2021 Retail Robotics and AI Conference

The Retail Analytics Council will present the third annual Retail Robotics and AI Virtual Conference on May 18, 19, and 20, 2021 from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM (Central Time). The Conference will focus on implementing and executing retail AI strategies, as well as exploring emerging trends in retail robotics.

Attendance is open to retailers and academics only. This includes Retail Analytics Council Retail Advisory members and C-level executives. Interested retailers and academics are invited to submit their request to attend to: retailanalyticscouncil@northwestern.edu.

SPEAKERS

Glenn Allison

VP AI, Automation and Innovation, Tractor Supply Co.

VP AI, Automation and Innovation, Tractor Supply Co.

Glenn Allison is Vice President, AI, Automation, and Innovation for Tractor Supply Co., the largest rural lifestyle retailer in the United States with over 1,900+ stores and approximately $8 billion in annual revenues. Tractor Supply is leveraging Artificial Intelligence, Automation, and Innovation to personalize the customer experience in-store and online, as well as leverage machine learning to meet and anticipate shopper’s needs.

Prior to Tractor Supply, Glenn worked at Kellogg Company, where he led global architecture and engineering functions to support supply chain modernization. Glenn also previously held several leadership roles at W.W. Grainger, one of the largest eCommerce retailers in the United States.
Glenn received his MBA from the University of Chicago and a Masters of Science in Information Technology from Northwestern University.

He currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Technology Leadership Council for the National Retail Federation (NRF), Board of Directors for the Nashville Technology Council (NTC), and a lifetime member of the FFA. For his work with technology and innovation, he was named to the “40 Under 40” list by the Nashville Business Journal.

Sumit Anand

Chief Information Officer and Chief Strategy Officer, At Home

Chief Information Officer and Chief Strategy Officer, At Home

Sumit Anand began serving as the Chief Information Officer of At Home in 2018 and has recently added Chief Strategy Officer role to his set of responsibilities.

Prior to joining At Home, Mr. Anand was the Senior Vice President of Information Technology from 2015 to 2018 at Signet Jewelers, a large specialty jewelry retailer in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom with over 3,500 stores. In that role, Mr. Anand was responsible for leading the Technology Modernization and Transformation initiative across 8 global brands and several capability areas, including stores, e-commerce, omnichannel, supply chain, analytics, merchandising, HR and finance.

Before this, Mr. Anand served as an executive in Accenture’s Retail Digital practice from 2007 to 2015. Mr. Anand was the Strategy Account Lead for Accenture’s largest retail client and worked with various national and international organizations including Best Buy, Signet, Neiman Marcus around their corporate strategy, supply chain, financial services, M&A integration and digital and technology transformational initiatives.

Mr. Anand received his MS – Information Systems from the University of Colorado.

Doug Baker

Vice President, Industry Relations, Food Marketing Institute

Vice President, Industry Relations, Food Marketing Institute

Doug Baker is a food retail industry relations vice president for the Food Marketing Institute where he facilitates professional, non-competitive collaboration among member communities across private brands, technology, and asset protection issue areas.

In addition to his oversight of the private brands council and their efficiency-driven initiatives to encourage brand owner innovation, Doug also leads FMI’s CIO Technology Board, Asset Protection Council, and joint industry initiatives, SmartLabel and Information Accuracy. Prior to FMI, Doug began his career in the food retail industry in 1984 with Fry’s Food Stores. His 30+ years in food retail have included leadership roles at Fry’s (a division of Kroger), Kraft/Nabisco and Federated Foods with focuses on retail operations, consumer packaged goods and private brand development and marketing.

Leandro Balbinot

Corporate SVP Technology, McDonald’s Corporation

Corporate SVP Technology, McDonald’s Corporation

Leandro Balbinot is Corporate Senior Vice President Technology at McDonald’s. Leandro did his undergraduate work in his native Brazil, where he received a BA in Computer Science. After graduation, Leandro launched his career as an IT consultant for Hewlett Packard, where he worked for almost ten years leading projects to transform and integrate companies, ERP implementations, and Financial Systems in several banks and major industries globally.

That eventually led him to join AB-InBev, the world’s largest brewery company where he worked for 8 years leading different areas of Technology in Europe, the U.S., and Latin America. Soon after, he joined the biggest fashion retail company in Latin America to lead the eCommerce channel and Digital transformation. He later was invited to join 3G Investment fund on the acquisition of Heinz Co. in Pittsburgh, where he subsequently became the Global CIO. After that, he was invited to lead the integration efforts with Kraft company in Chicago as part of the merger, taking the role of Senior Vice President of IT at the combined organization, the fifth-largest food and beverage company in the world, and more recently joined McDonald’s.

Navjit Bhasin

Founder and CEO, Newmine

Founder and CEO, Newmine

Navjit Bhasin is a visionary expert in strategy, technology, operations, and change management. As a veteran entrepreneur and an active angel investor, he has worked in hands-on roles for several global retailers and consumer brands. He has a keen eye for creative ways to fund growth initiatives and increase profitability. Navjit has built his career as a natural problem solver, having helped some of the retail industry’s biggest brands navigate the changing industry landscape so they can achieve peak operational efficiency, transform their customer experience, and enhance their profitability.

In 2011, Navjit founded Newmine, a technology firm comprised of seasoned retail transformation experts. In 2018, he laid the foundation of the retail industry’s first Applied AI SaaS platform, Chief Returns Officer®, to tackle the most expensive problem in retail, merchandise returns.

Dr. Larry Birnbaum

Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Northwestern University, Chief Scientific Advisor, Narrative Science and Director, Retail Analytics Council

Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Northwestern University, Chief Scientific Advisor, Narrative Science and Director, Retail Analytics Council

Larry Birnbaum received his Ph.D. in computer science from Yale University in 1986 and joined the Northwestern faculty in 1989. His research in artificial intelligence and computer science has encompassed natural language processing, case-based reasoning, machine learning, human-computer interaction, educational software, and computer vision. Birnbaum has authored or coauthored more than eighty articles. He was the program cochair of the 1991 International Machine Learning Workshop and has been a member of the program committee for numerous other conferences and workshops.

Dr. Martin Block

Professor, Integrated Marketing Communications and Executive Director, Retail Analytics Council, Northwestern University

Professor, Integrated Marketing Communications and Executive Director, Retail Analytics Council, Northwestern University

Martin Block serves as Executive Director of the Retail Analytics Council, an initiative between Medill School, Integrated Marketing Communications department, Northwestern University, and PRI. Block is a Professor in the Integrated Marketing Communications Department. He teaches graduate-level marketing research, sales promotion, advertising, and direct marketing courses.

Prior to joining the Northwestern faculty, Block was a Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Advertising at Michigan State University. Block is a co-author of Media Generations; Analyzing Sales Promotion; and Business-to-Business Market Research. He has published extensively in academic research journals, trade publications, and has written several book chapters. He has been the principal investigator on several federally funded research projects and has served as a consultant to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). He was featured on the NOVA program “We Know Where You Live.”

Brad Bogolea

CEO and Co-Founder, Simbe Robotics

CEO and Co-Founder, Simbe Robotics

Brad Bogolea is CEO and Co-Founder of Simbe Robotics, where he is responsible for the company’s vision and execution of its leading automation solution for the retail industry. The NRF Foundation, the nonprofit arm of the National Retail Federation (NRF), has named Brad to “The List of People Shaping Retail’s Future.” Prior to Simbe, Brad spent 10 years in the energy and wireless sensor industry.

Brett Bonner

Former Vice President R&D and OR, Kroger

Former Vice President R&D and OR, Kroger

Brett led a team focused on creating sustainable competitive advantage by inventing advanced technologies and developing projects for retail and logistics that individually have at least a $50 million contribution.

Before his time at Kroger, he served 25 years at Federal Express in various positions Technical Fellow, Managing Director of Scanning Technologies, and VP of FedEx Internet Technologies. During his time at FedEx, he invented and developed many diverse systems and his profit contribution for such systems exceeds $600 million per year.
Brett serves on the ZigBee Board of Directors and the TechPoint Advisory Board. His FAST Alerts system won a 2015 CIO 100 award and ranked #3 in InfoWorld Elite 100 for QueVision for 2014. He is honored to be a 2013 Franz Edelman Laureate for Achievement in Management Science and a 2010 Planet Retail Innovator of the Year. He is honored to have received many awards from Federal Express during his time there. Additionally, Brett is a named inventor on 23 US patents from Federal Express and Kroger. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Memphis and attended graduate school at Rensselaer and Western Michigan, in addition to studying law at Concord School of Law. He is a professional engineer registered in Tennessee.

