General Information

2013 Retail Smarter Conference

June 20-21, 2013
Peabody, Orlando

The annual Retail Smarter Conference brings together a diverse group of retail and industry participants for two days of speakers, panels, roundtables and networking.

Sponsorship Opportunities

To discuss sponsorship opportunities, please contact:
Betsy Trobaugh
jcpenney Director, Miller Center for Retailing Education & Research
Email(betsy.trobaugh at

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Registration & Hotel


Registration (After April 13, 2013)
  • $545 per person for Non-Sponsoring company participants
  • $495 each when more than one individual attends from the same company
  • $445 per person for Miller Center for Retailing Sponsoring company participants
  • $395 each when more than one individual attends from the same company
  • $375 each for academics and alumni
  • $225 per person for students

Hotel Information

Peabody Hotel

The 2013 Conference will be held at The Peabody Orlando, which is conveniently located on International Drive in the heart of Orlando, Florida.

The Peabody Orlando
9801 International Drive
Orlando, FL 32819
1-800-PEABODY (732-2639)


Please call 1-800-PEABODY (732-2639) to make your reservations. Mention "Retail Smarter Symposium 2013" to receive our discounted rate of $179.00 per night plus tax. Please note that parking is not included in the room charges.

The deadline to make your reservation at our discounted room rate is May 29, 2013.
Reservations can be cancelled prior to 72 hours before arrival, after which time the deposit is non-refundable.


Thursday, June 20th

  • 7:00 – 8:00 A.M.

    BREAKFAST – Sponsored by Wells Fargo Retail Finance
    WELCOME BAGS – Sponsored by Brown Shoe Company
    AUDIO VISUAL – Sponsored by Pinch-A-Penny, Firestone Complete Auto Care, North Highland
    DUCK WALK - Sponsored by Sealane Marketing and Retail Detail Merchandising

  • 8:00 – 8:30

    Dr. John Kraft, Dean & Professor, University of Florida, Warrington College of Business Administration
    Betsy A. Trobaugh, jcp Director, David F. Miller Center for Retailing Education and Research
    Steven Kirn, Executive Director, David F. Miller Center for Retailing Education and Research

  • 8:30 – 9:30

    MICHELLE STEITZ, Vice President of Transformation Initiatives, jcp

  • 9:30 – 10:30

    DAVID BERG, CEO and Chief Customer Service Officer, Z Wireless

  • 10:30 – 11:00

    REFRESHMENT BREAK – Sponsored by Body Central

  • 11:05 – 12:00

    SESSION 1 (Columbia 37)

      J David Scheiner, Former President and Chief Operating Officer, Macy’s Florida/Puerto Rico

      Let's talk about what's happening -- and your plans -- for international expansion, and for meeting global competitors. There are great opportunities…. and challenges. How does your company define the future?

    SESSION 2 (Columbia 36)

      Lary Sinewitz, Executive Vice President, BrandsMart

      Why should you get involved, how to make a difference

    SESSION 3 (Columbia 35)

      Michael Patrick, Founder and President, MOHR Retail
      Mary Beth Garcia, Client Solutions Consultant, MOHR Retail

      Welcome to the unique world of Retail Support Leadership! In retail, if you’re not serving customers in a store you’re supporting someone who is!

      In this session you will learn what the best retail support leaders from around the country are doing to meet and exceed goals on a daily basis. You will have the opportunity to take a deeper dive into one of the most popular training modules, Communicating for Success, which focuses on building company-wide relationships while strengthening your personal reputation with co-workers. Lastly, you will be able to take a model for managing internal meetings in a powerful way and a summary of the national research on retail support leaders’ best practices for use and reference back on the job. This is a session you don’t want to miss! See you on June 20th between 11:05 AM and 12:00 PM, Room Columbia 35 at the Retail Smarter Conference.

    SESSION 4 (Columbia 34)

      Brian Reaves, Senior VP of Store Sales and Operations Destination XL Retail Group

      A Successful Team Approach Between Talent Acquisition & Field Operations Helps DXL Retail Group Launch a New “Big” Brand of Store.

      Is Bigger really Better? At DXLG the answer is “Yes!” Let’s explore, through interactive conversation, how Bigger stores with Better Assortments demand the importance of upgrading talent. Great Field Operations and Strong Talent Acquisition can XL performance results in every way! Bring your ideas and questions about what’s in the DNA of successful retailers.

