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2018 ICBA Conference Sessions & Speakers


Check out this year’s lineup of industry experts! Visit this page regularly to see an updated list of sessions and speakers, and download the 2018 schedule.

Tuesday, February 13

Insights from the National Retail Federation
9:45 AM - 10:45 AM

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing every type of retailer around the world. NRF monitors trends in key performance metrics and mines the data for insights that will impact its members. Fresh from the “NRF Big Show,” Cristina Ceresoli, NRF’s SVP of Retail Strategy, will share some of the big ideas that were presented and discussed.

Cristina Ceresoli

Senior Vice President, Retail Strategy
National Retail Federation

As the senior vice president for retail strategy at the National Retail Federation, Cristina is responsible for NRF’s product offering and event content strategy, with a special focus on customer experience and digital expansion in the industry.

Ceresoli came to NRF in 2017 from Express Inc. in Columbus, Ohio, where she served as vice president of marketing and PR and grew an innovative content marketing practice based in consumer experience, brand evolution and data-driven insight. Ceresoli specialized in consumer behavior patterns that drive brand advocacy and purchasing trends in an evolving digital world.

Ceresoli earned her MBA at Columbia Business School, and taught at Parsons, The New School in the Strategic Design and Management Program for many years.
The Changing World of Collegiate Licensing

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

The collegiate licensed product industry is evolving faster than ever before with licensee consolidation, retailer closures, and an increasing trend toward licensee exclusives. Senior representatives from Learfield and IMG/CLC will share how you can best-position your campus store to succeed during this period of evolution and discuss how college stores can establish themselves as the retail flagship of the institution for new products, new concepts, and more.

Matt Dyste

Vice President, Western Region
Learfield Licensing Partners

With 25 years in the collegiate marketing and branding business, Matt understands the bond between fans, sports, and licensing. Having spent 24 years at the University of Oregon as the director of licensing and then as director of marketing and brand management, he has lived sports licensing. Matt joined Learfield Licensing Partners (LLP) in 2016 as director of strategic initiatives. Now as vice president, western region, he is excited to continue working to shape the future of the collegiate licensing industry. Learfield Licensing partners with over 600 university clients providing licensing, marketing, and brand building expertise.

  Joe Hutchinson

Senior Vice President, Licensing
IMG College Licensing

Joe Hutchinson is the Sr. Vice President of Licensing at IMG College Licensing (IMGCL), which is owned by Endeavor. He is responsible for the oversight and management of apparel, non-apparel, NCAA & Bowl properties, International licensing, and strategic brand management for IMGCL, and works to build strategic partnerships and planning strategies with the top licensees in the collegiate licensing industry. 


Joe’s daily focus and attention is on building brand value and promoting brand growth for all of IMGCL’s institution partners. He has been with IMGCL since September of 1996 and formerly served in multiple roles, including oversight of institution partners within the SEC and ACC territories as well as the apparel business. 


Prior to joining IMGCL, Joe worked in Sports Marketing in the Atlanta area for Pro Events Inc.  He received his undergraduate degree from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama where he was a 4-year letter winner on the baseball team, and received his Master’s degree from Georgia State University in Sports Administration. Joe and his wife, Christin, have three daughters: Adriene (17), Adair (15), and Josie (10).


Wednesday, February 14

Building an eCommerce Foundation: How to create opportunity from the changing state of retail

9:45 AM – 10:45 AM

During this session, our speaker, Brian Beck, will share valuable and practical insights from his 20+ years of experience building successful eCommerce businesses across multiple industry categories. Learn about the current state of retailing, consumer and market forces driving change, and how consumers' new digital and mobile centers of activity are creating opportunities for businesses of all sizes. Brian will share practical steps you can take to build a roadmap for your eCommerce operation, including web merchandising best practices, platform considerations, digital marketing tools, organizational and resource needs, and post-purchase operational considerations. You will walk away with actionable information you can use to build and improve your eCommerce foundation. 

Brian Beck

Senior Vice President of Strategy

Brian has 20+ years of experience, including more than a decade as a C-level eCommerce executive. As the SVP of Strategy at Guidance, he advises industry leaders on driving rapid growth through Digital Transformation. Previously, Brian served as Interim VP of eCommerce at PacSun, a 600+ store apparel retailer. Brian also was VP Ecommerce for Harbor Freight, a 700+ store retailer of tools, and held executive roles at OvernightPrints, Costume Supercenter, and Broadspan Commerce. Recent clients include Five Below, Boy Scouts of America, illumina, Charming Charlie, Big Ass Fans, Vitamin Shoppe, Brasseler, Augusta Sportswear, NDS, Sole Society, and numerous others. He is a thought leader and featured speaker at the industry leading eCommerce conferences, including the Internet Retailer Conference and Exposition (IRCE),, Etail, Fashion Digital, B2B Online, Global eCommerce Leaders Forum, and many others. 

The Retail EXPERIENCE…If you didn’t Instagram it, it didn’t happen
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

 The retail experience is as much about personal expression, identity, and individuality as it is about consumption, especially in our wants vs. needs focused society. Whether the conversation starts in the store, or through social media or e-commerce, the best retail environments connect emotionally, deeply, and offer shareworthy experiences to the specific target customers, which in this case is millennials and generation Z-ers. Is your bookstore truly experiential enough to draw college students into the store? Are they engaged? Does the bookstore initiate discovery and generate conversation, and ultimately, lead a path to purchase?

In this session, we will dive in deeper to uncover the elements that truly make the store environment memorable and experiential.

  Ken Nisch




As Chairman of JGA, a global leader in branded environments and consumer strategy, Ken Nisch is responsible for project strategy and serves as client liaison. Nisch’s knowledge and entrepreneurial insights into the consumer are integrated into conceptual development and strategic image positioning for retail operators, manufacturers and brand marketers. 

Mr. Nisch was presented with the Retail Leadership Award at the Asia Retail Congress in Mumbai. He has also been inducted into the Retail Design Institute Legion of Honor, recognizing his outstanding career achievement in the field of retail design. He has also been named as a “Retail Luminary” by Design:Retail Magazine, considered to have demonstrated “unparalleled creative excellence.” 

Mr. Nisch also serves on the Advisory Boards for Design:Retail Magazine, the Association for Retail Environments, and serves as a Board Director to private and public retail companies. He has recently presented at some of the world’s leading design/retail conferences including the National Retail Federation Big Show, GlobalShop, EuroShop (Germany), the International Retail Design Conference, and Luxury Council.  

Thursday, February 15

The Next Generation of Course Materials
2:15 PM - 3:00 PM


Dr. Michael Hale is the Vice President of Education for VitalSource. He has spent more than 25 years in the field of education, the last 13 with VitalSource helping improve outcomes and affordably create and deliver learning solutions. He is currently responsible for leading VitalSource’s higher education initiatives, after serving in many other roles in the company, including publisher business development and curriculum consulting.

Prior to joining VitalSource, Hale spent 14 years working to advance equality of access to education as a college professor, high school teacher, statewide director of a college-access program, and as co-founder and director of a successful charter school. He is a National Paideia Faculty member and the author of “The Teacher’s Guide to Leading Student-Centered Discussions” as well as several articles and books chapters relating to educational transformation. 

Hale holds a B.A. in philosophy from Auburn University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University of North Carolina.


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