Wanda Cadigan is the Vice President, Commerce at Sitecore. With almost 10 years of experience in the digital commerce space, Wanda has led a variety of top-performing sales, account management and marketing teams. She has acted as a customer advocate and executive sponsor for a number of Fortune 1000 companies’ digital commerce initiatives. Wanda is the global business leader for Sitecore’s commerce offerings and is passionate about helping customers realize the benefits of a unified content, commerce and context marketing platform. She works closely with the product and engineering teams at Sitecore to incorporate customer and partner feedback into the next generation of products.
Bjenk Ellefsen is Unit Head at the Data Integration and Exploration Lab of Statistics Canada where he is pursuing his interests in data science and exploring new ways of using data.
Mr. Flavelle had a mixed career path until buying the small Purdy’s Chocolates business with its four stores in 1963 (50 years ago this coming Labour Day). He was President, Purdy’s Chocolates from 1963 – 1997. Since 1997 Mr. Flavelle holds the position of Chairman of the Board. Mr. Flavelle enjoyed taking the opportunity to expand Purdys’ manufacturing and retail stores east of Granville Street. He improved productivity constantly so that Purdys became a low cost producer of premium chocolates for their own stores. He also created the ‘Choklit Park’ (1970-71) on the Fairview Slopes, a children’s’ Adventure Playground on the unused street-end between the Purdys factory and offices – which continues to this day. Believing that to sell a business often results in a negative situation for the business and its employees, retaining the culture of Purdy’s by passing it down within the family became Mr. Flavelle’s goal. Mr. Flavelle’s daughter Karen purchased the company and became President of Purdys Chocolatier from 1997-2012 (relinquishing that role to Peter Higgins in 2012). Currently, Karen remains as Owner and CEO. Karen has developed a fine management team, overseen new product development and it was Karen’s initiative to open the Ontario Market where Purdys now have 22 stores taking the total nationwide to 72 stores. Other Things about Mr. Flavelle: - President, Retail Confectioners International 1974 – 1975 - Founding Director, BC Chapter, Canadian Association of Family Enterprise (CAFÉ) 1984 - Finalist, Entrepreneur of the Year, 1996, Vancouver - Finalist, The Kettle Award (Confectionery Industry Award) Chicago, 2007
Brett Halliday has worked for Michael Hill for 23 years. Joining the organisation in its infancy in Australia as a trainee store manager, he has progressed through the business and spent the last 9 years in Canada as the head of the Canadian business. As of August 2016, Brett oversees the company’s divisions in Canada and the U.S. as President, North America.
Brett’s passion and enthusiasm for people development has allowed him to grow teams at all levels and achieve successful rapid growth of 70 Canadian stores within a very competitive retail landscape. Prior to Michael Hill, Brett served 6 years in the Royal Australian Navy where he learnt that discipline and execution of strategies are the keys to success and great leadership principles. He is married with 2 children, both of which have progressed to college and making careers of their own.
Read more about Michael Hill and Brett Halliday in Canadian Jeweller Magazine (June/July 2015 issue): http://issuu.com/cj_magazine/docs/cj_junejuly2015_full
As Senior Vice President of eCommerce for Best Buy Canada, Thierry Hay-Sabourin oversees the company’s rapid growth in Total Retail and continued expansion into the online market. Responsible for the eCommerce strategy and vision for the organization, Thierry has been instrumental in the development of the company’s online approach and emergence as a leader in Canadian ecommerce. Since 2004, Thierry has played an integral role in the management and innovation behind the Best Buy website. He has spearheaded many significant projects including the introduction of the company’s online community forums and blog platforms. Thierry has been instrumental in bringing Best Buy Canada’s Total Retail initiatives to life, such as launching Reserve and Pick Up, eReceipts, Multi-Channel Fulfilment, Delivery Promise, Ship-from-store, and Marketplace. These initiatives contributed to Best Buy Canada being awarded with ‘Best Omni-Channel Integration’ at the Canada Post eCommerce Innovation Awards in 2014 and 2015, and named winner of the ‘Omni-Channel Award’ at the 2016 Retail Council of Canada Excellence in Retailing Awards. Thierry holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from HEC Montréal, where he was also a part of the first cohort in Canada to achieve a Graduate Degree in eCommerce.