  • 12:00 - 1:30

    LUNCH - Sponsored by Dick’s Sporting Goods, Enhanced Retail Solutions, Headway Workforce Solutions, Hess Corporation and MOHR Retail
    Florida Retailer of the Year Award for Leadership (ROYAL) Luncheon, A program sponsored by the Florida Retail Federation

  • 1:45 – 2:45

    RACHEL SHECHTMAN, Founder, Story

  • 2:45 – 3:45

    DAVID VANDERPOEL, Director, Social Media Services, SPARKSGROVE, A Division of North Highland

  • 3:45 – 4:05

    REFRESHMENT BREAK – Sponsored by Tires Plus Total Car Care

  • 4:10 – 5:10

    SESSION 1 (Columbia 37)

    • Nataliya Dragoman, College Recruiter, Hess Corporation
    • A. Brooks Renoll, University Relations Recruiter, DICK’S Sporting Goods

    This presentation will be a non-traditional look at millenials by millenials in the work place. Discussion will focus on the often talked about generation that’s joining the retail world.

    SESSION 2 (Columbia 36)

      Jim Lewis, CEO Enhanced Retail Solutions

      Join our discussion on what strategies brick and mortar retailers can apply to stay relevant and profitable in the hyper-competitive retail environment. From a blank slate we’ll design the store of the future that will provide the consumer a compelling reason to shop there.

      As on-line shopping continues to grow at a furious pace, brick & mortar retailers are having to adapt new strategies to remain competitive. Customers can comparison shop on foot, but buy conveniently from their mobile devices at virtually any time and any place. On line retailers are delivering products to their customers faster- some are testing same day delivery. Does that mean in the future we won’t need brick and mortar stores anymore? What physical, technological, philosophical and theatrical changes will need to be made to keep the customer coming in- and more importantly- buying?

    SESSION 3 (Columbia 35)

      Ginny Lawrimore, Social Media Manager, Warrington College of Business Administration, University of Florida

      2012 was a ground-breaking year for social media and brands, as more companies recognized the value of customer service and increased targeted engagement through platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Join our discussion as we take a look at some of the most successful moments in social media engagement from brands across the U.S.

    SESSION 4 (Columbia 34)

      Steve Kirn, Executive Director, David F. Miller Center for Retailing Education and Research

      The last five years have been a retailing roller coaster ride -- scary, but exciting. "Wanna go again?" The Great Recession altered consumer decision-making, purchasing patterns, store choice and shopping habits. Will the changes persist, or was this just a strange aberration? And how might continued changes in wealth distribution (high vs. low income, shrinking "middle") shape the retail future? How is it affecting your business strategy? Let's talk!

  • 5:15 – 6:45

    COCKTAIL RECEPTION – Sponsored by Purchasing Power

Friday, June 21st
  • 7:30 – 8:30

    BREAKFAST – Sponsored by Walgreens

  • 8:30 – 9:30

    CRAIG THOMAS, Senior Vice President,SVP, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer, Florida Blue

  • 9:30 – 10:30

    SAM EDELMAN, Founder of Sam Edelman Shoe and Division President, Brown Shoe Company, Inc.

  • 10:30 – 11:00

    REFRESHMENT BREAK - Sponsored by Bloomin’ Brands

  • 11:00 – 12:00

    NEIL A. DOSHI, Managing Director, Internet Research, CRT Capital Group LLC

  • 12:00



Featured Presenters:

  1. Sam Edelman

    Founder of Sam Edelman Shoe and Division President
    Brown Shoe Company, Inc.

    Sam Edelman has been a dominant force in fashion for 30 years. He developed Esprit into one of the most iconic junior footwear brands of the 1980s before launching his first company, Sam & Libby, which he created in 1987 with his wife, Libby. After selling Sam & Libby, Mr. Edelman launched the Sam Edelman brand in 2004 which has become a fixture in fashion magazines and on the soles of celebrity feet. In 2010, Brown Shoe Company Inc. announced its acquisition of Edelman Shoe Inc. Mr. Edelman has retained his role as President of the Sam Edelman division, and is still based in its Manhattan offices and design studios.

  2. Rachel Shechtman


    Ms. Shechtman is the founder of Story, a Manhattan boutique that changes its theme, merchandise and décor every four to eight weeks to provide shoppers a different experience every time they visit. Ms. Shechtman's first foray into entrepreneurship was in 2003 when she launched Cube Ventures, a retail consulting practice that has collaborated with Gilt Groupe, Lord & Taylor, Cotton Incorporated, Vosges Chocolate, Flight 001,, and others. In 2006, she launched the Council of Fashion Designers of America's (CDFA) first-ever business membership initiative, The Business Services Network (BSN), which creates strategic access for businesses while creating exclusive opportunities for designers. In 2009, Rachel launched show+tell, a marketing division of Cube Venture that creates brand-to-consumer relationships through meaningful partnerships and experiences.

