#RICE24 Conference Tracks: Meet the 2024 Track Leads  - Retail Innovation Conference & Expo

#RICE24 Conference Tracks: Meet the 2024 Track Leads 

At the Retail Innovation Conference & Expo (#RICE24), we believe it’s important to create an environment within each of our conference tracks that is conducive to quality learning and allows you to engage with your fellow attendees as well as the speakers. This year, each session is 30-minutes with audience Q&A to ensure the content presented is concise and focuses on the actionable strategies you need. (We have a strict no time wasted, anti-fluff policy!
We’re focused on providing 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. For the second year in a row, we’ve assembled a crew of industry experts who have expertise that aligns with each track. Not only will these track leads be consistent guides in their respective breakout rooms, but they also will help drive audience engagement, facilitate Q&A, as well as provide expert insights and recaps at the end of each day. 

Read on to learn more about each of our track leads, who will be a key resource on your content journey on Wednesday, June 5 and Thursday, June 6. 

Community Track Lead – Georganne Bender, Principal, KIZER BENDER SPEAKING, LLC 

If brands and retailers want to set a foundation for long-term loyalty, they need to focus on building their communities across online and in-store channels. Georganne Bender, Partner of KIZER & BENDER SPEAKING, LLC, will be our facilitator for this track due to her expertise in this topic.  
Georganne and her partner Rich Kizer have helped thousands of businesses in the retail, creative, restaurant, healthcare, deathcare, hospitality, collegiate, pet, travel, tourism, beauty, tech, auto, sales and service industries since 1990. Best known as a store makeover specialist with a proven track record of double-digit sales increases, Georganne is listed among the Top 40 Omnichannel Retail Influencers, RETHINK Retail’s Top Retail Experts three years running, and the Top Retail Industry Experts to Follow on social media.  
As consumer anthropologists, Georganne and Rich stalk and study that most elusive of mammals: today’s consumer. Each year they host consumer focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and intensive on-site studies. The result of their research is literally straight from the mouth of the consumer, providing executives with solid ground-level intelligence they can use to better serve their customers. 

Commerce Track Lead – Matt Maher, Futurist, Speaker & Founder, M7 Innovations 

Interested in digging into platforms, technologies and services driving next-gen commerce experiences? You won’t want to miss this track, which will be led by Matt Maher, Founder of M7 Innovations, an independent research and development firm. His thought leadership and award-winning work has been featured in Vogue Business, Forbes, Quartz, Men’s Journal, Retail TouchPoints, and Adweek.  
At M7, Matt leads a team specializing in artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual realities, voice technology, and the evolving internet. M7 guides executive teams through the rapidly evolving media and technological landscapes, conceptualizing, presenting and executing innovative solutions to business challenges. Matt sits on the international advisory boards of CHANEL and the Glimpse Group and has given keynote presentations on innovation at CES, SXSW, industry panels, and private client events around the world. 

Content Track Lead – Kristen LaFrance, CPG/DTC Consultant, Krispy LaPants Consulting LLC 

Do you have a passion for brand storytelling and want to hear the latest marketing, advertising and content strategies from some of the most creative thinkers in the industry? The Content Track will provide insights from digital, marketing and content leaders on the tactics that are driving creative storytelling methods and business outcomes. This track will be led by Kristen LaFrance, one of the most recognizable experts in the direct-to-consumer (DTC) and CPG space.  

She’s a community builder, content marketer, retention specialist, podcaster, consultant, and the (unofficial) mayor of DTC Twitter. As a storyteller, she has the expertise to craft exceptional brand narratives and drive them to a highly engaged audience. You might know her from:  

  • The CPG House community, which hit a thousand active weekly members in under a year.  
  • DTC House, an open community of 1,400 operators in the DTC space.  
  • The Resilient Retail podcast, which she built into one of Shopify’s most successful shows.  
  • Her absolutely essential Twitter feed, which boasts over 14,000 followers and blends hot takes, keen insights, and a genuine drive to build understanding and connection across the industry.  

Kristen is a thought leader, influencer and a voice that connects everyone from founders to operators to customers. She has the reach and the relationships to drive engagement across any channel. As a centralizing personality in the industry, she’s perfectly situated to tell the stories that brands need to see and share, regardless of the platform involved. 

C-Suite Corner Track Lead – Andrew Smith, Managing Partner & Co-founder, ThinkUncommon 

NEW this year – we’re excited to launch the C-Suite Corner (General Session) Track! This track will explore macro-level topics such as: workplace culture, sustainability progress, international expansion, future of in-store experiences and more! We’re excited to have Andrew Smith, Co-founder and Managing Partner at ThinkUncommon, a retail innovation consulting firm that helps organizations build the systems and capability to innovate more often, more successfully, and faster, lead this new conference track!  

Andrew is a former VP of Customer Experience at Telstra (Australia’s largest telco), where he was also Head of Retail Operations. He has been in the Top 100 Retail Influencers for the past 4 years, is a popular retail keynote speaker and advocate, and co-wrote a book on retail operations innovation, Retail Innovation Reframed. Originally from Australia, Andrew now enjoys learning and sharing with retail brands across North America.  

Now that you have greater insight into each of the tracks, be sure to register ASAP for an All-Access Pass or Conference Track Pass. Personally, I recommend the All-Access Pass so you can enjoy all the conference tracks and make the most of the content being delivered. We can’t wait for our attendees to learn firsthand from these incredible experts!  

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