Serena Williams, Guy Raz join executives from CVS, Snapchat, and Google as speakers at NRF’s conference

“At a time when there is so much growth and innovation in our industry, we have brought together a diverse, talented and compelling group of speakers who are sure to inspire this year’s attendees.”

Matthew Shay
NRF President and CEO

WASHINGTON – Tennis star/entrepreneur Serena Williams and acclaimed radio personality and podcast creator Guy Raz will join executives from CVS, Snapchat, Google, Neiman Marcus and Kate Spade to headline the National Retail Federation’s annual conference next month. The event, which is the retail industry’s top networking event for technologists, executives and thought leaders, will be held September 12-14 at the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas.

“At a time when there is so much growth and innovation in our industry, we have brought together a diverse, talented and compelling group of speakers who are sure to inspire this year’s attendees,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “We are thrilled with this lineup and expect great discussions on how retailers are reimagining the modern shopping experience, meeting consumer expectations and preparing for the future.”

The conference will bring together retail’s top ecommerce and multichannel executives to hear stories about the shifting retail landscape. Opening the show on September 12, Guy Raz, host of NPR’s TED Radio Hour and How I Built This podcasts, will interview Jen Rubio, co-founder and chief brand officer of the luggage company Away, and Miki Berardelli, CEO of KIDBOX, bringing the stories behind their business success and personal journeys to life.

That evening, MTV reality show “Jersey Shore” personality Paul DelVecchio, who is also a disc jockey, will perform under his stage name “DJ Pauly D” at the conference’s kickoff party, where retailers will expand their professional networks and build new partnerships.

On September 13, celebrity chef Lorena Garcia will welcome conference attendees to Las Vegas, where she recently became the first female executive chef on the Las Vegas Strip, and give a preview of the attendee lunch to be held at her restaurant CHICA at The Venetian. Following Garcia’s remarks, Google Managing Director for the Retail Sector Kiran Mani will highlight industry trends and share case studies on how retailers are leveraging artificial intelligence technology as part of their business strategies.

Later that day, Fast Company will take over the main stage with three keynote sessions moderated by journalist and contributor Sean Captain:

In the first session, “Smarter, Better, Faster: How AI is Shifting Consumer Preferences,” attendees will hear a conversation on artificial intelligence with executives from and Major League Baseball. The discussion will focus on how those businesses are harnessing AI to create intuitive shopping experiences that evolve with consumer expectations.

The second session will feature Zuckerberg Media Founder and CEO Randi Zuckerberg and Talia Halperin, general manager of commerce at “Tasty,” Buzzfeed’s video series on Facebook, discussing “Cashing in on Strategic Cross-Industry Collaborations.” The two will address how brands can identify partners in different industries with a similar ethos and willingness to experiment, tap into a consumer base they might not otherwise have access to, and measure the success of those collaborations.

The third session will feature Glossier Senior Vice President of Marketing Ali Weiss and GIPHY Vice President of Product Caroline Huber discussing “Design Thinking and the CMO of Tomorrow: The Consumer Marketing Officer.” They will address how actively cultivating a community of consumers and giving them a stake in brand equity can lead to explosive growth, creativity and innovation.  

To kick off the last day of the show on September 14, CVS Pharmacy President and CVS Health Executive Vice President Kevin Hourican will take the stage to discuss “Innovating for Tomorrow: The Power of Purpose and a Customer-First Mindset.” Hourican will share experiences and insights spanning from his early days in retail to his newest role, including the importance of delivering on customer expectations that are evolving as rapidly as the retail environment.

Looking to the future of retail, PricewaterhouseCoopers New Services and Emerging Tech Leader Scott Likens will give a primer on blockchain technology, including major areas of impact within the industry and examples of early winners to watch for implementable ideas and insights.

In addition, Snapchat Director of Retail Marni Schapiro and Essence Global SVP of Content + Innovation Jeremy Sigel will lead a discussion on how retailers can use creativity, storytelling and cutting-edge technology in a measurable way to engage with “Millennials, Gen Z and the Future of Mobile Marketing.”

Serena Williams, a four-time Olympic Gold medalist and holder of 37 Grand Slam titles in singles and doubles, will close out the show. Williams will discuss the evolution of her brand, strategic partnerships with companies including Nike and the Home Shopping Network, and establishing her first independent clothing line, Serena, while balancing her record-breaking tennis career and philanthropic efforts.

The show will also include remarks by executives from Acceleration Partners, Accenture, Adlucent, Adobe, Brickwork, Capgemini, Certona, Cornerstone Brands, Deloitte Consulting, Dolly, Dylan’s Candy Bar, eBay, Eight by Eight, Etsy, Fitzroy, Flywheel, Forbes, Forrester, Fuel by McKinsey, GIPHY, goPuff, KWI, Glossy, JGA, KnotStandard, Macy’s, NYDJ, Perch Interactive, PGA Tour Super Store, by REVEAL, Salesforce, The Science Company, Sephora, Shoes of NYC, Sur La Table, TechStyle Fashion Group, Uber, Wayfair, Zappos and Zenni Optical.

Complimentary registration is available to editorial members of the news media as well as accredited retail analysts and bloggers. To register, visit the media registration page.

About NRF
The National Retail Federation is the world’s largest retail trade association. Based in Washington, D.C., NRF represents discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.