#RICE23 Content Tracks: Meet the 2023 Track Leads - Retail Innovation Conference & Expo

#RICE23 Content Tracks: Meet the 2023 Track Leads

When you attend a conference that has multiple content tracks that each span multiple days, it can feel overwhelming trying to digest as much information as you can in a short amount of time. We’ve all experienced it. But what if we told you that we’re working to combat this overwhelming feeling?  

At the Retail Innovation Conference & Expo (#RICE23), we believe it’s important to create an environment within each of our content tracks that is conducive to quality learning (45-minute sessions inclusive of Q&A) and allows you to engage with your fellow attendees as well as the speakers.  
We’re focused on providing actionable, quality content and offering tools within our conference app to make it easy for the audience to engage, collaborate and interact with those in the same room. To bring this interactive experience to life successfully, we knew we had to assemble top industry experts in each topic area to spearhead our content tracks. Not only will these track leads be consistent guides in their respective breakout rooms, but they will help to increase audience engagement, provide expert insights and recaps at the end of each day. 

Read on to learn more about each of the impressive track leads, who will help to guide your content journey! 

Retail Innovation Summit

Track: Designing and Optimizing Your Omnichannel Roadmap 

Leading the track dedicated to different paths for omnichannel growth is Bryan Amaral, Founder, President and CEO of Clientricity, LLC. He is a noted luxury retail authority, entrepreneur, and expert in clienteling, loyalty, mobility, social selling and digital commerce. With more than 30 years of retail and retail technology experience, Bryan works with retail and D2C CXOs to help them define omnichannel customer strategy to improve store‐level and online processes. Definitely a direct fit for this track! 

Track: The Next Wave of Loyalty: Customer and Employee Experience

Loyalty is not a term we take lightly as this track focuses on the new drivers of customer and employee loyalty, and personalization and experiences drive these connections. We’re thrilled to have Georganne Bender Partner of KIZER & BENDER SPEAKING, LLC, as the lead for this track. Georganne Bender, and her speaking partner Rich Kizer, have earned a reputation as the go-to experts in retail.  

As speakers, authors and consultants they have helped thousands of businesses in the retail, creative, restaurant, healthcare, deathcare, hospitality, pet, collegiate, travel, beauty, tech, auto, sales and service industries achieve success since 1990. Best known as store makeover specialists, KIZER & BENDER are listed among the Top 40 Omnichannel Retail Influencers, Top 100 Global Retail Influencers, and the Top Retail Industry Experts to Follow on Social Media. 

Track: Connecting Content, Community & Commerce 

Through technology and physical experiences, we have access to an endless variety of brands and products. But in order to capitalize on these new commerce opportunities, brands and retailers need to immerse consumers in the experience by bringing content and community into the mix, which is why we immediately thought of one of our favorite duos, Phillip Jackson and Brian Lange of Future Commerce to be the leads of this track!  

Phillip Jackson is a podcaster, speaker, and co-founder of Future Commerce, a media startup focused on conscious commerce in the retail world. With over 15 years of experience creating unique online customer experiences, he has both built and managed digital audiences for some of the world’s most recognizable brands. 

Brian Lange is the co-founder of Future Commerce. With a worldwide audience covering 39 countries, Future Commerce publishes audio, video, and written content weekly to an audience of engaged and highly influential retail executives and operators. For the past 15 years, Brian has focused his career on commerce, enterprise retail strategy, and direct to consumer.

Not only are Phillip and Brian leading this awesome track, but they also are kicking off the track with their session on how commerce is impacting the consumer, culture and modernity. And that’s not all…they will also be hosting the Visions Summit at RICE on Thursday, June 15, which will dig deeper into some of the topics and trends discussed in their track session. Note: The Visions Summit at #RICE23 is available to all registrants via a $95 add-on fee during registration.    


Track: The DTC Innovation Forum 

Exploring how digitally native brands are striving to capitalize on the evolution and acceleration of the direct-to-consumer (DTC) movement, this track will be led by none other than Rose Hamilton, CEO and Founder of Compass Rose Ventures, LLLC. Over the past 20+ years she has helped private equity firms and consumer brands build, scale and fund consumer brands, delivering over $1 billion in incremental sales. 

Rose helps investors and founders of CPG brands who struggle with time and resources to maximize DTC and retail sales to deliver a profitable return on investment. An expert in direct-to-consumer and retail digital transformation, Rose focuses on leveraging the voice of the customer and data to develop personalized experiences across the customer journey. 

Track: Evolving in the Marketplace Movement

If you’re trying to tackle the evolving marketplace space, you’ll be ecstatic to know that this track will be led by Kiri Masters, Head of Retail Marketplace Strategy at Acadia. Before it was acquired by Acadia, Kiri was the founder & CEO of Bobsled Marketing, a digital agency that helps established consumer brands grow their retail marketplace sales channels. Bobsled was named one of the top 18 Amazon firms by Business Insider and ranks in the Marketplace Pulse Top 100.

 Kiri is a contributor to Forbes, where she writes a weekly column about retail marketplaces from a brand’s perspective. She hosts the “Ecommerce Braintrust” podcast and is the co-author of the books Instacart for CMOs and Amazon for CMOs (ranked one for the top 100 retail books of all time).    

Track: The New Playbook for Digital Growth: Marketing, Advertising & More 
Interested in diving into the increasingly competitive digital climate? You won’t want to miss this track, which will be led by one of the most amazing humans, Matt Maher, Founder of M7 Innovations. Matt sits on the international advisory boards of CHANEL and the Glimpse Group (NASDAQ: VRAR), and his thought leadership and award-winning work has been featured in Forbes, Quartz, Men’s Journal, Retail TouchPoints and Adweek

At M7, Matt leads a diverse, agile team specializing in augmented and virtual realities, web3, NFTs, the metaverse, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), voice technology, and the Gen Z consumer. M7 guides executive teams at Fortune 100 companies through the rapidly evolving media and technological landscapes, conceptualizing, presenting and executing innovative solutions.  

Track: The CPG Connect Stage 
The growth playbook for CPG is evolving and brands have a variety of new opportunities to reach consumers and expand worldwide. This track will take place within the Expo Hall and will be led by one of our favorite human beings, Kristen LaFrance, Merchant Engagement Strategist at Recharge.  

Kristen is an expert on community-building, brand narrative, and DTC customer retention. 

As Merchant Engagement Strategist at Recharge, she works directly with thousands of the top DTC teams to grow and scale their brand through creative retention strategies.  


Track: New Trends in Design & Visual Storytelling 

What are the new, innovative approaches to storytelling in the store environment? How can brands create frictionless and immersive brand experiences that fluidly connect digital and physical experiences? This track, designed for store design pros and experience strategists, will dig into ways teams can embrace iteration and innovation to differentiate through physical experiences. The lead for this track is store design & retail strategy expert, Mardi Najafi, VP of Retail Strategy & Design at Figure3. 

Mardi has been immersed in the world of retail design and strategy for 25+ years. His dedication to branding and retail environments has led to award winning experiences around the world. As VP of Retail Strategy & Design, his focus has been broadening Figure3’s reputation for delivering breakthrough innovative thinking and design excellence. His passion for creating memories through unique moments and unexpected details also makes him the perfect lead for this track!

So, please join us this summer to learn from all the retail greats listed above and many more! Be sure to get your ticket while the Early Bird Pricing is still in effect (expires April 6). We can’t wait to connect in-person with the best of the best in retail this Summer!

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