2024 Conference Speakers

Emcee

James Ford headshot

James
Ford

VP of Category Leadership

TBD

James was named as Vice President, Category Leadership in October 2016. James is responsible for leading the customer facing category management teams across all categories and routes to market for National Retail Sales customers.James has been with Coca-Cola for 23 years in various roles including category management, revenue growth management, price strategy and channel strategy/commercialization. He has spent time on both the company side as well as on the bottling side with Coca-Cola Enterprises. James currently sits of the executive leadership board of the Category Management Association where he advises on all aspects of furthering the discipline of category management across the industry. James has past experience with Red Bull where he led Category Management and Shopper Insights. In that role, James was responsible for all aspects of category management, research, data strategy and channel/category insights. Prior to experience at Coca-Cola and Red Bull, James worked at M&M/Mars in both sales and category management. James graduated from Hobart College with a degree in Computer Science and currently lives in Atlanta with wife, Jean, and daughter, Ciera.

Keynote

Michelle Meyers headshot

Michelle
Meyer

Chief Economist, Mastercard Economics Institute

Economic Outlook 2024: Understanding the Latest Consumer Spending Data and the Implications for Retail

Michelle Meyer is the Chief Economist of the Mastercard Economics Institute. Michelle was previously the Head of U.S. Economics at BofA Global Research. At BofA, she was responsible for providing the firm’s U.S. economic forecasts, including the outlook for GDP, inflation and Federal Reserve policy. Michelle’s research is focused on the health of the consumer, relying on a variety of high frequency data sources. Michelle is a member of the Economics Club of New York. She is a frequent commentator on news media outlets, including CNBC and Bloomberg TV, and is often cited in print and online media.

Michelle Meyer is the Chief Economist of the Mastercard Economics Institute. Michelle was previously the Head of U.S. Economics at BofA Global Research. At BofA, she was responsible for providing the firm’s U.S. economic forecasts, including the outlook for GDP, inflation and Federal Reserve policy. Michelle’s research is focused on the health of the consumer, relying on a variety of high frequency data sources. Michelle is a member of the Economics Club of New York. She is a frequent commentator on news media outlets, including CNBC and Bloomberg TV, and is often cited in print and online media.

Keynote

Stacey Ring-Sanders headshot

Stacey
Ring-Sanders

Vice President Category and Industry Leadership

Kellogg's logo

Category Management Leaders Panel

Immediately following our “Economic Outlook 2024” keynote, CMA board members Stacey Ring-Sanders, Chris Conroy, and Craig Hodnett will join emcee James Ford for a panel discussion on what’s in store for our industry in 2024. You won’t want to miss this real-time expert analysis on a year set against a most unique economic backdrop.

Stacey Ring-Sanders has recently taken the role of Vice President Category and Industry Leadership working with top executives in the retail industry at key events from FMI, CGA, NGA and WAFC. Prior to this role, Stacey was Vice President of Category Strategy and Development for 10 years. In that role, Ms. Ring-Sanders managed execution of strategies and tactics across assortment, merchandising, pricing and promotion to help retailers drive overall category growth within the categories Kellogg competes. She has been with WK Kellogg Co.18 years and prior worked at Quaker Oats and Campbell’s for 13 years.

Keynote

Craig Hodnett headshot

Craig
Hodnett

Vice President Category Management & Strategy

Simply Good Foods logo

Category Management Leaders Panel

Immediately following our “Economic Outlook 2024” keynote, CMA board members Stacey Ring-Sanders, Chris Conroy, and Craig Hodnett will join emcee James Ford for a panel discussion on what’s in store for our industry in 2024. You won’t want to miss this real-time expert analysis on a year set against a most unique economic backdrop.

Craig leads Category Management and Retail Strategy for Simply Good foods a leading manufacturer in health & wellness. He has built and led category management departments for 25+ years in the industry including time at IRI, Georgia-Pacific and Dr Pepper Snapple. Craig won the CMA’s Lifetime Achievement award at the 2023 Conference and is an active member of the CMA Board of Advisors.

