2024 Speakers

Gina Acosta
Gina Acosta
Progressive Grocer
Editor-in-Chief
THE EXPERTS SHARE ALL: How to succeed with in-store technology
Closing Remarks

Gina is obsessed with grocery stores, food retailers, international travel and her favorite place in the world is the 6th Arrondissement of Paris. She has covered the retail and CPG industries for various business publications since 2014. Previously she was a writer and editor for the Tampa Bay Times. She served on the editorial board of the Washington Post and as an assistant editor there for more than 13 years. She has also worked for the Hartford Courant, Tallahassee Democrat, and Miami Herald. In 2010 she was awarded the Wharton Fellowship for Business Journalists, allowing her to study and earn business journalism certification from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. In 2006 she was awarded the Nieman Fellowship for Journalism at Harvard University, where she spent more than a year studying retail, agribusiness and teaching journalism. She has received the Hispanic Media 100 Award, Women in Communications Leadership Award, Tallahassee Democrat Award for Newsroom Excellence, Dow Jones Newspaper Fund Intern Award and Hearst Journalism Award. She has also been selected as a fellow by Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Poynter Institute, the Maynard Media Academy and American Society of Newspaper Editors. A native of Miami, she earned a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Florida A&M University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Tampa. When she is not geeking out about grocery and retail news, Gina loves hiking with her Border Collie, Riley, and planning her next trip to Paris. Gina speaks fluent English, Spanish, Italian and is trying really hard to learn French.

Kim Anderson
Kim Anderson
Schnucks
Vice President of Operations Support
How an Innovative Regional Is Using ESLs and Complimentary Partners to Amplify Their ROI
THE EXPERTS SHARE ALL: How to succeed with in-store technology

Kim Anderson has been with Schnucks for 38 years and currently serves as Vice President of Operations Support. In this position, she oversees workforce management, sanitation/maintenance, inventory management, task management and operational execution of initiatives. Over the years, Kim’s overall excellence in managing various high profile issues and daily activities has allowed her to make invaluable contributions to the success of multiple projects at Schnucks. Kim received the Top Women In Grocery-Senior Level Executive award in 2022.

Anshu Bhardwaj
Anshu Bhardwaj
Walmart Global Technology
SVP/COO
Keynote: Emerging Tech and Saas Technologies: How Walmart is transforming into an Adaptive Retailer

Anshu is a seasoned executive with experience in building businesses at the intersection of technology and Commerce. She leads operations for Walmart Global Tech as well as monetization of technology platforms while creating a partner ecosystem that enables productivity, speed and innovation at scale. In addition, her team defines and executes strategies for enterprise technology, M&A, and emerging technology to further strengthen Walmart’s competitive advantages.

Anshu served as Vice President, Product at Sam's Club for eCommerce, Membership, Marketing and Innovation. Anshu serves on Walmart’s President’s Inclusion Council and is a Vice Co-Chair of Walmart’s Womens Officer Caucus. She was conferred the prestigious ‘Sam's Club Blue Coat’ award in 2019 in recognition of her leadership and contributions towards driving eCommerce sales and membership income for Sam's Club. Anshu was conferred the ‘2014 Industry Leader Award’ by the Professional businesswomen of California in recognition of her efforts as co-founder of the Women's Resource Council at Walmart eCommerce and driving membership through impactful programs.

Rick Bossie
Rick Bossie
Big Y Foods
Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer
Keynote: Shaping the Future of Retail at Big Y Foods

Rick D. Bossie is the Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer at Big Y Foods Inc. Rick oversees the development and implementation of business operations strategies that are critical to the Company’s growth and success. He has direct responsibility for all of the company’s operating divisions, including store operations; procurement, merchandising, and marketing; as well as logistics and distribution. A strong advocate for technology he spearheaded the roll out of Computer Generated Ordering systems, store cleaning automation, store associate mobile technology and Self Checkout innovation as well as the introduction and implementation of Mobile Checkout.
Rick has over 40 years of experience in the supermarket industry. Prior to his current position, He was Senior Vice President of Operations and Customer Experience. In this role, he led Big Y’s retail team of 10,000 employees and was responsible for directing the execution of sales and marketing initiatives, customer experience, continuous improvement, expense controls, asset protection and employee engagement for all 85 Big Y locations.