Marcelo Worsley is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Learning Sciences. His research integrates artificial intelligence and data mining with multimodal interfaces to study and support human learning. He directs the technological innovations for inclusive learning and teaching (tiilt) lab which works with community and industry partners around the world to empower organizations through the design and use of novel analytic tools. Marcelo has a Ph.D. in Learning Sciences and Technology Design from Stanford University.

Holly Briedis

Partner, McKinsey & Company

Partner, McKinsey & Company

Holly helps founders and executive teams grow and focus their businesses—including strategy development, digital and consumer engagement, and organizing for success—on a global level. She is a leader of McKinsey’s work in retail, digital engagement, and customer experience in North America. Holly is deeply experienced with serving founders and executives of consumer brands, helping them ignite the next wave of growth.

Examples of Holly’s recent client work include the following:

  • Leading the digital transformation for a major athletic apparel and footwear brand, spanning omnichannel customer experience, new global digital tech stack, personalization, CRM, and loyalty
  • Driving the omnichannel strategy and transformation for a major apparel company, accelerating personalization and DTC growth for one banner through the development of agile marketing practices
  • Directing the US market-entry strategy for a Southeast Asian unicorn, including collaboration with digitally native US brands to accelerate growth
  • Leading the digital acceleration of a quick-service restaurant business across e-commerce, digital marketing, delivery, and CRM through stand-up of sustainable agile capabilities
  • Driving growth strategy—including store-of-the-future development and stand-up of new product development and design capability—for a high-growth jewelry brand

In addition to her client work, Holly serves on the board of directors for the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP)—the largest nonprofit charter school network in the United States—founding the Miami chapter in 2015, and joining as a director in Dallas in 2019. Prior to joining McKinsey, Holly spent several years in venture capital, where she held both investor and operational roles for high-growth, early-stage digital companies in the United States and East Africa.

Linda Burtch

Founder & Managing Director, Burtch Works

Founder & Managing Director, Burtch Works

The Founder & Managing Director of Burtch Works, Linda Burtch is an industry leader in quantitative recruiting, and began her career on the corporate side at Pepsi and Whirlpool before transitioning into recruiting and becoming a subject matter expert on the analytics and data science hiring market. Linda is a frequent speaker on quantitative career topics, and has been an active member of the Chicago Chapter of the American Statistical Association and INFORMS for years, including holding several board positions. She frequently shares her market insights at luncheons, conferences, corporate meetings, and webinars, and has maintained a popular blog on the quantitative hiring market for over 10 years.

Steve Carley

Board of Directors, Big 5 Sporting Goods and former CEO, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers

Board of Directors, Big 5 Sporting Goods and former CEO, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers

Steve is a seasoned and effective member of multiple Boards in both independent and executive roles for public, private and hybrid (private equity with public debt) companies. He has experience as a Chief Executive Officer/C-level executive across a range of industries including restaurants (QSR, Fast Casual and Casual Dining), Entertainment (multi-unit family and national theme parks), B2C web-based technology and CPG. He earned his MBA in Marketing from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.

Nitin Chaturvedi

Chief Digital and Technology Officer, KFC Global

Chief Digital and Technology Officer, KFC Global

Nitin serves as the Chief Digital and Technology Officer at KFC Global. He joined Yum! in 2019 and spearheads the digital transformation of KFC globally. In his role, he is defining a digital vision, a strategic agenda and working in partnership with markets and franchisees to drive the execution of our digital agenda.

Nitin’s prior work experience includes roles with I2 Technologies as a Solution Architect and McKinsey and Company as an Associate Partner. He later joined Google and managed global retail sales and operations, and rose to become Director (GM), Chrome OS, US and led the US business and operations for Google’s Chrome operating system.

Nitin received his Bachelor of Technology from the Indian Institute of Technology, Master of Science from Purdue University and an MBA from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Matthew Chang

Principal, Chang Industrial

Principal, Chang Industrial

Matthew is a professional engineer with expertise in manufacturing facilities, autonomous vehicle networks, and e-commerce with global experience in different markets. His latest service to the industry has centered around the impacts of consumerism, the proliferation of e-commerce, and the future trends of the food manufacturing industry. Matthew believes that a business plan should include a strategy for manufacturing, logistics, capital deployment, and technology investments. Each of these business focuses center on one common goal: value creation in the context of transformation. Value, when measured in terms of ROI, should be transparent to the organization at each phase of decision making.

Matthew gained diversity in his point of view by working around the world; he has a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from Georgia Tech, an Executive MBA from Jacksonville University and he has held engineering leadership positions in China, Singapore, Malaysia, Ireland, Iowa, and Florida.

Cari Covent

VP, Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent Automation, Canadian Tire Corporation

VP, Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent Automation, Canadian Tire Corporation

Cari is currently developing and leading Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent Automation at Canadian Tire, with a focus on the art and science of engaging and serving customers, employees, and suppliers by leveraging artificial intelligence technology and a human-centered approach. She has held multiple leadership roles at IBM Canada and Canadian Tire.

Dr. Thomas Davenport

President's Distinguished Professor of Information Technology & Management, Babson College

President's Distinguished Professor of Information Technology & Management, Babson College

Tom Davenport is the President’s Distinguished Professor of Information Technology and Management at Babson College, co-founder of the International Institute for Analytics, Fellow at the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, and Senior Advisor to Deloitte Analytics. He teaches analytics/big data in executive programs at Babson, Harvard Business School and School of Public Health, and MIT Sloan School.

Davenport pioneered the concept of “competing on analytics” with his best-selling 2006 Harvard Business Review article and 2007 book. His most recent book is The AI Advantage: How to Put the Artificial Intelligence Revolution to Work. He wrote or edited nineteen other books and over 200 articles for Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, The Financial Times, and many other publications. He is a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal and Forbes. He has been named one of the top 25 consultants by Consulting News, one of the 100 most influential people in the IT industry by Ziff-Davis, and one of the world’s top fifty business school professors by Fortune magazine.

Brian Elliott

Partner, McKinsey & Company

Partner, McKinsey & Company

Brian Elliott’s passion has been to bring more science to art of Sales and Marketing. During his 22+ years with McKinsey, he has led our work on advanced analytics in consumer-facing industries from many different roles.

Brian has helped clients navigate multi-year, large-scale commercial transformations to achieve profitable growth for his clients in Retail, consumer goods, distribution and other consumer-facing industries. This includes over 23 where Brian helped co-lead the transformation end-to-end. He is particularly well-known for his focus on innovations in revenue management transformations, AI insights, and helping clients embed big data and digital process redesign for long-term value creation.

Over the last decade, Brian has become increasingly passionate about new ways of turning big data and advanced analytics into profitable growth opportunities, often in the context of pricing, promotions, assortment and sales optimization efforts. He founded and led McKinsey’s Global Consumer Pricing and revenue management practice for 8 years. He then focused on sustaining transformations with digital and advanced analytics. This led to him helping to found and build the Periscope suite of solutions-as-a-service, including proprietary hands-on solutions in pricing, promotions, trade terms, assortment, marketing, sales, and performance management. During his leadership as CEO for 7.5 years, Periscope scaled from a startup into the top-rated global revenue growth analytics solutions in the market with accolades from Gartner, Forrester, IDC, ALM Intelligence, Promotion Optimization Institute, and CIO Review. In his current role as Senior Advisor & Head of Innovation he is leading our long-term solution innovations and market expansion.

Brian holds a Ph.D. from Northwestern and multiple bachelor degrees from Cornell.

CY Fenton

Chairman, NRF IT Security Council and Former Chief Information Security Officer, Chief Privacy Officer & SVP, Global Infrastructure, Ralph Lauren

Chairman, NRF IT Security Council and Former Chief Information Security Officer, Chief Privacy Officer & SVP, Global Infrastructure, Ralph Lauren

Cy Fenton was the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), Chief Privacy Officer (CPO), and Senior Vice President of Global Infrastructure for Ralph Lauren. Prior to joining Ralph Lauren, Cy worked for Anderson Growth Partners/Books-A-Million, a private equity group with substantial holdings in retail, wholesale, distribution, and real estate. Cy held various roles with the company including President of Digital, CIO, SVP of Store Technology, and SVP of Internet Operations.