Sharon brings with her over 30 years of extensive practical experience in the retail and banking business. Graduating from the University of Manitoba, with an Honors Degree from the Faculty of Commerce, she began her retail career with The Bay. During her 7 years with them, she held many positions in middle and senior management. The positions included budgeting, financial planning; merchandise buying, staff training, inventory management & control. She was then hired away from The Bay by Ben Moss Jewelers, to hold the position of General Manager for their 22-store operation in Western Canada. While setting the direction for the company, as a whole, with regards to merchandise selection, advertising, sales management and profitability, she was also responsible for increasing the profitability of their individual stores. Following this, Sharon took her experience to the Bank of Montreal where she held the position of Area Manager, with the responsibility of increasing market share through sound business planning and attention to the bottom line. She was responsible for managing 180 people in 16 branches. For the past 15 years, Sharon has been the owner of InFocus “The Retail Consultancy Inc.” working with 50-60 independent and chain retailers on an ongoing basis, month in and month out, to coach them along the path to increased profitability through operational strategies, inventory management, expense control, and sales management. She has also become recognized as one of Western Canada’s leading consultants to the shopping centre industry focusing on improved tenant longevity, tenant evaluations, needs analysis and strategic planning. Sharon had been consulting with Dianes Lingerie for the past 7 years to assist with the company’s strategic plan with an emphasis on inventory management and marketing. On December 1, 2012 Sharon took over as the owner of Dianes Lingerie. It has been a very streamlined transition due to her familiarity with the store and the brand.
Geoff Henshaw leads the brand and retail strategy for SHOES.com across Canada and the U.S. Under Geoff’s leadership, the company has streamlined the brand and customer touchpoints across multiple channels including web, mobile, and in-store resulting in a heightened consumer experience. Geoff most recently served as the Managing Director for Coastal Contacts in Australia and New Zealand where he oversaw the business and marketing strategy for the region. With over 10 years of experience in ecommerce, Geoff is known for his unique ability to bring world-recognized omnichannel concepts to life.
Darrell Jones embarked on his 40-year career in the food business in Cranbrook, British Columbia as a retail grocery clerk. From there, Darrell joined teams in 23 different stores and communities as he moved progressively through a series of senior operating roles with the Overwaitea Food Group. For the past 14 years, Darrell has been a key member of the Overwaitea Food Group Senior Management Team, contributing to the strategic development of the company with his frankness, charisma and business savvy. In 2012, Darrell was promoted to company President. In just four years at the helm of the company, Darrell has played a key role in aligning his executive team on their shared goals, positioning the company as the leading grocery retailer in Western Canada. Darrell channels his passion for the grocery industry into active participation on numerous boards, including that of national procurement organization United Grocers, Inc; not-for-profit supply chain organization GS1 Canada; and food retail trade association the Food Marketing Institute. In his capacity as a member of these organizations, Darrell is a key advocate for the company and representative on both the national and international stages. Darrell has culled a wealth of experience over his 40 years with OFG, and he draws on his experience to enthusiastically lead an increasingly diverse team of more than 16,000 people to innovation and industry leadership.
As an accomplished global marketer and brand strategist, Karin Koonings in the Chief Marketing Officer of Savers, a purpose-driven thrift retailer with nearly 330 stores across the U.S., Canada and Australia. In this role, Karin is responsible for a diverse range of activities, including business development, brand marketing, advertising, customer insights, and communications.
Karin’s career spans twenty years, working for both Fortune 500 companies and start-ups in the retail, beverage, and health & beauty industries. Karin began her marketing career working in Unilever’s Cheseborough-Ponds division where she learned the discipline of building and stewarding global brands while making them locally relevant. She then had the opportunity to revitalize another global brand, Carlsberg, while working at Labatt Breweries. Then in 1996, Karin joined the Starbucks Coffee Company and held a number of progressive marketing assignments, contributing to the fast growth and establishment of Starbucks as a leading global brand, and ultimately leading a team of marketers representing 43 countries.