Keynote

Chris Conroy headshot

Chris
Conroy

Head of Field Category Leadership

KraftHeinz logo

Category Management Leaders Panel

Immediately following our “Economic Outlook 2024” keynote, CMA board members Stacey Ring-Sanders, Chris Conroy, and Craig Hodnett will join emcee James Ford for a panel discussion on what’s in store for our industry in 2024. You won’t want to miss this real-time expert analysis on a year set against a most unique economic backdrop.

Chris began his career in a retail sales role at Helene Curtis selling hair care products at store level to retailers in Central Pennsylvania. He later moved into Shelf Management and then Category Leadership at Helene Curtis and Gillette, where he learned the importance of shopper understanding as the unlock for strong partnerships. Chris’ experience at PepsiCo cemented the shopper at the center, and now at Kraft Heinz he leads a CatMan team that is truly focused on that principle.

Keynote

Corliss Collier headshot

Corliss
Collier

Head of Seller Satisfaction and Insights Tech

Amazon logo

Big Data, Understanding Equal and Opposite Reactions, and Impact on Growth

Learn how Amazon Seller Partner Services uses data and research to follow seller partner sentiment on Amazon store to forecast changer in partner behavior and perception. You’ll get a look at some of the most notable trends Amazon’s Seller Satisfaction and Insights Tech team is following regarding seller partner behavior in the wake of long-lasting and global market conditions. Most of all, you’ll be inspired to think big about the impact data and research can have on growth.

Corliss serves as the Head of Shopper Satisfaction and Insights Tech for Amazon Seller Partner Communities, Empowerment & Trust. She is an innovative, results-driven leader with 20+ years of experience in marketing measurement, data analytics and consumer/shopper insights with blue chip multinational Consumer Packaged Goods companies. Before Amazon she spent time at Bumble Bee Foods, Hershey, and Danone in a variety of category management, strategy and insights roles.

Keynote

Kevin Kelley headshot

Kevin
Kelley

Principal and Co-Founder

The Bonfire Effect: How to Create Stores That Survive and Thrive in a Digitally Dominant Era

“We live in a time of digital replacements, where everything we used to do physically in place—shopping for groceries, getting dinner at a restaurant, and going to the movies— can now be achieved virtually online.

So how can place-based entities survive, much less thrive, in an era of digital dominance? By creating irreplaceable places that have the power to convene people around a quality that Kevin Ervin Kelley calls the Bonfire Effect.

Through engaging storytelling, human behavior insights, and real-world case studies, Kevin Ervin Kelley—an attention architect and cofounder of Shook Kelley, a strategic design firm that pioneered the field of “convening”—unfolds why physical places are essential to business, community, and civil society. ”

Kevin Ervin Kelley, AIA, is an award-winning architect, experience designer, and co-founder of the bi-coastal strategic design firm Shook Kelley. As a lifelong advocate of bringing people together in prosocial settings, Kevin’s expertise is in studying how the environment of a place affects our behavior, perception, and decision-making. Since opening their firm’s doors in 1992, he has worked with executive leadership teams for some of the world’s most well-known brands, such as The Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Whole Foods, Kraft Foods, The J.M. Smucker Company, The Cleveland Orchestra, professional sports teams, universities, urban districts, and hundreds of local and regional businesses to stay relevant and profitable in our rapidly changing modern landscape.

Keynote

Jonah
Berger

Associate Professor of Marketing, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Returning to Growth in the New World

Our world has recently undergone unprecedented change at a rapid pace. From remote work and online retail to shifting customer needs and employee mindsets, many things are different than they were before. But as we return to a new normal, smart companies and industries are recognizing the opportunity to also return to growth. How can you get your people on the right track and focused to take advantage of these emerging opportunities?