Cy is very active with industry and community groups. He is the Chairman of the National Retail Federation's IT Security Council and serves on the executive committee of the NRF CIO Council. Cy works regularly with the DHS/CISA on Retail Industry issues and recently represented the Retail industry at the DHS CyberStorm 2020 National Cyber Exercise. Cy has spoken on retail IT and security at a number of industry conferences including the NRF Big Show, Zoomtopia, RSA, and the IAPP Global Privacy Summit. He serves on global customer advisory boards for Zoom, Microsoft, Team8, and Salesforce.

He is a member of the MIS Advisory Board for University of Alabama - Culverhouse College of Commerce, the Industrial Advisory Board for the School of Engineering at Vanderbilt University, the Retail Analytics Council at Northwestern University, and is a Retail Advisory Council member for the Knowledge@Wharton program at the University of Pennsylvania.

Katie Ferguson

Analytics & Data Science Recruiter, Burtch Works

Analytics & Data Science Recruiter, Burtch Works

Katie Ferguson, Senior Executive Recruiter at Burtch Works, has over 15 years’ experience in recruiting, specializing in roles within quantitative marketing science and predictive analytics. Katie helped launch Burtch Works’ mid- and junior-level analytics practice, and her extensive knowledge of the quantitative space allows her to share copious hiring market insights on the Burtch Works blog, as well as speak with university students about analytics careers.

Annette Franke

Former VP of Global Tech Talent, Kroger

Former VP of Global Tech Talent, Kroger

Annette has 30+ years of experience leading innovative large scale transformational change. As a woman in information technology, she is passionate about creating dynamic forward looking work environments and cultures that develop future technology leaders and solutions, celebrate the successes of technology and business teams, and deliver measurable results for the business.

Most recently Annette was with The Kroger Co. (Kroger), $132 billion grocery retailer based in Cincinnati, Ohio where she was the V.P. of KTD, Global Tech Talent and Partner Management. In this role Annette developed and implemented a new Global Tech Talent Strategy for all of KTD, which focused on building future leading skills within US employees, while also creating a global talent model that included the design and launch of a Talent Hub for the Kroger in Hyderabad, India.

Prior roles at Kroger include Chief Operating Officer (COO), of Sunrise Technology, LLC, a Kroger subsidiary and Microsoft partner company, V.P. Corporate Technology and Kroger Customer Care, and V.P of Customer Solutions and Services. Within these roles she helped Kroger lead from the front by creating a new commercialization strategy in Sunrise, overseeing market development for its suite of IoT products, generating a new “partnership agreement” between Kroger and Microsoft for “Retail as a Service”, and leading the KTD transformation during a period of high growth for the Kroger Co.

Derek Gaskins

Chief Marketing Officer, Yesway

Chief Marketing Officer, Yesway

Mr. Gaskins directs all marketing, merchandising and procurement efforts for the Yesway brand. He leads the effort to establish a marketing and merchandising playbook to improve the organization's go-to-market strategic plan. He also helps to further cultivate the growth and stewardship of the fast-growing Yesway brand with a keen focus on ensuring the organization's social, mobile, and loyalty initiatives are best in class.

Prior to joining Yesway, he served as Chief Customer Officer for Rutter’s convenience stores & Dairy business. Mr. Gaskins holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Iowa and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University.

Dr. Dhruv Grewal

Professor, Babson College

Professor, Babson College

Dhruv Grewal (Ph.D. Virginia Tech) is the Toyota Chair in Commerce and Electronic Business and a Professor of Marketing at Babson College. His research and teaching interests focus on the broad areas of value-based marketing strategies, retailing, pricing and services. He currently serves on numerous editorial review boards, such as Journal of Marketing (AE), Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science (AE), and the advisory board for Journal of Retailing.

He is listed in The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds, Thompson Reuters 2014. He was awarded the 2013 University wide Distinguished Graduate Alumnus from his alma mater Virginia Tech, the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award in Pricing (AMA Retailing & Pricing SIG), the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award in Retailing (AMA Retailing SIG), the 2005 Lifetime Achievement in Behavioral Pricing Award (Fordham University, November 2005) and the AMS Cutco/Vector Distinguished Educator Award in May 2010. He was co-editor of Journal of Retailing (2001-2007). He has also coauthored a number of books: Marketing Research, Marketing, M Series: Marketing and Retailing Management. He has won a number of awards for his research: 2016 Journal of Marketing Sheth Award, Luis W. Stern Award (2011, 2015), and William R. Davidson Journal of Retailing Best Paper Award (2010, 2012, 2016, 2018) Best Services Paper Award (2002). He has also been a finalist for the 2014 Journal of Marketing Harold H. Maynard Award. He has won a number of awards for his teaching: 2005 Sherwin-Williams Distinguished Teaching Award, SMA, 2003 AMA, and Award for Innovative Excellence in Marketing Education, 1999 AMS Great Teachers in Marketing Award.

He has taught executive seminars/courses and/or worked on research projects with numerous firms, such as Dell, ExxonMobil, IRI, McKinsey, Motorola and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company.

Dr. Abhijit Guha

Associate Professor of Marketing, University of South Carolina

Associate Professor of Marketing, University of South Carolina

Abhijit has a Ph.D. from Duke University and an M.B.A. from INSEAD. He has published articles in the Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Management Science, Journal of Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of Retailing, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Harvard Business Review, etc. Abhijit’s article “How artificial intelligence will change the future of marketing” (co-authors - Thomas Davenport, Dhruv Grewal and Timna Bressgott) was selected by the Journal of Academy of Marketing Science as a finalist for the 2020 Sheth Foundation Best Paper Award.

Before joining academia, Abhijit worked for about ten years with firms including McKinsey & Co. and HSBC.

Dr. Kris Hammond

Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Northwestern University, Chief Scientist and Co-Founder, Narrative Science and Director, Retail Analytics Council

Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Northwestern University, Chief Scientist and Co-Founder, Narrative Science and Director, Retail Analytics Council

Kris is a researcher in the areas of human-machine interaction, context-driven information systems, and artificial intelligence. Kris currently sits on a United Nations policy committee run by the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR). Prior to joining the faculty at Northwestern, Kris founded the University of Chicago’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. He received his PhD from Yale.

Shawn Harris

Director, SmartSight, Zebra Technologies Corporation

Director, SmartSight, Zebra Technologies Corporation

Shawn currently leads go to market efforts for Zebra’s SmartSight, as Director of North American. Shawn’s passion rests in brick-and-mortar and digital retail technology, operations, and customer experiences. He has been involved with store systems, e-commerce, and order management technologies for over 15 years and has served in various management and consulting roles with tier-one retailers, including TJX Cos, Staples, BJ’s, O’Reilly Auto Parts, and Uniqlo (Fast Retailing).

Shawn honorably served in the Army National Guard as an infantryman and armored personnel carrier driver for eight years. Shawn earned his MBA from Babson College and a bachelor's degree in management information systems from the University of Massachusetts.

Tariq Hassan

Chief Marketing Officer, Petco

Chief Marketing Officer, Petco

As Chief Marketing Officer, Tariq is responsible for leading Petco's enterprise marketing strategy. His mission is to provide pet parents with a seamless pet care experience, so they can focus on the joy their pets bring to their lives.
With more than 20 years of experience in global brand strategy, communications, innovation and insights across diverse categories, customer segments and markets, his expertise lies in harnessing and leveraging data to build long-lasting relationships with customers.
Prior to joining Petco, Tariq served as head of brand for Bank of America, led Merrill Lynch’s marketing team and held global leadership roles with Hewlett- Packard and Omnicom. He began his career in advertising, progressing through international assignments with D’Arcy, Leo Burnett and FCB before helping found Element79 Partners, the largest advertising agency start-up in U.S. history.

As a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion, and firm believer in the power of the arts, Tariq sits on the board of directors for Education for Employment, an organization dedicated to empowering marginalized youth across the Middle East and North Africa through vocational training and job placement; as well as on the board of Noor, a woman-founded and -led community theater. Additionally, he worked with the Obama administration on efforts to counter-message young Americans at risk to religious extremism and systemic discrimination.

