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Cassandra Walker Pye

Cassandra Walker Pye is Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer for Lucas Public Affairs (LPA), a public affairs consultancy based in Sacramento. For more than 35 years, she has enjoyed a successful career in communications, government, politics and advocacy for corporate interests in global, national, state and local arenas. She joined LPA in November 2019.

Cassandra has served in leadership roles in the public and private sectors in Sacramento and in Washington, DC. From 2014 through 2019, she led 3.14 Communications, LLC, a full-service communication consultancy with clients in a range of sectors. She began her career at the Food Marketing Institute and directed government relations operations for the California Grocers Association and the California Retailers Association. As senior vice president for APCO Worldwide, Cassandra co-led the agency’s global food and consumer products practice group. In 2003, Cassandra was appointed deputy chief of staff to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and served as a member of his post-election transition team. She is former political director and corporate affairs vice president for the California Chamber of Commerce, where she launched the JobsPAC, ChamberPAC and the Coalition for California Jobs. 

Since 2016, she’s been a lead facilitator for the American Leadership Forum’s (ALF) Leading Consciously trainings, providing insights into unconscious (implicit) bias and its impact on societal structures and institutions.

Cassandra sits on the Board of Directors for the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) and serves on the boards of the Sacramento Region Community Foundation and Street Soccer USA. She is former State Board President and now a member of the Advisory Board for California Women Lead. She is a passionate professional soccer fan and was among the original group of supporters for Sacramento Republic Football Club. Cassandra and husband Kelvin have four adult sons. They reside in Sacramento.

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 David Thompson, CFI

David Thompson, CFI, is a Partner and President of Wicklander-Zulawski & Associates (WZ) as well as an active instructor for the organization. He is responsible for the company's strategic vision and oversees the business's day-to-day operations.

Thompson also leads the evolution of interview and interrogation curriculum development to provide research-based investigative tools to practitioners while driving change in the industry.

In his experience as a practitioner, David has had the opportunity to manage a variety of cases while conducting interviews and consulting on investigations ranging from theft and fraud to sexual harassment and homicide. David has created and delivered customized training programs internationally, conducted live broadcasts of training and presented keynote presentations at numerous events.

With a dedication to leading change, David has collaborated with members of the academic community, advocacy groups, and other relevant partners to further the enhancement of interview and interrogation protocols throughout the US. He has contributed expert opinions for a variety of cases and was cited by the Federal Court of Appeals for his involvement on the topic of interview and interrogation. He has also provided consults on legislative propositions and served as a subject matter expert for reform efforts and case evaluations.

David attended Canisius College, in Buffalo, New York, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a concentration in Criminal Justice and continued his education at Arizona State University, earning a Master of Science in Forensic Psychology.


Brian Riggs

Brian Riggs is a native of New Jersey where he currently resides with his wife and two daughters. He began his organizational development work in 2007 when he was hired by Association Headquarters, Inc., to design and execute leadership workshops, organizational engagement and strategic planning for the public and private sectors.

Today Brian is the CEO of Riggs Enterprise, a company that specializes in organizational development with a strong focus on strategy, culture, and internal and external communications. More specifically, he and his team work closely with leadership teams on organizational effectiveness, change management and growth.

In his role, Brian develops and supports key initiatives designed to inspire and elevate members, leaders within and throughout for profit and non-profit organizations. His firm connects vision and strategy to stakeholders through internal and external brand development. Riggs holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina, a master’s degree from Rutgers University, and is a graduate of Cornell University’s change leadership program.

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Todd Hartman

Todd Hartman is general counsel and chief risk officer for Best Buy Co. Inc. In this role, he is responsible for the company’s legal activities and its global risk and compliance program. He also serves as corporate secretary.

Todd joined Best Buy in 2006. He most recently served as chief risk and compliance officer, overseeing enterprise data security, customer data privacy, enterprise risk management, global security, business continuity/disaster recovery, internal investigations, crisis response management and compliance and ethics. He continues to lead those functions in his current role.

Todd previously was Best Buy’s deputy general counsel from 2011 to 2017. Before that, he served as the company’s chief compliance officer and vice president of strategic alliances.

Prior to joining Best Buy, Todd was a partner at Minneapolis law firm Robins Kaplan. A Minnesota native, he worked for several years as a telecommunications and technology attorney in Washington, D.C., before returning to Minneapolis.

Todd received his law degree from Harvard Law School and a bachelor’s degree in communications from Northwestern University. He serves as chair of the Best Buy Foundation and is on the board of the Guthrie Theater.


