Shai Benamo is the Chief Executive Officer of Nova Point of Sale, a worldwide leader in point of sale systems for the retail industry. After serving in an unit in the IDF, Shai started his career in specialty retail in the United States. Shai is now a well-known veteran in the specialty retail industry, and brings a wealth of knowledge from his years of providing consultation for property management companies, wholesalers, franchises, and a variety of retailers. His expertise lies in a range of topics including business development, process improvement, sales & marketing strategy, improving the shopper’s experience and integrating technology in retail management. He’s passionate about transitioning retailers away from the cash registers towards professional behavior and a uniformed appearance.
Liad Biton is the Chief Executive Officer of CSS LivePOS. LivePOS® was developed in 2001 and is now the leader in Point of Sale Solutions for the Cart and Kiosk Industry; with over 11,000 customers and 50,000 daily users in 20 different countries.
Liad is a serial entrepreneur and a speaker on the topics of retail technology, computerized management solutions, and business innovation. At a young age Liad is continuing to expand his business success together with his teams around the globe (USA, China, Philippines, and Israel).
2014 marks thirty years for Michael in the gift business, including sixteen in Specialty Retailing. Having consulted to launch programs like NYS Collection, and having managed national programs like Santa’s Pen, he has also helped hundreds of operators to start as entrepreneurs, and advised them how to run their businesses profitably. He values highly his personal contacts with the property companies’ personnel, as we all seek the mutual goal of keeping retail operations in malls alive and innovative. Michael now works solely for the Christmas and City family-owned store chain, helping them to expand greatly and maintain their standards of excellence. Michael headquarters at the Christmas in Hollywood store in California.
David Ferber is the President and CEO of Street Talk, one of the largest cellular phone accessory retailers in the United States. David has worn many hats starting at a young age as a newspaper delivery boy in Brooklyn NY, camp counselor, several retail sales and management positions, inventory manager for a Network & IT service firm to finally finding his place in specialty retail. David began his career in specialty retail 18 years ago helping to launch NYS Collection, which grew to become the largest sunglass company in specialty retail. With many years of experience and helping to create one of the most successful owner-operator programs in the industry, David was ready for a new venture. In 2009, David launched Street Talk. Street Talk quickly grew to over 400 locations nationally. Street Talk has carts, kiosks and inline stores that provide every accessory imaginable to protect, charge, or accessorize your cell phone or tablet. In 2012, sensing an opportunity in the repair and service side of the cell phone & tablet market, David launched Talk N’ Fix, which offers a complete line of repair services for all handheld electronic devices.
Monika Foley has been in the specialty leasing industry for more than 29 years, working with various companies to include, The Rouse Company, Trammel Crow, Trizec Hahn, Westcor and Macerich. She is responsible for opening three major trend setting malls in the Denver area (Park Meadows, Flatiron Crossing and Twenty Ninth Street. She currently handles the leasing development for Flatiron Crossing in Broomfield, Colorado and Twenty Ninth Street in Boulder, Colorado. She is a native of Colorado and loves to bike, ski, travel and enjoys the outdoors.
Jeanie Haddox is a native of Ohio and an expert in Specialty Leasing and Visual Merchandising in the Shopping Center Industry. After studying at Ohio University, she spent the first 5 years of her career in Human Resources before making the leap into the Shopping Center Industry. Her last 10 years has been selling and managing Specialty Leasing Projects throughout the US, most recently she launched the revamp of the Specialty Program at Westfield UTC. Along with winning 3 Visual Victories, she is now focused on the November 2013 grand opening of The Headquarters at Seaport District with Terramar Retail Centers. Jeanie is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers, Globe Guilders and of Fashion Group International.
Amy Jo Hall is the Senior Director of Local Leasing for GK Development, Inc. leading the ancillary income and local permanent leasing initiatives for eight shopping centers across six states. Amy has enjoyed more than 16 years of experience in the real estate development industry in both ground up development and established regional shopping centers. An active member of the community and philanthropic supporter, she currently sits on the board of directors for the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra, the board of directors for the Women in Management – Fox Valley Chapter and the fundraising committee for the O’Brien School for the Maasai. Amy is an industry speaker and leader, actively teaching and facilitating courses within the shopping center industry through the International Council of Shopping Centers and Specialty Retail Report. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Roosevelt University and is currently completing a Masters degree.
Cathy Johnson is Associate Director of Property Management for Weingarten Realty. She oversees the Specialty Leasing program for the company, which brings in millions of dollars in ancillary income each year by short-term leasing vacancies and leasing in parking lots and the common area. Cathy also oversees the management of 5.1 million square feet within the Mountain Region.
