March 25 - 27, 2019
Hyatt Regency Indian Wells, CA
Vice President, Global Design Strategies, Distinctive Premium Brands
David Kepron is the Vice President of Design within the Global Design Strategies department at Marriott International. His focus is on the creation of compelling customer experiences within a unique group of Marriott brands called the “Distinctive Premium Brands” including: Renaissance, Westin, Le Meridien, Autograph Collection, Tribute Portfolio and Design Hotels. Kepron brings 20 years of retail design expertise to the making of meaningful customer connections at hotel properties around the globe. His multidisciplinary approach to design focuses on understanding consumer behavior and the creation of relevant brand experiences at the intersection of architecture, sociology, neuroscience and emerging digital technologies. For Kepron, the primary function of all customer experience design is to weave the customer’s innate physical and emotional responses to the environment with the brand story making remarkable moments that foster lasting connections. As a frequently requested speaker to retailers, hoteliers and design professionals nationally and internationally, David shares his expertise on subjects ranging from consumer behaviors and trends, brain science and buying behavior, store design and visual merchandising as well as creativity and innovation. He has held teaching positions at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.), the Department of Architecture & Interior Design of Drexel University in Philadelphia, the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising (L.I.M.) in New York, the International Academy of Merchandising and Design in Montreal and he served as the Director of the Visual Merchandising Department at LaSalle International Fashion School (L.I.F.S.) in Singapore. David currently brings his creativity and insight on brand experiences to an international audience as a member of VMSD magazine’s Editorial Advisory Board and the Association for Retail Environments (A.R.E.) Dream Team. David also serves as an Emeritus Member of the Board of Directors of The Planning and Visual Education Partnership (P.A.V.E.). David earned his Bachelors of Science in Architecture and Bachelors of Architecture degrees from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec Canada. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), The Retail Design Institute (RDI) and a LEED Accredited Professional (LEED®BD+C). In the fall of 2014 STMedia Group International published Kepron’s first book titled: “Retail (r)Evolution: Why Creating Right-Brain Stores Will Shape the Future of Shopping in a Digitally Driven World.” David Also writes a popular blog called “Brain Food” which is published monthly on vmsd.com.
Worldwide Head of B2B and B2C Customer Experience
Geriel Thornburg May serves as Worldwide Director of Customer Experience for Lenovo, a $45 billion Fortune Global 500 technology leader. Lenovo focus is driving Intelligent Transformation and the best user experience across B2B and B2C devices. At Lenovo, Geriel is resposible for “wowing” customers across 160 countries and over 40 languages. Geriel’s oversight includes global customer insights and issue resolution; worldwide employee CX KPI measurements; and sponsorship of customer experience improvements with defined business results. In previous roles, Geriel has been responsible for creation of an innaugural CX function in a B2B financial services company, encompassing customer segmentation modeling, customer technolgies, customer research, segment marketing, and overall customer value proposition. She brings over 20 years of experience of cross-industry customer innovations in management consulting and CX roles.
Global VP – Customer Experience
Tracy Robertson currently serves as Kimberly-Clark Professional’s Global Vice President of Customer Experience. In this role, Tracy is responsible for all aspects of customer experience, digital dexterity and sales effectiveness to ensure the delivery of a high-quality, end-to-end experience across the entire customer journey. Prior to joining KCP, Tracy spent 10 years at GE in various global commercial leadership roles. Her last two-years at GE she served as part of a mission-based team driving a company-wide project to define the strategy and implementation of GE’s Commercial and Customer Digital Transformation. Called upon to manage change, Tracy has delivered measurable results by comprehensively analyzing products, marketing, communications, and sales programs and then implementing continuous improvement, training, and culture initiatives in global, highly-matrixed organizations. Tracy currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia and has an undergraduate degree in Communications and a M.B.A. from Syracuse University.
Creative Director, User Experience
SVP of Headset Leasing and Insurance
Robert Hackl is the Senior Vice President of Sprint’s multibillion-dollar Handset Leasing and Insurance businesses. As part of the company’s CEO Lead Team, Robert has played a critical role in driving Sprint’s successful turnaround and innovating the services for Sprint’s consumers.
