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Brett Stover - Saatchi & Saatchi X, Strategy and Insights Officer

Brett is a global executive leader and advisor in omni-channel shopper marketing, one of the fastest-growing, in-demand segments of marketing today. As one of the world’s acknowledged authorities in omni-channel shopper marketing and insight identification and application, Brett has helped clients in more than 175 organizations and 27 countries deliver outstanding and sustainable business results.

Brett has lived in Geneva, London, Shanghai, Hong Kong, New York, and Cincinnati, giving him valuable firsthand knowledge of consumers, shoppers, and retailers around the world.

Brett graduated from Miami in 1986 with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and a minor in Arts Administration.

Brett is serving or has served, on the boards of Miami University Farmer School of Business Dean’s Advisory Council, Dean’s Advisory Council University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, Opera America, Chorus America, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s May Festival, Cincinnati Opera, Cincinnati Ballet, Taft Museum of Art, and Contemporary Arts Center.

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Dan Rajczak - totes ISOTONER, CEO

Dan Rajczak is currently President and Chief Executive Officer for the totes-Isotoner Corporation, a Cincinnati-based company that is the world leader in branded, functional accessories for rain, cold weather and footwear products. Before joining totes-Isotoner, Dan most recently served as President and Chief Operating Officer for the Shaklee Corporation, a leader in natural nutritional health products. Prior to Shaklee, he spent 26 years at Procter & Gamble, progressing through roles in R&D, Marketing and General Management. Dan ran P&G’s Household business in Japan, he later led the company’s Corporate New Business and Innovation group and, finally, was Senior Vice President overseeing P&G’s global Pet Care and Snacks businesses. Dan has his degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Waterloo in Canada.

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Shashank Saxena - Kroger, Director of Digital & eCommerce

Shashank is currently serving as the Sr. Director for Strategy Development and Integration at The Kroger Co. As part of this role he manages the Web, Mobile, Tablet, Kiosk/in-store and shared service app development teams.

Prior to joining The Kroger Co., Shashank was at Citigroup where he led the Strategy and Planning function for the Global Mobile Banking line of business. Prior to that, Shashank was part of the Project Management Office (PMO) at Citi where he successfully led multiple Internet and Mobile programs. He was responsible for managing the Google Wallet, Mobile Check Deposit, Mobile P2P payments, Latin American Mobile banking and multiple other programs for Citibank. He was one of the founding members of the Global Mobile Center of Excellence (CoE) at Citi.

Prior to this four year stint with Citi, Shashank worked at Uptown Consortium, Dell Computers and Target Corp. He has an MBA in Finance and an MS in Information Systems from the University of Cincinnati.

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Christina Bechhold - Samsung NEXT Ventures, Principal

Christina Bechhold is a Principal at Samsung NEXT Ventures, based in New York, focused on early stage investments in software and services, particularly in mobility, IoT and fintech. She is also Co-Founder and Managing Director of Empire Angels, a member led angel group of young professionals investing in technology startups with a focus on supporting young entrepreneurs. Christina is a Regular Contributor for the Wall Street Journal on startups and small business, a columnist for Inc.com, a mentor at The Brandery and Venture for America and a member of VFA’s Rise Committee focused on increasing diversity in entrepreneurship. She is a frequent speaker and panelist at events in the U.S., Europe and Asia, a TEDx speaker, and was recognized by the New York Business Journal as a 2016 Woman of Influence.

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Julie Miers - Pop Goes the Weasel Brand Consultancy, Founder & President

Julie has a tremendous depth and breadth of experience, having spent the past two decades working with some of the best global brands on the planet, within CPG, Retail, Consulting and the Ad Agency sectors. She has held senior leadership roles at Kroger, Kellogg, DelMonte, Crayola, Coleman Outdoor and CKS/USWEB, offering deep experience in Food, Beverage, Natural/Organic, Allergy-Free, Kids, Pet, Baby, Health & Wellness, Beauty, Candy, Tools/Hardware, Sporting Goods, Technology, Entertainment and Licensing.

Julie started Pop Goes the Weasel Brand Consultancy to fill a void in the brand strategy and marketing space by focusing on achieving “brandruption” through highly creative approaches, and has provided multi-faceted services to global consulting firms and C-level executives in a variety of industry sectors.

Julie grew up in the beautiful hills of West Virginia, is an outdoor enthusiast, pop culture geek, has a passion for health & wellness, is a coffee junkie, roller coaster rider, animal lover, volunteer and is enjoyable to sit by on long flights.

