September 09 - 10, 2019
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Vice President, Global Design Strategies, Distinctive Premium Brands
David Kepron is the Vice President of Design within the Global Design Strategies department at Marriott International. His focus is on the creation of compelling customer experiences within a unique group of Marriott brands called the “Distinctive Premium Brands” including: Renaissance, Westin, Le Meridien, Autograph Collection, Tribute Portfolio and Design Hotels. Kepron brings 20 years of retail design expertise to the making of meaningful customer connections at hotel properties around the globe. His multidisciplinary approach to design focuses on understanding consumer behavior and the creation of relevant brand experiences at the intersection of architecture, sociology, neuroscience and emerging digital technologies. For Kepron, the primary function of all customer experience design is to weave the customer’s innate physical and emotional responses to the environment with the brand story making remarkable moments that foster lasting connections. As a frequently requested speaker to retailers, hoteliers and design professionals nationally and internationally, David shares his expertise on subjects ranging from consumer behaviors and trends, brain science and buying behavior, store design and visual merchandising as well as creativity and innovation. He has held teaching positions at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.), the Department of Architecture & Interior Design of Drexel University in Philadelphia, the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising (L.I.M.) in New York, the International Academy of Merchandising and Design in Montreal and he served as the Director of the Visual Merchandising Department at LaSalle International Fashion School (L.I.F.S.) in Singapore. David currently brings his creativity and insight on brand experiences to an international audience as a member of VMSD magazine’s Editorial Advisory Board and the Association for Retail Environments (A.R.E.) Dream Team. David also serves as an Emeritus Member of the Board of Directors of The Planning and Visual Education Partnership (P.A.V.E.). David earned his Bachelors of Science in Architecture and Bachelors of Architecture degrees from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec Canada. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), The Retail Design Institute (RDI) and a LEED Accredited Professional (LEED®BD+C). In the fall of 2014 STMedia Group International published Kepron’s first book titled: “Retail (r)Evolution: Why Creating Right-Brain Stores Will Shape the Future of Shopping in a Digitally Driven World.” David Also writes a popular blog called “Brain Food” which is published monthly on vmsd.com.
Vice President, Digital Technology
Hyatt Hotels Corporation
Joe Schwartz is the Vice President of Digital Technology for Hyatt Hotels Corporation. He is responsible for development of Hyatt’s web site, mobile application, wifi portal and digital check-in experience. Previously, he has had responsibility for the Hyatt’s central reservation system. Prior to joining Hyatt in 2011, he has had development leadership roles at a number of companies across a number of industries, including: Verizon, Caremark, TransUnion and Andersen Consulting (now, Accenture).
VP of Operations
Amy Hom leads regional restaurant management teams overseeing the operational performance of more than 200 Red Robin restaurants across the United States and Canada. Amy has more than 20 years of experience in the restaurant industry and has served in operations leadership roles for major casual dining and fine dining brands.
Before joining Red Robin, Amy served as Senior Operations Director of Wolfgang Puck Catering. She has also served in operations leadership roles for California Pizza Kitchen. Amy served on the California Restaurant Association Board and is a volunteer for Calicinto Ranch. She helps lead the board for the Women’s Excellence committee in her current role for Red Robin and is a Women’s Food Service Forum member. Amy also supports Pro-Start with the California Restaurant Association to bring insight and leadership to our future leaders in the industry.
Amy Jones-Hom was born and raised in St. Louis, MO and currently lives with her husband and two children in Southern California.
Her favorite Red Robin burger is the Royal burger with that YUMMM egg on top!
VP, Digital Technology & Enterprise Data
Keith Credendino is the Vice President of Digital Technology & Enterprise Data at Inspire Brands, a multi-branded restaurant company with over 4,600 locations worldwide. He is responsible for the organization’s guest facing solutions, which includes mobile, web, and on-property experiences, as well as the company’s data systems and initiatives.
As a seasoned technologist, Keith has an extensive background in delivering enterprise technology solutions at a global scale. With experience and leadership in numerous industries, including online media and advertising, retail, travel, and restaurants, he has a reputation for delivering results and innovative platforms.
Prior to Inspire Brands, Keith was as an executive at several enterprise organizations, including The Home Depot, Cox, and InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG). Key accomplishments include the delivery and accountability for industry leading, and enterprise grade, e-commerce platforms, loyalty and customer relationship management (CRM) systems, contact center ecosystems, in-hotel products, and mobile initiatives. His prior experience and accountability includes strategy, product roadmap accountability, and full solution delivery.
Keith earned his Bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems from University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business and an MBA from Georgia State University's Robinson College of Business. He is happily married to his beautiful wife Amanda and has two children, Brooke and Carson.
Vice President, Brand Standards and Talent Optimization
Michael has worked in the business for more than 30 years contributing in a variety of roles including Ownership, Multi- unit, leading New Restaurant Operations and Operations Excellence.
Prior to his time with Red Robin, Michael worked as an owner operator as well as experience in the specialty coffee business.