This talk reveals how organizations can act now to succeed in the new world. It outlines the changes in consumer and customer behavior that have occurred, which new trends are here to stay, and how to thrive in the new reality we all find ourselves in. How organizations and industries can adapt and motivate their leaders and employees to get on board, and how to pivot strategy, thinking beyond crisis, and change minds to drive success.

Jonah Berger is a Wharton School professor and internationally bestselling author of Magic Words, Contagious, Invisible Influence, and The Catalyst.

Dr. Berger is a world-renowned expert on natural language processing, change, word of mouth, influence, consumer behavior, and why things catch on. He has published over 80 articles in top‐tier academic journals, teaches one of the world’s most popular online courses, and popular outlets like The New York Times and Harvard Business Review often cover his work. Berger has keynoted hundreds of major conferences and events like SXSW and Cannes Lions, advises various early-stage companies, and consults for organizations like Apple, Google, Nike, Amazon, GE, Moderna, and The Gates Foundation.

Keynote

Emily
Callahan

Chief Innovation & Administrative Officer

TBD

As Chief Innovation Officer for Xerxes Global, Emily’s primary responsibility is to lead innovative thinking and digital transformation for a variety of businesses in the Xerxes portfolio including private equity consulting, business analytic software, a full-service production studio, and ARC – The Association for Retail and Consumer Professionals.

Emily has been with the Xerxes organization since 2011 in a variety of roles including marketing, operations, product management, and senior leadership. She also currently serves as the President of ARC, parent association for the CMA and SIMA, which she has been intimately involved since 2014 most notably executing the Annual Conference, growing it from a few hundred attendees to over 900 in her stead. Her rich visionary mindset serves as the foundation for ARC’s current mission, goals, and path to becoming the largest professional organization for the retail field in the world.

Keynote

Mindy
Asper

Partner, Impulse Marketing

The Last Impression: Retailer’s Front End

The checkout experience is the last impression of the shopping trip and often is cited as a key factor in their overall choice of retailer. Recently, you can’t open social media without reading something about self-checkouts. The front of the physical store continues to be a very valuable space to both retailers and CPGs, and retailers need to win in this space and find ways to balance shopper experience and the economics of labor and technology. In this keynote, you’ll hear from Mindy Asper, a two-decade expert in guiding the front end. She’ll share the latest insights about the shopper sentiment around transaction choice (self, online, full service) and how we all can play a role in the future experience in this space. Come and hear how check-out drives shopping (or not!) at retailers.
As a Partner at Impulse Marketing, Mindy brings a wealth of experience in enhancing retail checkout experiences and driving immediate consumption sales at the front end. For nearly two decades, Mindy has played a pivotal role in guiding retailers and brands through the development of effective front-end strategies and retail execution. Her expertise in data and analytics and an innovative approach to merchandising helps continually solve retail challenges.

Leadership Luncheon Host

Leslie
Newlee

SVP of Insights and Category Development

Women’s Leadership Panel and Luncheon Host

Forget titles, embrace behaviors. This year’s luncheon, led by visionary CPG Leader Leslie Newlee of Red Bull, goes beyond labels to explore the real DNA of success. Join a dialogue with trailblazing women across CMA and SIMA, dismantling stereotypes and igniting a fresh perspective on leadership, because great leaders wear many faces, not just in a CEO suite.

Leslie leads insights creation and activation that drive Sales, Distribution and Marketing initiatives at Red Bull. After 20 years across PepsiCo companies, a short time as a consultant with Clif Bar and leading Sales in the West for a small Natural & Organic company, Leslie’s experience touches most segments of CPG. She’s worked in various retail channels, distribution networks, consumer targets and consumption occasions from conventional to organic in both food and beverage.