Tariq holds an honors bachelor’s degree in international political science and philosophy from the University of Western Ontario, and a master’s degree in integrated marketing communications from Northwestern University. He is based at Petco’s National Support Center in San Diego.

Kirsten Horning

Principal, XRC Labs

Principal, XRC Labs

Kirsten is the Principal at XRC Labs, where she leads XRC's startup sourcing and diligence process as well as investor relations. Prior to XRC, she most recently worked at a family office in California sourcing investments in the growing cannabis space. Prior, Kirsten worked at Nomad Goods heading their wholesale sales channels from the ground up and served as the liaison with majors like Best Buy, Urban Outfitters, Williams Sonoma, as well as a variety of specialty boutiques and distributors worldwide.

Kirsten graduated with her Master’s in International Business and Public Policy from Georgetown in the inaugural cohort of a joint program hosted by the McDonough School of Business and McCourt School of Public Policy and received her Bachelor’s from the University of California, Santa Barbara double majoring in Global and International Studies and Linguistics with a minor in Spanish.

Blaine Hurst

Vice Chairman and former CEO and President, Panera Bread

Vice Chairman and former CEO and President, Panera Bread

Blaine Hurst, recently retired CEO of Panera Bread, a four-time Fast Casual Mover and Shaker, is a one of highest impact restaurant leaders of recent times, leading two of the largest restaurants in the U.S.

At Panera, he led the team that revolutionized guest experience through technology, (Panera 2.0), rolling out the largest loyalty program in the industry – MyPanera, on-line ordering, rapid pickup, and delivery from 2010 to 2015. Digital ordering at Panera exceeds $2 billion annually. He also grew Panera’s catering business to be the largest in the nation. As a result, Panera was named the most innovative restaurant and named the 23rd most innovative of all companies by FastCompany.

As President of Papa John’s in the 90’s, he oversaw its rapid growth from 450 stores to nearly 3,000 in the US and 9 international markets. And in 1998, he rolled out the first online ordering system available nationwide for any restaurant chain, generating more than $1 billion of annual revenue.
Blaine was a partner with Ernst & Young and founded one of their two research centers, the Center for Information Technology Planning and Development.

Today’s Blaine is the Vice Chairman and an advisor to Panera Bread. He is a board member of Women in Foodservice Forum, a board member of Oath Pizza and an investor/advisor for the Shepherd Hotel, a hotel project in Clemson, SC that has partnered with ClemsonLIFE in the employment of individuals with special gifts. Blaine’s son David, a special gifts young man of 32, inspires much of his work today. He is also the author of 8 patents, has been a frequent speaker on the national stage and is a thought leader for restaurants, technology, big data, leadership and diversity and inclusion. He is a proud Kentucky Colonel. And after a high impact career of leading innovation and transformation, in retirement Blaine is combining his passion for food and his compassion for people to make a difference.

Frank Layo

Co-Founder, Macondo Vision

Co-Founder, Macondo Vision

A productivity and efficiency SME credentialed by 20+ years’ experience across industries and established tenure with the U.S. Air Force and later a consultant and executive with Kurt Salmon and Accenture. Frank has worked closely with supply chain leaders and retail C-level executives to craft flexible and responsive global logistics networks with direct bottom line impact at 100+ companies. He has worked successfully and comfortably across multiple industries both domestic and international. Approach: His layered and sophisticated knowledge of operational structure and technology combine to afford Frank as a trusted advisor at the highest levels. His non-formulaic approach allows for the creativity and innovation that revolutionizes warehouse labor optimization while leveraging cutting edge technology.

Brandon Levine

Venture Partner, Composite Ventures

Venture Partner, Composite Ventures

Brandon brings 20 years of expertise launching new products and business models in the areas of supply chain, fintech, cloud strategy, logistics, AI, customer service and marketing technology to Composite Ventures. His prior roles include Head of Innovation, Financial Services and Payments Strategy at Dollar General, a Co-founder of Openbucks (acquired by Paysafe Group) and a Co-founder of Transaction-Labs (acquired by A&M Capital, Juna Capital).

Brandon earned a BS in Microbiology and Chemistry from University of Miami and University of Westminster in London.

Daniel W. Linna Jr.

Director of Law and Technology Initiatives & Senior Lecturer, Northwestern University

Director of Law and Technology Initiatives & Senior Lecturer, Northwestern University

Daniel W. Linna Jr. has a joint appointment at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and McCormick School of Engineering as the Director of Law and Technology Initiatives and a Senior Lecturer. Dan’s teaching and research focus on innovation and technology, including computational law, artificial intelligence, data analytics, leadership, operations, and innovation frameworks.

Dan is also an affiliated faculty member at CodeX — The Stanford Center for Legal Informatics. He joined Northwestern as a Visiting Professor of Law from Michigan State University College of Law, where he was a Professor of Law in Residence and the founder and Director of LegalRnD — The Center for Legal Services Innovation. At Michigan State, Dan taught Quantitative Analysis for Lawyers, Litigation {Data, Theory, Practice, & Process}, Entrepreneurial Lawyering, and Lawyer Ethics and Regulation in a Technology-Driven World.

Dan received his BA from the University of Michigan, received a second BA and an MA in public policy and administration from Michigan State University, and graduated magna cum laude, Order of the Coif from the University of Michigan Law School.

Vikas Mehta

CFO, Nike Direct

CFO, Nike Direct

Vikas Mehta is the CFO of Nike Direct. He is responsible for all financial and strategic objectives for Nike’s $12B+ Global Direct-To-Consumer business as the company accelerates its digital transformation. Vikas has an extensive career driving Digital Transformation, with over 20 years of experience in all facets of Finance and Strategy. Prior to joining Nike, he was VP, Finance at Walmart eCommerce and before that spent more than a decade in multiple leadership roles at Microsoft, including CFO of Microsoft Azure. Earlier in his career he worked at eBay and Autodesk.

Vikas holds an MBA from the Foster School of Business, University of Washington.

Sarah Mitchell

Associate Director, Master of Science in Analytics, Northwestern University

Associate Director, Master of Science in Analytics, Northwestern University

Sarah has a background in both education as well as customer service and has been working for the Master of Science in Analytics Program at Northwestern University for over 5 years.

Dr. Frank J. Mulhern

Professor, Integrated Marketing Communications, Associate Dean of Research, and Director, Retail Analytics Council, Northwestern University

Professor, Integrated Marketing Communications, Associate Dean of Research, and Director, Retail Analytics Council, Northwestern University

Frank Mulhern serves as a Director of the Retail Analytics Council, an initiative between Medill School, Integrated Marketing Communications department, Northwestern University, and PRI. Mulhern is Executive Director of Academic Programs and Professor for Integrated Marketing Communications. He specializes in research on the economics of marketing, the impact of media technology on marketing communications, and the role of employees in customer experiences. He holds the Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani Professorship at Medill.

Srini Nallasivan

Executive Vice President, Chief Analytics Officer & Head of Enterprise CRM, U.S. Bank Corp.

Executive Vice President, Chief Analytics Officer & Head of Enterprise CRM, U.S. Bank Corp.

Srini Nallasivan is the Executive Vice President, Chief Analytics Officer and Head of Enterprise CRM at U.S. Bank. In this role, he is focused on leveraging advanced analytics across the enterprise to ensure that we use advanced machine learning and the insights from our data to meet the needs of our customers, helping them what is possible in the near future.

Nallasivan joined the company from AIG, where he has been a global head of digital and data analytics, focusing on digital transformation using analytics for all personal lines across AIG spanning 80 countries.
Prior to that role, Nallasivan worked in positions of increasing responsibility in the data and analytics space at Bank of America for more than a decade with experience in leveraging insights to enhance strategy, bank transformation, online banking delivery, and anti-money laundering efforts. He worked as a mainframe programmer (absolutely hated it) and network engineering and holds six U.S. patents in artificial intelligence and wearable sensors.

Nallasivan holds master’s degrees in engineering and management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and telecommunications and network management from Syracuse University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from India. He also is a certified Six Sigma Black Belt, he is a board member for Acxiom’s CAB, and former co-chairman of Safe Alliance in Charlotte.

