Introducing "The C-Suite Corner," Our Newest Program Feature! - Retail Innovation Conference & Expo

Introducing “The C-Suite Corner,” Our Newest Program Feature!

You asked, we listened! After reviewing the attendee survey from last year, we knew we needed to add more perspectives on the speaking faculty from the C-level executive community. As we’ve mentioned in previous blogs, we’re focused on producing high-quality sessions, not a high volume. After all, your time out of the office is precious, and if you’re joining us in Chicago, we want to make sure you get as much value as possible.  

That’s why we’ve added distinct programming called, “The C-Suite Corner.”  

All-Access and Conference Track pass-holders can attend the C-Suite Corner sessions (taking place Wednesday, June 5 and Thursday, June 6), which will feature a variety of panel discussions representing the most critical macro-level topics in retail. 

 Let’s dive into the details so you know what to expect from these candid conversations! (Reminder: the conference agenda is live on our site, as well as the confirmed speakers.) 

On Wednesday, June 5… 

Investing in Workplace Culture and Experience   

Your people, from headquarters to the store, are the representation of your brand, its mission and its values. But are you investing in creating a culture that engages, empowers and supports them at all stages of their career? This panel session will feature three executive leaders who have committed to creating a thriving workplace culture. Join the conversation to get their perspectives on: 

  • Talent acquisition 
  • Workforce engagement and empowerment 
  • Employee progression and leadership training 
  • How technology can facilitate and streamline the employee experience 

Moderated by a #RICE favorite, Andrew Smith, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of ThinkUncommon, you’ll hear from John Hadeed, Vice President of People & Culture at Primark US; Naazli Sado, Vice President of HR, Communications and Business Innovation Accelerate at P&G Ventures; and Myra Deshmukh, Head of Corporate Learning & Development at Amazon Grocery.  

Making Market Moves: A Collaborative Discussion on International Expansion  

Whether online or in stores, brands can acquire new customers, increase market share and boost revenue when they go across national and international borders. But before developing and implementing a global commerce strategy, leaders must understand all the nuances of moving into a new market. 
During this discussion, panelists representing various product categories will discuss: 

  • How to pinpoint optimal expansion territories 
  • Obstacles and complexities to overcome 
  • How to determine whether to focus on ecommerce or brick-and-mortar expansion 
  • Lessons learned from expanding into new markets 

Moderated by marketing and ecommerce growth expert Chris Baker, Founder of Totem Media, this session will highlight insights from Kevin Tulip, President of Primark US; Clinton Suh, Head of Ecommerce North America at On; and Louisa Serene Schneider, Founder and CEO at Rowan. Each of these companies have taken very distinct approaches to growth, so you’ll be able to get great perspectives into why and how they brought their global visions to life.  

The Future of IRL: Exploring Innovation in Store Design and Experience Strategy  

Consumers are hungry for physical brand experiences — and retail businesses are opening new stores to capitalize on this opportunity. However, with this surge in activity comes increased competition, creating more pressure for brands to stand out. 

During this panel, senior leaders at some of the nation’s top design and strategy firms will share their thoughts on the new imperatives for elevating brand strategy through physical store experiences, including: 

  • Balancing technology and visual storytelling to meet business objectives and drive measurable results 
  • The unique role and value of non-commerce driven environments in brands’ broader brick-and-mortar strategies 
  • How the evolution of consumers values (and emphasis on sustainability, wellness and other issues) is powering the creation of new concepts and innovative decision-making 
  • The realities of balancing industry trends and best practices with operational and financial realities 

This session will be moderated by industry veteran and advocate Mardi Najafi, Vice President of Retail Strategy & Design at Figure3! He’ll sit down with three incredible design voices to dig into these (and other) topics.  You’ll hear expert insights from Angela Gearhart, Executive Practice Director of Connected Customer Experience at AAG Consulting (known for her incredible work with Sleep Number); James Farnell, Retail Practice Leader at Little; and Mike Munchoff, Creative Director at ChangeUp.  

The State of Sustainability in Retail: Adapting to New Consumer Expectations and Business Imperatives   

Consumers, investors and even employees expect more transparency around retailers’ sustainability efforts. New global regulations are also putting more pressure on organizations to set and adhere to more specific sustainability goals. 

During this session, you’ll hear how different brands, representing different product categories, are prioritizing sustainability across the entire value chain. 

Key topics will include: 

  • Understanding consumer expectations and the role that sustainability plays in shopping habits 
  • How brands are setting firm (and measurable) sustainability goals across the value chain 
  • Key investments, priorities and lessons learned 

Moderated by the insightful Jessica Binns, Former Managing Editor at Sourcing Journal, this panel will give you the chance to hear directly from Ben Mand, CEO of Harmless Harvest; Lindsay Dahl, Chief Impact Officer at Ritual; and a third retail executive to be announced soon! 

On Thursday, June 6… 

Retail Fundamentals: What Keeps You Up at Night?  

From evolving shopper behaviors and expectations to the emergence of new technological innovations, there is a constant need for retail leaders to track and respond to emerging industry trends. But how can leaders ensure they’re prioritizing the right things on their exhaustive to-do lists? 

Hear from a panel of seasoned retail leaders as they discuss what keeps them up at night and how they are tackling new business realities and market dynamics. Key discussion points will include: 

  • Improving margins and business profitability 
  • Optimizing operational efficiency and the last mile 
  • Investing in the evolving tech stack 

Moderated by our very own Nicole Silberstein, Ecommerce Editor at Retail TouchPoints, you’ll hear perspectives from Justin Tichy, Chief Operating Officer, EVP at Petco, Amy Jain, Co-Founder and CEO at BaubleBar and Nick Bodkins, Founder and President at Boisson. A can’t-miss session! 

How Are Retail Leaders Investing in Growth? 

Executive leaders have a growing list of urgent tasks and immediate to-do’s, such as adapting to pivots in consumer spending and responding to new category trends and competitors. 

But how are they simultaneously shaping the long-term vision and strategy for their brands and businesses? Where are they placing their bets and what are their priorities as they go into 2025 and beyond? 

During this panel session, senior leaders will offer insights on the topics, tech and trends they believe will drive their business, and the industry, forward. The panelists will dive into how they’re investing in: 

  • Technology to support new and evolving omnichannel imperatives 
  • Emerging digital tech to hyper-personalize shopping journeys 
  • Supply chain transparency to improve business operations and drive customer loyalty 
  • Sustainability, resale and the fast-growing circular economy 

The moderator of this panel session will be announced soon, but you can expect to hear perspectives from Sara Ahmed Holman, Chief Commercial Officer at Bobbie; Charlene Charles, Head of Operations at Dollar General Media Network; and the third panelist will be revealed very soon as well. This panel session will be worth staying for so please plan your schedules accordingly!  

We’re excited to welcome these executive leaders and more to lead these candid conversations. Be sure to review the pass types and snag the correct pass if you’re interested in attending the C-Suite Corner sessions!  

Looking for more details on this year’s event and our incredible speakers? Be sure to check out the official Retail Innovation Conference & Expo content hub.

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