Edutainment

Scott
Lesnick

Global Leadership Keynote Speaker & Certified Speaking Professional & Author

Unleashing Determination, Leadership and Resilience: Embrace the Never Give Up Mindset

This engaging session offers participants a unique and inspiring perspective on leadership, resilience, implementing successful strategies, navigating change, and overcoming obstacles in both their professional and personal lives. As someone who successfully devised and executed a daring plan to rescue his two small children kidnapped to the Middle East, Scott has firsthand experience in facing extreme challenges and conquering seemingly insurmountable odds. By sharing his story and drawing upon the principles of grit exemplified by trailblazers such as Ernest Shackleton and Dr. Angela Duckworth, Scott will inspire and motivate your attendees to tap into their own reservoirs of resilience and determination, and he will offer a unique and inspiring perspective on navigating change and overcoming obstacles. What’s more, Scott provide a comprehensive framework for understanding and implementing effective strategies for both your personal and professional lives.

Scott Lesnick is a Global Leadership Keynote Speaker. He presents powerful keynotes, training and interactive sessions at 40+ events a year and is an author. His memoir, “Kidjacked – A Father’s Story” and his book Lifejacked: Life Lessons on Leadership were published to critical acclaim. He is a graduate of The University of Miami, Florida.

Harnessing the Power of Data-Driven Storytelling

Hasan
Issa

Senior Advisor, Category Leadership, Kraft Heinz

KraftHeinz logo

Elevate Your Data Story with Powerful
Visuals

Co-presented with Janine Kurnoff and Kevin Carrington.

In this interactive session, presented by the team that led the top-rated 2023 CMA workshop Storytelling with Data, you’ll learn five secrets to elevate your data story with powerful visuals. Kraft Heinz’s category leaders will supply their perspective and share real before-and-after transformations you won’t want to miss!

Today’s category leaders are striving to become indispensable partners to retailers. To accomplish this, they need to navigate a massive amount of data from the marketplace, customers, and many other sources. But how do you mine through mounds of information and serve up visually compelling data stories and actionable recommendations to help retailers make the best decision?

Since 2021, Hasan has been a Senior Category Leadership Advisor where storytelling is critical. In this role, he’s built relationships with customer teams to ensure that Kraft Heinz grows through mutually beneficial strategies by understanding consumers, market, shelving, and assortment opportunities. Outside of business responsibilities, Hasan has helped drive a culture of storytelling by hosting several workshops to help his peers develop this crucial skill.

Harnessing the Power of Data-Driven Storytelling

Kevin
Carrington

Advisor, Category Leadership

KraftHeinz logo

Elevate Your Data Story with Powerful
Visuals

Co-presented with Janine Kurnoff and Hasan Issa.

In this interactive session, presented by the team that led the top-rated 2023 CMA workshop Storytelling with Data, you’ll learn five secrets to elevate your data story with powerful visuals. Kraft Heinz’s category leaders will supply their perspective and share real before-and-after transformations you won’t want to miss!

Today’s category leaders are striving to become indispensable partners to retailers. To accomplish this, they need to navigate a massive amount of data from the marketplace, customers, and many other sources. But how do you mine through mounds of information and serve up visually compelling data stories and actionable recommendations to help retailers make the best decision?

Since 2021, Hasan has been a Senior Category Leadership Advisor where storytelling is critical. In this role, he’s built relationships with customer teams to ensure that Kraft Heinz grows through mutually beneficial strategies by understanding consumers, market, shelving, and assortment opportunities. Outside of business responsibilities, Hasan has helped drive a culture of storytelling by hosting several workshops to help his peers develop this crucial skill.

Harnessing the Power of Data-Driven Storytelling

Janine Kurnoff headshot

Janine
Kurnoff

Co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer

Elevate Your Data Story with Powerful
Visuals

Co-presented with Hasan Issa and Kevin Carrington.

In this interactive session, presented by the team that led the top-rated 2023 CMA workshop Storytelling with Data, you’ll learn five secrets to elevate your data story with powerful visuals. Kraft Heinz’s category leaders will supply their perspective and share real before-and-after transformations you won’t want to miss!

