Commercexcellence awards 2024

24 Leaders To Watch In 2024

CommerceNext is honoring 24 leaders to watch in 2024 with the CommerceXcellence Award. The award recognizes visionaries and leaders in the retail industry who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, innovation and impact!

Meet the Honorees
adam michaels

Adam Michaels

Chief Digital Officer


Adam’s commitment to enhancing sustainability and circular economy efforts within the fashion industry is extraordinary. By encouraging shoppers to bring back their old Crocs shoes, regardless of condition and repurposing them through partnerships and donations to organizations like Soles4Souls, Adam is leading the way in reducing waste, reusing materials and making a positive social and environmental impact.

adrian rohr

Adrian Rohr

Vice President Marketing


Adrian’s positive leadership style encourages a deep dive into analytics, ensuring his team is always one step ahead in the ever-evolving marketing landscape. Beyond growing sales, Adrian’s keen insights into modern marketing trends show his commitment to growth and improving the customer experience.

allyssa kaiser

Allyssa Kaiser

Senior Director of Performance Marketing

NEST New York

Allyssa has spearheaded NEST New York’s performance marketing team for over two years. Despite last year’s significant success, they’ve redefined their approach to growth marketing, earning recognition from TikTok with a published case study and an invitation for Allyssa to participate in their small business seminar.

Angela Clark

Head of Digital Studio


Angela leads the charge in impactful brand storytelling, driving conscious consumerism and action. Her vision includes a unified digital strategy and initiatives to amplify sustainability efforts through Patagonia Action Works which connects environmental action groups to local causes.

Bethany Muths

Chief Marketing and Customer Officer


Bethany’s visionary leadership is evident in her strategic initiatives, particularly the incorporation of fit technology. This customer-centric approach plays a pivotal role in boosting conversion rates and Average Order Value while reducing fit-related returns.

Chad Lundeen

Vice President of Real Estate & Store Development


Chad’s impact on the retail-tech experience stems from his ability to expertly integrate design, customer experience and brand strategy in a physical space. He transformed Saatva’s retail store development over the past two years resulting in an astounding 10x growth in revenue and 2x in local brand awareness. His approach is more than retail technology, it’s the strategic combination of aesthetics, customer experience, and brand education.

Chris Maliwat

Chief Digital Officer

Victoria Beckham Beauty

Chris spearheads an innovative SMS channel at Victoria Beckham Beauty (VBB), driving engagement and conversions. His creative use of SMS successfully launched a new product category, generating excitement and a waitlist of eager subscribers. Additionally, Chris oversees the strategic deployment of exclusive content, targeting the most relevant audience based on preferences and activity.

Christiane Pendarvis


Pattern Beauty

Christiane Pendarvis, with over 25 years of retail experience, is co-CEO of Pattern Beauty. With a track record of turning insights into action, she is also known for substantial revenue growth and successful financing rounds, Pendarvis’s strategic expertise is poised to propel Pattern Beauty towards becoming the foremost leader in textured hair care, in line with Ellis Ross’s vision for the brand.


Chief Digital Officer


CTM has constantly pushed an already innovative brand further. Working with many teams at Dominos’s he’s piloted programs that are always thinking of the customer’s needs. A few examples include: pinpoint delivery, being an ally, and educating the industry about how they innovate.

ekta chopra

Ekta Chopra

Chief Digital Officer

e.l.f. Beauty – Winner

Ekta is an industry veteran with more than two decades of expertise. She has demonstrated her strategic brilliance through e.l.f. Beauty’s leadership as a digital disruptor, creating augmented reality campaigns and authentic digital interactions with consumers. Notably, under her guidance, e.l.f. Beauty has excelled in engaging Gen Z through innovative immersive experiences, solidifying e.l.f.’s position as the #1 Cosmetics Brand Among Teens.

Elizabeth Preis

Global Chief Marketing Officer

Anthropologie Group

Elizabeth has a deep understanding of customer affinity and focuses on building brand love at both local and digital levels for a seamless and captivating experience across all touchpoints. She helped Anthropologie collaborate with Pinterest on a #MakingMerry Holiday Showhouse, exemplifying partnership synergy and delivering a top-notch customer experience.

jenna posner

Jenna Posner

Chief Digital Officer

Solo Brands

Jenna consistently exceeds industry standards by crafting unique and personalized experiences. Regarded as a team ‘cheerleader,’ she fosters innovation and creativity. With a bold leadership style, Jenna has established herself as a significant industry contributor. Notably, Solo Stove saw exceptional success under her leadership, achieving a 40% increase in generative AI chatbot take rates, a 30% decrease in workload, and maintaining an impressive CSAT score.

Jennifer Stender Hawkins

SVP Marketing and Ecommerce

Centric Brands

Jennifer has played a pivotal role in launching Favorite Daughter, Centric Brands’ digital first brand, in collaboration with Sara and Erin Foster. Her strategic acumen extends to implementing technology enhancements, unifying brands on a shared tech stack and introducing digital innovation and omnichannel features.

Josh Krepon

President of DTC & Global Digital

Steve Madden

Josh is an integral part of the digital community, and helps Steve Madden incorporate technology and marketing to beat earnings expectations. Beyond mentoring and knowing the latest trends, Steve Madden launched a successful new mobile pop up initiative this year to attract college students, called the Shoebox showroom.

