Farah has her B.A.Sc. in OH&S from Ryerson and is currently the National Health & Safety Consultant for Cineplex Entertainment. She has previously worked as both an Occupational Hygiene Technician and Health & Safety Coordinator in the Environmental Control and Construction industries. Farah is also a member of the Television, Film and Live Performance Advisory Committee.
I am the Senior Manager for Audit & Health & Safety at Cineplex Entertainment. I have my CIA designation, am a CPA candidate, and am working towards my CPEA (Certified Profession Environmental Auditor) designation. I have been with Cineplex for 20 years and worked as a General Manager in Operations and have also worked as an LP investigator and internal auditor. I am also the manager co-chair on our Home Office JH&SC.
Neal Chaudhary is a Partner with Deloitte focused on Technology within Deloitte’s Advisory Practice. He has worked with several high profile retailers on the design of their Omni-Channel strategy and subsequently worked with them on the selection of technology and software in E-Commerce, Point of Sale, ERP and other systems. Neal lives by the motto that even though technology is the backbone of a successful omni-channel strategy; user experience is at its heart.
Hassan Chaudhry is the Manager of Retail Development for Staples Canada. With over 15 years retail experience, for the past 6 years he has been responsible for the national development and execution of new store openings, major renovations and remodels for retail and closed door facilities, store relocations, cross-functional rollouts, operations strategic initiatives and pilot concept projects. Hasan provides day to day leadership to the operations project team, consisting of Project Coordinators and Project Team leads. As well on the behalf of the Sales and Operations department, liaisons with Real Estate, Construction and Store Design with respect to strategic planning and implementation on the Canadian retail portfolio.
With a business administration degree Fabio initially worked for an Austrian / Brazilian investment bank. Since 2001 Fabio has been working in Brazil and Canada in various capacities related to public and privately funded socio-economic development programs in areas such as entrepreneurship and business education, micro and small business development, employment, immigrant and youth services and education. In 2011 Fabio coordinated the implementation of a Youth Challenge Fund start-up initiative aimed at building capacity among youth frontline workers serving marginalized youth populations in Toronto. Prior to joining United Way Toronto and York Region (UWTYR), Fabio was part of the community outreach team of the Toronto Pan and Pan-American Games’ organizing committee. Since October 2014, Fabio has been a part of UWTYR’s Youth Initiatives team, leading the implementation of the innovate Career Navigator program and also
A long and fruitful career lead Sarah to Toys R Us Canada where she spent the last 5 years focused on the retail ecommerce landscape. A true Toys R Us kid, Sarah D’Souza oversees various facets of the online fulfillment experience and relentlessly strives to offer customers a holistic and seamless shopping experience. Sarah, and her fantastic team, delivered several initiatives that led Toys R Us to become a major player in the Omni-Channel space. Between her deep understanding of Omni-Channel and in concert with a strong collaboration between the stores and other eCommerce personnel, Sarah ensures that customers are top of mind when developing and driving new strategies.
A results-driven retail re-inventor with a keen eye for innovative design, Micheline Davies has spent more than a decade helping to shape the vision of the in-store shopping experience for one of Canada’s most iconic brands. As Vice President, Store Design and Merchandising, Micheline has overseen the replacement and remerchandising of more than 300 Canadian Tire stores, the reinvention of the Living department across the store network and the creation of more than 200 hunting and fishing pro shops that continue deliver strong results. Micheline’s latest major project was the delivery of the largest and best ever Canadian Tire store. The 140,000 square foot Showcase Store represents the future of Canadian Tire Retail and includes differentiated digital experiences and a modern, impactful store environment.
For Jane De Sousa, the Customer experience is King. Jane grew up in retail, beginning her career as a part time sales associate. After taking care of her Customer within successful Store and District Management positions, Jane moved into the role of Field Visual Director at a major Canadian company. In this capacity, the Customer experience remained her #1 priority in all decision making. During the past 5 years as Organizational Development and Learning Manager at Red Apple Stores Inc, Jane brings her diverse retail experience and talent development expertise to her Home Office and Field Customers. A champion of corporate culture with a penchant for executing on strategy, Jane's true passion lies in developing her internal Customers in order to provide the very best external Customer Experience.
Greg joined the Newfoundland Labrador Liquor Corporation (NLC) in 2006, and currently leads customer relationship management, corporate communications, public and media relations, and all retail marketing, advertising, promotions and brand management for 28 corporate-run Liquor Stores and 140+ independently-operated Liquor Express agencies province-wide. A graduate of Memorial University (1997 – Political Science & Business) and Ryerson Polytechnic University (2000 – Radio & Television Arts) Greg and his team of marketers have helped revitalize NLC’s retail operation through creative programs that have delivered a unique customer experience in the liquor category. These efforts were recognized when NLC won top prize for Store Design at the Retail Council of Canada’s (RCC) STORE 2011. A passionate marketer with a sense of humour and a keen eye for design, Greg is honoured to be judging the RCC Marketing & Communications Award for the second time.
