Senior Vice President & Chief Administrative Officer
Best Buy Canada Ltd.
Over his 20 year career, Phil has focused on the design and implementation of transformation strategies to drive organizational growth and efficiency. He has a unique combination of strategy experience with McKinsey & Co. and operating experience with Best Buy Canada. Phil’s strength lies in building strategies and change management plans that are both results and people oriented. Phil’s responsibilities at Best Buy are a combination of end-to-end profit centers and corporate support functions. Some of the departments under his leadership include Best Buy for Business, IT, Supply Chain & Logistics, and Customer Experience. His leadership style is very people oriented. Phil emphasizes talent acquisition and development to create innovative high-performance teams to meet the demands of the ever-changing retail environment. Phil is a member of Mountain Equipment Co-op’s Board of Directors where he chairs the Finance and Audit Committee. He is also an Associate Professor at UBC's MBA program where he teaches strategy and finance. He holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce from McGill University.
Executive Vice President
Christian has over 20 years of experience in the fields of public opinion and market research. Christian is Executive Vice-President at Leger and manages its Montreal research team. He is also a partner in the firm and acts as a senior consultant to the firm’s major clients. As a spokesperson for the company, Christian is a political commentator for the CBC and consumer trends columnist on Radio-Canada. One of the many projects that Christian oversees is the Leger annual WOW Customer Experience Index which is an industry benchmark that provides amazing insights for Retailers. Christian still teaches research methodology at Université de Montréal.
Diane J. Brisebois
President & CEO
Retail Council of Canada
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.
Top Drawer Creative Inc
Howard Chang came by his passion for retail marketing honestly. Long before running an ad agency was even a twinkle in his eye, Howard (at the tender age of 20) created a bicycle retail concept and quickly grew it to 3 GTA locations through innovative marketing and exceptional customer service. His passion for branding found its perfect expression when he established Top Drawer Creative in 1992. With his retail pedigree, Howard focused on helping specialty retailers win share through great storytelling and innovative channel strategy. With Top Drawer now celebrating its 25th anniversary, Howard has had the privilege of helping many blue-chip North American retailers win in an ever challenging environment. Howard has been a MEC member since 1986 and his agency hosts a 2500 member consumer panel with AHAA (Active, Healthy, Affluent, Aware) Canadians providing unique insights into the outdoor lifestyle category.
Retail Industry Manager
As the Retail Industry Manager at Hubba, Phil is responsible for uncovering both emerging trends and insights that may impact businesses engaged in commerce. With 20 years of experience under his belt, Phil helps brands and retailers adapt to the the new realities of retail and the next generation of commerce. Phil is a frequent speaker at industry events in Canada and the US, across multiple verticals, and is a featured writer in trade publications such Retail TouchPoints, Pet Product News, BikeBiz, and more.
Reckless Bike Stores
Paul Dragan is the owner of Reckless Bike Stores in Vancouver. A lifelong love of bikes started at a young age and he went on to race road bikes in Europe before opening his first shop in 1986. Paul is a member of the Active Transportation Advisory Committee for the City or Vancouver, past Chair of VeloCity 2011 held in Vancouver, past board member of the Bicycle Trade Association of Canada, as well as an avid walker and swimmer. Paul has NEVER had to drive a car to work in his adult life and believes firmly that “multiple transportation choices make a GREAT city.”
Partner, Director of Sales
JAK's Beer, Wine & Spirits
Tim Dumas is the Director of Sales with JAK’S Beer Wine & Spirits and holds a BBA with a double major in accounting and marketing from Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, BC. With eleven locations in British Columbia, JAK’S is a market leader in BC’s retail liquor industry. Prior to joining JAK’S in 2015, Tim spent 11 years in the retail and hospitality industries, in various leadership, management and consulting roles. Tim is also a Guest Service Fanatic with Servus Leadership Inc, a business consultancy firm and a member of the Great Performances Business Group. Increasing management proficiency and creating a culture of service to create true customer loyalty are some of his favourite issues to tackle as a consultant.
National Lead, Customer Experience and Marketing
Monique is a marketing and customer experience executive with over 18 years of marketing and technology experience centered around driving revenue and superior customer experience. Working throughout North America, Monique has consulted with Fortune 500 companies across media & entertainment, retail, financial services, telecommunications, and consumer packaged goods on elevating their marketing and analytics to the next level.
Head of Industry - Retail
As Head of Industry for Retail at Google Canada, Kristina works with the country's largest retailers and their agencies to help them understand how technology can drive more sales, build stronger brands and advance customer relationships. A graduate of the Queen’s School of Business with an Honours Bachelor of Commerce, Kristina realized early in her career that she’d be pursuing Retail as a full time career. After working for a few years in Toronto, Kristina moved to New York to complete a degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology. She has built her career in Retail with over 10 years of experience in various disciplines including promotions, merchandising, planning, and marketing.