Robert consistently executed large business transformations using bold-out-of-the-box customer and business model insights driving significant business impact. He worked with some of the world’s largest global brands. His 22 years of global leadership experience have spanned Sprint, Vodafone Germany, T-Mobile U.S., Deutsche Telekom Europe, and McKinsey & Company. He also served as CEO for Tele2 Austria, positioning the organization as Austria’s largest attacker telecom company and turning it from EBIDATA negative to Cashflow positive.
An engaging communicator with a collaborative approach, Robert is focused on building positive corporate cultures, even in the face of complex operational and industry challenges.
Specialties: Global marketing management, executive leadership, digital and business transformation, C-level and board advisory, customer experience, EBITDA, P&L, budget control, NPS, turnaround management, talent acquisition, team recruitment, training, development, mentoring, thought leadership.
Education: Ph.D. in marketing from the University of Vienna and J.L. Kellogg Graduate School; MBA from Northwestern University. Master’s in International Business (CEMS-MIM) and Commerce from Vienna University of Business Administration.
Interests: Book publishing, culinary chef, music writing, playing and producing.
Head of Design and UX
Executive Director of Creative and User Experience
Trina Uzee is the Executive Creative Director and Design Director of the UX and Design Group at Allstate, mindfully leading the UXD practice. It is her personal purpose and passion to be an emissary of light in corporate America. As a UX/CX and digital trailblazer, she has led and coordinated multi-agency initiatives for some of the biggest brands and agencies in the world like GSD&M, Tribal DDB and Digitas. In addition to her day job, Trina is a Wellbeing Champion at Allstate, creating mindfulness and self-care programs. She also leads the meditation practice for all of Allstate. Her fresh perspectives and insight have led to invitations to serve on award show panels and speaking engagements at SXSW, SODA, SheSays Chicago, General Assembly, AIGA, Ladies That UX, Women in Wireless, The Big Design Conference, Capital One, Allstate and at numerous start-ups. Trina has always been driven to create and has worn many hats, including those of a jewelry designer, batik artist, entrepreneur, speaker, mentor, author and illustrator. Trina is also a lover of hot baths, yoga, meditation and crystals.
Head of Service Design
Kendra is Head of Service Design for Capital One. Prior to that, she was Managing Director at Cooper, an award-winning design and business strategy consultancy. As an educator and designer, she has brought product strategy, design, and business innovation to companies, from Fortune 500s to startups, in a range of categories, from healthcare systems and medical devices to retail environments, consumer electronics, financial services, and enterprise management. In addition to developing Cooper's groundbreaking UX Boot Camp, Kendra also created Cooper's popular Design Leadership program, offering new tools for designers to lead and succeed in business. Kendra served on the Board of Directors of the Interaction Design Association and speaks at events and conferences around the world.
AVP User Experience
Heidi is a user experience expert and creative problem solver. With over 20 years of experience, Heidi has successfully demonstrated the value of using design thinking to solve business problems in large organizations. She is a tireless advocate for both user-centered design and the power of leveraging the design process to solve large complex problems.
As AVP of User Experience, Heidi has assembled and led cross-functional teams that align business goals with user goals and deliver great user experiences. Heidi and her team are accountable for experience strategy, design research, and creative for both digital and non-digital channels and touchpoints used by consumers, agents, advisors, call center representatives and other internal associates across the Nationwide Enterprise. Her team not only improves experiences, but products and services as well.
Recently, Heidi’s team lead the creation of the customer experience framework that is being rolled out to the enterprise to unite associates in delivering an improved customer experience in the moments that matter most.
Prior to Nationwide, Heidi led design teams at AOL and Netscape, and worked for serval mid-sized digital agencies.
Heidi graduated cum laude from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.
VP, Product and Customer Experience
Scott Ewalt is vice president of product and customer experience at Boingo, where he is responsible for managing its commercial wireless product portfolio, including Wi-Fi, cellular and Extended Network Services. He also oversees Boingo's “Customer 360” strategy, integrating qualitative and quantitative insights to enhance every touchpoint in the customer journey. His specialties include customer acquisition, data and analytics and e-commerce.
