RAC’s Annual State of the Retail Marketing Industry – “Brand Transformation”

Feb 3, 2016
The St. James Cathedral Centre
65 Church St.
7:15am - 9:00am ET

7:15 AM – 8:00 AM - Registration & Full Hot Breakfast Buffet

8:00 AM – 9:30 AM - Presentation

The RAC State of Retail Breakfast is the first important retail event of the year in Canada. Join in the conversation as a panel of Canada’s most senior retail CMO’s discuss change, transformation and evolution in retail. Learn how retailers are working to stay ahead of consumer behaviour and trends, encouraging innovation in marketing and in-store experience, and strategizing to outsmart their competition. Engaging consumers through all media channels - from digital to traditional media - has never been so complex. Hear how retail transformation and reinvention is impacting the Canadian retail industry.

Alan Kay, Solution Focused Change Management Specialist

Alan Kay is a Solutions Focused change solutions consultant supporting clients in areas such as strategic planning, brand and customer experience implementation, stakeholder consultation and client-supplier alignment. As a former senior executive in the advertising and marketing communications industry, Alan was Managing Director of the high profile Toronto advertising agency, Harrod & Mirlin, and before that he held a variety of client management roles at McCann Erickson in Canada and the US serving a broad range of multi-national and domestic clients. Alan’s work is widely influenced by the theory and application of Solutions Focus to encourage attitudinal and behavioural change within an organization, and to help corporate and individual clients become more strategically focused. Alan is a past President of the American Marketing Association (Toronto Chapter). He received Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal for his services as contributor and board member of ABC Life Literacy Canada.

Rob Assimakopoulos, Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, CIBC

Rob Assimakopoulos joined CIBC as Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer in August 2014. Rob came to CIBC from General Motors Canada, where he was Executive Director, Marketing and Communications. Although Rob originally worked in Finance with Ford Motor Company, his career has been spent as a brand marketer. Rob was a Brand Manager at Procter & Gamble (in Canada, and in P&G's Global group in Cincinnati), Vice President Marketing at Molson-Coors Canada, and Chief Marketing Officer at the Canadian Football League. Rob graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a B.A. in Economics. He obtained a Master of Business Administration from the University of Windsor, with a concentration on Finance and Marketing.

Laura Baker, VP of Marketing, Sleep Country Canada

Laura joined Sleep Country in 2012 is responsible for all aspects of marketing communications and media planning. She is the one behind ALL those radio ads! Her focus on optimizing the media mix and synergizing messages across all channels has been paramount in driving in-store traffic and same store sales. Before joining Sleep Country, Laura led the Digital Marketing team at Tim Hortons, creating Canada’s largest Facebook fan brand page, the online version of Roll Up the Rim to Win and the mobile app TimmyMe. Prior to that, Laura held various marketing roles at FedEx, Canadian Tire Financial Services and D&B. Laura graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with an Honours BBA.

Simon Rodrigue, Senior Vice President, eCommerce, Walmart Canada

Simon Rodrigue, as SVP of eCommerce for Walmart Canada, is spear-heading the aggressive growth and positioning of Walmart as the leading omnichannel retailer in the Canadian market. Responsible for all aspects of the online business and integration with the stores Simon is building a high performance eCommerce team with the focus of delighting the Canadian consumer on each and every interaction with Walmart online.

Before joining Walmart.ca Simon led the eCommerce and Interactive Marketing teams at two of Canada's top retailers: Sears Canada and Home Depot Canada as well as the Site Experience organization for Travelocity North America. 

Over past the 10 years Simon has led some of the largest and fastest growing online businesses in Canada and is recognized as a leader in Interactive Marketing, eCommerce and Social Commerce practices. Simon has spearheaded the evolution of traditional media plans to mixed media strategies, launched supply chain transformations leveraging direct ship best practices, implemented master data management strategies unlocking the hidden value of product data and built some of the top eCommerce teams in Canada. 

Simon has also worked in various operational and merchandising leadership roles within The Home Depot Canada, and served as a Senior Business and Marketing Consultant with Nortel Networks Global Services, enabling start-ups and aiding Fortune 50 companies to develop global, emerging business strategies.

Hollie Shaw, Retail Reporter, National Post

Hollie Shaw has reported on the retail and restaurant sectors for the National Post and the Postmedia network for the last fifteen years. Born in Toronto, she began her career in journalism at Canadian Press/Broadcast News after studying at the University of British Columbia.