Former EVP Kohls / Consultant Orion Business Advisors Group
Ken is a senior-level retail executive with experience leading the supply chain, IT, digital technology, Omni-Channel operations, store design, store construction, facilities and sustainability areas within large, public multi-unit retail companies. As a member of the executive committee, he developed and implemented strategies to improve operations and high growth. In coordination with the board, he led strategic transformations at the business unit and corporate levels, resulting in improved top line performance.
Mark Evans is the principle of Acumen and Action, a management consulting practice. Mark brings 30 years of industry experience, including 10 in the fortune 500 running one of the largest multichannel publishing operations in the US. He has implemented multiple content management systems and has extensive background in digital marketing services. He is the author of 2 books and numerous articles and has been speaker at many conferences including eTail, Gartner and NRF. Mark brings a customer obsessed, media agnostic point of view.
Louis Hernandez Jr.
Black Dragon Capital
Louis Hernandez Jr. is an award-winning entrepreneur, investor, author and philanthropist. He is the founder and managing director of Black Dragon Capital, a next generation private equity firm created for and by entrepreneurs. He founded the company after years of successfully operating, advising and investing in technology companies in all phases of development. His accomplishments include serving as chairman and chief executive officer of fintech software company Open Solutions and more recently as chairman and CEO of Avid, a publicly traded provider of media-related technology.
Hernandez is the author of three books, “Saving the American Dream,” “Too Small to Fail,” and “The Storyteller’s Dilemma.” He has received professional distinctions for his expertise in business and technology and has appeared on Fox Business, CNBC, ABC News, and Bloomberg TV, where he discusses technology, economics, strategic planning and globalization. He has served on numerous corporate boards, including HSBC North America Holdings, HSBC USA, Mobius Management Systems, Unica and Edison International.
Steven Keith Platt
Research Director of the Retail Analytics Council
Steven Keith Platt serves as Research Director of the Retail Analytics Council, an initiative between the Medill School, Integrated Marketing Communications department, Northwestern University and PRI. Platt also serves as the Director and Research Fellow of The Platt Retail Institute, an international consulting and research firm that focuses on leveraging technology to impact the consumer experience. Central to this is building actionable data models that aid retailers and technology companies in gaining insights into their customers and operations.
Steven received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance and Marketing from the Boston University School of Management. He also has a Law Degree and an LL.M. in Taxation from Boston University, where he served as Articles Editor for the University’s Journal of Tax Law. 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, DSN Retailing Today, Inc. Magazine, 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, ABC World News, and HD News. He has also lectured at conferences around the globe.
As Vice President of Insight & Analytics for US Foods, the second largest foodservice distributor in the USA, Chuck heads up a 100-person team with an enterprise-wide mandate. His team’s operating model includes Data Sciences, Forecasting, Business Insights, BI Strategy, R&D and Data Governance. As the engagement leader for the US Foods CookBook initiative, he is responsible for enabling the USF customer-centric vision by embedding prescriptive analytics in critical business decisions through the integration of strategy, process, technology, predictive modeling and change management. In 2016, Chuck led the effort to acquire Food Genius, a Chicago-based company, to jump-start USF’s deep learning capabilities, accelerate open-source maturity, and create a R&D team of strategists, data scientists and software developers. Food Genius is now an integrated part of the Insights & Analytics ecosystem. Prior to joining US Foods, Chuck led loyalty marketing for True Value and, before that, strategy, insights and predictive analytics teams for consulting and service companies supporting the retail and B2B industries.
Rachelle Sokan leads a content centric practice area within SGK, a global brand development and deployment provider. She brings over 19 years of experience in B2B2B and B2B2C environments working with sales and marketing professionals to drive acquisition, retention and growth strategies. With a background deeply rooted in consulting and e-commerce content strategy, Rachelle leverages the power of design thinking with process optimization to elevate and differentiate brands to more meaningfully connect to their customers in an ever-evolving digital landscape.
Regan Van Tassel
Jonathan Varo joined Fender Musical Instruments Corporation in 2015 as an administrator for the Enterworks Enable PIM system. He is primarily responsible for digital asset management and creation along with the development of automations and data delivery through syndication templates. Jon has 14 years of music instrument retail management experience and sales. He is also a professional musician and music instructor for over 27 years and is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts earning a Bachelors Degree in Music. His thesis and contributions in computer music have been published in the Computer Music Journal and The CSound Book by Dr. Richard Boulanger, both published by M.I.T. Press.