Prior to Boingo, Ewalt worked in digital marketing for Move Inc., the operator of Realtor.com, and in media planning on the Coca-Cola and McDonald’s accounts at ad agencies in Los Angeles and New York.
Ewalt holds an MBA from Pepperdine University’s George L. Graziadio School of Business and Management and a bachelor of arts from University of Southern California.
Head of Customer Experience (CX)
Tuft & Needle
Director, Retail User Experience
Timothy Embretson grew up on a small Iowa farm where he learned to appreciate solving problems with simple ideas. Armed with a degree in graphic design and a passion to advocate for users above all else, he has helped businesses of all sizes solve complex problems. He is currently challenging traditional retail at Best Buy in Minneapolis, Minnesota leading research, strategy, user experience and product teams.
Director of Customer Experience
Reliant, an NRG Company
Global Manager, Experience Design Practice
A seasoned Human-Centered Design and Strategy leader, Shel has spent the last 20 years creating successful physical and digital experiences for leading brands including The New York Times, The Financial Times, JC Penney, Nike and most recently the Ford Motor Company. She’s a curious explorer, always working the front edges of innovation, preferring to occupy spaces of huge potential with uncharted paths.
Shel is a leader in Ford’s experience design group— one she helped build from the ground up— envisioning future products and services that explore opportunities around autonomy, the future of work, urban mobility and more. Her work consistently puts people at the center, ushered in large scale cultural change and transformation.
As an educator, she’s created curriculum and teaches Masters students in generative design research and strategy. She’s also contributed to human-centered design education at Ford— collecting, iterating, and sharing methods and tools, participating in enterprise-wide course development, and creating opportunities for practical hands-on learning, directly impacting thousands of leaders and team members.
Shel believes that thinking and making go hand in hand —that one feeds the other in generative, iterative, and often unpredictable ways. Adapting to a world of high risk and ambiguity is no longer a choice and to be successful requires new tools and perspectives. Compassion and a sense of humor also help.
Shel typically speaks about co-creation, innovation, risk and change, and human-centered design.
Corporate Director, GuestPath®
Global Quality Analyst
Director, Voice of the Customer Insights
For more than 15 years Cecelia has been a top-performing customer insights professional; amassing a broad scope of knowledge across segmentation, marketing research, customer experience, and text analytics. Currently serving as the director of AARP’s voice of the consumer (VOC) program, Cecelia oversees daily and strategic operations for a multi-channel VOC program. The program is responsible for delivering enterprise-wide consumer understanding on the 50+ and identifying customer experience improvement opportunities for the organization. Prior to AARP, she spent 10 years in Marketing Research at USA TODAY and USATODAY.com.
Cecelia holds an MBA in Marketing from the George Washington University, D.C. and a BA in Communications/Journalism from the American University, D.C.
Global Customer Experience Leader
Wells Fargo Commercial Distribution Finance (CDF)
Shelli is the Global Customer Experience Leader for Wells Fargo Commercial Distribution Finance (CDF). In her role, Shelli and her team are responsible for driving a best-in-class and continually improving customer experience (CX) program for more than 30,000 dealers, distributors and manufacturers globally. Primary responsibilities include: management, strategy and analysis for a robust global Voice of Customer (VoC) survey and complaints program; VoC through team members/employees; Customer facing process improvements & project/program management; overall measurement of CDF’s CX including both VoC and operational metrics; CDF’s customer-facing technology strategy and roadmap; cross-functional customer communications and content; digital engagements including social media and external website; and CDFconnectTM (CDF’s customer commitment program that provides training, insights, experts and tools to deliver significant value beyond financing to help customers be more efficient and drive both top and bottom line growth). Shelli is also the Executive Champion for CDF’s Team Member/Employee Recognition program and team member engagement and training strategy. Prior to joining Wells Fargo, Shelli spent 9 years with GE Capital holding numerous roles across Sales, Marketing, Risk Management, Credit and Project Management. Most recently, Shelli was the Global Sales Director in Hong Kong where she launched and scaled a new cross-border lending and leasing business which connected multi-national companies with financing outside of their home region. Shelli is certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP)® by the Project Management Institute (PMI), is Six Sigma Black Belt certified and has facilitated over 20 board meetings, strategy sessions and workouts – both large and small over her career. Shelli holds a Bachelor’s Degree from SUNY (State University of New York) Brockport and an MBA in Finance from The Simon School of Business in Rochester, New York.