David Best

David joined General Mills in December of 2019 and currently leads our Omnichannel Center of Excellence within NAR, which is focused on building world-class capabilities that allow GMI to win at retail.   His team includes Category Management, Trade Planning, E-Commerce Capabilities, Customer Insights, Customer Marketing, Reporting & Analytics, and our National Retail Organization.  David is passionate about building diverse and engaged teams and believes we have tremendous opportunity to integrate leveraging insights, data and analytics into how we work.

Prior to GMI, David spent 19 years at Target in a variety of roles, including SVP-Omnichannel Merchandise Planning, VP-Small Formats & New Business Development, Sr. Director-Dry Grocery/Dairy/Frozen Foods, Director-Pet Care and multiple other positions in Buying/Merchandising.

With a BA in Economics from Carleton College and an MBA from Duke University, David serves on the boards of Project Success, an education-based non-profit, and Global Minnesota, a world affairs organization.  He is married with two boys, ages 10 and 8.

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Lawrence R. Jacobs

Lawrence R. Jacobs, Mondale Chair and Director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance, Hubert Humphrey School and Department of Political Science, University of Minnesota.  Dr. Jacobs has authored or edited 17 books and over 100 articles and briefs on elections, public opinion, legislative and presidential politics. His most recent book, Democracy Under Fire: Donald Trump and the Breaking of American History was published in 2022 by Oxford University Press.  His a frequent media commentator and convenor of public events.


Bruce Nustad

Bruce joined the Minnesota Retailers Association as its staff president in September 2012, bringing with him a strong background of working with the business community. Prior to joining the retailers association, he served as TwinWest Chamber of Commerce president and CEO. Nustad’s experience also includes leadership positions with the Minnesota High Tech Association, American Collectors Association, Twin Cities North Chamber of Commerce, and the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce. Nustad holds a master of arts degree in public administration from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and a bachelor of arts degree in public policy from Concordia University, Saint Paul.


Kara R. Gainer

Kara Gainer, JD, serves as Director, Global Public Policy, at Walmart. In this role, Kara is responsible for developing and implementing policy initiatives to advance Walmart’s health and wellness strategic priorities. She also advises senior leadership on the business impact of health policy and payment proposals and changes in laws and regulations. Previously, Kara served as Director of Policy and Regulatory Affairs for the American Physical Therapy Association where she directed and managed the association’s public policy initiatives. Prior to joining APTA, Kara was a Senior Research and Policy Analyst with Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath. She also served as an Attorney Advisor for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals and clerked with the U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms. Kara holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Montana School of Law and a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Montana. She is a member of the District of Columbia Bar.


Jill McCormack

Jill McCormack is the director of state government affairs at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores with current responsibilities in Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Ohio, Kentucky, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia and DC.

Jill previously worked as a government affairs associate for Malady & Wooten, LLP in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where she represented the Pennsylvania Association of Chain Drug Stores and several other health care-related entities.  Prior to that, she served for 13 years as Legislative Director for the former Leader of the Pennsylvania Senate.

Jill received her bachelor’s degree from Bloomsburg University and M.A. in American Studies from Pennsylvania State University.  She currently resides in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

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Justin Heiser

Justin Heiser is the Chief Operating Officer at Thrifty White Pharmacy.  Since joining the 100-store employee owned pharmacy chain in 2007, he has held several roles with the company, focusing on strategy, technology, business development and strategic partnerships that have allowed the company to deliver value to payor and pharma partners, as well as the patients whom Thrifty White serves.  These efforts over the years lead to the development of a proprietary technology that enables data-driven, value-based care programs to be integrated into pharmacy workflow, thereby enabling pharmacists to close gaps in care, optimize quality and cost of care through partnerships with numerous payor and pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Justin earned his Doctor of Pharmacy and Bachelors of Pharmaceutical Science degrees at North Dakota State University. He is a member of the ND Pharmacists Association, MN Pharmacists Association, National Community Pharmacists Association, and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS).  He serves on the North Dakota State University Pharmacy National Advisory Board and on the Thrifty White Pharmacy Board of Directors.

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Casey R. Cesnovar 

In 2007, Mr. Cesnovar joined Walgreens as a Manager of State Government Relations responsible for eight southern states as well as Puerto Rico.  In August of 2010, he was promoted to Sr. Manager of State Government Relations responsible for all State Government Affairs activity on the east coast.  In 2012, Mr. Cesnovar was promoted to Director of State Government Relations where he oversaw all state activity across the country.  Currently Mr. Cesnovar holds the position of Divisional Vice President, State & Local Government Relations responsible for all legislative and regulatory issues affecting Walgreens enterprise-wide business operations.

