Kirk Allen has a passion for growing other people’s businesses through the powerful combination of traditional media, social, search and mobile. Kirk’s experience includes 30 years of cross-platform media sales within Canada’s largest media companies. Prior to becoming Co-Founder of Reshift Media, he was EVP, Integrated Advertising Sales at Postmedia Network. When he is not busy driving sales to a client’s door (virtual or real), he can often be found driving to the links and rinks around town. Connect with Kirk on LinkedIn [ca.linkedin.com/in/kirkallen/]
Diane J. Brisebois is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Retail Council of Canada (RCC) and has held that position since 1995. Prior to joining RCC, Diane held the position of President and CEO of the Canadian Office Products Association for 14 years. Diane continues to serve on several boards across North America and has spent more than 37 years leading retail associations in Canada. Ms. Brisebois is a native of Montreal, Quebec and now resides in Toronto, Ontario.
Jim has been in the retail industry for 38 years beginning as a part time commissioned sales person with Woolco Dept. Stores in Winnipeg in 1980. Jim worked for Woolco until 1994 when Walmart acquired the company from Woolworth Corporation and continued working with Walmart holding several executive positions in operations and merchandising until 2008 when he joined The Bargain Shop as their Chief Operating Officer. In 2010 he was recruited by The Brick as Senior Vice President of Operations responsible for leading their Stores, Distribution Centers , Franchise Division and Commercial business and then moved to Edmonton in 2013 to become President of The Brick. Jim left the Brick in 2016 to return to Toronto as head of Lowes stores in Canada and in January of 2018 took on the role of President & CEO OK Tire Stores Inc based in South Surrey BC. Jim commented that "In OK Tire I found my forever job, I work with an amazing dedicated team of people, our suppliers are fantastic businesses in their own right and I’ve enjoyed getting to know them and work with them as partners, the automotive industry is going thru exciting changes so it’s fun to be on the forefront , driving newness and change and the cherry on top is I get to live in BC !!” During his years in the retail business he has had a wide variety of roles including Store Management, District Management, Corporate Human Resources, Store Operations, Distribution & Logistics, Franchise Operations, Buying and Commercial Sales.
Jesse Cheetham comes with over a decade of curating culture in growing retail organizations across Canada & the United States. He is currently the Vice President, Human Resources at Fire & Flower Inc. holding a Certified Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) designation & is an honors graduate of the Bachelor of Management, Human Resource Management & Labour Relations program from the University of Lethbridge. Prior to joining Fire & Flower, Jesse was the Director of Employee Services at Peavey Industries LP, an agricultural retailer with 100 locations across Canada recognized by the prestigious Canada's 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures Award. Mr. Cheetham also held executive HR management positions with Skechers across Western Canada and the United States. In addition to his success in retail, Jesse held coaching and executive positions with one of the most successful Jr. B Hockey programs in Canada. Awarded 2 provincial titles, 1 Western Canadian Championship, and 1 Western Canadian Bronze during his tenure. Jesse is an advocate for building organizations through checking ego at the door & creating a safe environment for unique people to bring unique talents.
Paula Courtney, a retail strategist with 20 years’ experience, published in 35 countries and advisor to Fortune 100 companies, is trusted by Canadian and American retail leaders to help them refine and create a superior customer experience. She is the product founder and chief strategist of WisePlum®, a SaaS-based research tool designed to measure retail customer insights. WisePlum® is a collaboration between LoyaltyOne, a global leader in customer analytics and loyalty program design, and the Verde Group, a customer insights consultancy specialized in identifying, measuring, analyzing and resolving the financial impact of customer dissatisfaction.
Ashley is a loving wife and mama to her baby girl Francesca aka “Frankie.” Born and raised in Vancouver, BC, she was an educator for the better part of a decade before co-founding Smash + Tess with her mother in 2016. Ashley graduated from Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, BC with two Bachelor Degrees in English and Education, along with a Masters in Education. Now a resident of Los Angeles, Ashley started Smash + Tess after finding a void in the lounge-wear market. She attended the summer fashion program at Conde Nast in London, UK, and the rest is history! As Managing Director of Smash + Tess, Ashley oversees everything from designing, to financial planning and forecasting, to dreaming up fun and creative marketing campaigns. Under Ashley's vision and management, Smash + Tess has grown exponentially and trans-nationally, both in market share and public notoriety. Ashley is passionate about creating clothing for women that celebrates and encourages femininity, strength, and comfort- while, of course, never sacrificing beauty or fashion.
