Past Speakers (2019)
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.
VP of Guest Experience
As Vice President of Guest Experience at WestJet, Louis Saint-Cyr oversees the overall guest journey of the airline. Louis also manages the Onboard Guest Experience (Product Development, Catering, and Inflight Service), WestJet’s Call Center, Social Care and Guest Support Teams. Prior to this role, Louis served as WestJet’s Vice President of Airports where he managed all Airport and Cargo Operations for the carrier’s approximately 750 daily flights to over 100 Canadian and international destinations.
Prior to joining WestJet, Louis held the position of Vice President of Customer Services at Hawaiian Airlines in Honolulu and formerly served as their Vice President of In-flight Services. Prior to Hawaiian, Louis worked as the General Manager of Cabin Crew Planning and Scheduling at Air Canada.
A native of Ottawa, Louis holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Concordia (Montreal) and a Master of Science in Industrial Relations from the University of Quebec.
He and his wife live in Calgary with their three children.
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.
Senior Product Concepts 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 & Strategy
Founder & Chief Strategy Officer
Abinash brings more than 23 years of innovation experience within technology, Internet and mobile, having created and run a number of early and growth stage companies. Prior to founding Helpshift, he was the General Manager of Zimbra - a leading open source email platform (acquired by Yahoo!). He has also held several product and technology & product leadership roles at Openwave Systems, and started his career at Oracle Corporation. Abinash was involved in the standardization of 3GPP MMS which is widely deployed as a messaging standard in mobile phones today. He is also credited with work on VoiceXML which is used widely to create interactive voice and speech applications and did some pioneering work in the development of IP based Unified Communications which led to a patent for visual voicemail.
Principal Program Manager
Shobhit Sahay is Principal Program Manager lead in the Microsoft's Identity Engineering team within the Engineering Division of Cloud + AI organization in Microsoft. The division is broadly responsible to drive Microsoft's Cloud business with Microsoft Azure and related technologies stack. Shobhit leads the Customer Loyalty charter for the division to enable the right strategy and engagement with Microsoft Field , Engineering, Partners to build muscle and drive adoption and product satisfaction. Shobhit has spent 10 years at Microsoft and formerly was the lead product manager for the Office 365 Security and compliance , responsible for launching encryption, advanced threat protection, data loss prevention & Mobile device/application management solutions for Office 365. Prior to Office 365, Shobhit worked in Microsoft Surface to launch the very first version of the device and Sheppard the customer support experiences for Microsoft devices.
Global Director – Product Marketing, Customer Engagement Solutions
Matt Tredinnick is the Global Director - Product Marketing at Pitney Bowes. In this role, Matt is responsible for the creation of marketing, messaging and communications content and systems designed to reach and engage customers, business partners and prospects. Matt has over 18 years of experience in product marketing, strategy and demand generation roles at a regional and global level. Matt has held senior roles with IBM as Global Program Director for Collaboration Solutions, Mobile and Social Business … joining Pitney Bowes in July 2014. Matt holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Marketing, completing his studies in both Western Sydney University – Australia and University of North Carolina. Matt currently resides in the Stamford, Connecticut – USA, and has previously led teams across the Americas, EMEA and APAC. Matt enjoys the ocean – swimming, sailing, kayaking and scuba diving. He is also an accomplished actor with several roles on both stage and television
CEO and Co-Founder
Rob May is the CEO and Co-Founder of Talla. Talla is an AI-Powered Automation Platform for service and support teams. Rob is an active angel investor with 45+ companies in the AI space, and the author of Inside AI, the most popular AI newsletter online. Previously, Rob was the CEO and Co-Founder of Backupify (acquired by Datto in 2014).
Founder & CEO
Mahesh is the Founder and CEO of CEMOSoft, LLC. Based in Chandler AZ, he oversees business strategy, ecosystem development, innovation and platform-products integration for customers in USA, Canada and India. Under his leadership CEMOSoft innovations includes newer capabilities -- based on #-1 pick by CEOs -- “Customer Experience Management” platform of 7 products to help businesses in their digitization journey. CEMOSoft platform solutions utilizes emerging technologies as enables, such as Cloud, Edge, Mobile, Kiosk, Intelligent Software and Big ‘Smart’ Data Analytics. Mahesh has led the ecosystem growth that includes Intel Corporation, IBM Cloud, Microsoft, Dell, Advantech, Arrow Electronics and Processware Systems.
Mahesh has worked in leadership, staff/line positions at Intel Corporation, GE Company, PeopleSoft – managing strategic planning, global software (ISV/OSV) enablement for Xeon platforms, leadership development, new venture, innovations, large scale IT/IS projects, call center technologies/systems, EDI-QR systems with Retailers (Sears, JCP, Target, etc) for Apparel Manufacturers, business process reengineering involving teams, organization and customer-centricity programs.
In 2002 he co-found “BrightEyes” a platform for photo/imaging industry that included integration with mobile phones. In 1999 at Intel Corporation, he found Developonline.com (a platform for global developer to build-and-sell software) spun-off with 3i and Carlyle Group. In 1995, Mahesh managed client implementation at Peoplesoft and championed to Chairman Mr. David Duffield an innovative disruptive “Peoplesoft over Net” to serve SMBs (now, “SAAS”). In 1990, he led and managed design-to-implementation of systems and technologies for GE businesses and call centers.
Mahesh has worked closely with several thought leaders incubating new ventures, few includes: Dr. Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School, Dr. (late) Michael Hammer, Mr. David Duffield (Peoplesoft/Workday) and Infosys founders: Mr. N S Raghavan and Mr. S. Gopalakrishnan.
Mahesh has executive education from Harvard Business School, Wharton School, MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, MS from Syracuse University and BE from Bangalore University, India. You can reach Mahesh by email Mahesh.Dharan@cemosoft.com or a phone call at (480) 290-5965. Visit www.cemosoft.com.
SVP, Executive Creative Director
Gabe has over 15 years of experience in interactive experience strategy, marketing, and creative direction. While his experience spans many verticals, he's noted for work in commerce, strategy and innovation. He specializes in sparking new ideas and taking the imaginative route to solving challenging problems.
Gabriel has led award winning work across many major accounts from Target, Abercrombie, Samsung, Express and Kraft among others. He’s been a featured speaker at Shop.org, and a guest lecturer at the Northwestern Medill School of Marketing.
Director of Enterprise Sales, North America
Adam has helped some of the world’s largest companies improve operations and the customer experience with AI and Robotics.
Vice President of VideoCX
A lifelong student of customer experience and innovation, Jon Carbone has personally witnessed the evolution of the CX space. In his previous role as a management consultant, Jon crafted CX strategies for Fortune 500 companies sharing his expertise in program design, technology, journey mapping, voice of the customer/employee feedback and more. Carbone's combination of strategic and technological expertise has proved critical over the course of his career, helping him create high performing CX programs for major brands in travel, hospitality, insurance, financial services, healthcare, and retail.
As Vice President of VideoCX, Jon is utilizing his years of CX industry experience to bring Voxpopme’s CX solution to new markets, across a variety of brands, partners and consulting firms.
“Video has become an incredibly powerful way for customers to provide real, human feedback and it’s of increasing importance in gauging true customer experiences,” said Carbone. “I couldn’t be more excited to lead VideoCX for Voxpopme and provide unfiltered access to the “why” behind CX scores for leading brands.”
Worldwide Business Research
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