Karin holds a MBA from The University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business, and has studied marketing, branding and international relations in Canada, the United States and Europe.
Willy Kruh has served as the auditor and advisor to many premier, multinational companies for the past 30 years. He is currently the Global Chair of KPMG’s Consumer Markets practice which serves many of largest international consumer brands in the world within the Retail and FDCG (Food, Drink & Consumer Goods) sectors. As the Partner-in-Charge of KPMG in Canada’s High Growth Markets practice, Willy is also focused on assisting companies with their inbound and outbound investment strategies in the BRIC countries, particularly in India and China. He has substantial experience helping consumer and industrial companies, both public and private, in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, initial public offerings, restructuring and transaction services. Willy regularly shares his insights with the media and live audiences on the trends and issues faced by consumer companies, including cross-industry investment and global expansion.
Ian Large joined Leger in 2009.
Ian Large is responsible for the management and day-to-day operations of Leger’s offices in Western Canada. He has more than 25 years of research and management experience in a wide variety of organizations in Canada and abroad, including extensive retail and customer satisfaction measurement experience.
Before joining Leger in 2009, Ian was a managing partner of his own Toronto based strategic marketing research consultancy. Prior to that, he was a senior team member in a mid-sized marketing research firm. Ian holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Queen’s University.
Graeme McLaughlin has been optimizing websites since 2004 and worked on American Red Cross, Hootsuite, Kal Tire, BCAA, Vega and a few more along the way. For every business it's always been a challenge balancing traffic acquisition and maximizing sales and revenue. It's this intersection where Graeme excels and for the last 5 years has focused on working with Ecommerce businesses. In his role at MEC he manages SEO, UX and Increasing revenue through merchandising and a/b testing. He also runs a consulting practice for retailers looking to improve the ecommerce experience and increase revenue.
Marcie is a successful entrepreneur, former retail executive at both Victoria’s Secret and Toys R Us and former creative agency partner. A globally recognized leader in consumer ethnography, cultural anthropology and brand strategy, Marcie has spent 25 years working with boards, CEOs and their teams to propel growth through human-centric design. Marcie speaks globally on topics related to Millennials, Gen Z, changing behaviors and corporate strategic response, having her work featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Business of Fashion and Bloomberg. Marcie is currently a leader in EY’s Digital Enterprise and Experience Practice where she teams with clients to understand nuances of human behaviors within societies and organizational implications that can be addressed through innovative experiences, including the deployment of digital technologies. Key client relationships have included: Nike, Berkshire Hathaway, Royal Caribbean, Goodyear, Mars, American Express, Bayer, Starbucks, Luxottica, PepsiCo, Jack Daniels, McDonalds and eBay.
Gary Mussatto was born and raised on the North Shore of Vancouver where he’s owned and operated retail toy stores called ‘Toy Jungle’ and “the Toybox” since 1998. His passion within the company lies on the creative/marketing side although he claims it’s simply his job to get kids to drive their parents crazy. Gary and his wife Misti were voted ‘Retailers of the year’ by Toys & Games magazine, and their stores have received numerous “favourite toy store” awards, Gary is past president of the West Vancouver Chamber of Commerce and is now President of the Kitsilano Business Improvement Association. Gary is a retailer, musician, children’s author and also claims to be the best emcee in his price range.
Ainslie leads the reporting and analytics team within retail operations at lululemon as well as managing strategic projects. An Excel nerd with a passion for storytelling, she loves using metrics to connect the dots, discover trends, and identify areas of opportunity for the business. Ainslie joined lululemon in 2013 after obtaining her CPA working in International Tax at PwC where she learned to create simple solutions to complex global issues, and present results clearly to diverse groups of stakeholders.
