she partnered up in a grilled cheese and frozen custard shop in the West Village specializing in Wisconsin dairy garnering two reviews in the NY Times, winning the Big Cheesy Award from Time Out Magazine and being named Breakout Brand in Restaurant News. A self-confessed lifestyle, food and travel maven, Angela has lived or traveled in more than 50 countries.

Panelist: Lindsay Henningfeld, RDI, Retail Designer, Retail Network Delivery, SunTrust Bank

Introducing people to new thinking and problem-solving through visual merchandising

Bio: Lindsay is a Retail Designer at SunTrust Bank, President for the Atlanta Chapter of the Retail Design Institute, and an avid lover of all things design. With a career spanning interior, apparel and retail, she is a proven influencer of the customer experience. As a visual merchandiser, Lindsay has developed strategies for Fortune 50 clients on projects with budgets ranging from practically nothing to multi-million dollars. From strategy development to execution, she is driven to create consistency that simplifies projects, allowing others to maximize their personal talents.

Panelist: Myra Vaughn – Principal, MG2

Bio: As a principal in MG2’s Retail Market, Myra Vaughn provides the firm with thought leadership, innovation, discipline and passion. In leading relationships with top retailers, including Victoria’s Secret, Allen Edmonds, Uniqlo, Homestreet Bank and PCC Community Markets, she applies her creativity to develop unique industry opportunities for clients, provides customer insights, shares industry knowledge and her constant curiosity about retail. Myra inspires confidence in her clients and colleagues, who readily recognize the unique combination of her leadership skills, program management experience, retail industry knowledge and design expertise. She is passionate about corporate gender equity and leads MG2’s Equity Initiative along with helping to lead the Retail Market’s sustainable design strategy and focus.

Moderator: Alison Embrey Medina, Director of Content for RetailX

Bio: An Atlanta local, Alison is Director of Content for RetailX, where she is tasked with creating the vision and framework of need-to-know content for the dynamic, increasingly “phygital” retail industry. She previously served as editor in chief/associate publisher of design:retail magazine, an award-winning publication serving the retail design industry. In her 18-plus years in the publications and events industry, Alison has been solely focused on covering retail, and she rigorously studies trends and consumer nuances affecting the art and science of physical store design, e-commerce and consumer behavior.