David Pakman

Partner, Venrock Associates

Partner, Venrock Associates

As a Partner at Venrock in New York, David focuses on early stage venture investing in consumer and enterprise tech companies with a recent focus on robotics, crypto and consumer products. His active investments include Dapper Labs, Running Tide, Dstillery, Smartling and Simbe Robotics. His is also a Board Member of Arduino. He led both the Series A and Series B rounds in Dollar Shave Club and sat on the board until that company was acquired by Unilever for $1B in July of 2016. He served on the Board of Crunchyroll (acquired by The Chernin Group) and led Venrock’s investment in Klout which was acquired by Lithium Technologies. In April 2017, he was named the 55th top venture capitalist in the world by CB Insights.

Previously, Pakman was the CEO of eMusic, the world’s leading digital retailer of independent music, second only to iTunes in number of downloads sold. Pakman transformed the business from an obscure also-ran with 50,000 subscribers to the second largest digital music retailer in the world, with more than 400,000 subscribers, $68M in revenue and more than 12% market share.

Prior to joining eMusic, Pakman was Co-Founder and President of Business Development and Public Policy at Myplay, Inc., the company he co-founded in 1999 in Redwood City, CA that introduced the “digital music locker” and pioneered the locker category. In 2001, Myplay was sold to Bertelsmann’s ecommerce Group. Before Myplay, he was Vice President at N2K Entertainment, which created the first digital music download service. He also was the co-creator of Apple’s Music Group and a product manager at Apple.
Pakman is a graduate of and a former member of the Board of Overseers at University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science with a degree in Computer Science Engineering and is an avid musician and songwriter. He testified in front of Congress regarding internet music streaming in 2012, 2016 and 2017. He also served on the Board of POTS, a human services non-profit in the Bronx helping low-income families and is a Trustee of St. Luke’s School in Connecticut.

Venrock is a premier venture capital firm with offices in Palo Alto, New York and Boston. Originally established as the venture capital arm of the Rockefeller family, Venrock continues the eight-decade tradition of partnering with entrepreneurs to establish successful, enduring companies. Having invested $2.5 billion in nearly 450 companies resulting in more than 125 IPOs in 41 years, Venrock’s investment returns place it among the top tier venture capital firms that have achieved consistently superior performance. With a primary focus on technology and healthcare, portfolio companies have included Adify, AppNexus, Apple, athenahealth, Castlight, Check Point Software, Cloudflare, DoubleClick, Gilead Sciences, Idec Pharmaceuticals, Illumina, Intel, Ironwood, SlideShare, 10x Genomics, Nest and Dollar Shave Club. For more information, please visit Venrock’s website at www.venrock.com.

Jateen Patel

SVP, Digital, Personalization, Loyalty and Analytics, Peapod Digital Labs

SVP, Digital, Personalization, Loyalty and Analytics, Peapod Digital Labs

Jateen “Jat” Patel is the Senior Vice President of Digital, Personalization, Loyalty & Analytics for Peapod Digital Labs, an Ahold Delhaize USA company. In his role, he enables the local brands of Ahold Delhaize USA to deliver world-class data-driven personalization for our customers while strengthening brand loyalty. Jat provides overall strategic leadership through advanced analytics, data science, digital analytics, loyalty, personalized marketing, and enterprise campaign management. Innovation play a vital role in the growth of Delhaize USA and a key part of his role is the contribution to the design of a digital innovation roadmap and solutions that advance Ahold Delhaize USA's digital and e-commerce platforms through Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning application development and deployment.

With more than 20 years of experience in analytics, consulting and customer strategy, Jat is an expert in delivering best-in-class, customer-centric thinking in grocery retail having worked with several retailers across the globe. A proven team builder, he has stood up numerous new teams, functions and programs.

Ram Peddu

SVP, Head of Intelligent Automation & Advanced Analytics, Citizens Bank

SVP, Head of Intelligent Automation & Advanced Analytics, Citizens Bank

Ram Peddu is Head of Intelligent Automation & Advanced Analytics at Citizens Bank, working in Enterprise Data Office. Ram has over 16 years of experience leading various analytic initiatives across multiple functions in banking, having worked for companies such as JP Morgan Chase and American Express. He is passionate about bringing automation and analytic transformation by getting the right people together to solve business problems at the bank. Ram has a master’s in Computer Science and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. Ram is a long-distance runner and loves to play tennis with his kids.

Marc Perrella

SmartSight Intelligent Automation, Lead

SmartSight Intelligent Automation, Lead

Marc Perrella is the SmartSight Intelligent Automation, Lead, as part of Zebra’s Robotics & Automation Business Unit. With more than 25 of experience within the IT and Automation industries, implementing large complex mulit-million IT, business transformation programs, along with designing and developing automation systems; Marc has lead start-ups as well as turned around underperforming business units. Previously, he served within Zebra’s and Motorola’s’ EMC Portfolio Strategy & Management team, as well as Director of Strategic Planning & Marketing at Psion. As VP Technology at IDC, he led the IT Infrastructure, Software and Mobile Solution team advising Fortune 100 technology firms on product, pricing, marketing and channel strategies. Marc has lead global business units, product management & development, marketing teams, responsible for P&L performance, global portfolio/product strategy, pricing and channel partner management. As an innovator, Marc Perrella has been awarded 5 US and International patents in the Automation domain and holds a BASc (Chemical Engineering) Degree with Management Science from the University of Waterloo.

Dr. Nichole Pinkard

Associate Professor, Northwestern University

Associate Professor, Northwestern University

Dr. Nichole Pinkard is an Associate Professor in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University and Faculty Director of the Office Community Education Partnerships. She is the founder of Digital Youth Network and L3, a social learning platform that connects youth’s learning opportunities across the school, home, community, and beyond.

Through collaborations with city agencies (e.g. YOUmedia with the Chicago Public Library, City of Learning with Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, and My Chi My Future with Mayor Lightfoot). Dr. Pinkard and DYN’s work has ignited new models for reimagining, visualizing, and documenting learning across spaces through the creation of existence proofs in urban contexts.

Dr. Pinkard is the recipient of a 2010 Common Sense Media Award for Outstanding Commitment to Creativity and Youth, the Jan Hawkins Award for Early Career Contributions to Humanistic Research and Scholarship in Learning Technologies, an NSF Early CAREER Fellowship. She holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University, an M.S. in Computer Science from Northwestern University, and a Ph.D. in Learning Sciences from Northwestern University. Her current scholarly interests include the design and use of pedagogical-based social networks and socio-technical systems to support community-level ecological models of learning.

Steven Keith Platt

Lecturer and Research Director, Retail Analytics Council and Co-Founder and Chief Development Officer, RetailPredict.ai

Lecturer and Research Director, Retail Analytics Council and Co-Founder and Chief Development Officer, RetailPredict.ai

Steven has over 25 years of experience in the retail analytics space. He received his B.S. Degree in Finance and Marketing, J.D., and LL.M. in Tax from Boston University.

He has authored many studies about retail analytics and digital communication networks and has published articles in journals including the American Bankers Association Journal, Digital Signage Quarterly, Extended Retail Solutions, Retail Information Systems News, the Retail Solutions Providers Association Magazine, and the Retail Navigator, among many others. He has been quoted in publications including Bloomberg, Business Week, Chain Store Age, the Chicago Tribune, CNN Business, DSN Retailing Today, Inc. Magazine, MIT Technology Review, RFID Journal, Stores Magazine, the San Jose Mercury News, Time Magazine, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal. He has also appeared as a guest analyst on the CBS Evening News and Early Show and ABC World News. He has also lectured at conferences around the globe.

Diane Randolph

Former Chief Information Officer, ULTA Beauty

Former Chief Information Officer, ULTA Beauty

Diane served as ULTA Beauty Chief Information Officer from October 2014 to September 2020. She was responsible for advancing the company’s strategic goals through technology-solutions delivery and operations support for all functions including marketing, merchandising, stores, distribution centers, e-commerce, inventory management, desktop and data centers. She is currently a member of the board of directors for Core-Mark Holding Company.

Prior to joining ULTA Beauty, she was Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Reitman’s (Canada) Limited, Canada’s largest specialty apparel retailer with nearly 900 stores. From 2003 to 2004, Diane served as an independent consultant for several retailers, providing strategic and tactical counsel on initiatives ranging from new concept start-up to warehouse implementation. Previously, she spent 25 years in roles of increasing responsibility at NSB/STS Systems (now Aptos), a leading supplier of retail software and professional services, including as Vice President of Software Development.

