Keynote Speakers 2017-05-05T14:15:14+00:00

Meet Our Keynote Speakers


Michael Sansolo

MC and Panel Facilitator, Retail Food Industry Consultant

Countless studies and years of work with some of the world’s most innovative companies gives Michael Sansolo a unique and diverse view of the changing nature of trends impacting shoppers, employees, competition, economics, supply chains and management. A long-time senior vice president of the Food Marketing Institute and now a consultant, speaker and author, Sansolo has traveled the globe working with companies on adjusting to new market conditions.
Sansolo is a frequent speaker and moderator at conferences and company meetings in the United States and around the globe, addressing crowds from 20 to 5,000, from college students to CEOs of Fortune 100 organizations. He conducts strategic planning retreats for companies and has designed conferences for a number of trade associations.

He currently serves as the research director of the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Councils of both North and Latin America, working with these groups on emerging business topics such as social networking.

Sansolo recently authored Business Rules! a collection of diverse and useful lessons in business success. Stories are gathered from companies of all sizes and lessons from professional sports, Broadway Theater, a New York City catering company and even pop star Lady Gaga.

Previously, Sansolo co-authored The Big Picture: Essential Business Lessons from the Movies, a book that identifies creative lessons in leadership, marketing and workplace dynamics gleaned from movies as varied as The Godfather and Young Frankenstein. Topics in the book include ethics, brand building, crisis management, outside-the-box thinking and diversity. Sansolo also writes a weekly column on wide-ranging business trends for, a daily blog with nearly 28,000 readers.

He is chairman of the board of The Food Institute, an industry research organization. Sansolo works with students at Western Michigan University, St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, George Mason University in Virginia and Portland (Oregon) State University.

In his 13 years as senior vice president at FMI, the biggest food retail association in the United States, Sansolo had oversight over all education, supply chain and research activities. In this position he developed an in-depth perspective of the changing nature of cooking, eating and shopping. Prior to joining FMI, Sansolo was editor-in-chief of Progressive Grocer magazine and was a reporter for Gannett Newspapers. In his career he received a number of awards for excellence in writing and reporting.


Kevin Hartman

Head of Analytics – Consumer, Government & Entertainment, Google

“How Machine Learning Is Transforming Shopping (And Selling)”


The shopper of today looks very different from the shopper of yesterday. But so too, do the abilities of platforms, manufacturers and retailers to understand them. Predictive analytics sits firmly at the heart of all this change. We will explore recent trends in shopper behavior, how winning players have responded in the market, and cast a keen eye toward the future of the retail landscape.

Kevin Hartman is a devoted and artistic practitioner of data. He believes data must do more than simply provide insights that motivate creative thought. Rather, data must express insights in ways that are just as creative as the ideas they inspire.

As Head Of Analytics for Google’s Consumer, Government & Entertainment sector, Kevin and his team partner with major advertisers, creative agencies, and media companies to develop digital solutions that build businesses and brands. His approach mixes science and art to deliver inventive, fact-based strategies that reduce uncertainty and increase effectiveness in the marketing and advertising programs they create.

Kevin is a graduate of The University of Notre Dame and earned his MBA and Masters of Public Policy from The University of Chicago. He is an adjunct professor at The University of Notre Dame’s Masters of Business Analytics program, The University of Chicago’s Masters of Analytics and Masters of Public Policy programs, and The University of Illinois’s Executive MBA program.


Larry Levin

EVP Consumer & Shopper Marketing & Thought Leadership, IRi

“The Connected Consumer”


The digital revolution is in full adoption and core to the consumer whether he or she is planning to shop, in the midst of walking the aisle or preparing and using the wide array of consumer packaged goods resident in homes across the United States.

Digital is no longer a nice to have, but a need to have. Consumers spend very little time planning for shopping and maximizing your digital connection to them becomes a catalyst to winning their hearts, minds and budgets! It’s also important to understand how manufacturers and retailers have the “right” to connect with consumers and for each to understand your bounds of permission in this important relationship.