Kevin Graff is the President of Graff Retail, based in Toronto, Ontario. Since 1988, Graff Retail has specialized in working with retailers around the globe to increase their revenue through improved staff performance. For 27 years they have had the privilege of working with many of world’s best and brightest retailers. Kevin is widely respected as one of North America’s best retail speakers and trainers and was recently chosen as one of the Top 50 Retail Influencers. His principle belief is that retailers are losing too many sales each day in their stores that they should be capturing. Kevin’s approach to store operations and his intense focus on real, bottom-line issues continually produce outstanding results. In fact, work he has completed for his retail clients has captured the Retail Council of Canada’s Award for Best Employee Development Programs on six separate occasions. Kevin is also the creator of Graff Retail TV, the retail community’s leading source of online sales and management training. Since being launched in 2008, Graff Retail TV has provided thousands of sales associates and store management teams with the skills they need to succeed.
Peter Hargreave is the Director of Policy for the Ontario Waste Management Association (OWMA), the largest waste/resource management trade association in Canada. The OWMA is a non-profit industry association, which represents the private and public sector involved in all aspects of waste management from organics and recycling to hazardous waste, energy from waste and landfill. It also represents those providing services and equipment into the waste management sector. Peter joined the Association in 2011 after many years of working for the Ontario government on policy ranging from extended producer responsibility to tax reform. With the assistance of the membership, he has helped develop a number of policy papers and reports on driving a circular economy in Ontario and has also assisted in the development of a guideline for accountable management of end-of-life materials through the Canadian Standards Association.
At Costco Canada Graham oversees the Ecommerce Division, Costco.ca, a role he has been in since 2007. Costco Canada serves more than 12 million members across Canada, and is one of the nation's largest retailers. Costco.ca is now one of Canada's largest and fastest growing online retailers. Graham studied at College Militaire Royal and Bishop's University graduating in 1982 with a BBA degree with a double major in Accounting and Human Resources. He then started his retail career at Zellers and spent 11 years in various store, buying and marketing positions before joining Costco in 1994. He was promoted to AGMM at Costco in 2001, in charge of Seasonal, Hardware, HABA, and Sporting Goods. Graham has participated as a judge for the RCC Excellence in Retail Awards as well as a member of the "Jury du Concours provincial ARISTA" since 2014
Jennifer Hills joined Sears Canada in June 2014 and is currently the Divisional Vice-President, Public Relations and Communications. She is accountable for the development of Sears Canada's Public Relations and Communications strategy to promote, enhance, and protect the organization’s brand reputation. Jennifer acts as the ambassador for the organization by building relationships with Canadian stakeholders by increasing brand identity; broadening awareness programs and priorities; and increasing visibility across key audiences. Prior to Sears, Jennifer worked at The Home Depot Canada in Public Relations. There, she was responsible for developing and executing external public relations campaigns and issues management programs across their corporate, philanthropic, marketing and merchandising programs. Rounding out her portfolio includes positions with Canadian Tire and Environics Communications. With a proven track record of successful public relations programs in retail and corporate services, Jennifer provides valuable insight and perspective from working both agency and client side. Recognized as a high energy and idea-oriented professional, she graduated from The University of Western Ontario, with a degree in Psychology. Jennifer also attended Seneca Collage obtaining a post graduate certificate in Corporate Communications.
Born in Halifax Nova Scotia, Raj grew up visiting his family's retail stores on weekends with his father Madan Kapahi, who founded Wicker Emporium in 1972. During summer breaks, Raj helped in the warehouse unloading containers arriving from overseas for redistribution to store locations across Atlantic Canada. Not knowing he would eventually join the family business, Raj studied Biology at Dalhousie University and, after graduation, moved to Taiwan to teach English and study Mandarin Chinese. He lived in Taipei for 3 years, then moved to Beijing seeking to find work experience in a Mandarin language environment. After spending a year in Mainland China, Raj decided to move back to Halifax and join his family business in 2001. He now runs the business together with his father out of the head office in Halifax Nova Scotia.
Starting her career within the Bell Corporate Stores she has had the opportunity to move through consecutive growth opportunities with retail. This foundation gave her the ability to look at programs and really consider how they will impact the sales channel. Her background in education has allowed her to tackle each role through a training and development lens and continuously push herself to grow. She really found her passion for Talent and Development within retail and worked towards a career in recruitment. As a results driven individual she spent time as a front line recruiter as well as a corporate recruiter and really excelled at connecting individuals with their next career opportunity. As the Manager of Talent Acquisition, Krystal oversees strategy and leads a team of recruiters that are dedicated to finding great talent for both our Stores and Head Office.