Sam is an eCommerce merchandiser at MEC. She is responsible for the product hierarchy and making sure users can find what they want to buy. She conducts user research, builds navigation, writes requirements, and optimizes mec.ca
After dedicating many years to representing, supporting and speaking on behalf of retailers, Mark is recognized as a passionate and knowledgeable advocate for Canada’s independent retail community. In 1982, Mark joined Retail BC as General Manager. In 1985 he was appointed President and in 1995 he was named President and CEO. In 2008, Retail BC and Retail Alberta joined forces and in 2009, the two associations amalgamated under a new brand, Shelfspace - The Association for Retail Entrepreneurs. In July, 2012, Shelfspace merged into Retail Council of Canada (RCC) and Mark assumed the role of Vice-President, MySTORE. MySTORE is the independent retail division of RCC, serving the needs of independent retailers from coast to coast. Mark has served on numerous boards during his career, including Tourism Vancouver, The Immigrant Employment Council of BC and Easy Park. At present, he is a member of the BC Small Business Round Table, and he is a national director of the Canadian Society of Association Executives. Mark began his career in retailing with Eaton’s in Vancouver where he completed the Eaton’s management training program. Mark then joined the Canadian Federation of Independent Business as District Manager where he gained extensive experience working with small and medium-sized businesses. He is an active volunteer and fund-raiser with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Rotary Club of Vancouver, and the Canadian Society of Intestinal Research. Mark received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Western Ontario. He was designated a Certified Association Executive (CAE) by the Canadian Society of Association Executives, and a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Club of Vancouver.
Elisa is the Retail Strategy Leader in PwC’s Consulting practice with extensive executive and consulting experience in retail, grocery and consumer packaged good companies. She has a proven track record of both developing and implementing strategy in multiple core business functions; from merchandising to supply chain to operations. She has worked with and led leadership teams to create business vision, formulate effective strategy and deliver results. A proven strategist, who has developed and implemented major change initiatives impacting profitability, both internal and external customer facing products and services.
David Thorpe is a high energy, results driven, customer-obsessed marketing professional. Over the course of 20+ years He’s held senior marketing and advertising roles with one of BC's most loved brands, London Drugs, Sonora Resort, a Relais & Chateau property located in B.C.’s Discovery Islands and London Air Services, a private charter airline, specializing in executive business travel. David also lead marketing and advertising for national discount leader, Giant Tiger Stores Ltd. where he was responsible for all marketing and advertising activities, including digital and social media, public relations, store signing and community involvement. David supported growth from 40 stores in Ontario and Quebec to over 200 stores across Canada and revenues of 1.8 billion. David serves on a number of industry advisory boards including the RAC in Toronto, and the CMO council of the National Retail Federation in Washington DC. He was born in England has lived in Australia and Canada and has travelled the world extensively. David is an avid cyclist, snowboarder and photographer. He presently lives and works in Vancouver, British Columbia.
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.
Mark Wardell has developed a reputation as a leader in business advisory by helping entrepreneurs successfully plan, execute, and manage sustainable business growth. In addition to offering comprehensive business consulting services through his company, Mark regularly shares his business advisory expertise through many channels. He is a published author of seven business books, frequent contributor to several top national publications including Profit Magazine, The Globe and Mail, and CGA Magazine, and a speaker at high-profile business events and on televised programs including BNN’s Money Talk with Patricia Lovett-Reid. Mark has been a keynote speaker in Canada, US, United Kingdom, France, Barbados and Australia. Among the list has been the IBBA Canadian Conference, Advocis, SFU, BCIT and many Chambers and private business groups with audiences of up to 3000. Popular topics include Succession Planning and Maximizing Your Business for Sale. Mark continuously strives to expand his business expertise and maintain his position as a business advisory authority by researching, networking, and exploring new ideas among successful professionals. Prior to founding Wardell in 1999, Mark’s career included time as a business advisor for a major California-based consulting firm, an entrepreneur, a professional musician and a national level gymnastics coach. For more information about Wardell visit wardell.biz/services
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.