This session will explore how the Connected Consumer engages in all forms of media as part of planning, shopping and using your array of products.

Larry Levin has spent his entire career in market research, leading engagements for many of the world’s largest manufacturers and retailers including Pepsi, Coke, Lexus, Porsche, Nissan, Infiniti, Starbucks, Audi, Microsoft, and Disney, just to name a few.

In February 2010, Levin joined IRI to lead its Survey Solutions group and was then promoted to run its overall Consumer Insights business. In 2013, he expanded his role as executive vice president of Mid-Market Industry Insights and recently became the commercial head of sales and marketing for IRI’s new product innovations. And, recently he returned to IRI’s Consumer & Shopper Marketing Team to lead its innovation and segmentation practices with a focus on Thought Leadership.

Larry is a frequent speaker at a number of industry events including Shopper Marketing, HOP—State of Mass Beauty, FMI, New Products Innovation, NFRA, Sweets & Snacks Expo, NACDS and CSPA and has been a guest on Bloomberg Television’s Surveillance program as well as quoted in numerous periodicals.


Mike Rayburn

Author, Comedian, World-Class Guitarist

“What if…? Inspiring Innovation and Performance”


As a Hall of Fame international keynote speaker, author, comedian, and world-class guitarist, Mike Rayburn is an inspirational thought leader and one of the most in-demand and un-conventional keynote artists in the world. Drawing from his success as an entrepreneur as well as a Carnegie Hall headliner, Mike is a master at increasing profitability and impact by inspiring your team to become possibility thinkers and virtuoso performers… all by daring you to ask the question, “What if…?” The “What If…?” Experience is Mike’s transformational, hilarious keynote presentation. In it Mike uses his amazing guitar work and hilarious comedy as a metaphor, to illustrate three tools designed to turn your team into an army of innovators with the peak performance skills to transcend the status quo to stop managing change, and lead by creating change. Oh… and they’ll laugh so hard it hurts! The measure of any speaker is the results they produce. Mike is consistently cited as “the hit of the conference,” and “what we needed and didn’t even know it.” More importantly, businesses regularly attribute significant, sometimes exponential increases in sales, impact and morale to the application of Mike’s keynote tools and breakout session content. Also, in the same way a great song gets stuck in your head, Mike’s “What if…?” message gets repeated over and over, imprinting his most powerful tool in their memories and affecting immediate results and permanent improvement. Always on the cutting edge, international keynote speaker Mike Rayburn is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), Hall of Fame speaker (CPAE), two-time TEDx presenter, has performed more than 4,000 presentations and his comedy remains in heavy rotation on Sirius/XM radio. Mike has been featured in USA Today, Newsweek, Billboard, American Entertainment, Gig, and Successful Meetings magazines.


Mike Gervasio

VP of Category Leadership, PepsiCo

“Shopper-Centric Category Leadership”


Mike Gervasio is vice president, category leadership for PepsiCo.  Mike leads a team of category managers focused on turning shopper/category insights into action at retail. The team is focused across all channels of trade and leverages a “Space Planning Center” that focuses on assortment and plan-o-gram solutions for our food and beverage categories.

 Prior to his current role, Mike was VP of category management for the PepsiCo Beverage business where he led a team of Category Managers across all channels of trade with direct account coverage across 50+ retailers in the US.

Mike joined PepsiCo in 1999 as a Category Manager for Pepsi on the Kroger team. He then became the Sr. Category Manager for Pepsi on the Kroger account leading a team of dedicated category managers.  Mike next served as the Director of Insights on the newly formed Kroger PepsiCo sales team. In this role he led the category management initiatives across all of PepsiCo’s divisions including Pepsi, Frito, Quaker, Gatorade and Tropicana. Mike’s team helped usher in the “dunnhumby era” at Kroger as a charter partner establishing groundbreaking shopper insights along the way that drove key business initiatives for both PepsiCo and Kroger. Mike then became the Director of Retail Strategy for the PepsiCo beverage business.  There, he developed initiatives that informed the 3-5 year sales strategy across key brands and categories.  He also developed tactical platforms by channel for the annual operating plan.