Prior to joining Walgreens, Mr. Cesnovar spent nearly five years as a Professional Sales Representative for TAP Pharmaceuticals.  Before that, he worked for the Lt. Governor of the State of Illinois, where he served as the Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff and was eventually promoted to Director of Advance.  Additionally, Mr. Cesnovar played an integral role on the Wood for Governor Statewide campaign, all the while working for and volunteering on various campaigns for the Illinois House and Senate.  Mr. Cesnovar received a BA in Political Science from DePaul University, Chicago.  Mr. Cesnovar lives in Libertyville, IL with his wife Karin and daughters Sophia (15) and Caroline (11). 

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Deborah White

Deborah currently serves as Senior Executive Vice President and General Counsel of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA). RILA is the trade association that represents only the major retailers in each vertical. In her current capacity, Deborah oversees the legal function of the association, the development of RILA’s Center for Retail Compliance, and programming for the corporate legal community of her members, including their general counsel.  Programming developed during Deborah’s tenure has significantly increased member company legal community involvement in RILA.

Simultaneously, Deborah serves as President of the Retail Litigation Center (RLC), an independent 501(c)(6) association with its own membership and governance functions. The Retail Litigation Center reflects the voice of the retail industry in the judicial branch and develops litigation strategies to influence the arc of the law as it relates to issues of greatest importance to the retail community. The RLC participates amicus curiae in fifteen to twenty cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and other significant appellate courts each year.

Prior to joining RILA and the RLC, Deborah was Principal of Regulatory Solutions, LLC, through which she provided regulatory advice and counsel to two of the most successful grocery chains in the country. She also served as Executive Director of the Recycled Paperboard Technical Association.

Deborah’s association experience began at the Food Marketing Institute, the major trade association for grocery retailing. She started as the association’s Regulatory Counsel and left ten years later as its Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer.  Over the course of her tenure, Deborah successfully represented the food retail industry before the key federal agencies responsible for the industry’s oversight and testified on behalf of the industry before the U.S. House of Representatives.

Deborah began her legal career as an associate attorney specializing in the law related to food and food packaging at the firm of Keller and Heckman. 

Deborah holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wesleyan University and a Juris Doctorate from the Washington College of Law at American University. She is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, and she is admitted to the bar associations of the District of Columbia and the State of Maryland. Deborah currently serves on the Advisory Council of the Georgetown University Corporate Counsel Institute.

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Adam Lukoskie

Adam Lukoskie is vice president of the NRF Foundation. In this role, he oversees management of all major programs, ensures that efforts between the Foundation and the National Retail Federation on advocacy, workforce issues and research are aligned, and develops strategies, programs and activities to maintain the Foundation’s position as the leading philanthropic organization for the retail industry. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics, leadership and management from the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, Minn.) and a master’s degree in business administration from the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business.

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Dan Felton

A well-known leader in the government affairs arena for more than 20 years, Dan has worked within the bottled water, credit card, healthcare and information management industries. He is particularly passionate about environmental, sustainability and packaging issues and has lobbied extensively in those areas at the state and federal levels. He leads the efforts of AMERIPEN – the American Institute for Packaging and the Environment – to develop and advocate positions for the U.S. packaging industry on issues related to packaging and the environment, using sound science and a philosophy of material neutrality.

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Cailey Locklair

Cailey Locklair is the President of the Maryland Retailers Association, Maryland Chain Drug Store Association, Maryland Food Industry Council, and Tri State Jewelers Association and has worked and advocated in Maryland State and local politics for the past sixteen years.


She attended the University of Delaware where she received her Bachelor of Arts in political science and Towson University where she received her Master of Science degree in integrated homeland security management with a focus on security policy. She also holds a Certificate of Security Assessment and Management from Towson University.


Previously, she worked at the Baltimore Jewish Council as their Deputy Executive Director and was the Assistant House Administrator for the Maryland House of Delegates. In 2014, she was chosen by The Seventh State as an "Annapolis Top Five Young Gun" and in 2019 by the Daily Record as a "Successful by 40 VIP." Cailey is a member of the State’s Unemployment Insurance Legislative Oversight Committee, is immediate past Chair of the national Council of State Retailer Associations, sits on the board of Goodwill of the Chesapeake and sits on the Executive Directors Council to the Maryland Tourism Development Board.


In her free time, she enjoys volunteering with animal organizations, boating, playing softball for the Department of Legislative Services and is a proud "sponsor" of Naval Academy midshipman. She resides in Edgewater, MD.

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Matt Seaholm

Matt Seaholm is the President and CEO of the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS).


Prior to becoming President & CEO, Matt was the Vice President of Government Affairs where he oversaw the association’s legislative and regulatory activities. Matt joined PLASTICS in December of 2016 as Executive Director for the American Recyclable Plastic Bag Alliance, where he focused on communications, sustainability, and advocacy efforts dedicated to the plastic retail bag segment of the industry.