Barry Clogan
Barry Clogan
Wynshop
Chief Product Evangelist
Optimizing Marketing Spend Across the Funnel to Break Barriers to Growth
Future of Frictionless Commerce

Barry is a retail veteran with 20+ years of experience working in retail, grocery, and e-commerce in the USA, UK, Ireland, and China. As Chief Product Evangelist, Barry leverages his extensive e-commerce experience to guide product strategy for Wynshop, the leader in digital commerce for local, store-based retailers. Before joining Wynshop, Barry helped the world’s largest grocers launch online grocery services and execute multichannel strategies for MyWebGrocer. He also led the international online grocery business for Tesco, growing revenue from zero to over $300 million annually, across eight international markets. Barry is an expert contributor to Grocery Dive, Grocery Doppio, and other industry media, a speaker at retail events, and a former member of the Forbes Technology Council.

Pam Dillon
Pam Dillon
Preferabli
Co-founder and CEO
Using AI to Increase Sales in Wine, Spirits and Cheese

Pam Dillon, co-founder and CEO of Preferabli, has over 25 years of experience in technology, focused on the retail and hospitality industries. Dillon, a named inventor on 11 patents, was honored by Goldman Sachs as one of the 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs and VentureBeat as an AI Entrepreneur nominee. Dillon has also been a featured speaker on AI for WSJ Tech Live.

Preferabli is the leading B2B2C product discovery and recommendation software for wine, spirits and food, including specialty and grocery retail, hospitality, travel, distribution and consumer platforms. Preferabli licenses software to help the industry market and sell to individual taste preferences in the way a human expert would – at scale – across web, mobile and GenAI.

Preferabli software uses a novel form of machine learning that was built by PhDs in physiology and applied mathematics, and the largest group of Masters of Wine and Master Sommeliers in the world. The Preferabli database is the most comprehensive in the industry, with hundreds of characteristics for millions of products. Preferabli has users in over 70 countries.

A frequent guest speaker on the nature of sensory experiences in the context of machine learning, Dillon has spoken at the Code Conference, as well as at Stanford, Harvard and MIT. Dillon has lived and worked in Los Angeles, New York, London and Tokyo, and is an expert in wine, beer and spirits.

Gabe Disbrow
Gabe Disbrow
Leevers
President and Chief Executive Officer
Synergy in Action: Uniting Customer Needs with Technology for Collective Success

Gabe Disbrow is an Army Veteran and Colorado native who leads one of the largest employee-owned companies in the state. He has a demonstrated track record of helping companies significantly enhance shareholder value by achieving aggressive growth through organizational design focused on core scale methodology, detailed strategic planning, disciplined capital deployment, and strong financial acumen. He has extensive experience in ESOP governance, large acquisition integration, and commercial real estate development.
He believes in the importance of strong employee ownership culture, and is passionate about leadership development and employee engagement as organizational competencies. He brings unique perspective on the business use case of emerging technologies from the senior management lens.
Gabe holds an MBA from Michigan State University. His wife Melanie and their 4 children call Castle Rock, CO home.

Ryan Draude
Ryan Draude
Giant Food
Head of Loyalty & Digital
Use Cases of Artificial Intelligence at Retail

The current Head of Loyalty & Digital for Giant Food, Ryan Draude has invested his career in the evolution of long-term customer relationships made through the benefits of loyalty & retention programs.
With Giant, he is responsible for fostering the customer relationships with prospective and current shoppers across omnichannel interaction points and forging the path toward benefits and experiences that serve millions of shoppers who shop both in-store and via eCommerce across the Mid-Atlantic.
Ryan formerly led Choice Privileges, the multi-billion-dollar reward program for Choice Hotels, and over a five-year period overhauled the program via the scrutiny of member data and the respect to listen to what members sought from the program. The results catapulted the program to its first major Freddie Award and moved the program from #11 in the country to #2 in the US News & World Report’s Best Hotel Reward Program category.
Prior, Ryan earned a U.S. patent for his work standing up Sallie Mae’s initial loyalty frameworks via his delivery of the first true-cost college affordability online tool for all families to understand the real education financing. His tenure includes other loyalty leadership positions with Rite Aid, Capital One, Citigroup and Switchfly.
He is also an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University, teaching Loyalty Strategy within their Hospitality Leadership program at the Master’s level for the past four years.