Deborah is a Principal in the retail real estate consulting firm of Pro Retail, Inc. and the firm of Provenzano Resources, Inc. (PRI) based in Los Angeles and San Diego, California, and conducting business worldwide. Deborah has been a principal of PRI since 1997, and is its’ President. PRI is a specialty leasing and commercialisation firm that adds ancillary income to shopping centers, transportation hubs, airports and municipalities. PRI created, leases, manages and owns the largest RMU/Kiosk program in an airport at the Denver International Airport, in addition to managing, consulting and overseeing specialty leasing and ancillary income programs including sponsorship, partnership marketing, advertising and experiential retail for super regional, regional, lifestyle and entertainment centers, and community and neighborhood centers throughout the United States.
Deborah is a public speaker on the topics of retail management, visual merchandising, leasing, product development and specialty retail training. She has conducted training seminars in the Dubai for the Middle East Council of Shopping Centers; training seminars for Westfield, General Growth and Ivanhoe Cambridge; education sessions for the Academy of Concessions at Airport Revenue Conference and Airport Minority Council conference; training and other educations seminars for the International Council of Shopping Centers for over 20 years and many others.
Deborah is an active member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC); a member of the Airport Retail News (ARN); Airport Minority Advisory Committee (AMAC); she is on the advisory committee to the Specialty Retail Report Trade Show (SPREE) and has conducted workshops at SPREE for ten years, including the Specialty Leasing Summit. She has been on the editorial board of Specialty Retail Report (SRR) since it’s’ inception. Deborah is designated a Senior Shopping Center Leasing Specialist (SCLS) by ICSC and has a Specialty Leasing Designation (SLD).
Spanning a career of more than 25 years, Mr. Lim earned his stripes as a world-class business and branding specialist through extensive hands-on experience, hard work, innovative thinking and setting new standards in key industries. Mr. Lim offers a complete range of business, branding and marketing services for companies of all shapes and sizes across the entire business life cycle. He has often been sought out by Fortune 500 companies to solve complex business and brand problems that others had failed to solve. Some of his clients include; Apple, Honda, Disney, DreamWorks, Acura, Xerox, Lakeshore Entertainment, Mattel, Jakks Pacific, Paramount Pictures, and HP to name a few.
Marie VanDrisse is the Executive National Account Manager for F.C. Dadson. She works with clients to develop brand environments including retail, restaurant, and service concepts to be executed nationwide. She is an instrumental team member helping to further develop F.C. Dadson’s turnkey build-out and kiosk programs in the franchise industry. She has worked with Me-Ality, Brow Art 23, Flip Flop, Shops, Forever Yogurt, and French Fry Heaven. Prior to joining F.C. Dadson, Marie spent nearly two decades in marketing and advertising as well as another decade in retail packaging. Her past experience has ultimately helped Marie develop a strong retail and marketing perspective, which has helped her successfully develop solutions for companies like P&G, S.C. Johnson, Kimberly-Clark, Frito Lay and Kraft to name a few.
As an English major at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA, Mary side-steeped on career growth opportunities that eventually lead her to Macerich and Chesterfield Towne Center in Richmond, VA. With a total of 15 years dedicated to specialty leasing and business development, she is an industry veteran who has created both interior and exterior RMU programs for Macerich and Taubman. Returning to Macerich, she flexed her knowledge to become an expert at media and sponsorship sales while continuing to expand the specialty retail program for Chesterfield Towne Center, where is currently the Leasing Development Manager.
Andy is one of the leading attorneys in the country on legal issues that affect businesses getting products to market. He has extensive experience with assisting franchise entities, manufacturers, specialty retailers, sales representatives, and distributors reach their business and legal goals. Andy is a frequent author, speaker, and instructor on advanced legal issues for organizations such as SPREE, the International Franchise Association, the American Bar Association’s Forum on Franchising, the National Business Institute, and state and local bar organizations. Andy is the founder and chair of the International Franchise Association’s Wisconsin Franchised Business Network, the immediate past co-chair of Quarles & Brady, LLP’s national Franchise and Distribution Team, and has been twice elected to the governing body for the State Bar of Wisconsin. Andy also serves as the liaison to the board of a multi-million dollar fund established to protect clients harmed by unethical attorneys, is involved in pro-bono programs that protect the rights of disadvantaged children, and is a frequent volunteer with Junior Achievement. Andy’s legal skill, dedication, and service have been recognized and honored by his peers, the Wisconsin Law Journal, and, most recently, by Super Lawyer’s Magazine.
Scott Nelowet is the CEO of the exploding French Fry Heaven Franchise. After years of college academics, Scott was inspired to create a new niche with massive success potential. Working alongside his partners from F.C. Dadson, they began spawning French Fry Heaven locations like salmons in a stream. French Fry Heaven is one of the fastest growing chains in the country and on the lookout for great locations nationwide with huge walking traffic. Fun, inventive, creative and amazing…and French Fry Heaven is pretty awesome too.