Prior to joining Pepsi, Mike spent 11 years in various sales and insights roles with James River Corp. Mike holds a BS in Actuarial Science from the University of Connecticut.

Mike and his wife, Katie, and their three children live in Connecticut.



Diana Sheehan

Director Retail Insights, Kantar Retail

“The Evolution of the Shopper’s focus on Health and Wellness”


As consumers spend more on healthcare each year, they are increasingly looking to retail for health & wellness solutions. From carrots to Cabernet, chocolate to crayons, Clearasil to Kleenex; no category is immune to the impact of this growing platform.

When it comes to shopping behavior, health is a distinct trip mission compared to wellness. Retailers and manufacturers must understand the consumers’ motivations to bridge the gap between shoppers’ health and wellness needs for both mind and body. This session will explore consumers’ core beliefs around health and wellness and illustrate how retailers and manufacturers can create paths forward to align with their consumers.

Diana serves as a Director on Kantar Retail’s grocery channel research team. Before joining Kantar Retail, Diana held several positions in account management, category management, and consultative market research at ConAgra Foods, General Mills, Nielsen, Mintel, and Ipsos. Throughout her career, she has worked across retail channels and categories developing strategic recommendations for in-store execution and brand development for many Fortune 500 companies. She has a comprehensive knowledge of multiple research methodologies used in the consumer packaged goods industry, with a focus on product development, shelf management and optimization, and consumer and shopper insights. She is frequently cited in the national and trade press, including The Wall Street Journal, NPR Marketplace, and more. Diana earned an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame.


Dan Doerflein

Sr. Director of Corporate Brands,

“Disrupting the Disruptors”


Join Dan as he discusses his experiences and observations with innovation and business disruption ranging from traditional brick and mortar to digital.  Engage with Dan as he explains the evolution of business and how to manage the change required to meet the demands of today’s e-commerce strategies.

Dan came to as the ultimate disruptor – Dan started by introducing Discount Drug in the ‘80’s, then Pace Warehouses and Dollar Tree in the ‘90’s and now!  Dan has worked to help build these retail venues from the ground up growing from traditional to digital.   Each format was a key ‘disruptor’ in their evolution.  E-commerce, one of the primary ‘disruptors’ today has allowed Dan to continue to contribute and innovate in an industry that constantly tests Retailers and Manufacturers to be relevant.



Wayne Duan

Director of Digitial Commerce and Omnichannel, Walgreens

“Championing the Digital Influence for your Brand’s Omni-channel Strategy – A Retailer’s Perspective”

Brands are spending a considerable amount of time and resources in defining their omni-channel strategy but are these strategies being defined in a vacuum without the input of a key stakeholder – the retailer?  Understanding your retailer partners’ strategies, what they’re focusing on and not focusing on can help tune your investments, aid your company’s reflection on its own digital-savviness and help you abandon FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and embrace JOMO (Joy of Missing Out) in shaping your brand’s omni-channel strategy.

Wayne is currently the Director of Digital Commerce at Walgreens where he leads the merchant teams that oversee all aspects of pricing, promotions and assortment strategies for Walgreens Digital Commerce ( He also leads the Merchandising Operations teams that are in charge of item setup, catalog maintenance and visual merchandising for In addition, Wayne is directly involved in planning, leading and executing various strategic omni-channel initiatives for Walgreens such as their Auto Reorder & Save program, partnerships with same-day delivery partners and various initiatives to bring digital into the stores. Prior to this role, Wayne held various merchandising roles at Prior to joining Walgreens, Wayne was a management consultant and also held merchandising and planning roles at Target and Banana Republic.

Wayne received his MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and received his Bachelor’s from the University of Chicago in Economics and Political Science. He is an avid mountain-climber and scuba diver.



