RS19 Schedule

Sep 15-17, 2019 | San Diego, CA
Join Us!

Sunday, September 15

12:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Registration & Orientation
2:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Surfing Lessons

Immerse yourself in San Diego’s famous surf culture and meet us at the shore for a different type of ‘board’ meeting.  With the help of a professional instructor, you’ll spend the afternoon learning basic fundamentals, wave riding skills, and surfer etiquette (read: rules of the road). New to the wet suit? Don’t fret – this event is designed for all skill levels – 1st timers to experts.

2:00 pm – 5:45 pm
Brewery Tour & BBQ

Hop on board our private tour bus and enjoy a true VIP behind the scenes experience at 2 of Carlsbad’s local breweries. You’ll be guided by an expert to learn the craft of beer making and how to distinguish between the different varieties. Pair your tastings with a savory BBQ lunch and cheers your industry peers to a fun-filled afternoon!

2:00 Pm – 5:30 pm
Taste of Carlsbad Food Tour

Stroll through the streets of Carlsbad Village on a 3-hour walking tour. Enjoy the mix of museums, art galleries and vibrant street murals as we make our way to visit 8 unique eateries. We’ll sample local favorites, learn about California wines and receive an insiders view into the history and architecture that defines the village. You’ll feel just like a local by the conclusion of this unforgettable cultural & culinary experience, so go ahead – treat yo’ self!

6:15 Pm – 7:00 pm
Welcome Reception

Sponsored by:


7:00 PM – 9:30 pm
Borrowed Thoughts: A Mind Reading Experience

As one of the top mentalists and magicians worldwide, Kevin Viner always has one goal in mind — to challenge what is possible! He is a regular on national television from Penn and Teller: Fool Us, Masters of Illusion, and E!’s Busy Tonight and performs around the world for high end corporate and social events. Kevin’s show is “Entertainment for people who have seen it all.”

Kevin Viner
Mentalist & Magician

Monday, September 16

7:15 am – 8:00 am

Sponsored by:


8:00 am – 8:45 am
Tech’s Not the Disruptor, It’s the Customer, Dummy!

Amid all the disorienting, fast-paced advancements in tech, it’s understandable that retail has struggled to find the right in-store solutions in an increasingly digital world. While it may seem impossible to keep up with the latest developments, retailers need to understand it’s not about harnessing tech to engage customers, but rather, accurately gauging how customers want to shop, and finding the right tech to meet their ever evolving needs. WD Partners has teamed up with Google to answer the big questions brands are asking about the future of retail. In this opening presentation, Lee Peterson and Chris Lydle will explore how brands can implement next-level BOPIS, seamless digital integration, as well as new ways of thinking about the role that stores need to play in customers’ lives.

Chris Lydle
Retail Innovation Lead – Google
Lee Peterson
EVP, Thought Leadership – WD Partners
8:50 am – 9:50 am
Business Strategy Meetings
9:55 am – 11:10 am
Innovation Hour:
Mobile First Bricks ‘n Mortar

The strongest relationship most people have now is with their phone. We fall asleep scrolling it, check it as soon as we wake up, and rely on it to run our lives. Ecommerce continues to capitalize on this behavior with more apps and social media selling, however physical retail stores has yet to catch up.  Almost half of Gen Z admit to being on their phone while shopping in physical stores, and the reality is we aren’t giving them much reason to look up.

So, how do we design a store experience that is driven by mobile phone interaction? Alasdair Lennox, Executive Creative Director at FITCH will share how retailers can innovate their customer journeys and store experiences for a generation that is always heads down.

Alasdair Lennox
Executive Creative Director FITCH
Shaping Retail’s Frictionless Future with Conversational Commerce

With its proprietary text message-based “conversational commerce” platform, Iris Nova (parent company of DIRTY LEMON) plans to transform the multi-trillion dollar nonalcoholic beverage industry. Combined with its new concept, The Drug Store, the burgeoning technology also has the potential to change the nature of convenience and customer expectations around brand interaction. Doubling as a data collection hub, The Drug Store’s VIP experience harnesses consumer behavior to guide product development, while strengthening brand loyalty. Founder and CEO, Zak Normandin, talks about the ongoing journey from digital native upstart to beverage conglomerate using the latest tools at every retailer’s disposal.

Zak Normandin
Founder & CEO – Iris Nova
Storytelling: The New Consumerism

With STORY, the ever-changing retail concept, Rachel Shechtman pioneered a new model of physical retail and media with narrative at its center. Now as the Brand Experience Officer at Macy’s, she’s growing STORY, translating ideas into new processes at scale. She will discuss the way each of STORY’s narrative-driven themes come to life, from collaborative strategy and design thinking, to narrative graphics and staff training. Rachel will also talk about tapping into the power of story to engage an audience, connect a community… and yes, sell things too!