Kyle Barz

Director, Global Retail & eCommerce Technology

Mars Wrigley

Kyle was instrumental in designing, planning, and launching the first headless commerce platform at Mars and also in the CPG D2C industry. The platform can be extended to all the D2C brands in Mars which will increase speed to market and provide unique experiences to consumers worldwide. Kyle is a leader by example who truly exemplifies empathy, humbleness and innovative mindset.

Mandeep Bhatia

VP, Global Digital Product & Omnichannel Innovation


Mandeep spearheads Tapestry’s digital innovation, driving the company’s shift to groundbreaking omnichannel customer experiences. Under his leadership, Tapestry partnered with Edgio to revolutionize the family of brands’ web infrastructure, delivering dynamic online experiences through cutting-edge technologies. Mandeep’s strategic vision positions Tapestry as an industry leader, setting new standards for digital transformation.

Nadina Gugliemetti

Chief Customer Officer

Vitamin Shoppe

Leading her team, Nadina implemented a process that democratizes work, ensuring consistent planning and strategy across all channels. Under her leadership, The Vitamin Shoppe achieved a seamless omnichannel customer experience, a testament to her data-driven strategies and innovative approach in navigating the dynamic retail landscape.

NJ Falk

Managing Partner

Athletic Propulsion Labs

NJ, a driving force at Athletic Propulsion Labs (APL), strategically boosted revenue by diversifying the brand’s collection and harnessing the power of MMS for impactful imagery, elevating their market presence. As a dedicated leader, she empowers her team to innovate, contributing significantly to APL’s tremendous success.

Rachel Martinho

Sr. Director, Loyalty & Digital Engagement


Rachel’s influential decision-making at Skechers has been instrumental in elevating the brand’s market position, particularly through the impactful use of SMS for customer acquisition and engagement. Her unique approach, combining hands-on involvement and forward-thinking strategy, establishes her as a key driver in fostering growth and innovation.

Sabrina Cherubini

SVP, Brand & Digital

Hanky Panky

An experienced inspirational and collaborative leader, Sabrina excels in motivating and mentoring teams, especially with her vast knowledge surrounding executing strong-consumer-centric strategies in a fast-paced environment including branching out to mens products. Sabrina is adept at growing global brand revenue and equity.

Sameer Hassan

SVP, Technology

Williams-Sonoma, Inc

Sameer has played a crucial role in advancing Williams-Sonoma’s digital strategy, orchestrating the integration of innovative technologies for personalized marketing, resulting in millions of tailored daily emails. His leadership in implementing AI and automation has significantly boosted customer engagement and operational efficiency, positioning the brand for sustained growth.

sarah wallis

Sarah Wallis

Chief Operating Officer


Sarah is adept at growing revenue, leading effective teams and with a focus on measurable results. Additionally, Sarah is skilled in vendor negotiation and management, having worked with a wide range of innovative third-party technology and marketing partners managing cost reduction and new business models.

Sharon Price John



Sharon has orchestrated a remarkable financial turnaround and strategic brand expansion to have record-breaking profits. As Build-A-Bear transcends conventional perceptions and cultivates an adult following, Sharon’s forward-thinking approach has been pivotal in the company’s transformative journey, positioning it as an experiential retail empire with an ever-expanding digital presence.

Shirley Gao

Chief Digital & Information Officer


Shirley drove omni-channel optimization and innovation, significantly improved receiving, allocation, and digital fulfillment efficiency. She launched BOPIS, Amazon Same Day Delivery, and Pacsun Same Day Delivery. She not only modernized the systems, but enabled eCom crypto currency and other advanced payments.

Awards Presented At January 15th Reception

January 15th at 7:30 pm at the Rubin Museum of Art, NYC

The 2024 CommerceXcellence Awards were presented at our Reception at NRF Big Show.

Selection Committee

George Khachatryan, CEO, OfferFit

Sara Varni, Chief Marketing Officer, Attentive

Emily Gulp, Board Member, Mizzen + Main, Stio & Cordial

Emily Hickey, Co-Founder & CEO, Chief Detective Growth Consulting

Liesel Walsh, Frmr SVP Marketing & Customer Experience, Boston Proper

Geoffrey Sanders, Chief Marketing Officer, Firstleaf

Shawna Hausman, SVP, Global Ecommerce, ESPRIT

Andrew Fried, SVP, Direct to Consumer, Mint Mobile

Suruchi Shukla, VP Marketing, Minted

Julie Evans, VP and CMO, Omaha Steaks

Dave Cost, VP of Digital and Ecommerce, Rainbow

Jason Nickel, SVP of Marketing, Ten Thousand

Jeff Hamm, VP, Digital Experience and Operations, Ulta

Daren Hull, Frmr President, Vera Bradley

Kacey Sharrett, VP, Direct to Consumer, GoPro

Carolyn Pollock, CMO, Tailored Brands

Samir Desai, EVP, Chief Digital + Technology Officer, Abercrombie & Fitch Co.

Matt Gehring, Chief Marketing Officer, Dutch

Naomi Jacobs, Senior Director, Head of Social, Walmart

Kimberly Minor, CoFounder, WOCRA

Melissa Campanelli, Co-Founder, Women in
Retail, Women Leading Travel & Hospitality &
Total Retail, NAPCO Media

Leslie Emmons Burthey, Senior Vice President Marketing, TeePublic