Director, Sales Processes, Customer Experience and Quality
Fisher Healthcare- Thermo-Fisher Scientific
Head of Customer Care
With extensive background in the start-up environment, Chris strategically pioneered the creation of the Helix Customer Care Department overseeing staffing and implementation of core service tools. With an eye for key KPI metrics, Chris empowers his team as they continue to optimize and grow exceeding customer expectations and delivering exceptional service quality.
Director, Experience Design
Nikki is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP) focused on developing strategies to drive holistic, user-centered design solutions that support company business objectives by providing superior customer experiences. For over 18 years, Nikki has led digital strategy, experience architecture and user research for many of the world’s largest companies and successful brands, including the Smithsonian, Apple, Johnson & Johnson, Bank of America, Geek Squad, Corporation for National and Community Service, Dodge, Jeep and Chrysler.
As Director of Experience Strategy, Nikki oversees the team responsible for surfacing customer needs and expectations, turning insights into a common vision that inspires and facilitating alignment around actionable opportunities.
Recently, Nikki led the creation of a customer experience framework for Nationwide, while also serving as a key user experience strategist on the team responsible for bringing customer engagement to Nationwide.
Prior to Nationwide, Nikki held management positions on the User Experience Interaction Design team at Nationwide and at Organic Detroit.
Nikki graduated magna cum laude from Bowling Green State University, Ohio.
User and Community Relations
Jozef is the User and Community Relations Manager at Forza Football based in Gothenburg, Sweden. Forza is one of the worlds largest and fastest growing live score football apps, with millions of users.
He is currently leading an innovative project in the world of football apps whereby users can contribute data directly into the app and take ownership of theirs and other user’s experiences, gaining a big advantage in what is a highly competitive arena.
Before joining Forza, Jozef was a writer for a number of websites and magazines. He has written for several national and international publications.
The Clorox Company
Erin Kohn is the Consumer Experience (CX) Lead on the Digital Consumer Experience & Brand Strategy team at The Clorox Company. She is responsible for helping build and execute their CX capability within Marketing across Clorox’s portfolio of domestic and international brands. In her role, she works with Brand teams as a strategic advisor helping design multi-channel experiences that drive consumers to actions in the "moments that matter.” She is co-lead of a cross functional CX steering team working to help execute CX initiatives, educate and drive adoption of CX across the broader organization. Prior to joining The Clorox Company, Erin was the Sr. Program Manager of Customer Experience for Blue Shield of CA responsible for driving their customer service desktop implementation to enable an omni-channel experience and provide a 360 degree view of their members. She started her career in CX with PwC as strategy consultant working with clients on strategic post-merger integration initiatives. Erin holds an MBA from The University of San Francisco with concentrations in Marketing and Entrepreneurship and received a BA from Georgetown University.
Business Systems Analyst
Mo Cheema is a Business Systems Analyst who is responsible for designing the conversation dialog flows of the UPS Chatbot for both voice and text channels. UPS Chatbot is available on multiple messaging platforms such as: Google Assistant, Amazon Echo, Skype and Facebook Messenger.
In his role, Mo works cross-functionally with customers to identify pain points, digital experience team to design conversation strategies and developers to leverage the natural language processing tool to convert speech into intents that the system can understand. Through the use an Artificial Intelligence based Do-It-Yourself platform, UPS has been able to reduce the number of calls to their customer service center.
Mo also helped prototype a predictive analytics algorithm to redirect long-haul shipments to avoid bad weather conditions so the packages can be delivered on time. Mo holds an MBA degree in IT and Marketing Management and has served in the Army National Guard for 5 years.
Head of Experience Design
Doug Roerden Design
Worldwide Business Research
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