Rachel Shechtman
Brand Experience Officer Macy’s
11:15 am – 12:15 pm
Business Strategy Meetings
12:20 pm – 1:00 pm
A Fireside Chat with Ron Johnson

With the Apple Store, Ron Johnson helped imagine a new age of physical retail. Opening close to 400 stores in 13 countries across his 12-year tenure with the company, Johnson’s influence on the industry is undeniable. This intimate sit down chat will explore his influential career, which has included time with Target, as well as a short stint leading JCPenney. Now, as CEO and Co-Founder of Enjoy — the first mobile retail store available on demand — Johnson has hopes of redefining the way consumers gain access to products, by adapting to the modern customer’s desire for ultra-convenience and personalized experiences.

Ron Johnson
Co-Founder & CEO Enjoy
Michael Owens
Executive ProducerRetailSpaces
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Sponsored by:

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Discussion Groups:
  • How to Create Successful In-Store Digital Experiences Jeremy Duimstra & Lindsey HarrisValtech
  • Scaling Responsibly and Cost-Effectively Heidi Guerard[solidcore] 
  • Evolving your Model and Format – Graciela Ponce – 7-Eleven & Kim EllisiFly
  • Improving GC Management and Performance Tim Goddard AutoZone
3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Business Strategy Meetings
4:05 pm – 4:30 pm
Staying True to Your Brand + Customers

Well on its way to becoming a $4 billion company by 2020, Vans’ evangelical following has helped it remain an iconic fixture of the retail landscape for decades. But it’s a focus on building authentic encounters between customers and brand, not on financials, that have allowed Vans to thrive. Global Brand President, Doug Palladini, explains how they stay connected with their customer, establish community, and break all the rules in the process.

Doug Palladini
Global Brand President Vans
4:30 pm – 4:45 pm
HAPPY HOUR – Grab a drink

Sponsored by:


4:45 pm – 5:30 pm
How Did I Get Here? The Ascent of an Unlikely CEO

Tony Hawk became the 12-time world champion, 16-time X Games medalist, and first skateboarder to land a 900 through his relentless attitude and unwavering focus. Always authentic, always on the cutting edge of the sport, forever inventing his own way of accomplishing what had yet to be created. As a businessman, philanthropist and video game character, he has applied those same qualities while forging ahead through his career as an unlikely CEO. Learn how Tony has embraced technology, social media and his own gut sense of doing things authentically and remaining true to what brought him here in the first place; skateboarding.

Tony Hawk
Legendary Skateboarder / Entrepreneur
5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Free time
6:30 pm – 10:00 pm
RetailSpaces Rocks!

Eats + Drinks + Hot Air Balloon Rides – 6:30 pm
Ezra Ray Hart – 8:30 pm


10:00 pm – 12:00am
Live Band Karaoke

Sponsored by:


Tuesday, September 17

7:30 am – 8:15 am

Sponsored by:


8:15 am – 8:30 am
Prioritizing the Human Touch

With Foot Locker’s latest concept, the Powerstore, in New York, the long-standing brand has created a community-driven and localized retail experience powered by purposeful digital connections.

Join Head of Global Retail Design, Kambiz Hemati, as he discusses the new store design and how technology is integrated with analog experiences to connect with the consumer. 

Kambiz Hemati

VP, Global Store Design Footlocker

8:35 am – 8:55 am
#doingthingsdifferently: Delivering Agile and Immersive Brand Experiences

Discover how L’OCCITANE en Provence, the prestige international beauty company with high-quality skincare, body care, and fragrance, is inspiring & engaging their customers in the fast-changing brick-and-mortar landscape. 

Explore L’OCCITANE’s latest award-winning in-store concepts, including 555 Fifth Avenue, New York City, the Retail Design Institute’s 2018 Store of the Year.

Paul Blackburn
VP, Retail Development, Design & Merchandising L’Occitane
9:00 am – 9:20 am
What All Retailers Can Learn from the Cannabis Revolution

Megan Stone designs dispensaries. Cannabis dispensaries. Since founding The High Road Design Studio in 2013, Stone has gone on to accumulate numerous design accolades and acclaim for her work. Highly sensorial and evoking a strong sense of connection with the product, Stone’s work has made an undeniable contribution to the evolution of dispensaries from dingy headshop to high-end wellness outlet. At the forefront of her focus is the momentum the cannabis movement continues to generate, imbuing the dispensaries she breathes to life with an unshakeable sense of purpose and brand identity. In this fireside chat, we’ll explore the myriad lessons that all retailers can learn from the burgeoning cannabis business.


Megan Stone
Owner & Principal High Road Design
9:25 am – 10:25 am
Business Strategy Meetings
10:25 am – 10:40 am
Brunch Bar Break – Bloody Marys and Mimosas
10:40 am – 11:30 am
Tackling Rising Development Costs

In a competitive market, a severe lack of general contractors and labor is a major issue facing most retailers, dragging out timelines and eroding project quality. Additionally, escalating trade tensions and tougher permit requirements are also proving major hurdles in getting stores built or remodeled. In this discussion, panelists will share the struggles, strategies, and successes of rollout execution in 2019.

Shawn Bland
Director of Retail – Core States Group
Tim Jagneaux
VP, Construction & Facilities – Tractor Supply Company
Kelly Radford
VP, Store Development – Party City
Bruce Walters
 Chief Development Officer – Dollar Tree / Family Dollar Stores
11:30 am – 12:30 pm
Closing Lunch