The Future of Retail (Oct 14): Lead Participants

Updated October 10, 2014. While The Future of X think tank sessions know no designated panelists, we invite seasoned and fresh innovators, entrepreneurs who are currently monetizing the changing landscape, marketers and representatives from within the industry as well as investors who provide the capital that moves the needle. Find a frequently updated list of our lead participants below. (If you want to sign up for the event, please do so here.)

  • David Berkowitz is Chief Marketing Officer at agency MRY, part of Publicis Groupe. During his career, he has worked with clients such as JCPenney, Saks, and Pizza Hut, along with various retail partners and customers such as Visa, Johnson & Johnson, and Kraft. In his previous role as VP Emerging Media at 360i, he authored the agency’s Social Commerce Playbook. He has contributed more than 500 columns to outlets such as Ad Age and Mashable, and has spoken at more than 200 events globally, including Internet Retailer, the DMA, and summits hosted by Canon, Coca-Cola, and Google.
  • Barry Berman, President, NexPet Retail Co-op. Established in 1999, NexPet is the only national US co-op of independent pet stores, with 600 member locations in 48 states and over $500 million in retail sales. NexPet provides product, marketing, training, technology financial and networking services to its member stores. The co-op also owns the Grandma Mae’s Country Naturals pet food brand, which is sold in both member and non-member stores . Prior to founding NexPet, Berman worked closely with national, regional and independent retailers in the pet supply, jewelry, and home furnishings industries while working with both public and private companies. Berman holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.
  • Trae Bodge, Senior Lifestyle Editor, Shopping and retail expert Trae Bodge is the senior lifestyle editor and consumer spokesperson for digital offers destination She has appeared on NBC News, the Today show, Reuters, ABC News, Fox News, Wall Street Journal Radio, CNN and multiple top-market radio and television stations. She has also been quoted by the Associated Press,, The Los Angeles Times, Yahoo Shopping and MarketWatch.
  • Micah Clasper-Torch, CEO & Founder of CityBird Registry  – A multi-faceted entrepreneur with 9 years experience in the world of art and fashion, event production and e-commerce, Micah has worked with with a variety of companies including Sebastian + Barquet, Ralph Lauren, Coach and Bonobos. She most recently founded CityBird Registry, a wedding registry and gifting website that allows people to purchase a curated variety of experiences such as dinner and drinks, cooking classes, wine tastings and museum memberships, and is passionate about small business, big ideas, and collaboration.
  • Anthony Dorment is VP, Business Development for Phigital Inc., a technology company that has built a unique mobile platform for brands, retailers and venues to engage meaningfully with their customers, not simply to push them endless offers and notifications. Phigital uses geo-location and BLE beacon devices to craft highly immersive, rich-media experiences and to reward users for taking specific actions in the physical world. Anthony was formerly General Manager of Asia for travel company Lonely Planet and he is a graduate of Columbia Business School and Princeton University.
  • Javier Fernandez is the Director of Retail Strategy at Bonobos. His team is responsible for the roll-out of new Bonobos Guideshops, an innovative offline store with online order fulfillment, as well as driving technology and customer experience enhancements within the shops. Previously, Javier was the Director of Global Operations at Michael Kors. He began his career as a retail consultant at Kurt Salmon Associates, where he specialized in Vertical Retailing, Supply Chain Strategy, and Store Operations. He holds a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Georgia Tech and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
  • Melissa Gonzalez is the Founder of The Lionesque Group. Beginning with the vision of the branded experience, the Lionesque Group guides clients throughout the entire lifecycle of the “pop-up experience”. In 2014 their work was honored with the CLIO Image Award for experiential engagement. She began her career on Wall Street at Credit Suisse, while juggling a dual t.v. hosting career for BET.  In the fall of 2009, Gonzalez co-founded THE MARKET, with clients including Johnnie-O, Ariana Rockefeller and Ellen DeGeneres’ Halo Pets Foundation. In 2013, she joined the Advisory Board of the innovative online marketplace for short-term real estate spaces, Gonzalez is an active guest blogger on pop-up and immersive retail strategies and presents at conference across the country. She has been awarded the Wall Street Journal’s Donor of the Day and one of the Top 100 Young CEOs via Our Time’s White House Initiative.