Amir ElTabib
Amir ElTabib
Ibotta
Business Development and Strategic Partner Management Teams
Optimizing Marketing Spend Across the Funnel to Break Barriers to Growth

Amir leads the Business Development and Strategic Partner Management teams at Ibotta. His team partners with the nation’s leading retailers and publishers to design, launch, and manage digital offer programs on their apps and websites. He joined Ibotta in 2016 and helped establish the company’s retail partnerships and affiliate program before transitioning to build out the Ibotta Performance Network (IPN).

Jennifer Hopper
Jennifer Hopper
Save A Lot
Chief Information Officer
Synergy in Action: Uniting Customer Needs with Technology for Collective Success

Jennifer Hopper is Chief Digital and Information Officer at Save A Lot. In her current role, she spearheads the company’s comprehensive technology strategy, from developing networking and infrastructure solutions to support Retail Partners to concepting future-oriented digital programs that resonate with customers. Jennifer’s strong credentials include expertise in customer data and modernizing business systems to align with company strategy.

Jennifer brings over 20 years of experience and success in IT Management, leading major projects that span across multiple business functions in Retail, from Supply Chain to Store POS. Prior to joining Save A Lot, she held leadership roles at Accenture and Mastercard, where she served as the North America Chief Technology Officer.

Jennifer holds a bachelor’s degree from Missouri University of Science & Technology.

Kabir Jain
Kabir Jain
Erewhon Market
Chief Growth Officer
The Erewhon Way

Kabir Jain is the Chief Growth Officer at Erewhon, a Los Angeles based organic grocer & café. Since joining Erewhon in 2019, Kabir has focused on growth across digital ordering, membership, ecommerce, partnerships and more. Prior to Erewhon, he worked in consumer growth equity at TSG Consumer Partners and Butterfly Equity investing across food and consumer broadly. Kabir is an Austin native now living in LA with his wife and puppy.

Piyush Jindal
Piyush Jindal
Albertsons Media Collective
Director of Product Management
The State of Retail Media

Piyush Jindal is the Director of Product Management for Albertsons Media Collective, the retail media arm of Albertsons Companies. With a decade of industry experience, Piyush leads strategic partnership planning and works with cross-functional teams to design, develop and implement new products and workflows, accelerating innovation and growth for Albertsons Media Collective and the retail media industry as a whole.

Scott Kessler
Scott Kessler
Northeast Grocery
Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer
Navigating the Grocery Tech Landscape: An Opportunistic Approach to M&A Consolidation and IT Modernization

Scott Kessler is a distinguished Chief Information Officer (CIO) renowned for his transformative leadership in the retail industry. With over three decades of experience, Scott has held key executive positions at prominent companies such as BJ’s Wholesale Club, Belk, GSI Commerce/eBay Enterprise, and Accenture. Currently serving as Executive Vice President and CIO at Northeast Grocery, overseeing technology strategy for Price Chopper/Market 32 and Tops Markets, Scott is recognized for his expertise in driving business consolidation, digital innovation and operational efficiency. Beyond his professional endeavors, he volunteers as CIO Council Chair for NRF and is a council member of FMItech, showcasing his commitment to advancing the industry. Scott's visionary leadership has propelled startup eCommerce businesses to billion-dollar enterprises, and his domestic and international experience has guided retailers through digital growth and expansion. Notably, he has played a pivotal role in taking a company public and harnessing technology to consistently boost annual revenue and profitability, cementing his reputation as a transformative force in the retail landscape.

Paula Lashinsky
Paula Lashinsky
Convenience Store News at EnsembleIQ
Senior Vice President - Group Publisher
Opening Remarks


Daniel Midden
Daniel Midden
Datasembly
New Business Development
How an Innovative Regional Is Using ESLs and Complimentary Partners to Amplify Their ROI

Daniel Midden is an accomplished consumer packaged goods and retail professional with 18 years of experience in business development and strategic partnerships. In his most recent position as Senior Director of Business Development at Datasembly, he utilizes his passion for data and Datasembly's hyper-local real-time product and price transparency insights to improve client outcomes.

Tighe Renner
Tighe Renner
Aperion
New Business Development
How an Innovative Regional Is Using ESLs and Complimentary Partners to Amplify Their ROI

Tighe Renner is a member of the New Business Development team within Aperion. He works closely with Aperion alliance partners and develops new relationships to drive additional value in the Electronic Shelf Label and Digital Signage portfolio. Tighe has been a part of the Aperion team since it’s inception over 6 years ago and has managed the deployments with their largest clients. Prior to his time with Aperion, Tighe managed rollouts of an industry leading POS solution to Tier 1 clients. Tighe is a proud Alumni of Penn State University, and was born and raised in Pennsylvania. He now resides in St Louis, Missouri where Aperion/Hussmann is headquartered.