Before arriving at PLASTICS, Matt was Vice President of Public Affairs at communications and marketing firm Edelman, having helped clients navigate federal, state and local policy fights. He has an extensive background in issue advocacy, government affairs, and grassroots organization. He is also a veteran campaign manager with experience running campaigns on the legislative, congressional, statewide, and national levels. Matt is a native of Wisconsin and proud alum of the University of Wisconsin.

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Matthew Albence

Principal, GrindStone Strategic

Mr. Albence is an accomplished senior executive with over two decades of experience and success in leading the United States’ second largest federal law enforcement agency, and the principal investigative agency of the Department of Homeland Security. In 2019, Mr. Albence served as the acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Prior to this, Mr. Albence served as the agency’s Deputy Director, selected for this position in August 2018. Mr. Albence has 25 years of federal law enforcement experience, beginning his career in San Antonio as a Special Agent with the former U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS) in 1994.

Throughout his career, Matt received numerous awards and accolades, earned for his efforts on the street working cases, to those stemming from his steadfast leadership and commitment to his people and his mission. He is a recipient of the Presidential Rank Award, the country’s highest civil service recognition, and the DHS Distinguished Service Medal, the highest service award granted by the Secretary, in recognition for exceptionally distinguished and transformational service to strengthen homeland security.

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Angie Rieger

Angie Rieger is currently Senior Vice President of International/Wholesale at Lands’ End.  She is a seasoned executive with deep experience in building and growing multi-channel direct to consumer businesses both in the US and Internationally.

Angie is an innovative and global leader with over 30 years of experience helping to increase value and build successful businesses within the enterprise.  Under her leadership, the international business tripled operating income through a combination of operational and structural initiatives.  She introduced digital marketing strategies that delivered new customer acquisition of +136% and a total customer file growth of +30%.

Her leadership style stresses the value of cross functional data driven decision making, placing the importance on both improving data governance and utilizing data analytics across the enterprise, at a customer level, informing optimal assortment sizes and across the lifecycle of the product. 

In early 2019, Angie began the process of launching a marketplace both in the US and in Europe. Within three years, Lands’ End was trading on the four largest US Platforms and five across Europe and was engaged in wholesale partnerships with two leading retailers in the US, significantly contributing profitable revenue growth to Lands’ End within year one.

Having led Global Planning and Inventory prior to her current role gave Angie a deep understanding of supply chain logistics, product development, operations and the levers available to impact profitability and cash flow.  During her tenure, Angie was able to reduce Global Inventory by 5% and US inventory by 17% while maintaining customer service rates.  She did this through the introduction of an inventory stratification initiative paired with assortment optimization efforts.

Angie’s experience extends to both corporate and not-for-profit sectors; currently serving on boards of Thrivent Financial (Fortune 500), American Family Children’s Hospital, Clean Lakes Alliance, and Women in Retail Leadership.  She is a member of both Women Corporate Directors (WCD) and National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD).

Ms. Rieger holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration and organizational development from the University of Illinois.

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Renée Sunde

President & CEO, Washington Retail Association

A passionate, results driven leader with over 30 years of experience working in public and private sectors and non-profit executive management. Sunde is a collaborative leader focused on developing strategic partnerships, expanding industry engagement, garnering statewide influence and advocating for the issues impacting retail. She has been leading the Washington Retail Association (WR) as President & CEO since 2017.

Renée stepped in at a time when the industry was experiencing significant change and transformation. As stewards of Washington’s retail experience, WR is dedicated to working for our members and Washington retailers to grow and strengthen their position with their consumers, legislators, and the marketplace.

Prior to joining WR, Renee served as Economic Development Director for the City of Olympia. There she forged a new priority to focus city efforts on a balanced approach to community and economic development. During her tenure, the city completed the Downtown Strategy that included a retail emphasis and focus on community renewal and downtown economic development.

Prior to her work in Olympia, Sunde served as Deputy Director for the Thurston Economic Development Council. She played a key role in the development and successful launch of the region’s Center for Business & Innovation (CB&I), a partnership between the Thurston EDC and South Puget Sound Community College.

In early 2020 Renée was elected to the Council of State Retail Associations National Board of Directors. CSRA acts as a portal for communications between state retail associations across the country primarily concerning state legislation and regulations affecting the retail industry. Sunde studied Business Management at Northwest University and continued her education through the International Economic Development Council and provided instruction for the Institute of Financial Education.

Renée and her family live in Olympia, Washington.

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R. Scott Shalley

R. Scott Shalley currently serves as President & CEO of the Florida Retail Federation (FRF). As President & CEO, Scott works to advocate, promote and safeguard the retail industry before the Florida legislature and regulatory agencies. Scott maintains responsibility for all areas of FRF operations including oversight of FRF Services, FRF Realty, Georgia Retailers and other related brands and ventures.


