Speakers
Julia Abramovich
Julia Abramovich
IBM Corporation
Vice President, Retail and Consumer Products
Julia Abramovich is Vice President, Retail and Consumer Products. Her team is responsible for managing client relationships and delivering IBM’s software solution portfolio to clients in the United States. Julia brings twenty years of work experience in strategy consulting, marketing, and business development. She also serves as Greater Boston Senior Location Executive at IBM Offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Julia spent several years leading sales teams in the Retail vertical. Previously, Julia was a communications and strategy leader for a 20,000-person GBS consulting organization, where she started her tenure with IBM in 2002. Her focus was on helping national retail clients implement new brand strategies and increase sales through understanding and interpreting customer preferences. Julia graduated with honors from Brandeis University with a B.A. in Mathematics and minors in Economics and Philosophy. In 2002, she earned an M.B.A. from the MIT Sloan School of Management where she was awarded a Merit Fellowship for her contributions to the Sloan community.

Kristina Allebach
Kristina Allebach
Reeds Jewelers
Chief Information Officer
Since 2015, Kristina has functioned as the chief information officer for REEDS Jewelers, Inc. To this position, Kristina brings robust development operations, software development, and project portfolio management experience to the REEDS team. She has transformed a primarily function-focused help desk support team to a high performing technical team. This team collaborates with operations to deliver new technologies to drive revenue and improve customer experiences. Kristina is responsible for new technology implementations across physical and online channels, information governance and security, and works with the executive team to ensure that technology investments deliver the expected benefits to the enterprise.
Previous to joining REEDS, Kristina held a variety of roles in both consulting and executive management in the Life Sciences industry. She led large-scale software implementations and managed cross-functional delivery teams as well as led the development of a project portfolio practice that allowed for the holistic prioritization of information technology spend based on expected return to the enterprise.

Irad Ben-Gal
Irad Ben-Gal
Professor & Head of AI Lab at Tel Aviv University
Visiting Professor at Stanford University
Irad Ben-Gal is a full professor and the head of the “AI and Business Analytics” Lab in the faculty of engineering at Tel Aviv University. He is a visiting professor at Stanford University, teaching “analytics in action” and co-heading the “Digital Life 2030” research initiative. He is a world-known expert in machine learning and predictive analytics with more than 20 years of experience in the field, including R&D collaborations with companies such as Oracle, Intel, GM, AT&T, Applied Materials, Siemens, Kimberly Clark and Nokia. He has written three books, published more than 100 scientific papers and patents and received numerous awards for his work. Irad is the co-founder and chairman of CB4 (“See Before”), a startup backed by Sequoia Capital that provides granular predictive analytics solutions to retail organizations. He is an advisory board member in several startup companies that focus on AI.

Kenneth Bolick
Kenneth Bolick
Ahold Delhaize
CTO Fresh Formats
Kenneth Bolick has 20 years experience at Ahold-Delhaize companies. His experiences span store operations, large scale customer facing technology deployments, marketing, merchandising, HR, store strategy & execution and information technology. He established and leads Ahold USA’s Enterprise Mobility Team, Cross-Functional Mobile Center of Excellence & Mobile Steering Committee. He is a key stake-holder in cross-functional business planning process for enterprise mobile transformation roadmap. His responsibilities recently expanded to include overall IT Leadership for the Fresh Formats division within Ahold-Delhaize.

Bill Crayton
Bill Crayton
LifeWay Christian Stores
Vice President, Retail Merchandising
Bill has dedicated his career to learning and leading in retail. His broad experience spans merchandise and assortment planning, allocation and replenishment, buying, retail operations, visual merchandising, organizational development, vendor and brand management, and technology.

Bill has worked in various roles at Vera Bradley, Cracker Barrel, Payless ShoeSource, Hallmark and Mervyns. He has also been a Partner at Columbus Consulting and Sunshine International. Currently, Bill is the VP of Merchandising for LifeWay Christian Stores.

Well versed in all aspects of the merchandising life cycle: hind sighting, line building, financial management, assortment planning, in-season management, pricing, and liquidation; Bill has a unique and creative perspective on how everything works together.