  3. David Berg

    CEO and Chief Customer Service Officer
    Z Wireless

    Prior to joining Bloomin’ Brands in 2011, Mr. Berg served as Chief Operating Officer for General Nutrition Centers, Inc. (GNC). He joined GNC in 2009 as Executive Vice President of Global Business Development and International Chief Operating Officer responsible for the organization’s operations outside of North America. From 2002 to 2009, Mr. Berg held multiple leadership positions at Best Buy, Inc., including Chief Operating Officer for Best Buy International, where he was responsible for business operations outside of the United States and the company's international expansion strategy. Mr. Berg’s extensive international operations experience also includes senior officer positions with Danka Business Systems and NordicTrack, Inc.

    He received a bachelor's degree in economics from Emory University and a Juris Doctorate, with honors, from the University of Florida College of Law.

  4. Michelle Steitz

    Vice President of Transformation Initiatives

    Ms. Steitz has spent 22 years in various leadership positions at jcpenney. Her newest role, since October 2012, is leading the new talent development initiatives involving the stores organization. Prior to her new position, Ms. Steitz was jcpenney's Vice President of Merchandise Execution where she led a team of visual merchandisers across all divisions. She also held a Divisional Vice President role where she led a similar team devoted to women's apparel initiatives. Additionally, Ms. Steitz served as a senior buyer in women's apparel where she led national and private brand businesses, as well as exclusive designer brands in contemporary women's apparel.

  5. Craig Thomas

    Senior Vice President, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer
    Florida Blue. Florida's Blue Cross Blue Shield plan.

    Mr. Thomas provides leadership for the individual under 65/exchange, Medicaid and Medicare markets. His responsibilities also include developing and leading the company's retail capabilities including marketing, direct-to-consumer sales and member engagement, as well as brand and marketing communications. Prior to joining Florida Blue, Mr. Thomas worked for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) as vice president of market development and analysis. He then became the acting senior vice president of sales and marketing. Mr. Thomas holds a Bachelor of Science from the State University of New York College at Buffalo and a Juris Doctorate from Stetson University College of Law.

  6. David Vanderpoel

    Director, Digital Strategy
    Sparks Grove - A Division of North Highland

    Since 1999, David has advised the world's biggest brands on Web strategy, social media strategy, mobile and apps, and precision marketing. His work spans new product ideation through design, development and marketing execution with clients and partners including YouTube, Turner, Coca-Cola, AT&T, Facebook, and many others.

    David speaks on social media marketing regularly, and has recently appeared as a featured speaker for OMMA Social, the AMA, and the National Retail Federation. His work has won numerous industry awards, including Emmy nominations, Webby awards, OMMA Best of Show, MIXX awards, Communicator awards, CMA awards, SNCR awards, and is featured in several marketing textbooks, an IBM Redbook, and the best-selling The Viral Video Manifesto by Stephen Voltz and Fritz Grobe.

  7. Neil Doshi

    Managing Director,
    Internet Research, CRT Capital Group, LLC

    Neil Doshi is a Managing Director and Senior Equity Analyst covering the Internet & Interactive Media sectors at CRT. Prior to joining CRT, Neil was a VP and Sr. Analyst at Citi. While at Citi he was also a key member of the #1 ranked Institutional Investor team at Citi for the Internet Sector from 2008 to 2012. In addition, Neil has made a number of appearances on CNBC, Fox Business News, WSJ, and MarketWatch. Before joining Citi, Neil was an Associate at ThinkEquity, covering Internet stocks. And prior to equity research, Neil was at Google, where he a part of Google's Business Operations team, working on key projects for Google’s Executive Management Group. Prior to Google, Neil worked in Technology Investment Banking. Neil holds an MBA from Haas School of Business and a B.S. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Concurrent Session Speakers:

  1. Lary Sinewitz

    Executive Vice President

  2. Mary Beth Garcia

    Founder and President
    Talent Optimization Inc.

  3. J David Scheiner

    Former President and Chief Operating Officer
    Macy's Florida/Puerto Rico

  4. Ginny Lawrimore

    Social Media Manager
    Warrington College of Business Administration,
    University of Florida

  5. Jim Lewis

    Enhanced Retail Solutions, LLC

  6. Nataliya Dragoman

    College Recruiter
    Hess Corporation

  7. Brian Reaves

    Senior VP of Store Sales and Operations
    Destination XL Retail Group

  8. A. Brooks Renoll

    University Relations Recruiter
    DICK'S Sporting Goods


  • Office Depot

  • Body Central
  • Bloomin Brands
  • Brown Shoe
  • Dicks Sporting Goods
  • Enhanced Retail Solutions
  • Firestone
  • Hess
  • Hess
  • Mohr
  • North Highland
  • Pinch-A-Penny
  • Purchasing Power
  • RDM
  • Sealane Marketing
  • Tires Plus
  • Walgreens
  • Wells Fargo