David Nies

Global VP – Market Intelligence & Marketing Excellence, CSM Bakery

“Merging the Center Aisle and Perimeter with Catman 2.0”

David is the Global Director of Market Intelligence and Marketing Excellence at CSM Bakery Solutions, a leading global manufacturer of fresh bakery products and ingredients distributed to more than 100 countries around the world. In his role at CSM, David leads a global in-house consulting group focused on delivering strategic thought leadership to internal and external customers. While at CSM, David has been responsible for category management, channel marketing, and market intelligence and has led global efforts to embed Catman 2.0 into the culture of the organization.

Having worked at Prudential, Kraft Foods, Intercontinental Hotels Group, and Fruit of the Loom, David has more than 20 years of experience in finance, brand management, marketing strategy, category management, and shopper insights. His experience in various industries – candy & gum, hospitality, athletic apparel, and fresh bakery products – has shaped his unique and visionary perspective on category management and its role in strategic selling and business planning.
David has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Dartmouth College and an MBA from The University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. He is a Certified Professional Strategic Advisor (CPSA) and a CMA board member.



Jim Wells

Director of National Accounts- N.A., CSM Bakery

“Merging the Center Aisle and Perimeter with Catman 2.0”

Jim is a business executive with sales, marketing and analytics background extending over 28 years of dynamic leadership.  Jim has worked in B2B and B2C companies in public, privately held and private equity-owned companies leveraging industries from consumer products, software, consumer research, financial services with his most recent roles in the ingredient manufacturing-distribution world.

He has leveraged a background of market research and the strength of analytics as a common pillar of fact-based consultative selling; allowing for customer understanding which leads to the development of execution methodologies delivering profitable results and driving growth with targeted customers.

Jim draws on his overall business development and general management skills, combined with an entrepreneurial spirit, to steer his work toward success; whether building companies for acquisition, launching new companies or taking upstart businesses to a successful venture capital expansion.  It is through these experiences, he is willing and able to take on the challenges to achieve the results of creating economic value to customers.


  • CPSA with the Category Management Association
  • Category Management Council, Advisory Seat (2009-’15)
  • DePaul University, Center for Sale Leadership advisory Board Member (2009-’15)
  • Vice President and General Manager at CSM Bakery Products
  • Vice President of Business Development at the Sunflower Group
  • Vice President of Business Development at Nielsen-Spectra
  • Regional Vice President at Lincoln Snacks
  • Director of Marketing and Sales Succession Capital Alliance
  • Various Marketing, Brand Management, Sales and Category Management roles at Nestle USA, Nabisco



Art Sebastian

Head of Digital Shopping & E-commerce, Meijer

“Changing the Retail Landscape, One Click at a Time”

Art Sebastian is head of digital shopping & eCommerce at Meijer. He and his team have responsibility for understanding consumers and providing them with innovative ways to shop Meijer across the eCommerce and digital landscape. Prior to joining Meijer, Art was vice president, category leadership & shopper insights at Kraft Foods. Art has over 20 years of experience across retail, analytics consulting and consumer packaged goods. Art is an active member of the Western Michigan University Food Marketing Advisory Board. He and his family reside in the Grand Rapids area.



Andrew Nadin

Cheif Marketing Officer, Schnucks

Retailer Panel: CatMan 2025: Visions for the Future

Andrew Nadin serves as Chief Marketing Officer for St. Louis-based Schnuck Markets, Inc. where he oversees the brand marketing, advertising, media, shopper marketing, e-com, omni/multi- channel and consumer insight and research.

Born and raised in Manchester, England, Andrew graduated with honors from Sheffield Hallam University with a bachelor’s in Modern History. In 2014, he relocated to St. Louis from the U.K. where he had been the CEO of the brand marketing firm APN Consultancy.

Prior to that, he was the marketing director for Jordans Ryvita Company Ltd. He also served as European brand director at Mars Inc. working on brands such as Pedigree Petfood and Uncle Ben’s Rice. Before that he held management positions at Scottish & Newcastle, formerly the U.K.’s biggest brewer, and at Aldi Gmbh & Co Kg.