William Santiago

CEO, Badger Technologies

CEO, Badger Technologies

Mr. Santiago has more than 21 years of enterprise sales, operations management, business transformation and strategic planning experience in serving the retail, manufacturing, distribution, finance and hospitality industries. Currently, Mr. Santiago is the Vice President of Global Sales of Badger Technologies, a product division of Jabil. In this role, he is responsible for driving all aspects of the sales, development, delivery and service for Badger Technologies’ suite of retail offerings.

Prior to Badger Technologies, Mr. Santiago has served in both VP and C-level positions as an influential business executive and leader with impeccable record of driving profit and operational efficiencies in such companies as Quadient (a Neopost Company), MobiManage, Intellinetics and Lexmark International. Mr. Santiago is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University and a former United States Army Officer and Veteran of Operation Desert Storm. Mr. Santiago holds various industry certifications in Lean Six Sigma, Total Quality Management (TQM), Customer Journey Mapping (CJM) and ITIL.

AJ Sutera

Executive Vice President, Chief Information and Technology Officer, The Finish Line

Executive Vice President, Chief Information and Technology Officer, The Finish Line

AJ Sutera is the EVP, Chief Information and Technology Officer at The Finish Line, where is responsible for the leadership and long-range strategy of Finish Line’s technology, customer experience, analytics and innovation functions. Previously, he served as CTO of the Hudson Bay Company, where he was responsible for consumer experience and engagement strategies, as well as omnichannel technologies for all banners of the Hudson’s Bay Corporation including Saks Fifth Avenue, Saks Off5th, Lord and Taylor, Hudson’s Bay and Home Outfitters.

Prior to joining HBC, Mr. Sutera has held a variety of executive technology positions in organizations including JetBlue Airways, General Electric, and Volvo North America. Mr. Sutera is a graduate of Montclair State University with B.S. degrees in Accounting and Finance, as well as advanced degrees from Stevens Institute of Technology.

Charlotte C.J. Tsou

Head of Marketing Analytics & Insights, Prudential Financial

Head of Marketing Analytics & Insights, Prudential Financial

Charlotte Tsou has more than 17 years of business experience, including 15 years in the retail banking and financial service industry, with a special emphasis in consumer lending and credit card marketing strategy and product management. Her core expertise is in analytics problem solving applied in setting strategies for consumer facing international corporations. As Senior Vice President at HSBC Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Tsou currently heads up the Analytics and CRM function in the Latin Americas Region. She is focused on transforming the organization by centralizing the analytics resources, commercializing the data-driven strategies, building digital platforms, developing customer insights, and driving revenue growth for the region. She leads a team of 150+ analysts and data scientists across five countries.

Prior to joining HSBC, Tsou led a Mortgage to Consumer CRM function for Principal Mortgage (Citi Mortgage), responsible for direct-to-consumer lead generation and optimization. In this capacity, she was responsible for developing integrated marketing program for both the contact center and digital channels. Before joining Principal Mortgage, Tsou was a Funding Manager with a Venture Capital firm in New Jersey.

Sasha Verbitsky

VP Digital and Customer Analytics, Panera Bread

VP Digital and Customer Analytics, Panera Bread

Sasha is currently VP Digital and Customer Analytics at Panera Bread, where he is accelerating applications of data and analytics in support of Panera’s digital product, loyalty/recurring revenue, and performance media initiatives. He also oversee Panera’s marketing and data technology, leads SEO strategy and agency oversight, and is directly involved with performance digital marketing audience strategy and measurement.

Prior to Panera, Sasha held the role of VP of Data Science at Marriott International, where he oversaw all aspects of analytics, insights and data science for digital, distribution, revenue management, and global sales. Prior to Marriott, he built best in class analytics and optimization practice at Abercrombie & Fitch, as well as progressive digital and customer/CRM analytics leadership roles at Lands’ End, Victoria’s Secret and Chase.

Dr. Vijay Viswanathan

Associate Dean of IMC and Associate Professor, Medill, Northwestern University and Director of Retail Analytics Council

Associate Dean of IMC and Associate Professor, Medill, Northwestern University and Director of Retail Analytics Council

Dr. Vijay Viswanathan serves as a Director of the Retail Analytics Council, an initiative between Medill School, Integrated Marketing Communications department, Northwestern University and PRI. Viswanathan obtained his Ph.D. from Emory University in 2010, and is an Associate Professor and IMC Department Chair at Northwestern University.

Professor Viswanathan’s research focuses on topics related to marketing such as consumer decision making, media consumption and brand portfolio management. While he has worked on qualitative research projects, his work generally involves the use of quantitative econometric and time-series models. Viswanathan has published his research in Media Psychology, International Journal of Communication, Journal of Consumer Marketing, Journal of Marketing Analytics, Journal of Brand Management, International Journal of IMC, and Journal of Telecommunications System and Management.

Brooke Wagner

Brooke Wagner, SVP, Merchandise Planning & Allocation, Designer Brands

Brooke Wagner, SVP, Merchandise Planning & Allocation, Designer Brands

Brooke Wagner is serving as the Senior Vice President of Merchandise Planning and Allocation for Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW) and Camuto group; one of North America’s largest designers, producers and retailers of footwear and accessories. She joined DBI in 2018 leading the DSW group. She is currently responsible for developing product growth strategies that leverage data, technology, and innovation. Her groups include Advanced Analytics, Merchandise Planning, Demand Forecasting, Allocation, Pricing, and Merchandise Operations. Prior to joining DBI, Brooke was a senior leader with Victoria’s Secret (NYSE: LB) where she led Omni channel MP&A for their Lingerie Division.
Brooke is a member of the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA). She holds her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Ohio University located in Athens, Ohio for Marketing and Business Economics.

Letitia Webster

SVP, eCommerce and Omnichannel, Tractor Supply Company

SVP, eCommerce and Omnichannel, Tractor Supply Company

Sr. Vice President of eCommerce, Omni Channel and Master Data Management, Tractor Supply Co. Tractor Supply Co. is the largest operator of rural lifestyle retail stores in America. Letitia joined Tractor Supply Co in 2014 and is responsible for building a seamless omni channel experience to meet the ever changing needs of their customers.

Prior to joining Tractor Supply, Letitia spent 27 years at Sears Holdings Corporation with roles including Merchandising, Marketing and eCommerce. Letitia is a member of NRF Digital Council. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama.

Dr. Timothy Wei

Adjunct Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Strategic Advisor, Retail Analytics Council, Northwestern University

Adjunct Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Strategic Advisor, Retail Analytics Council, Northwestern University

Timothy Wei is the Founder and Principal of the Transformational Food Manufacturing Initiative, a public-private-partnership focused on feeding a growing global population at the nexus of advanced manufacturing and food. Prior to that, he served as Dean of Engineering at Nebraska and Department Head and Interim Dean at RPI. Tim has B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Cornell, Lehigh and Michigan, respectively. He has held visiting faculty appointments at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (Carderock, MD), MIT and the Tampere University of Technology (Tampere, Finland). He is a Fellow of ASME, IMechE and APS.

Tim’s research involved coupling fundamental fluid dynamics experiments with critically important technologies. A favorite project involved measuring flow around Olympic swimmers with USA Swimming. More broadly, he has helped develop technology innovations and roadmaps for individual start-up companies, multi-national industry consortia and university technology R&D centers.

Robert C. Wolcott

Adjunct Professor of Innovation, Booth School of Business, University of Chicago

Adjunct Professor of Innovation, Booth School of Business, University of Chicago and Adjunct Professor of Executive Education, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

Wolcott is an Adjunct Professor of Innovation at the Booth School of Business, University of Chicago and Adjunct Professor of Executive Education, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, and formerly a Visiting Professor at the Keio Business School (Japan). Wolcott won Teacher of the Year from Kellogg's EMBA program in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017. He serves on the Digital Advisory Board of ZF, the German global industrial enterprise; Open Innovation Lab of Norway; and H-Farm, the leading digital innovation ecosystem in Italy. Wolcott is also a managing partner with Clareo, a growth strategy consultancy serving senior executives at global corporations such as Exelon, BHP Billiton, Castrol, Johnson Controls, Owens Corning and others.