Today’s category leaders are striving to become indispensable partners to retailers. To accomplish this, they need to navigate a massive amount of data from the marketplace, customers, and many other sources. But how do you mine through mounds of information and serve up visually compelling data stories and actionable recommendations to help retailers make the best decision?

Janine Kurnoff is the Co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer of The Presentation Company (TPC). As the visionary behind TPC’s award-winning storytelling and data visualization workshops, Janine is passionate about helping talented businesspeople bring clarity and meaning to their ideas and data in a way that influences decisions and drives business forward. For over 20 years, she has partnered with Fortune 500 companies – including Meta, T-Mobile, Medtronic, and top CPG brands Kraft Heinz, Colgate-Palmolive, and Nestlé – to transform teams into strategic and influential visual communicators.

Harnessing the Power of Data-Driven Storytelling

Ben
James

Director of Shopper Insights

Purina logo

Just Tell Me What I Need to Know: Real Life Examples of Death by PowerPoint

This session will provide you with a couple tips on how to give a fact-based, analytic presentation that gets your point across without bludgeoning your audience with information. So if you’ve been told recently you need to simplify your slides, come see some painful, real-life examples of death by PowerPoint, and learn a couple ways that the patient could have been saved.

Ben James has spent 21 years at Nestle Purina in various roles in ranging from Sales to Category Management to Shopper Insights. He’s worked with a broad range of retailers across Grocery, Mass, Pet Specialty, Value, Club, and Ecommerce channels. Ben currently leads Purina’s team of shopper insights professionals, and as an active SIMA board member, he is passionate about elevating the Shopper Insights profession within manufacturer and retailer organizations.

Harnessing the Power of Data-Driven Storytelling

Ethelbert Williams headshot

Ethelbert
Williams

Commerce & Retail Media Advisor

Retail Media Insights Informing Category Strategies

Co-presented with Liran Hirschkorn. This session will focus on harnessing the power of data driven storytelling and the role of category management to support retail media strategies and outcomes. We will discuss upcoming marketplace trends including the evolution of ‘commerce everywhere’ features like Buy With Prime across DTC (direct to consumer) and Meta’s ecosystem. Ethelbert will review insights to the evolving omnichannel retail media landscape and how brands can best position to win in 2024.

Ethelbert Williams is a seasoned executive with prior experience as Head of Ecommerce for Johnson & Johnson. Williams has more than 22 years of global commercial leadership experience having championed marketing and sales strategies across direct-to-consumer ecommerce, pure play marketplaces and omnichannel retailers. Prior to Johnson & Johnson, Williams built the ecommerce organization at The Boston Beer Company where he oversaw go-to-market and sales strategy across digital channels including Walmart, Kroger, Albertsons, Target, Amazon and Instacart. In addition, he has held brand leadership roles at Procter & Gamble and Unilever.

Harnessing the Power of Data-Driven Storytelling

Liran Hirschkorn headshot

Liran
Hirschkorn

CEO

Incrementum Digital logo

Retail Media Insights Informing Category Strategies

Co-presented with Ethelbert Williams. This session will focus on harnessing the power of data driven storytelling and the role of category management to support retail media strategies and outcomes. We will discuss upcoming marketplace trends including the evolution of ‘commerce everywhere’ features like Buy With Prime across DTC (direct to consumer) and Meta’s ecosystem. Liran will review insights to the evolving omnichannel retail media landscape and how brands can best position to win in 2024.

Liran Hirschkorn is the CEO and founder of Incrementum Digital, a retail media agency focused on accelerating profitable growth for consumer and B2B brands across the omnichannel landscape. Hirschkorn has more than 10 years of retail media and ecommerce experience having built several successful category businesses at Amazon. He is an advisor to VC-backed consumer goods brands as well as an e-commerce fintech company focused on unlocking growth capital for brands.

Harnessing the Power of Data-Driven Storytelling

Estrella
Ho-Looney

Shopper Human Insights

The Three Steps to Great Category Selling Stories