At Aritzia, an innovative design house and fashion boutique, Corinne currently oversees executive communications, crisis communications, community engagement and the Aritzia employment brand. In addition, she established Aritzia’s public relations department to support market entry and growth in key North American cities including New York and Montreal. She is a champion of corporate culture and led the development of Aritzia’s mobile enabled technology solution to connect more than 2,000 Aritzia team members in an aspirational way and she developed Aritzia’s first full company employee engagement survey. Professionally, she has developed and oversees Aritzia’s philanthropy program. In addition, Corinne gives back personally on the board of Dress for Success Vancouver, by mentoring young women interested in pursuing communications as a career and by contributing expertise to enhance education branding and communication needs of schools in her community.
Michael has twenty years of brand marketing, multichannel retail and eCommerce experience. He is a data driven marketer who throughout his career has been recognized as a leader across multiple disciplines and within diverse teams across media, retail and brand marketing. He commenced his career working with world class consumers brands including Black & Decker, and Levi Strauss & Co. He has been one of the true early pioneers in the area of digital marketing in Canada. He has been instrumental in the launch of early adopters of digital media with great Canadian brands including CanWest Media Networks, Hudson’s Bay and The Shopping Channel. At the Retail Council of Canada Michael has had the opportunity to draw upon that digital pioneer experience as he works to support the Canadian retail community. He is immersed in the opportunities and challenges retailers are experiencing in this age of disruption. Michael holds a BA in Criminology and Criminal Justice, Carleton University and an MBA from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.
Dionisia Lita is the Director of IT, Business Applications at The Source. She leads her IT team to deliver business applications such as POS, ERP, Flyer system, WMS, and Finance systems. She was previously responsible for The Source eCommerce site. The Source is a leading consumer electronic retailer with retail stores across Canada. As a Canadian company, we recognize and embrace the diversity found in both our national and company culture. We have an environment of inclusion that supports the success of all associates through opportunities beyond just their everyday work. The Source is a proud supporter of Kids Help Phone and United Way. Dionisia was previously employed with RadioShack USA, RadioShack Canada, The Source By Circuit City and now The Source. She led The Source IT team during the transition to Bell, and was the Canada IT Lead for the Circuit City business transformation project. Previously, a member of the team who implemented POS in Belgium for InterTAN European stores. She has a Master degree from Washington State University.
Laurie has been involved in workplace safety and security for over 40 years, he is a past President of the Retail Loss Prevention and Retail Safety Societies, a Criminal Justice Instructor, a first aid instructor and the winner of several awards including Governor General Lifetime Achievement award, Langara Outstanding Alumni, Order of Saint John Ambulance Priory award , CSSE Special Project and Leaders of Tomorrow Mentor of the Year award. However, what he feels is his biggest achievement is keeping staff safe and sending them home each day uninjured and alive to those that care about them.
David Lui is the Vice President of Marketing at Mark’s and leads a team of marketing professionals to expand Mark’s identity through the development and implementation of innovative brand, digital, ecommerce and marketing strategies. He is passionate about the ever-changing retail market, supporting the needs of marketers and retailers. He is a member of the Retail Leadership Committee for the Canadian Marketing Association. Over the course of his career, he has held senior executive roles with global apparel and consumer goods brands, including Nygård, The North West Company, The Daiso and Esprit. In addition to his experience with these multinational corporations, he has dedicated his time to support non-profit organizations such as United Way, Habitat For Humanity, Canadian Tire Jumpstart and the Canadian Diabetes Association. David currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Calgary Marketing Association and Hypertension Canada. As an avid competitive athlete, David has participated in numerous destination marathons and competitive cycling events around the world. David holds an MBA from the Ivey Business School at Western University.
Lisa MacGregor is the Director of Supply Chain for the LCBO, one of the largest liquor purchasers in the world with annual sales of $6.3 Billion. Lisa holds a master’s degree in Economics from the University of Guelph and joined the LCBO in 1992. She held various positions before assuming her current position. Lisa led the transformation that streamlined and re-engineered many key business functions across LCBO’s entire supply chain. These improvements have contributed to significant increases in sales, inventory turns and profitability. On behalf of the LCBO, Lisa has won numerous awards for developing and implementing retail innovations, including five Awards of Excellence from the Retail Council of Canada.
You won't find anyone more passionate about retail than Linda Montalbano. She started in the industry 25 years ago on the front lines and worked her way up to become the Vice President of Retail Operations for a national retail chain. For the last 12 years she’s been the Vice President of Graff Retail, working with retailers to achieve the best results possible through their store management teams and front line associates. Although her expertise has always been in retail operations, Leadership has been the pillar to her success. Linda speaks passionately about leadership in the industry and has spoken to audiences about multi-generational workforces, personal branding and influential leadership.