Wolcott is a regular contributor to Forbes regarding the impact of technology change on business, leadership, and society. His book with Dr. Michael Lippitz, Grow From Within: Mastering Corporate Entrepreneurship and Innovation (McGraw-Hill, 2010) shares a decade of research and has been published in Chinese and Japanese. Wolcott's work has appeared in MIT Sloan Management Review, strategy+business, The Harvard Business Review, TheHill.com, Quartz.com, The Wall Street Journal, Advertising Age, Business Week, The Financial Times (European Edition), The New York Times and numerous overseas publications. He is a frequent speaker at events worldwide.

In 2003, Wolcott founded the Kellogg Innovation Network (KIN), a network of senior executives dedicated to driving sustainable innovation, now an independent organization known as The World Innovation Network (TWIN). TWIN's annual summit, TWIN Global, takes place in September and includes leaders from around the world who collaborate around issues of significance for their organizations and for humanity (www.twinglobal.org). Wolcott is also an active angel investor in enterprises such as crowdfunding leader Indiegogo (www.indiegogo.com), student loan innovator Lumni (www.lumni.net), legal documentation platform Page Vault (www.page-vault.com/), healthcare data and analytics providers SA Ignite (www.saignite.com) and ClearCare Online (exited to Battery Ventures in 2016; www.clearcareonline.com), cybersecurity provider MagicCube (www.magiccube.co) and international art exposition EXPO Chicago (www.expochicago.com).

Wolcott received a BA, European and Chinese History; and an MS and Ph.D., Industrial Engineering & Management Science, Northwestern University.

Dr. Marcelo Worsley

Assistant Professor, Learning Sciences and Computer Science and Director, Retail Analytics Council

Assistant Professor, Learning Sciences and Computer Science and Director, Retail Analytics Council

Marcelo Worsley is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Learning Sciences. His research integrates artificial intelligence and data mining with multimodal interfaces to study and support human learning. He directs the technological innovations for inclusive learning and teaching (tiilt) lab which works with community and industry partners around the world to empower organizations through the design and use of novel analytic tools. Marcelo has a Ph.D. in Learning Sciences and Technology Design from Stanford University.

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    AGENDA & SESSION SUMMARIES

    Tue, May 18

    11:00AM-11:15AM

    Introduction to the Conference, the Retail Analytics Council, and Northwestern’s Integrated Marketing Communications Department
    Dr. Frank J. Mulhern

    11:15AM-12:15PM

    Standing Up a Retail Data and AI Center of Excellence
    Moderator: Dr. Martin Block — Panelists: Dr. Dhruv Grewal, Dr. Abhijit Guha, and Dr. Tom Davenport
    Summary: As retailers explore implementing AI, the organizational structure to support this function can be challenging. In this session, our expert panel will present best practices for organizing a retail data and AI center of excellence within your retail organization. As well, a summary of the RAC Retail Board’s AI state of adoption will be presented.

    12:15PM-1:00PM

    Breakout Sessions
    Managing Privacy Risks
    Moderator: Cy Fenton — Panelists: Dr. Martin Paul Block and Daniel W. Linna Jr
    Summary: Privacy concerns are now a top issue for marketers and retailers. Not only do current data privacy regulations such as the GDPR and CCPA impact marketing strategy, but proposed regulation may go much further. The regulation of algorithms and automated decision-making could well be added, such as proposed by the Algorithmic Accountability Act, which has already been introduced. The implications for retailers are profound and will be addressed in this session.
    AI Applications in Banking
    Moderator: Dr. Tim Wei — Panelists: Charlotte C. J. Tsou, Srini Nallasivan, and Ram Peddu
    Summary: AI applications in banking are rapidly advancing. Our panel will address how AI is being applied in marketing to enhance the customer experience and to address various operating issues. As well, additional areas of exploration will be explored.
    AI Start-Ups-Challenges and Opportunities
    Moderator: Ken Fenyo — Panelists: David Pakman, Brandon Levine, Kirsten Horning, Frank Layo, and Navjit Bhasin
    Summary: During this session, our VC panelists will present their outlook for the VC market generally and retail AI applications in particular. Several emerging retail AI companies will also talk about their solutions.

    1:00PM-2:00PM

    Engaging Customers in a Digital World
    Moderator: Holly Briedis — Panelists: Blaine Hurst, Brian Elliott, and Letitia Webster
    Summary: Retailing transcends both the digital and physical space. Connecting with customers with data-driven business models is critical, particularly around the provision of services and support. In this session, the panelists will address issues including establishing a comprehensive view of the customer, digital transformational challenges and opportunities, and related best practices.

    2:00PM-2:55PM

    RAC Research Outlook
    Panelists: Dr. Timothy Wei, Dr. Robert C. Wolcott, and Matthew Chang
    Summary: E-commerce, the virus pandemic, and demographic shifts are just a few of the societal disruptions that are driving change across the retail industry.  As part of its commitment to support the industry, the RAC is developing a research strategy and roadmap to proactively anticipate and address challenges on and over the horizon.  This will be a two-part, facilitated discussion with the goal of identifying critical, broad-based opportunities and challenges for which high-impact, transformational technology solutions may be developed.


    May 18: There will be two presentations to stimulate conversation about the future of retail in the context of ongoing society-wide disruptions.

    May 19: Participants are asked to prepare in advance a list of technology gaps and barriers that will prevent their company, or the industry at large, from effectively meeting consumer demand into the future.  These will be discussed and prioritized in breakout discussions. While there will be an emphasis on retail analytics, any technological challenge including manufacturing, distribution, etc. across the supply chain are open for discussion.

    May 20: Results of discussions from May 19 will be presented.

    3:00PM

    Closing Remarks

    Wed, May 19

    11:00AM-11:15AM

    Introduction of Day Two and to Northwestern’s Computer Science Department
    Dr. Larry Birnbaum

    11:15AM-12:15PM

    RAC Retail Board Panel AI Adoption Trends
    Moderator: Steven Keith Platt — Panelists: Cari Covent, Derek Gaskins, and Sumit Anand
    Summary: In this session, RAC Retail Advisory Board members will provide their perspective on how AI is being implemented, the challenges being faced, and the opportunities for future advancement.

    12:15PM-1:00PM

    Breakout Sessions
    Hiring and Retaining AI Talent
    Moderator: Christopher Cahill — Panelists: Linda Burtch, Katie Furgerson, Allison Berger, Akeya Porter, and Sarah Mitchell
    Summary: The demand for analytics talent has continued to greatly outpace the supply. During this session, we will explore the trends in hiring data science talent from academic programs and industry.  With the quantitative hiring market kicking into high gear in 2021, research on today’s analytical talent, including analytics salaries, COVID-19 impacts, and how the analytics hiring market has changed over the past year will be presented.  We will also discuss the keys to recruiting students from Northwestern University.
    Barriers to AI Adoption in the Grocery Industry
    Moderator: Doug Baker — Panelists: Brett Bonner, Annette Franke, and Jateen Patel
    Summary: AI is being deployed in many retail verticals. In grocery, impediments to adoption present themselves. In this session, our panel will discuss AI adoption and use cases in the grocery segment, as well as barriers to adoption.
    Taking a Human Approach to Intelligent Automation
    Panelists: Marc Perrella and Shawn Harris
    Summary: To leverage the transformative benefits of Intelligent Automation, including Mobile Automation, RPA, virtual personal assistants, retailers can benefit by considering the human aspects of this innovative technology on shoppers and store associates. In this panel discussion, we will discuss:

    1. How intelligent automation improves the customer experience and store operations.
    2. Preparing store staff for Intelligent automation.
    3. Manage the intelligent automation transformation for success.

    1:00PM-2:00PM

    AI Perspective from the C Suite
    Moderator: Moderator: Steven Keith Platt — Panelists: Vikas Mehta, Tariq Hassan, and Brooke Wagner
    Summary: Many retailers are exploring implementing AI solutions. Beyond just chasing the “shiny object,” successful implementation requires a firm understanding of the business use cases. Making the solution explainable, easy to implement, and effectively communicating outcomes and protocols through the organization is also critical to success. In this session, our panel will address these and other issues.