Drew Green is an award winning entrepreneur and expert in managing fast-paced, high-growth companies. A visionary leader, Green has created one of the world's fastest growing apparel brands. Since 2015, he has established over $90M CDN in strategic capital commitments for INDOCHINO, with less than 27% shareholder dilution via these transactions. Green’s focus, dedication and decisiveness has tripled the size of the company, helped it achieve profitability in 2017 and improved EBITDA by just under $8 million USD year-over-year. Through a commitment to an experience-based Omni channel commerce strategy the past three years, INDOCHINO has expanded its retail network across North America to include 22 showrooms as of March 2018, with as many as 37 showrooms by year end and dramatically increased its product assortment to become the undisputed global leader in custom apparel. Prior to INDOCHINO, Green founded and was Chief Executive Officer of SHOP.CA, Canada’s first multi-merchant marketplace, which is now owned by EMERGE COMMERCE, which he leads as Chairman and major shareholder. EMERGE has successfully combined several eCommerce brands globally over the past two years. Throughout his career, Drew has helped create billions in shareholder value through leadership roles at DoubleClick (acquired by Google), SHOP.COM (acquired by Market America) and Flonetwork (acquired by DoubleClick). Green is a shareholder, mentor and/or member of 15 Canadian private company boards across Technology, Commerce, Ed-Tech, FinTech, Block Chain and Real Estate and is also a proud to be a member of the Board of Directors at The Scarborough Hospital Foundation, which oversees a network of hospitals in one of the most underprivileged and underfunded urban areas in Canada. This is an area he plans to significantly develop in the decades ahead.
Kimberly Kuzmak is an experienced client management and business development leader with American Express Canada. As Director of Client Management - Western Canada for Global Merchant & Network Services, Kimberly is focused on developing and growing successful partnerships with key B2B and B2C brands across Canada. She is a passionate people leader, who consistently inspires creativity, collaboration, and drives a high level of employee engagement. She also leads the digital transformation strategy which is focused on launching capabilities to enable a better customer and merchant experience, while driving incremental value and loyalty.
As the President and CEO of Encorp Pacific (Canada), Allen oversees the most successful used beverage container management program in Canada with a mandate to develop, manage and improve systems to recover used packaging and end-of-life products from consumers and ensure that they are properly recycled and not land-filled or incinerated. Through its Return-It collection network consisting of 171 privately owned Return-It depots, Encorp Pacific has routinely exceeded a 75% recovery rate for used beverage containers in the province while at the same time developing a collection network that has become the backbone for a number of other recycling programs around the province. Prior to joining Encorp Pacific, Allen served as the Managing Director for Recycle BC, the first 100% Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) program for paper and packaging in North America where industry assumed full financial and managerial responsibility for the residential recycling system. Allen has extensive experience in sustainability and previously served as the VP of Sustainability for the Retail Council of Canada and the VP of Environment for the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors.
Eric is an experienced consultant with a passion for retail and the broader consumer business sector. He has over 20 years of consulting to leading retailers in North America across multiple formats including department stores, specialty apparel, footwear and mass merchandise. He has worked across all departments and functions from store to back office, enabling him to address client challenges and opportunities from multiple perspectives. As the National Retail Industry Leader at BDO, Eric leads a group of retail and IT professionals who implement ERP, POS, BI and other retail technologies that enrich consumers' experiences and improve retailers' business results. Eric also advises retailers on technology strategy and helps organizations manage the process and organizational components of their business to ensure that technologies align to business strategy.
Mat Povse is the Senior Vice President of Retail and Geek Squad Services at Best Buy Canada. In this role, he is responsible for the employee and customer experience, sales and profits for over 180 retail stores across Canada as well as the development and fulfilment of Geek Squad programs and services. Mat joined Best Buy in March of 2014 as Vice President of Merchandising responsible for Home Theatre, Audio, Wireless, Digital Imaging, Geek Squad, and was instrumental in the development and execution of the Major Appliances expansion plan in Canada. Since then, he has held numerous leadership roles, most recently as Vice President of Geek Squad Services. Mat has a passion for inspiring people and teams, and has a knack for facilitating productive alignment between organizations. Mat’s multi-faceted experiences and work including service centric organizations has proven valuable in areas of convergence where he leads the optimization of current capabilities for future state, develops new and innovative partnerships, and integrates services at retail - all of which have helped to enhance Best Buy’s Total Retail experience and set foundations for future growth. Prior to Best Buy, Mat was Vice President of Sales for LG Electronics and has also held key positions at Compaq, TELUS & XM Satellite Radio. Mat holds a Bachelor of General Studies, Business and Liberal Arts from Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia.
Dave Rodgerson is the Retail Industry Lead at Microsoft Canada. His career includes experience both as a line of business executive for some of Canada’s leading retailers and more recently with technology leaders that support the industry. Dave works closely with clients and industry associations that share an interest in creating a new consumer experience. More recently, he has been sharing stories about digital transformation and its impact on consumers and the Omni channel experience, helping his clients create their own vision for the future of retail.
Kevin is the Director Retail Operations, Cannabis and oversees the retail operations of the LDB including retail stores and is a key partner in the Omni-channel experience. Kevin is accountable for developing, recommending, implementing and managing the business strategies, policies and procedures, and for the retailing and financial performance of the LDB cannabis retail business. In his role Kevin works in a dynamic, results-oriented environment with frequently changing priorities and opportunities. To fulfil its responsibilities and achieve the goals and objectives of the retail team and the LDB, Kevin has developed and maintained extensive relationships with LDB Executive Management, Directors and departmental staff associated with Retail Operations, Loss Prevention, Information Technology, Finance, Human Resources Prior to taking on his role in Retail Operations Kevin was the Director, Business Systems Services responsible for directing the business analysis, design, development, implementation and support of application solutions for BC Liquor Distribution Branch’s three divisions; Wholesale, Retail and Corporate. Kevin was a strategic and key member of the IT Leadership teams that provided valuable expert insight and successfully execute strategic application integration initiatives.
As Head of Sustainability for IKEA Canada, Brendan Seale is responsible for activating the IKEA “People & Planet Positive” strategy across the country – to inspire and enable Canadians to live a healthier & more sustainable life at home, to achieve circular and climate positive operations, and lead towards a fair & inclusive Canadian society. Previously Brendan served as Sustainability Advisor with The Natural Step Canada, and worked in communications with Barrick Gold Corporation. He holds an MSc in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability from Blekinge Institute of Technology (Sweden), and a BA in Communication Studies & Multimedia from McMaster University. Brendan’s feet like to keep the company of bicycle pedals, soccer cleats, ski boots, and infectious beats, and he is now a father to two young sons who have given his work a greater depth of purpose.
Peter van Stolk is the CEO of Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery or SPUD.ca™, the largest pure play online grocer in Canada. SPUD.ca is focused on creating meaningful relationships with Canadians around the benefits of local, organic food within the $100 billion annual Canadian grocery market. SPUD.ca operates in 4 markets and utilizes proprietary technology. This allows the company to provide free delivery throughout the 4 Western Canadian cities it services. With 400 employees, SPUD.ca is building community among its customers both online and off with a unique omni-channel strategy of hyper local small markets through its retail brands, Be Fresh Local Market and Organic Acres Market. Van Stolk believes: “Food will have the greatest impact on our generation. How we think about food, how we buy food, and how we consume food will change, and we are excited to be a part of this transformation”. As founder of Jones Soda Company in 1987, van Stolk served as CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors until 2007. Jones Soda was one of the first consumer branded companies that recognized the potential of Social Media in creating emotional connections with its consumers. Jones Soda invited its followers to participate and interact with the brand through proprietary custom labelling and unique flavour development. Van Stolk has been recognized for his business savvy and innovative branding strategies in various publications such as The New York Times®, CNN®, Wall Street Journal®, Fast Company™, Inc.Magazine™ and People Magazine®. Peter has received numerous business awards including Price, Waterhouse, Coopers’ 40 under 40, Brand Week’s Top 100 Marketer, and was chosen as one of Canada’s Top One Hundred Canadians by MacLean’s Magazine®. He continues to speak internationally, challenging various audiences on a broad range of marketing and business topics including: How to compete in today’s market place, relating and remaining relevant to an apathetic and fickle consumer, and creating market demand and brand loyalty in a difficult economy. Through the contribution of all proceeds from his speeches, van Stolk is directly responsible for building numerous schools in developing countries, as well as countless donations to organizations that focus on women, children, and cancer research. He is also the current Chairman of the Board of Directors of Vitamin Angels©, a non-profit global organization that provides vital nutrition to 48 million children annually throughout the world.
Mr. Vioncek comes with over 25 years of experience in the operations of major retail brands across Canada. With deep experience in regulated retail, Mike specializes in successfully opening locations in a regulated retail space. Prior to joining the team at Fire & Flower, he was the President of Canadian Operations for Planet Fitness, specializing in opening new stores from location scouting, leasing, build-out, staffing through to start of operations. Previous to this, Mike was the Director of Operations for Liquor Stores North America, Regional Director for Rexall / Katz Group Canada, and District Operations Manager for the iconic Hudson’s Bay Company.
Nick Whitehead is Vice President of Market Development for Aurora Cannabis, one of the world’s largest and fastest growing cannabis companies. A passionate advocate for cannabis law reform, Nick joined Aurora in January 2016 as Manager of Public Affairs. Recognized as an integral part of the business development team, Nick ascended to his current role in August 2017. Having more than five years of experience in the cannabis industry, Nick applies his project management expertise to spearhead the planning, strategic development and delivery for the pending Canadian adult consumer market. In his previous role as Manager of Public Affairs, Nick was responsible for relationships with Aurora's extensive physician referral network, developing supply and demand tracking tools, and performing due diligence and business analysis for Aurora's acquisitions and other strategic transactions. Prior to joining Aurora, he held positions with federal as well municipal governments and most recently acted as the Director of Organizing for Sensible BC, a non-profit political advocacy campaign dedicated to cannabis law reform. His work there helped to build the organization into the country’s largest, grassroots drug policy organization. Nick holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Administration from Carleton University and a Bachelor of Arts from Dalhousie University. He is also certified as a Project Management Professional through the Project Management Institute.