Paul C. Rocchio
Senior Director of Development & Member Services, International Franchise Association
Paul Rocchio joined the IFA staff in March of 1999 as Manager of Grassroots and Political Education, and was promoted in 2001 and again in 2013 to his current position as Senior Director of Development and Member Services. Paul is responsible for the retention and recruitment of new members while creating continued value-added benefits and services to existing members. He staffs the IFA Supplier Forum Advisory Board and assists with the Membership Committee. Before joining the IFA staff Paul worked at the International Mass Retail Association where he was Manager of State Government Affairs and prior to that was Associate Staff in the State Affairs Department of the Chemical Manufacturers Association (CMA). Paul is a member of the American Society of Association Executives, received a Certificate in Nonprofit Organization Management from the U.S. Chamber’s Institute of Organizational Management program in 2011 and is a Certified Franchise Executive. He received his Master of Arts in Political Management from The George Washington University, Washington, D.C., and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Northeastern University, Boston, MA. He lives with his wife Julie and their four children in Alexandria, Virginia.
Marty is a well-respected franchise executive with over 20 years of experience in developing emerging concepts as well as mature franchise companies in the restaurant, retail, and service industry. He was the Assistant VP of Operations for Blimpie International for over 10 years, owned his own commercial construction company for five years and was owner of a franchise consultancy for three years before moving into the specialty retail category with Cellairis. His expertise covers Franchise Sales and Development, Operations, Construction, Real Estate, and Marketing. Based in Atlanta, GA, he holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from St. John’s University and is a member of the IFA and ICSC.
Aldynai has launched a start-up and rollout of Specialty Leasing Program in Mega Shopping centers across Russia. During the 2008 recession she demonstrated a 99% occupancy rate. She also has experience as the Head of Business Development of Blanche et Brillante company which was awarded SRR’s Best Kiosk Design in the 2011 Visual Victories Awards. Aldynai was a member of the 2012 Visual Victories Awards, a speaker at the Business School of Moscow State University, KOMAR 2012, REX 2013, 9th Professional Development School 2013 and the ProEstate 2014 Investment Forum. Currently, Aldynai is a group leader of the Commercialization team at the properties managed by Jones Lang LaSalle in Russia.
Starr Cumming is a commercial real estate executive with 18 years of comprehensive experience in the shopping center industry in the areas of property management, development, marketing and leasing. While working for Bayer Properties, Cousins Properties, The Rouse Company, General Growth Properties, & North American Properties Starr oversaw income generation, sales productivity, client relations, strategic planning, budget preparation, and property management for multiple malls throughout the U.S.A. For the past 12 years Starr has been primarily focused in the Specialty Leasing sector of mall leasing generating revenue for properties. STARR Sales & Leasing offers third party leasing, consulting and training services for future and current Specialty Leasing programs. Starr is a graduate of the University of Georgia (B.F.A.). She is a 10+ year member of ICSC. She received a 2006 Specialty Retail Report Visual Victories Award for Outstanding Visual Merchandising Excellence-Most Improved Retail Display. She holds her Georgia Real Estate License. She is an Ambassador for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and has been published in Specialty Retail Report Magazine.
Michelle M. Peacock is Senior Director, Head of Association Development for PayPal, based in San Jose, California. Michelle began her career in 1987 with the Beneficial Corp. consumer finance company. During that time she became Director of Government Relations, managing tax and commerce issues in Washington, DC before moving to Boston to set up a state government relations program in 1995. In 1998, she joined Microsoft Corp. to assist the establishment of state government relations for the company with special focus on state attorneys general during a pending multi-state lawsuit against the company. In 2000, Michelle moved to California to join Cisco Systems, where she worked as head of State Government Relations for three years before joining eBay in 2003. At eBay, Michelle joined a very small team of GR professionals and set up the company’s first state government relations program before moving to PayPal in 2008, where she lead the PayPal Global Government Relations team for over three years. In 2011, Michelle integrated Global Government Relations for both eBay and the PayPal businesses in corporate areas concentrating on Emerging Markets and New Ventures. In 2013, Michelle left Government Relations to join PayPal’s new omnichannel business and currently leads a small team who develops commercial and trade association partnerships for the company’s emerging in-person, retail business. Michelle is married, has two children and lives in the historic Willow Glen neighborhood of San Jose.
Christian Kratsas has spent several years helping independent retailers and small businesses succeed with social media, email marketing and online advertising. He was directly responsible for developing and maintaining the social media presence for several widely recognized gift stores, helping them to grow their fan bases — in one instance adding 1,000 fans in less than two days. Additionally, Christian is a seasoned public speaker, traveling across the nation to educate storeowners on retail-focused digital marketing strategies.