He studied English at the University of Minnesota.
Michael’s favorite burger is the Mad Love.
Director of Digital Strategy
Kyle Arnold is responsible for digital strategy development and execution across Compass Group’s corporate dining line of business. He has a history of delivering innovative technology solutions across many Fortune 1000 companies that drive exceptional customer experiences. He specializes in evaluating emerging technologies and implementing solutions at scale.
Prior to joining Compass Group, Kyle served seven years in the United States Marine Corps as a Logistics Officer. He was responsible for managing food service, facilities, procurement, distribution, maintenance, and embarkation operations all over the globe. Throughout this time Kyle was able to experience many different cultures that have served him well post military service.
Kyle is originally from a small town in Georgia and now resides in Charlotte, NC with his beautiful wife, Monica and Golden Doodle, Koa. Kyle has a Bachelor’s Degree from Auburn University and a MBA from Wake Forest University .
Head of Digital Transformation
As Head of Digital Transformation , Wynn Resorts, Ashish is responsible for creating a unifying digital vision, build out of the consumer-facing digital ecosystem and guest experiences, coordinating digital investments, helping to rethink products and processes for the digital age and collecting and analyzing data while improving efficiency through the use of digital technologies.
Prior to this, Ashish led digital teams to support Omni-Channel growth at Kohl’s Digital, where he oversaw the product strategy, roadmap and execution of retail innovation for Kohl’s connected experiences department that included mobility, payment, wallet, loyalty, personalization, marketing transformation and in-store digital products.
Ashish is an eBay and PayPal Alumni, where he led eCommerce platform product and development teams.
CEO & Co-Founder
Ravi N. Raj is the CEO and Co-founder of Passage.AI. In this role, he leads a team of AI and deep learning engineers that have created the industry-leading AI platform that businesses can use to create a conversational interface for their websites without a single line of code.
Prior to co-founding Passage.AI, he led product for @WalmartLabs, Walmart’s hub for innovation around social, mobile and retail. Raj came to Walmart through the acquisition of Kosmix, where he served as the VP and GM of Kosmix’s sites, which included Kosmix.com, Tweetbeat.com and RightHealth.com, then the second largest health site on the Web.
Raj has also played leadership roles at Yahoo, AltaVista and Elance (now Upwork) and hold patents in search, social media, and retail.
He has an undergraduate degree from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras, and a graduate degree in Computer Engineering from the University of California, Irvine.
Director of Product Marketing
Christian has 20+ years of product marketing, management and engineering experience in the networking industry with a strong focus on mobility, cloud and wireless and speaks often at industry events globally. He currently leads product marketing for Mist. Previously he led product marketing for wired, wireless and branch solutions at Aruba (acquired by HPE). He led product marketing and product management for Agito Networks product line (acquired by ShoreTel). Prior to Agito, he was an early member of the Meru Networks team leading product management and partnerships in VoWLAN and Wi-Fi Access Point solutions. Christian started his career at Nortel Networks where he held several networking and VoIP project lead and software architect positions and was also granted a patent.
VP of Product Innovation & Managing Director of Connected Experience
Vincent is the visionary force behind Nytec’s Product Innovation Center. Over the years, he has expanded Nytec globally, and formed a talented interdisciplinary team to deliver industry-leading innovative consumer lifestyle and Industrial IOT product design, engineering and manufacturing management solutions for some of the top Fortune 100 companies. Prior to Nytec, Vince has lead multiple teams across UX and Design in tier one global companies like Microsoft.
Co-Founder & Chief Customer Officer
Known as one of Canada’s leading entrepreneurs, Jordan has worked with many of North America’s most prominent retail and foodservice brands to design new, transformative approaches for improving the customer experience. He co-founded Nudge Rewards with the vision that the most critical part of a brand's delivery is the interaction between their employees and customers.
With extensive experience in customer loyalty, rewards strategy and mobile technology, he previously co-founded of one of Canada’s most popular loyalty programs, Carrot Rewards, designed to motivate Canadians to make better everyday lifestyle choices. Carrot was recognized as the Canadian App of the Year and in 2018, was ranked as a Top 10 Loyalty Program in the country by the Bond Brand Loyalty Report.
A sought-after subject matter expert in transformative behavior change solutions, Jordan is a prolific speaker and has most recently delivered keynotes at the World Business Forum in Mexico City and Futures Stores in Seattle.
Sarah is a subject matter expert in optimizing Hospitality Technology that yield operational efficiencies and engaging experiences. She is the Founder and CEO of Hospitality Maven—a market intelligence and consulting firm that guides operators and solution providers alike through assessments, product positioning, API integrations, and networking with some of the largest brands in Hospitality. Prior to forming Hospitality Maven, Sarah gained operational experience in F&B and Hotel Operations at Gaylord Hotels. She then went onto the vendor side of the business at Amadeus--a leading travel technology company with over 70% global market share in the hotel space.