Western Canada Retail & Consumer Products Leader
Kate Furber is PwC’s retail and consumer products leader for Western Canada and a partner in PwC's assurance practice. For the past 20 years, Kate has provided audit, risk assurance and advisory services to a diverse portfolio of growth-oriented private and public companies. Her expertise includes IPOs, financing and acquisitions and she is familiar with both Canadian and US regulatory requirements. She has significant international experience having worked with PwC in London, Frankfurt, Washington DC and Vancouver. Kate is actively involved in the local community and currently serves as Vice-Chair and Treasurer for Canuck Place Children's Hospice. She is also an active mentor both within and outside of PwC, with a particular focus on diversity and the advancement of women.
Arc'teryx Equipment Inc
In 2012, Jon joined Arc’teryx as the company’s vice president of global commercial sales, bringing with him twelve years of outdoor-industry managerial experience and a unique ability to understand the importance of working with retailers to showcase a brand through the consumer’s eyes. Previous to Arc’teryx, Hoerauf spent twelve years with The North Face. At TNF, Jon oversaw the highly-technical Summit Series line, directed sales and marketing, and for almost a decade, managed North American sales of over $150M, assisting the company in its growth to become the world’s largest outdoor brand.
Chief Operating Officer
Jim has served in executive positions with a series of consumer and medical device companies including A. H. Robins, Medline, London International and A.C. Nielsen. Jim's educational credentials include an MBA from the University of Dallas, a Bachelor’s degree in Business from the State University of New York, and certification through executive education programs at INSEAD University in Paris and Ashridge Business School in London. In addition, he's attained CIRM certification through APICS and is the holder of multiple patents related to manufacturing and product design.
David Ian Gray
President & Founder
David Ian Gray founded DIG360 to help retail and “retail minded” executives deeply understand their customers and their business environments to help discover where healthy growth will next come from - and to transition their organizations accordingly. David has an innate ability to understand the “human” side of change and tailors the DIG360 approach to work best with cultures and personalities. In times of change David Ian Gray delivers insight, provocative questions, and new metaphors as catalysts for reinvention. David helps retail organizations become more relevant to the right target audiences and connect deeply to them.
Regional Head, British Columbia
Vik leads the growth of Facebook and Instagram's commercial business within British Columbia. In this role he’s responsible for identifying strategies focused on transforming businesses in key industry verticals. Prior to joining Facebook he held various marketing leadership roles at Microsoft; led the strategy practice in the western region for Blast Radius following their acquisition by WPP; and was Vice President of Marketing & Strategy at Monexa, a SaaS company acquired by NetSuite/Oracle in 2015. Pairing the strategic perspective of a seasoned management consultant with considerable client-side operational expertise, Vik’s delivered results for senior executives in the public and private sectors- ranging from large global institutions to emerging businesses. Passionate about the transformative power of technology, he also advises a number of entrepreneurs and start-ups in the Pacific Northwest on their digital strategies.
Partner, BC Retail & Consumer Products Leader
Rick Kohn is Deloitte's BC retail and consumer products leader and a partner in the Deloitte Private Audit and Advisory practice. Prior to Deloitte, Rick spent 10 years as the CFO a major Canadian retailer. He has written several reports on trends in retail and consumer products.
President & CEO
Mountain Equipment Co-Op
David Labistour is the Chief Executive Officer of Mountain Equipment Co-op, Canada’s leading outdoor retailer. David brings both passion for outdoor adventure and extensive business experience to the position. His career started in product design and has, over the past 30 years, included product development, retail management and strategic planning with companies such as Adidas, a Marks and Spencer affiliate in S.A. and Aritzia in Canada. David is MEC’s first CEO to have been appointed from within the 46-year-old organization. In his former capacity as the Senior Manager of Buying and Design, David was part of the Executive team that transformed the MEC-Brand -shaping its award winning recognition as Canada’s best Omni-channel leader as well as Canada’s favorite and most trusted brand whist equally encompassing sustainability initiatives operation wide. He enjoys a range of activities in the outdoors including backcountry skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, and kite surfing.
Kate Ross LeBlanc
CEO & Co-Founder
Saje Natural Wellness
Kate Ross LeBlanc is the CEO and Co-Founder for Saje Natural Wellness. Featured in the Top 100 Women Entrepreneurs list by Chatelaine Magazine, Kate has also been nominated for the YWCA Woman of Distinction and Canadian Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Currently serving as the ICSC Retail Chair for British Columbia Kate is passionate about retail, product innovation and design. She travels the world every year inspiring the Saje product line and design teams to evolve, expand, create. Kate was recently honored as the Entrepreneur Of The Year 2016 Pacific for Retail and Hospitality.
President & CEO
Craig is a special projects consultant at Retail Council of Canada, as well as Director of Applied Research at the University of Alberta School of Retailing in Edmonton. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for the past 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees. He is also President & CEO of Vancouver-based Retail Insider Media Ltd, and editor-in-chief of online industry publication Retail Insider.
Vice President, Partnerships & Platforms
Brad is VP Partnerships and Platform at SweetIQ. A seasoned local marketing and business development professional, Brad has delivered industry leading products such as the first global Yellow Pages open API platform, now copied +6 times across the globe. In his role at SweetIQ, Brad leverages his ability to build top tier relationships, and has been instrumental in the development of SweetIQ’s API.