Mark Pasini is a Professional Engineer with over 14 years of experience related to energy conservation and sustainability. He specializes in finding ways to reduce energy and water consumption, which inherently improves profitability while reducing environmental footprint. His experience spans in-depth technical knowledge required at the facility level, energy management of portfolios of facilities, and energy conservation planning at the policy and program level. Mark’s goal is to reduce the environmental footprint of the built environment, through hands-on project work, education and outreach, and learning from other industry experts.
At Bullfrog Power, Canada’s leading green energy provider, Anthony is responsible for growing Bullfrog's commercial business and leading the commercial sales marketing team. Anthony brings deep expertise in sustainability, customer marketing, and management consulting to his role, allowing him to help Bullfrog's commercial customers integrate their sustainability goals into their overall business strategy. He also advises clients on best practices in communicating sustainability initiatives to both internal and external stakeholders including employees, supply chain partners, and customers. Prior to joining Bullfrog in 2008, Anthony held a variety of executive level marketing roles in the telecommunications, software and consumer packaged goods sectors for such companies as VeriSign, Sprint, Unilever and Bridgestone/Firestone Europe.
Marc Smith is a recognized expert in the fields of logistics and omni-channel fulfillment, and their strategic impact on customer experience and the performance of commerce. As eCommerce strategist at Canada Post, he studies global trends and works with retailers and leading-edge technologists to develop solutions that optimize logistics strategy and the customer experience of connected shoppers. A digital shopping experience that ends only when the consumer physically consumes the purchased item and is satisfied
Sean Snyder, President, Engagement Agents As an award winning sales, ecommerce, marketing and technology leader, Sean has over 15 years’ experience in high growth B2B, B2C and C2C industries. Prior to founding Engagement Agents, Sean was the Director of Sales & Marketing for Stitch It Clothing Alterations, North America’s largest alterations service provider with 85 locations in major shopping centres. While helping Stitch It drive in-store sales through innovative marketing campaigns, he discovered a significant problem; every retailer, like Stitch It, pays into the shopping centre marketing fund via their lease, but a whopping 90% of retailers do not engage their shopping centres' physical & digital marketing channels which they already pay for. This results in many problems including billions in lost impressions, traffic and sales collectively to retailers & shopping centres. With the support & involvement of Stitch It, Sean developed Engagement Agents, a world class solution to help retailers & shopping centres gain competitive advantages, save time and money, while increasing impressions, traffic and sales to their stores, website & social media! Prior to joining Stitch It Sean founded Trend Trunk, Canada’s largest fashion marketplace, which was a finalist for three Canada Post Ecommerce Innovation Awards and Preferred One, one of the largest retailer gift card marketing companies in North America. In addition, Sean was recognized with “Guy Who Gets It” Award by Illuminessence Magazine for valiant contributions to gender equality, social justice and community development.
Craig Taylor is the Senior Vice President of eCommerce and Marketing for Staples Canada. Craig joined Staples in 1995 and has been involved in the tremendous growth Staples has experienced over the past two plus decades. Having complete ownership of the eCommerce P&L, Craig has been instrumental in the rapid growth the BU has experienced for the past fifteen years. Being responsible for all company marketing ensures a good mix of traditional and digital vehicles. Craig started his retail career working thirteen years with Zellers. He came up through their Store Management Training system, culminating in the Montreal Corporate Office. Being the Chair of the Staples Employee Share Fund, Craig remains close the needs of the Staples family in times of financial and personal need.
Daniella van Weringh is the Director, Learning & Development for Lowe’s Companies Canada. In her role she is responsible for the learning and development of all store, distribution and corporate employees. Daniella joined Lowe’s in 2008 and has seen the company grow from 8 stores to over 500 stores with the recent RONA acquisition.
Fatima Zaidi has had over eight years of experience in Business Development, Marketing, Sales, and strategy. Her expertise in sales effectiveness, and partnerships led her to the role as VP of Business Development for 88 Creative, a Toronto-based creative communications agency. Prior to 88 Creative she was Head of Business Development at Rent frock Repeat and was responsible for the overall management of all strategic business development, marketing, and customer relationship activities nationwide. She also took ownership of the management of the sales and corporate strategy functions. Fatima is a fashion commentator for Global News and was named one of marketing magazines top 30 under 30 marketers and brand developers for 2016.
Craig Zavitz has been the marketing lead for Home Depot Canada’s Omni-Channel approach to tier 1 events for the past 3 years with a focus on Black Friday, Boxing Week as well as many of the other consumer events Currently Craig continues to oversee Omni-Channel marketing for several of the brand’s flagship events as well as all of the division’s Hardlines departments. Home Depot is Canada’s #1 Home Improvement retailer with an emphasis on helping customers create and maintain the home of their dreams, whether they want to do it themselves or have it done for them. The company has over 180 stores coast to coast and the Home Improvement industry’s fastest growing website – homedepot.ca