Scott joined FRF in 2017 and has over 30 years of experience in lobbying, association management and private sector business management. Prior to joining FRF he served as Executive Director of the Florida Association of Counties. Throughout his career, Shalley has worked extensively with lawmakers and government agencies throughout Florida, and in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C.

Scott previously served as Vice President/Director of Business Management for an internationally recognized bridge engineering firm. His responsibilities included contract negotiation and business development throughout the United States as well as in South America and Saudi Arabia.


Mr. Shalley is a lifelong Florida resident, and a graduate of Florida State University.

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Rory Stallard

Rory Stallard is the Sr. Manager of AP Investigations for the Home Depot and based out of Atlanta, GA, where he leads the company’s Western Division internal theft and Organized Retail Crime teams. Rory and his team, work side by side with local, state and federal law enforcement and prosecution agencies to investigate and resolve major crimes that affect The Home Depot, its customers & associates and surrounding communities. He has 26 years of Asset Protection experience and has been specializing in ORC for more than 23 years.

During his career, Rory has helped to expand or create ORC programs with three different major retailers. Rory helped to create the Georgia Retail Association Retail Crime Alliance and in 2015, he was the recipient of the GRAORCA Partnership of the Year Award. Rory has testified for State Senate hearings in CA, GA & WA on the need for ORC legislation and has been involved with local and state ORC legislation efforts throughout the country. He has been a criminal justice consultant for the GA Board of Education and an advisor for several university criminal justice programs on the East and West Coast and recently was awarded the Distinguished Criminal Justice Professional Award by East Tennessee State University. Rory has spoken several times at the Federal Bureau of Investigations Hoover Building to help educate federal law enforcement on the impact or Organized Retail Crime.  He has received a commendation letter from the Polk County Sherriff’s Office for developing ORC training for Florida based Law Enforcement agencies and has assisted the Loss Prevention Foundation in developing an ORC Certification Course for corporations. Currently, Rory sits on the Board for the Coalition of Law Enforcement and Retail (CLEAR) and is the Chairman of the National ORC Committee within CLEAR that focuses on Law Enforcement training.

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Richard (Rick) Jordan

Rick grew up outside of Pittsburgh, PA and attended Pennsylvania State University. Ready for a new challenge, Rick drove across country and joined the Las Vegas community. After starting a family and some amazing life-experiences, he is back in the Steel City.

A recruiting leader with over 13 years of experience, he’s worked for Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Resort & Casino,, UPMC and currently he is the Sr. Director of Talent Acquisition at DICK’S Sporting Goods. At DICK’S Rick is responsible for all Talent Acquisition efforts for the entire 50,000+ teammate organization.

Rick is passionate about professional matchmaking – aka talent acquisition.  He believes that when you thoughtfully hire the right talent, everything else can fall into place.  “Putting people at the forefront of your business is always the right decision; they are the heart and soul of your organization.” -RJ

When he is not working with his talented teammates at DICK’S, you can find him exploring Pittsburgh’s rich culture and history, spending time with his family and testing his culinary skills at home.

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Rachel Michelin

Rachel Michelin is President of the California Retailers Association (CRA), the most significant voice representing the retail industry in California’s public policy arena, at the State Capitol, in City Halls and with regulatory bodies across the state. Michelin oversees a diverse board and membership representing retail throughout the state and nation from small brick and mortar, to franchises to national retailers and on-line merchants.

Rachel has led associations for over 20 years with visionary leadership including strategic growth and engagement, increasing revenue, developing partnerships, statewide influence and public awareness. Rachel has demonstrated success through a strong bipartisan leadership network she has built with key influencers in the public and private sectors.

Rachel was reappointed by Governor Brown to the State Board of Optometry, where she has served since 2014. Prior to California Retailers, Michelin lead California Women Lead as Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director since 2002. She also served as Program and Policy Director for the California Elected Women's Association for Education and Research (CEWAER), Communications Director and District Director for members of the State Assembly.

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Rob Karr

As President & CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA), Rob brings 28 years of experience to the Association.

Rob joined the IRMA staff in 1994, coordinating IRMA’s government relations efforts. In that capacity, he also served as the legislative coordinator for the Illinois Food Retailers Association and the Midwest Hardware Association. Additionally, he had the responsibility for IRMA’s membership development efforts.

In 2012, Rob was named Executive Vice President and assumed the position of President & CEO on Jan. 1, 2014.

Rob currently serves on the Employment Security Advisory Board to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Advisory Board to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, the Illinois Attorney General’s Franchise Advisory Board, the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Food Safety Advisory Committee and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Low-Income Energy Assistance Program Policy Advisory Council. In 2009, Rob was appointed by then-Governor Pat Quinn to serve on the temporary Pension Systems Modernization Task Force.

He is a graduate of Illinois State University. Rob is a native of Chicago and long-time resident of Jacksonville where he and his wife, Lori, reside. They are the parents of four.

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Bernadette Finken

Bernadette Finken is head of talent acquisition (US) for Best Buy Co. Inc. In this role, she’s responsible for helping the company attract diverse, exceptional people to work across a wide range of roles and geographies.

Bernadette has more than 20 years of strategic human resources experience, including leadership roles in HR technology, workforce administration, employee relations and talent acquisition. Prior to her current role, she served as senior director of employee and labor relations.

Under her leadership, Best Buy’s talent acquisition team has undergone a significant expansion and optimization aimed at better competing for talent in a rapidly changing workforce. This includes the introduction of new strategies to support key business initiatives and achieve the company’s ambitious hiring goals for inclusion and diversity.

Before joining Best Buy in 2011, Bernadette spent 15 years at Lawson Software, where she served in a variety of product management, finance and accounting roles. She received her bachelor’s degree in humanities from the Franciscan University of Steubenville (Ohio).

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John Hewitt

John Hewitt is vice president, packaging sustainability, at the Consumer Brands Association. Hewitt leads the packaging sustainability efforts on behalf of the CPG industry, bringing extensive knowledge of the recycling system and years of state and federal policy experience.

With a combination of association, political and agency experience, Hewitt has worked on many successful ballot initiatives, legislative and regulatory measures. In addition to his professional experience, he has sat on several non-profit boards and was an elected school board member for nearly 12 years.

Hewitt joined the Consumer Brands Association from the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), where he served as both special counsel to the secretary and as the agency’s general counsel. At the department, Hewitt was responsible for complex litigation and regulatory matters as well as represented the department on interagency initiatives, such as the governor’s drought task force and international climate change program.

Prior to CDFA Hewitt worked at the California Farm Bureau, where he played a key role in developing strategic water quality initiatives, including managing activities with local and state regulators as well as litigation development.

A native of Northern California, Hewitt graduated from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business and a minor in water science. Hewitt also holds a juris doctor from the University of Pacific McGeorge School of Law and is admitted to practice law by the California Bar as well as the United States Supreme Court. He lives in Pleasant Grove, California, and enjoys cooking family meals using his favorite CPG products — especially hot sauce.

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Brad Julkowski

Brad Julkowski is a senior director of talent acquisition for Target.  In this role he leads the executive search, headquarters, and talent sourcing recruitment functions.

Brad’s entire career has been in talent acquisition.  He joined Target in 2011 and has played a key role in building new recruitment capabilities and strengthening Target’s ability to attract, engage and hire a diverse mix of talent with the expertise and passion to bring Target’s purpose to life.   Prior to joining Target, Brad worked for UnitedHealth Group, Ernst & Young and RBC Wealth Management.

He has a Bachelor of Science in Business, Human Resources/Industrial Relations from the University of Minnesota.  Outside of Target, Brad enjoys spending time with wife, their 3 boys and dog.  He coaches youth sports, volunteers with animal rescues and tries to not let his Peloton equipment gather dust.

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Erin Hiatt

Erin Hiatt, Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, is the lead for RILA’s corporate responsibility portfolio, encompassing its Diversity Equity & Inclusion, Sustainability, and Responsible Sourcing Committees and ESG engagement activities. She organizes educational content and convenes and facilitates benchmarking discussions, resource development, and stakeholder engagement for corporate retail issue leads in each of these areas. Erin has been with RILA since 2012, serving in a variety of roles supporting and leading the association’s CSR communities. She also serves on the International Sustainable Standards Board’s (ISSB) Technical Reference Group.


Lauren Doroghazi

Lauren Doroghazi joined MultiState in 2012 and currently serves as Vice President. Lauren is an expert on state labor and employment policy and works closely with all of the firm’s clients to inform them of legislative activity and emerging trends in this area that will have an impact on their businesses and industries.

Lauren has served as Policy Director for the Council of State Chambers of Commerce, where she managed several of the organization’s policy committees. She is a frequent writer and speaker on state and local employment policy and appears regularly before trade and professional associations and corporations, including state chambers of commerce, retail and service industry executives, the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, and Women in Government Relations.

Lauren’s prior experience includes serving as an editor for ProQuest and time on Capitol Hill and in the Canadian Parliament. Lauren graduated with a Master in Public Administration from The George Washington University in 2016 and holds undergraduate degrees in political science and history and from the University of Michigan. Lauren is the co-founder of the MultiState Women’s Forum.


Kara R. Gainer

Kara Gainer, JD, serves as Director, Global Public Policy, at Walmart. In this role, Kara is responsible for developing and implementing policy initiatives to advance Walmart’s health and wellness strategic priorities. She also advises senior leadership on the business impact of health policy and payment proposals and changes in laws and regulations. Previously, Kara served as Director of Policy and Regulatory Affairs for the American Physical Therapy Association where she directed and managed the association’s public policy initiatives. Prior to joining APTA, Kara was a Senior Research and Policy Analyst with Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath. She also served as an Attorney Advisor for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals and clerked with the U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms. Kara holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Montana School of Law and a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Montana. She is a member of the District of Columbia Bar.

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Nina Bellucci Butler

Nina Bellucci Butler is the CEO of Stina Inc, a mission-based research and information technology company, striving to harmonize human behavior with the natural world. Her team has developed a suite of tools, including, to support more sustainable choices in resource management. Her team also leads multi-stakeholder initiatives; the latest resulted in a “Roadmap to Plastic Recyclability,” which is supports harmonizing design for recycling guidance in Europe and North America. Stina’s information management system, relationships, and understanding of the plastics recycling industry landscape have made it the trusted organization to deliver the Annual Plastic Recycling Study for the US and Canada for more than 10 years.

Nina delivers unbiased guidance about the complicated role plastics play in the movement towards circular supply chains, valuing carbon, protecting natural ecosystems, and reducing GHG emissions. Her data driven guidance has led to many invitations to share her knowledge, including testifying before the U.S. Congressional Hearing on Challenges Facing Recycling, and presenting to: the OPEC Secretariat during the 3rd Workshop on Energy & Information Technology Energy, the World Petrochemical Conference, Global Plastic Summit, World Plastic Summit in Monaco, the World Bank’s Blue Economy Program, the World Circular Economy Forum, the United Nations Sustainable Destinations Summit in Spain, and the Nat Geo Circular Economy Forum. Recent industry accolades include recognition by WWF on International Women’s Day as one of the Women Leading the Plastic Revolution, being featured as a “Future maker” by Unilever, and serving as a subject matter expert for XPrize.

Nina has volunteered on several expeditions including the Ocean Plastic Leadership Summit in the North Atlantic Gyre and the Ocean Plastic Recovery Project: Katmai Clean Up. She has a master’s degree in Environmental Management from Duke University. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, 2 daughters, cat, and dog and loves to garden, hike, and enjoy live music in her free time.


Susan Bell

Susie Bell is currently Director, Reputation Management at Target. She leads the company’s issues management work from the reputation risk lens, focusing on public policy, social and other emerging issues that have the potential to impact Target’s reputation. She has more than 20 years of experience in public affairs, issues management and communications across corporate, agency and Capitol Hill offices.


Kia Hakimi

Kia Hakimi serves as Vice President of Global Threat Detection and Response for Best Buy.   In his role, he is responsible for mitigating and responding to threats against Best Buy’s personnel, its physical assets, and its resources globally.  Best Buy’s Global Threat Detection and Response team is comprised of Fraud Prevention and Investigations (inclusive of the Organized Retail Crime and Law Enforcement Support teams), Insider Risk, Threat Intelligence, Business Resiliency, Enterprise Fusion Center, Crisis Management, Corporate Security and Executive Protection capabilities.

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Troy Beeler

Troy Beeler is the co-founder and general manager of the Future Commerce Initiative (FCI). FCI educates and advises today’s senior commercial leaders in retail and consumer products organizations in the future of commerce and work. FCI’s uniqueness is it is well-grounded casework, faculty, and engaged alumni.

Early in his career, Troy was at RetailNet Group (RNG), an advisory and insights firm that works with leading retailers and consumer brands worldwide. During his time at RNG, Troy ran the Advanced Retail Strategy Program, an executive education program taught at the UCLA Anderson School of Management with over 1500 alumni from 20+ countries. (RNG sold to Ascential Insight, PLC in 2015). Troy started his career with the Grocery Manufacturers of America (now called the Consumer Brands Association) in Washington, DC.

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Corie Barry

Corie Barry is CEO of Best Buy Co. Inc., the leading provider of consumer technology products and services, with approximately 100,000 employees in North America and $47 billion in annual revenue. She also serves on the company’s board of directors.

Under Corie’s leadership, Best Buy is driving toward being one of the best places to work in America, doubling our significant customer relationship events to 50 million and growing annual revenue to $50 billion by fiscal 2025.

Prior to becoming CEO in June 2019, Corie served in several other executive positions, playing a critical role in developing and executing the company’s Building the New Blue growth strategy and related transformation. Most recently, she was the company’s chief financial and strategic transformation officer, overseeing strategic transformation and growth, digital and technology, global finance, investor relations, enterprise risk and compliance, integration management, and Best Buy Health.