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Ann Mooney - Rising Moon Consulting, Founder & CEO

Ann Mooney is an 18-year P&G veteran and the founder and CEO of Rising Moon Consulting, a firm specializing in brand building, marketing, strategy and in-store experience. Ann forged a multi-faceted career at P&G – thriving across brands, departments, disciplines, retail channels and regions. She made her mark as a commercially savvy Marketer and unconventional corporate pioneer. A few of her notable achievements include: leading Pampers, P&G’s biggest global brand, to record results in NA; pioneering the application of P&G’s brand building framework to the retail environment to drive joint value creation with top retailers; and, providing strategic guidance to dozens of P&G brands – using the lens of in-store to offer candid feedback and actionable direction on initiative launch plans to improve go-to-market strategy and increase the odds of success. Ann is a popular and engaging keynoter and industry thought leader. She was recently recognized by the In-store Marketing Institute as a “Who’s Who in Shopper Marketing 2009,” and is a frequent contributor to leading industry publications including Ad Age, Shopper Marketing Magazine and DDI.

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Mark Achler - Math Venture Partners, Managing Director

Mark was recently the senior vice president of new business, strategy and innovation at Redbox, where he managed the Company’s long-term planning and expansion into new business opportunities. Achler was featured as a mentor to a tech startup on Bloomberg TV’s “The Mentor.”, and in Inc. Magazine Trep Life series.

Prior to joining Redbox in 2009, Achler co-founded one of the first personal computer retail stores in the country and participated in the launch of the IBM PC in Boca Raton in 1981. He then moved to Apple, where he was the worldwide introduction manager for the Apple //c. Upon leaving Apple, Achler co-founded and served as chief executive officer of the Whitewater Group, a company that specialized in development tools and programming languages and shipped the second application for Windows 1.0. After building and eventually selling the Whitewater Group, he co-founded the video game company, Kinesoft Development, where he served as president. Kinesoft was instrumental in developing the technology that allowed Sega and Nintendo scrolling action arcade games to be played on Windows 95. After leaving Kinesoft, Achler served as a founding general partner in Kettle Partners, an early-stage venture capital fund. While at Kettle, Achler was the lead investor in local Chicago companies such as Surepayroll (sold to PAYX) and Novarra (sold to NOK).

Fueled by a lifelong passion for building new businesses, Achler also has helped to co-found Emmi Solutions, a provider of patient education, where he first served as president and later became chief executive officer. Achler is a frequent speaker, resource and ardent champion for the entrepreneurial community; where he is a mentor for TechStars and the Chicago High Tech Academy. He is also now an Adjunct Professor and Lecturer on Entrepreneurship at Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management.

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Rob Bensman - Hightower Group, Senior Vice President

Rob Bensman, is the SVP at HighTower Group, a North American manufacturer and importer of modern office furnishings and interior architecture elements.

Previously, as VP of Strategic Alliances at Hallmark, Rob led the group responsible for extending Hallmark’s portfolio of brands into new areas by surfacing, evaluating, negotiating, and bringing to market new business opportunities with companies that possess complimentary assets or capabilities. Through these efforts, the group seeks to create marketplace impact and deliver superior financial results for Hallmark and alliance partners.

Bensman joined Hallmark in 2008 as a product manager, eventually moving to Hallmark’s licensing organization where he led the team responsible for managing the company’s music and cause-based relationships.

Prior to Hallmark, Bensman was a brand manager at Procter & Gamble and a consultant for McKinsey & Company and Accenture.

Bensman earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Kansas State University. He received a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard Business School.

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Mike Bott - MedAvail Technologies, VP of Client Deployment & Innovation

Mike Bott is the immediate past General Manager of The Brandery, a role in which he occupied for three years. In addition to running the day-to-day operations of the space and program, Mike tirelessly shared his branding and product management experience with The Brandery companies. Prior to joining The Brandery, Mike worked in brand management at Procter & Gamble, architecting Olay North America’s digital strategy and ecosystem which was awarded P&G’s internal designation of “Best Digital” at the NA Brand Building Awards. Before P&G, he led product launches as a product manager at Match.com and AOL. He has a passion for building brands with high quality user experiences, creative monetization, acquisition and retention strategies. He advises a number of VC backed startups, including serving on the Board for Choremonster. Mike graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a BBA and MBA and is active in the Irish Angels network. He remains an active supporter and mentor for Brandery companies, both current and past. @mcbott

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Mike Brown, Jr. - Bowery Capital, VC

Mike Brown, Jr. is the General Partner at Bowery Capital based in New York. Prior to Bowery Capital, Brown co-founded AOL Ventures and led investments in over 30 companies primarily focused around the next generation of CMO and CTO spend. Before AOL Ventures, Mike worked for the investment arm of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, helping to invest capital in early stage internet startups on behalf of the British entrepreneur. He began his career at Morgan Stanley. Outside of his professional life Brown serves on the Board of Directors of the National Forest Foundation and co-chairs the Columbia College Young Leaders Council. Mike holds an undergraduate degree from Columbia University. @MikeBrownJr

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