  • Karen Kranack, Executive Director of User Experience, Estee Lauder Online. Karen has specialized in e-commerce retail for most of her 18 years in the Internet industry as a UX practitioner. With her experience at agencies and on the client-side, she brings a multifaceted perspective to all engagements relating to user-centered design.  She has worked with companies such as Estee Lauder, Coca-Cola, Sony, Johnson & Johnson, Google, MasterCard, Seamless, Star Wars .com, Second Life (on their virtual real estate store), Barnes & Noble .com, Verizon, General Mills, and Orbitz.  Karen designs with a mobile-first point-of-view, integrating omnichannel initiatives and service design principles into her work.
  • Nikki Lawrence, CEO & Founder, Stealth Startup. Nikki is currently focused on launching her own startup venture, which resides in the luxury secondaries space. She started her career in emerging markets VC, based out of Paris and Bombay. She then joined Quidsi, where she was a senior member of the founding team for, running both the Health & Beauty business lines (about half of the overall business, which grew to $60M in year one, culminating in acquisition by Amazon, and $100M in year two). She joined Gilt Groupe subsequently, spearheading new site launches. Nikki holds a BA in Social Psychology from Brown University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
  • Komal Kushalraj, CEO & Co-founder, NUMARI. Komal is currently building NUMARI with a vision to fundamentally change the way women shop for clothes. She grew up in a family business environment in India and operated her family’s wholesale clothing & jewelry business for many years before moving to the United States. While shopping for work clothes in the US she was amazed at how overpriced ill-fitting clothes were with all the markups. With NUMARI she is building a vertically integrated brand that offers high quality, made-to-measure apparel at an everyday affordable price point.
  • Dana Ostomel is the founder and Chief Gifting Officer of the crowdfunding website, the most fun, flexible, hassle-free way to raise money online for anything that matters to you. Dana is a marketing and branding expert with over a decade of experience developing integrated marketing solutions for brands in a wide range of industries, from Snapple and CENTURY 21 to The Home Depot, DIRECTV and MasterCard before she left to launch Deposit a Gift 6 years ago.Deposit a Gift have been reinventing the world of gifting to put the power in your hands to get exactly what you want, not stuff you don’t! originally launched as a cash gift registry service for people to register for cash gifts for all of life’s Big Events, and in 2013 evolved to a full-fledged crowdfunding platform as the concept expanded to charitable gifts. People use Deposit a Gift for everything from honeymoons to home down payments and group gifts, to charitable gifts for schools and nonprofits.
  • Greg Spielberg, Founder, Imagination in SpaceImagination in Space creates story-driven pop ups with entrepreneurial artists, next-gen brands and brilliant makers. We bridge the gap between creation and retail and help organizations build authentic experiential stories. Our collaborations include the NYCEDC Next Top Makers program in all five boroughs, Out to See in South Street Seaport, Creeds Collective in Soho, The Allies new modern art gallery in the East Village, 10,000 Balloons in KabulAmerican Dreams in London and yoga + silent dinner in Greenpoint. Greg is a former innovation journalist for Businessweek, Bloomberg and Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab and a graduate of Bowdoin College and Missouri School of Journalism.
  • Maja Svensson, Swedish born Brooklyn-based fashion entrepreneur, left her corporate job in December 2011 to become the passionate business woman she always dreamt of. She started ELSA AND ME, a clothing business for women like herself, business women and corporate office workers who craved for a more diversified and feminine look at the office. ELSA AND ME offers custom ladylike dresses for work and the cocktail party, ethically produced in Nairobi, Kenya, inspired by Maja’s elegant grandma Elsa. Not seeing how a small clothing business could be profitable through traditional retail sales, and to avoid taking on too much risk, Maja started her business on the basis of direct sales, and made-to-order; meeting customers at their office or home, offering the opportunity for them to try out their size alternatively get measured for a custom dress.

The event page and signup form are at Qualified attendees are invited to provide a short introduction to the organizers so that they can be identified and featured in discussion as lead participants. Please email to with the subject “Think Tank Participation: Retail.” Attendance is limited to facilitate a highly engaged discussion. If registration has been closed, some reserved places may still be available. We will update this page with our lead participants. Have a look at our lead participants from past events: The Future of Television The Future of Advertising


One thought on “The Future of Retail (Oct 14): Lead Participants

  1. […] The Future of Retail. (October 2014) — List of Lead Participants. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: