Gen Z Business Founders and Retail Brand Leaders to Speak at Second Annual Retail Influencer CEO Forum

Executives from American Eagle, Coach, e.l.f. Beauty, Forever 21, LVMH, Macy’s, Meta, Rebecca Minkoff and Others to Offer Insights on Unlocking the Gen Z Mindset

Retail Influencer Network Partners with WWD for Inaugural Most Influential ESG Leaders List

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Retail Influencer Network, an exclusive network of senior business leaders, investors and analysts founded by Berns Communications Group (BCG), today announced the initial speaker lineup for its second annual Retail Influencer CEO Forum Featuring The Z Suite. The full-day, invitation-only summit on Tuesday, September 12, at New York’s Crosby Street Hotel will unite Gen Z leaders and influencers with retail and brand executives to help the industry unlock the Gen Z consumer mindset. The forum’s programming will center on the theme of “Courageous Leadership Paving the Way for Real Change” and featured speakers will include CEOs, ZEOs and senior executives who are leading with conviction and connecting deeply with Gen Zers along the way.

The initial speaker lineup includes Bonobos Co-Founder Andy Dunn, Coach SVP of Marketing and Head of Coachtopia Joon Silverstein, e.l.f. Beauty Chief Brand Officer Laurie Lam, Forever 21 CEO Winnie Park, Macy’s Inc. Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer Shawn Outler, and Founder and Designer Rebecca Minkoff, along with Gen Z trailblazers, including Phia Co-Founders Phoebe Gates and Sophia Kianni, JUV Consulting Founder and CEO Ziad Ahmed, and Trndsttrs Founder and CEO Jake Bjorseth.

Together with Women’s Wear Daily and JUV Consulting, BCG’s Retail Influencer Network and Z Suite also announced that nominations are now open for the inaugural Most Influential ESG Leaders list. The list will recognize both senior-level executives and Gen Z leaders who are driving positive change in environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices in the retail, technology and consumer spaces. The list will be published in Women’s Wear Daily on September 12 and the honorees will be celebrated at an exclusive breakfast event that day. Please click here by Monday, June 12, to nominate a Gen Z founder or leader or a brand executive who should be recognized as one of the Most Influential ESG Leaders.

“This forum is a unique opportunity to uncover what Gen Z truly values and how brand leaders are building strategies to meet them where they are,” said Stacy Berns, President and Founder of Berns Communications Group. “We believe that by bringing together these influential voices, we can drive positive change, foster innovation and shape more sustainable, inclusive and responsible business practices.”

The Retail Influencer CEO Forum will provide the actionable intelligence today’s retail leaders need to understand Gen Z consumers’ priorities and shopping behaviors, with keynotes, panels, fireside chats and “Ask Me Anything” sessions on topics such as Gen Z consumer shopping trends; wellness and beauty breakthroughs; knowing your value; purpose-driven and sustainable shopping; commerce, culture and community; and the future of work.

Discussion moderators will include respected journalists from The Business of Fashion, Fast Company, MSNBC, Fortune and other media outlets. Joanna Coles will once again serve as the forum’s emcee and members of The Z Suite, an exclusive network of Gen Z thought leaders, will participate in discussions throughout the day. The Z Suite is co-chaired and managed by BCG Assistant Vice Presidents Carly Berns and Felicia Kane.

Featured speakers at the 2023 Retail Influencer CEO Forum will include:

  • Ziad Ahmed, Founder and CEO, JUV Consulting
  • Bea Arthur, Founder and CEO, The Difference
  • Trisha Bantigue, CEO, Queenly
  • Jake Bjorseth, Founder and CEO, Trndsttrs
  • Kelsey Davis, Founder and CEO, CLLCTVE
  • Andy Dunn, Author, Pie Founder and CEO, and Bonobos Co-Founder
  • Shai Eisenman, Founder and CEO, Bubble Skincare
  • Patrick Finnegan, Managing Partner, Intuition Capital
  • Phoebe Gates, Co-Founder, Phia
  • Emily Gittins, Co-Founder and CEO, Archive
  • Sophia Kianni, Co-Founder, Phia
  • Laurie Lam, Chief Brand Officer, e.l.f. Beauty
  • Anthony Marino, President, thredUP
  • Danny Meyer, Founder and Executive Chairman, Union Square Hospitality Group
  • Rebecca Minkoff, Founder and Designer, Rebecca Minkoff
  • Elizabeth Oates, VP, Consumer Insights, Ulta Beauty
  • Shawn Outler, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, Macy’s, Inc.
  • Sarah Paiji Yoo, Co-Founder and CEO, Blueland
  • Sapna Parikh, Chief Digital Officer, Kendo Brands, LVMH (Fenty Beauty, Fenty Skin, Ole Henriksen, KVD Vegan Beauty and Lip Lab)
  • Winnie Park, CEO, Forever 21
  • Joon Silverstein, SVP, Global Marketing, Creative and Sustainability and Head of Coachtopia, Coach
  • Sally Susman, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer and Executive Vice President, Pfizer
  • Stacy Taffet, SVP, Marketing, PepsiCo Beverages North America
  • Karin Tracy, Head of Industry, Fashion, Luxury, Retail, Meta
  • Sunny Woo, Senior VP of AE and Aerie Stores in US and Canada, American Eagle Outfitters, Inc.
  • TZ (Tiffany Zhong), “The Gen Z Whisperer”

The forum will kick off with an invitation-only CEO dinner on Monday, September 11, at Manhatta with Union Square Hospitality Group Founder and Executive Chairman Danny Meyer. Following the forum’s morning sessions, a VIP lunch will feature an interview with special guest Sally Susman, EVP, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Pfizer. After the afternoon forum sessions, the day will conclude with cocktails and networking.

About the Retail Influencer Network

The Retail Influencer Network is a carefully selected group of senior business leaders and influential investors and analysts whose thought leadership is shaping the global retail industry. Members of the network regularly share their expertise on consumer behavior and trends, retail technology, and the most effective commerce strategies across broadcast and digital business media outlets and at prestigious industry conferences and events.

About The Z Suite

The Z Suite is an exclusive network of diverse students from top universities and colleges selected to serve as powerful Gen Z voices in the retail and consumer space. Created by Berns Communications Group, this network of generational thought leaders works closely with some of the most respected and influential retail and brand leaders in the consumer industry, serving as reverse mentors and sharing their perspective and insights into Gen Z’s habits, values and priorities to help effect positive change across the industry.

About Berns Communications Group

Berns Communications Group (BCG) is a women-led firm breaking the mold in strategic communications by building communities and connecting clients with the most impactful influencers and thought leaders in the retail, fashion, consumer and technology sectors.


Carly Berns / Felicia Kane

Berns Communications Group /