Leslie Hand
Leslie Hand
IDC Retail Insights
Vice President
As vice president for IDC Retail Insights, Leslie Hand is responsible for the research direction for IDC Retail Insights, She works with retailers and technology providers on developing best practices and strategies, aligned with where they are, and where they want to go, leveraging IDC quantitative and qualitative data sets.
Before joining IDC, Leslie spent 28 years in the retail industry, with 5 years in operations and 23 in retail information technology and technology strategy. While in retail operations she managed stores and was instrumental in defining new customer centric and more efficient operational processes. While in retail technology she has guided strategy, technology selections, development, implementation and support efforts for the full gamut of retail technologies, in a variety of retail segments.
Leslie likes to say that she will always be a retailer through and through, but in her current role she now has the opportunity to work for many top retailers and the technology providers that serve them.
Leslie won many quarterly research awards and IDC's most prestigious and highest honor for research excellence, The James Peacock Award, in January 2013.


Sterling Hawkins
Sterling Hawkins
CART
Partner, Operations & Venture
Living at the intersection of in-store, online and the 4th Industrial Revolution, Sterling is actively shaping the future of commerce by helping others create and respond to innovation in a way that betters businesses, communities and the human condition. Sterling has been seen in Inc. Magazine, The New York Times, ABC Money, AlleyWatch, Yahoo Finance, Forbes and other major media outlets.

Rosalee Hermens
Rosalee Hermens
True Value
Former Sr. Vice President & CIO
As Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Rosalee Hermens is responsible for leading True Value Company's information technology team and managing the co-op's retail and enterprise systems. This includes all automated processes to support the wholesale business systems, including international distribution, order, inventory management, replenishment, merchandising and financial systems. She also supports member store retail systems and portal technologies for both vendors and retailers.

A seasoned technology executive, Hermens has led enterprise technology for both large and small companies. She has more than 20 years of experience delivering tangible business results through optimizing business process, information and information systems. With a strong track record for increasing revenue, reducing costs, and improving customer satisfaction, she has been recognized for her work at The Timberland Company, Aspen Technology, Compaq Computer, Digital Equipment Corporation, IBM and Bank of Boston. Hermens also has extensive international experience, having lived and worked in the United States, France and Taiwan.

Before joining True Value Company in May 2011, Hermens was the founder and principal of Hermens & Associates, a strategic IT management consulting firm that helped clients identify and pursue successful funding strategies, identify the need for and recruit new leadership, and create and implement new application portfolios, through organizational and business plan assessments, competitive analysis, and benchmarking.


Robert Hetu
Robert Hetu
Gartner
Research Director
Bob Hetu is a Research Director with the Gartner Retail Industry Services team. His responsibilities involve tracking the technology markets and trends impacting the broad-based retail merchandising and planning areas as well as advanced analytics for retail. He is an expert in the areas of brand, vendor and assortment management, merchandise planning, allocation, and replenishment.

Tammylynne Jonas
Tammylynne Jonas
Self Esteem Brands
Global CIO
Tammylynne Jonas is a Retail/ Digital/ IT Executive with more than 18 years of experience in the industry. She spent three years at Accenture doing technical consulting. She has 15 years of experience working at Kohl's Department Stores; her most recent role was VP of Enterprise Services- Technology.

Tammylynne has extensive experience in customer-facing technology across mobile, social, online and brick and mortar platforms. She is a thought-leader and a culture builder for the teams she works with.

Tammylynne holds undergraduate degrees in Math, English and Spanish, with an Executive MBA from Marquette University. She was named one of Wisconsin's "40 Under 40" by the Milwaukee Business Journal in 2015, and the "Young Alumna of the Year" by Marquette University in 2017.

David Matthews
David Matthews
REVTECH
Managing Director
David Matthews is an entrepreneur and venture capitalist with 25 years of experience in building companies from startup to fruition and investing in software startups. His venture capital funds have deployed over $150M into more than 50 investments during the past 16 years. Successful exits include Green Mountain Energy (sold to NRG), Fiber Systems Int’l (sold to Amphenol), PeopleAnswers (sold to Infor), Spawn Labs (sold to GameStop), and Zaadz (sold to Gaiam). His investments have become increasingly focused on innovative technologies for the retail industry and new retail models.

David founded Trailblazer Capital, a micro-VC fund with a regional focus on Texas and Oklahoma, in 2006. Trailblazer was initially funded with proceeds from the sale of Michaels Stores, a Dallas-based specialty retailer. David and other Michaels’ investors committed 75% of the capital for Trailblazer's first fund. The investment that returned a multiple of that fund's capital was Spawn Labs, a platform that enabled remote participation in console video games. Spawn Labs was acquired by GameStop, a Dallas-based specialty retailer, in 2010. Trailblazer raised a second fund in 2011 that has now deployed nearly $30 million in 10 investments and 5 accelerator funds.