Corie joined Best Buy in 1999 and has held a variety of financial and operational roles across the organization, both in the field and at the corporate office. She became CFO in 2016 and, prior to that, served as chief strategic growth officer. She has also served as senior vice president of domestic finance and interim president of Best Buy’s services organization.

Before joining Best Buy, Corie started her career as an auditor at Deloitte & Touche.

A Minnesota native, Corie holds bachelor’s degrees in accounting and management from the College of St. Benedict, where she now serves on the board of trustees. Additionally, she serves on the board of directors for Domino’s Pizza.

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Damien Harmon

Damien Harmon is the executive vice president of omnichannel for Best Buy Co. Inc. He is responsible for establishing a dedicated operations plan that enhances the company’s ability to create seamless experiences for our customers, and he oversees all of its various service offerings in stores, online and in customers’ homes.

In his role, Damien leads the Geek Squad, a national tech-support organization with more than 20,000 Agents dedicated to helping customers learn about and enjoy their technology.

Prior to his current role, Damien served as the company’s senior vice president of workforce design. He is a strategic business leader with a demonstrated ability to lead and execute business transformation initiatives that deliver financial growth, cost savings, customer retention and operational discipline.

Damien first joined Best Buy as a general manager in 2005 and held various leadership positions in store operations, international operations and store leadership, including vice president of retail operations and services. Before rejoining Best Buy in 2019, Damien spent four years at Bridgestone Americas Inc., where he served as president of GCR Tires and chief operating officer at Bridgestone Tires.

Damien earned his bachelor’s degree in management from the University of Phoenix.

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Josh Will

As Chief Revenue Officer – Healthy Aging for Best Buy Health, Josh Will’s first responsibility is to advance the purpose of Best Buy Health: to enrich and save lives through technology and meaningful connections.

In this role, Josh creates alignment between all teams that affect revenue generation across our Lively brands and Commercial PERS businesses to ensure effectiveness and maximize profitability.

With more than 24 years of omni-channel retail, General Manager and “intrapreneurial” experiences, Josh has worked in and led some of the most complex product categories.  He is recognized as a leader in the industry, driving Best Buy and its vendors to improve the ways in which we serve our customers and solve their needs.

Prior to his current role, Josh led numerous business units, categories and large-scale enterprise capabilities for Best Buy, including the company's entrance into Home Theater, Mobile Phones, Smart Home, and more recently, Digital Health and Fitness.

Josh holds a business administration and leadership degree from the University of Mary.  He serves as a board member for the Consumer Technology Association’s Wireless Division, and as an advisory board member for

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Andrea Wood

Andrea Wood is the Vice President of Social Impact at Best Buy. In this role, she leads Best Buy’s social impact initiatives focused on helping teens from underserved areas prepare for the tech reliant jobs of the future.

Prior to coming to Best Buy, Andrea served in a similar role on the Community Relations team at Target. She has also served in various corporate communications leadership roles at Target and Travelers Insurance and has more than a decade of experience in program management and fundraising for local Twin Cities nonprofit organizations.

Andrea holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Nonprofit Management from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, and a B.A. in English Literature from Kalamazoo College. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for The Clubhouse Network in Boston, the YWCA in Minneapolis, and the Advisory Board for the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

A native of Washington, D.C., Andrea has lived in Minneapolis for the past 25 years. She has two children and a husband who loves to take adventurous vacations. For fun, she teaches group fitness classes at Lifetime Fitness and enjoys outings with her all-women’s Cycle and Ski Club.

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Amelia Hardy

Amelia Hardy is the Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer at Best Buy. She joined the company in 2014 and has held various roles including Vice President of Strategic Community Engagement, Health Partnerships Sr. Director, Category and Brand Marketing Director. She has had over 20 years of strategic and P&L leadership roles at fortune 100 companies. Her career experiences include marketing, strategy, brand management, business development and product commercialization. Amelia is significantly involved within the community. Currently she serves on multiple national and community boards including the Boys and Girls Club of the Twin Cities, MEDA, The Cowles Center, NAZ and Minnesota Community Care. Amelia has been honored as one of the Top 100 national leaders in DEI, Power 50 and Notable Executives in the Twin Cities.

Outside of work, Amelia resides in Woodbury, MN and enjoys spending time with her husband and their 4 kids ranging in ages from 4 yrs old to 17 yrs old. She spends time at dance competitions, kids’ activities and at the local playgrounds.

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Tim Dunn

Tim Dunn is head of environmental sustainability and compliance at Best Buy, a leading provider of consumer technology products and services. Throughout his career at Best Buy, Tim has developed and implemented strategies that drive the business forward while protecting the environment, conserving natural resources and systematically improving the company’s environmental performance.