David King

Senior Manager of Store Environments, Walgreens

Retailer Panel: CatMan 2025: Visions for the Future

David C. King from Walgreens has over 30 years of experience on the retailer, supplier, consultant, and solution-seller sides of the business. He is author of the book, Selling with Space Management; a guest instructor at DePaul University; and a CMA Certified Professional Strategic Advisor.



Tasha Tandy

Sr. Director for Health & Wellness and Consumables, Walmart Stores Inc.


Retailer Panel: CatMan 2025: Visions for the Future

Walmart helps people save money and live better — anytime and anywhere — in retail stores, online and through their mobile devices.  Operating three primary store formats in the U.S., with 1.2 million associates and net sales of more than $279 billion. Customers choose Walmart for our broad assortment, including national brands and locally relevant merchandise, at everyday low prices (EDLP).

In Tasha’s current role as Senior Director of Category and Modular Development for Walmart US, she plays a key role in developing business strategies, assessing customer-focused assortment opportunities and ensures portfolio strategies reflect corporate objectives across  Consumables and Health and Wellness planograms.

Previously, as Director Category & Modular Development for the Home Division, Tasha led a large team of associates responsible for executing category level strategies  across 8 depts. In this role, she focused on process improvement and timeline adherence enabling executional excellence at store level.

Tasha began her Walmart career in 2006 as a Buyer’s Assistant supporting the Large Furniture and luggage businesses. Since then, she has held different roles in merchandising, macro space , Store of the Community and process and strategy, but has spent the majority of her time supporting category and modular development for the company.

Tasha is a member of the Walmart’s Women in Merchandising resource group, leads a mentoring circle for associates in the Merchandising Operations organization and  leverages her experience to personally mentor a number of other future leaders within Walmart.



Kerrie Lopez

Sr. Manager – Category Management, Jet.Com

Retailer Panel: CatMan 2025: Visions for the Future

Kerrie Lopez is a category lead for’s fresh business, focused on dairy, beverage, and cross-category initiatives such as managing the artisanal and local food assortment. She has also been part of the original team bringing Jet’s first private brands to market. Prior to joining Jet (which was acquired by Walmart in September 2016) Kerrie managed the makeup and private brand categories at Birchbox, strategically sourcing samples for the monthly beauty subscription box as well as full-size product for the rapidly growing e-commerce site. Kerrie lives in New York City with her husband and their dog, Maisie.



Scott Chencinski

Director of Merchandise Financial Planning & Analytics, Meijer

Retailer Panel: CatMan 2025: Visions for the Future

Scott has spent his last 4.5 years with Meijer in Grand Rapids MI. He is currently the Director of Merchandise Financial Planning & Category Analytics for Meijer. His responsibilities include Category Management, Category Analytics, Merchandise Financial Planning, and New Store Assessment. Prior to joining the Meijer team, he spent 8 years with Walgreens holding various leadership roles across Category Analytics, Business Intelligence, Pricing and Promotional Optimization, and Financial Planning and Analysis. He also spent an extensive time, 13 Years with M&M Mars Inc where he held various leadership and analyst roles across Supply Chain Management, Category Assessment & Manufacturing Quality Control.

Scott has his B.S. in Business Management from the University of Illinois, Chicago and his MBA from Roosevelt University, Chicago.



Michael Wiltgen

Director of Visual Merchandising, Sally Beauty

Retailer Panel: CatMan 2025: Visions for the Future

Currently the Director of Visual Merchandising at Sally Beauty with responsibility of basic department & promotional merchandising, fixture design & purchasing, space optimization, and creating an enhanced customer experience.
Previously worked at Walgreens for 19 years with positions in display management, vendor negotiations, visual merchandising, space planning, E-commerce, buying, category management, strategic category review process, corporate financial planning, and promotional planning & analytics.