    2:00PM-2:55PM

    RAC Research Break-Out Sessions
    Panelists: Dr. Timothy Wei and Dr. Martin Block

    3:00PM

    Closing Remarks

    Thu, May 20

    11:00AM-11:10AM

    Conference Summary
    Dr. Vijay Viswanathan

    11:10AM-12:10PM

    NLP Applications in Retail
    Panelists: Dr. Kris Hammond and Leandro Balbino
    Summary: Natural Language Processing is a rapidly advancing technology. In this session, our speakers will present an overview of this technology and how it can be deployed.

    12:15PM-1:00PM

    Breakout Sessions
    AI Applications in Restaurant/QSR Industry
    Panelists: Nitin Chaturvedi, Steve Carley, and Sasha Verbitsky
    Summary: AI has the potential to alter the course of the restaurant/QSR industry. In this session, the panel will explore how these advanced solutions are and can be deployed.
    AI Community Outreach
    Panelists: Panelists: Dr. Nichole Pinkard and Dr. Marcelo Worsley
    Summary: Northwestern University is committed to our community. In this session, you will learn about programs being undertaken to help students of color see innovative ways that analytics, data science, and computing can have relevance across a broad set of industries. The presenters will share information about the recent design and implementation of these programs, discuss their upcoming plans to expand this work, and talk through some partnering opportunities.
    Introduction to the RAC AI Lab
    Panelists: Steven Keith Platt, Glenn Allison, Diane Randolph, and AJ Sutera
    Summary: The RAC AI Lab offers companies an opportunity to learn how AI can impact their business by running experiments. From firms that have busy analytic teams that desire to undertake a quick proof of concept to those that are first considering how AI can impact their business, all can benefit from engaging with the RAC.

    1:00PM-2:00PM

    Creating Value from In-Store Data
    Moderator: Chris Cahill — Panelists: Brad Bogolea, Shawn Harris, and William Santiago
    Summary: As retailers continue to deploy automation in their stores, a treasure trove of data is unleashed. Leveraging this resource provides retailers with many operational enhancements. In this session, our panel will explore trends in retail robot adoption, as well as the value enhancement of this data as part of the overall intelligent information stack.

    2:00PM-2:20PM

    RAC Research Objectives
    Panelists: Dr. Timothy Wei and Steven Keith Platt

    2:20PM-2:30PM

    Closing Remarks
    Dr. Frank J. Mulhern

    Tue, May 18

    Introduction to the Conference, the Retail Analytics Council, and Northwestern’s Integrated Marketing Communications Department
    11:00AM-11:15AM — As retailers explore implementing AI, the organizational structure to support this function can be challenging. In this session, our expert panel will present best practices for organizing a retail data and AI center of excellence within your retail organization. As well, a summary of the RAC Retail Board’s AI state of adoption will be presented.

    Managing Privacy Risks
    Breakout Session // 12:15PM-1:00PM — Privacy concerns are now a top issue for marketers and retailers.  Not only do current data privacy regulations such as the GDPR and CCPA impact marketing strategy, but proposed regulation may go much further.  The regulation of algorithms and automated decision-making could well be added, such as proposed by the Algorithmic Accountability Act, which has already been introduced.  One solution to the privacy problem is privacy-protected cohort-based segmentation, partially inspired by Google’s recent FloC announcement eliminating third-party cookies.  The implications for retailers are profound and will be addressed in this session.

    AI Applications in Banking
    Breakout Session // 12:15PM-1:00PM — AI applications in banking are rapidly advancing. Our panel will address how AI is being applied in marketing, to enhance the customer experience, and to address various operating issues. As well, additional areas of exploration will be explored.

    AI Start-Ups-Challenges and Opportunities
    Breakout Session // 12:15PM-1:00PM — During this session, our VC panelists will present their outlook for the VC market generally, and retail AI applications in particular. Three emerging retail AI companies will also talk about their solutions.

    Engaging Customers in a Digital World
    1:00PM-2:00PM — Retailing transcends both the digital and physical space. Connecting with customers with data-driven business models is critical, particularly around the provision of services and support. In this session, the panelists will address issues including establishing a comprehensive view of the customer, digital transformational challenges and opportunities, and related best practices.

    RAC Research Outlook
    2:00PM-2:55PM — E-commerce, the virus pandemic, and demographic shifts are just a few of the societal disruptions that are driving change across the retail industry.  As part of its commitment to support the industry, the RAC is developing a research strategy and roadmap to proactively anticipate and address challenges on and over the horizon.  This will be a two-part, facilitated discussion with the goal of identifying critical, broad-based opportunities and challenges for which high-impact, transformational technology solutions may be developed.

    • May 18: There will be two presentations to stimulate conversation about the future of retail in the context of ongoing society-wide disruptions.
    • May 19: Participants are asked to prepare in advance a list of technology gaps and barriers that will prevent their company, or the industry at large, from effectively meeting consumer demand into the future.  These will be discussed and prioritized in breakout discussions. (While there will be an emphasis on retail analytics, any technological challenge including manufacturing, distribution, etc. across the supply chain are open for discussion.)
    • May 20: Results of discussions from May 19 will be presented.

    Wed, May 19

    RAC Retail Board Panel AI Adoption Trends
    11:15AM-12:15PM — In this session, RAC Retail Advisory Board members will provide their perspective on how AI is being implemented, the challenges being faced, and the opportunities for future advancement.

    Hiring and Retaining AI Talent
    Breakout Session // 12:15PM-1:00PM — The demand for analytics talent has continued to greatly outpace the supply. During this session, we will explore the trends in hiring data science talent from academic programs and industry. With the quantitative hiring market kicking into high gear in 2021, research on today’s analytical talent, including analytics salaries, COVID-19 impacts, and how the analytics hiring market has changed over the past year will be presented. We will also discuss the keys to recruiting students from Northwestern University.

    Barriers to AI Adoption in the Grocery Industry
    Breakout Session // 12:15PM-1:00PM — AI is being deployed in many retail verticals. In grocery, impediments to adoption present themselves. In this session, our panel will discuss AI adoption and use cases in the grocery segment, as well as barriers to adoption.

    Taking a Human Approach to Intelligent Automation
    Breakout Session // 12:15PM-1:00PM — To leverage the transformative benefits of Intelligent Automation, including Mobile Automation, RPA, virtual personal assistants, retailers can benefit by considering the human aspects of this innovative technology on shoppers and store associates. In this panel discussion, we will discuss:

    1. How intelligent automation improves the customer experience and store operations.
    2. Preparing store staff for Intelligent automation.
    3. Manage the intelligent automation transformation for success.

    AI Perspective from the C Suite
    1:00PM-2:00PM — Many retailers are exploring implementing AI solutions. Beyond just chasing the “shiny object,” successful implementation requires a firm understanding of the business use cases. Making the solution explainable, easy to implement, and effectively communicating outcomes and protocols through the organization is also critical to success. In this session, our panel will address these and other questions.

    Thu, May 20

    NLP Applications in Retail
    11:10AM-12:10PM — Natural Language Processing is a rapidly advancing technology. In this session, our speakers will present an overview of this technology and how it can be deployed.

    AI Applications in Restaurant/QSR Industry
    Breakout Session // 12:15PM-1:00PM — AI has the potential to alter the course of the restaurant/QSR industry. In this session, the panel will explore how these advanced solutions are and can be deployed.

    AI Community Outreach
    Breakout Session // 12:15PM-1:00PM — Northwestern University is committed to our community. In this session, you will learn about programs being undertaken to help students of color see innovative ways that analytics, data science, and computing can have relevance across a broad set of industries. The presenters will share information about the recent design and implementation of these programs, discuss their upcoming plans to expand this work, and talk through some partnering opportunities.

    Introduction to the RAC AI Lab
    Breakout Session // 12:15PM-1:00PM — The RAC AI Lab offers companies an opportunity to learn how AI can impact their business by running experiments. From firms that have busy analytic teams that desire to undertake a quick proof of concept to those that are first considering how AI can impact their business, all can benefit from engaging with the RAC.

    Creating Value from In-Store Data
    1:00PM-2:00PM — As retailers continue to deploy automation in their stores, a treasure trove of data is unleashed. Leveraging this resource provides retailers with many operational enhancements. In this session, our panel will explore trends in retail robot adoption, as well as the value enhancement of this data as part of the overall intelligent information stack.

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