Adrian Salazar
Adrian Salazar
Schnucks
Store Manager
THE EXPERTS SHARE ALL: How to succeed with in-store technology

Adrian Salazar is a 20 year industry operator who has spent the last 16 years gaining expertise in multiple areas of the Grocery business with Schnucks Markets ranging from Project Management to Workforce Management. Currently serving as Store Manager, he is helping to identify opportunities to further streamline daily operations for increased execution and efficiency at both the store and corporate levels. Most recently Adrian served as Senior Manager of Operational Excellence where he helped to guide the workforce management team through multiple releases of new scheduling and labor standards initiatives as well as helping to bring the Schnucks Flexforce program to life at Schnucks. Adrian has experience managing multiple desks in operations including Front End Operations, Sanitation and Trash, and Inventory Management application used by store teammates. Adrian finds solutions by leaning on his operational experience and leveraging data analytics and automation functionality in Alteryx to bring a unique skillset to his work. Adrian was recognized as a Progressive Grocer GenNext award recipient in 2021.

Mark Sciortino
Mark Sciortino
Vestcom
Senior Vice President & General Manager, Retailer Technology & Solutions
Future of Frictionless Commerce

Mark Sciortino joined Vestcom in May of 2018 and serves as Senior Vice President and General Manager, Retailer Technology and Solutions business. His responsibilities include leading Vestcom’s Retail client development teams to deliver leading edge solutions that make the shelf-edge more engaging to shoppers and enabling store team members to execute their tasks more effectively. Mark previously served as Senior Vice President Strategy and Corporate Development, overseeing Marketing, Product Management, and Innovation.
Prior to joining Vestcom, Mark led Brand Strategy and Planning for Walgreens Co where he stewarded investment across broadcast and digital marketing mediums to engage customers, build brand equity, and maximize return on investment. Previously, Mark worked as a Principal strategy consultant at the Boston Consulting Group, in brand marketing at Kraft Foods, and software development at Cintas Corporation.
Mark earned his MBA at the University of Chicago Booth School where he was named a Siebel Scholar. He earned a BS in Business from Miami University with cum laude honors.

Dave Steck
Dave Steck
Schnuck
Vice President, IT Store & Emerging Technologies
How an Innovative Regional Is Using ESLs and Complimentary Partners to Amplify Their ROI

Dave Steck is Schnuck Markets’ Vice President of IT Store and Emerging Technologies. He has worked for Schnucks since 2014. Dave, in partnership with Schnucks Store Operations, led the implementation and rollout of Simbe robots, known as Tally, across all stores of the regional grocer. Also in partnership with Store Ops, he and his team are leading the chainwide rollout of Electronic Shelf Labels (ESLs) and as of April 1, 2024 have over 2.7 million tags paired in 84 stores. Dave was recognized by RIS in 2021 as one of the top 10 Influentials in retail and was recently named the Omni Talk Omni Star to recognize him and Schnucks for their industry leading innovations.

Andrew Sussman
Andrew Sussman
Preferabli
Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer
Using AI to Increase Sales in Wine, Spirits and Cheese

Andrew Sussman, co-founder and CTO of Preferabli, has over 25 years of experience in computer technologies. Sussman, a named inventor on 11 patents, was honored by Goldman Sachs as one of the 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs. Sussman has also been a featured speaker on AI for WSJ Tech Live.

Preferabli is the leading B2B2C product discovery and recommendation software for the wine and spirits industry, including specialty and grocery retailers, hospitality and travel, and DTC marketplaces and distribution. Preferabli licenses software to help the industry market and sell to individual taste preferences in the way a human expert would – at scale.

Preferabli software uses a novel form of machine learning that was built by PhDs in physiology and applied mathematics, and the largest group of Masters of Wine and Master Sommeliers in the world. The Preferabli database is the most comprehensive in the industry, with hundreds of characteristics for millions of products. Preferabli has users in over 70 countries.

A frequent speaker on technology and the law, Sussman was previously lead partner for the technology law practice at Buchanan Ingersoll and was named a 'Tech Titan' by the Pittsburgh Technology Council. Throughout his career, Sussman has regularly advised early-stage and growth technology companies on commercializing intellectual property assets.