In 2011, David founded REVTECH, a seed capital fund and accelerator program focused on tech innovation for the retail industry. REVTECH has funded 30 companies to date, half of which were able to attract seed funding of $250k or more, and 4 of which have scaled revenue above $1 million annually. Total capital formation into these startups has been over $9 million and over 200 jobs have been created. REVTECH has created an impressive mentor network with over 100 entrepreneurs, investors, and retail industry executives.

Jeffrey Neville
Jeffrey Neville
BRP
Vice President
Jeffrey is a business focused technology strategist with a passion for generating company results through process change and technology innovation. His experience includes both managing e-Commerce and SaaS businesses and consulting with clients on their growth strategies, business and operating models, customer and market strategies. Jeff also has extensive experience in helping IT and Engineering organizations make the transition to agile development and DevOps methodologies. Jeff’s combination of consulting and operating experiences in North America, the EU and China enables him to bring a unique perspective to business challenges when partnering with his clients.

Erik Qualman
Erik Qualman
Professor & Author
Entrepreneur, Technology and Digital Media Expert
Called a “Digital Dale Carnegie” and the “Tony Robbins of Tech,” Erik Qualman is the author Socialnomics. Socialnomics made Amazon’s #1 Best-Selling List for the U.S., Japan, UK, Canada, Portugal, Italy, China, Korea and Germany. His book Digital Leader helped him to be voted the 2nd “Most Likeable Author in the World” behind Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. What Happens in Vegas Stays on YouTube is being adopted by the top universities and global brands and is nominated for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize.
Erik has performed in 44 countries with: Coach, Chase, Sony PlayStation, IBM, Facebook, Starbucks, M&M/Mars, Cartier, Raytheon, Chrysler, TEDx, Polo, UGG, Nokia, Google, AutoTrader and others. He has shared the stage with: Al Gore, Peyton Manning, Julie Andrews, Magic Johnson, Malcolm Gladwell, Bill O’Reilly, Jeff Bezos, Howard Schultz, Brett Favre, Tony Hawk, Jay Leno, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Alan Mulally, and many others of note.
He is no stranger to the executive suite, having served as the head of marketing at Travelzoo (TZOO). Yet, he may be best known for writing and producing the world’s most watched social media video. His work has been highlighted on 60 Minutes, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, ABC News, Financial Times, Forbes, CBS News, and The Huffington Post. He also helped achieve the Guinness Book of World Record for the longest continuous podcast.
Socialnomics was a finalist for the “Book of the Year.” Fast Company lists him as a “Top 100 Digital Influencer.” He made Forbes “Top 50 Power Influencer” list. Erik was Academic All-Big Ten in basketball at Michigan State University and been honored as the Michigan State University Alum of the Year. Erik has an MBA from the McCombs School of Business.

Joey Rosenberg
Joey Rosenberg
Women Who Code
Global Leadership Director
Joey Rosenberg is the global leadership director for Women Who Code. An innovative global business and non-profit leader, Rosenberg’s passion areas include inspiring girls and women to achieve their fullest potential, and driving sustainable change. She has broad experience in the non-profit world, global corporations, small business and startups with more than 20 years of progressive professional roles.

John Wilkinson
John Wilkinson
b2b talk
Facilitator
John’s professional network spans more than 25 years in the technology industry, with a focus on business alliances, partnerships and collaboration between both individuals and organizations. Through b2b talk, John takes a grassroots approach to helping business leaders make new industry connections and build their own professional networks by creating 1:1 meetings, knowledge sharing & topical business conversations between participants at industry events and conferences.

Gary Williams
Gary Williams
wRatings Corporation
Founder & CEO
For more than 25 years, Gary has served as an advisor to CEO’s, senior executives and investors around the world. A recognized authority and speaker on competitive strength & persuasion, his research was featured as the May 2002 cover article in Harvard Business Review, Change The Way You Persuade. Gary’s first book, The 5 Paths to Persuasion: The Art of Selling Your Message, has been translated into seven languages and was voted by Fast Company readers as book of the month in July 2004. His work has been quoted in 800+ publications and used all over the world.
Through his patented system, Gary and his research team study the competitive strength of 2,500+ companies operating in 40+ countries on a continual basis.
He is Co-Managing Partner at G2 Equity Partners, an innovative investment firm that accelerates the revenue growth of their portfolio companies through superior customer intelligence & employee culture research.