Elizabeth Lafontaine
Chief Retail Analyst
Opening Keynote

Elizabeth Lafontaine is the Chief Retail Analyst at Retail Leader Pro, an EnsembleIQ brand. Backed by nearly a decade of retail experience, she uncovers emerging trends in consumer behavior to help retailers and brands tap into new insights and create winning strategies in the ever-evolving world of commerce. Her analyses and commentary help businesses deepen their industry knowledge while also identifying ways to win with an ever-evolving consumer.

Lafontaine’s previous experience in the broader retail industry included roles at The NPD Group, Stein Mart and Macy’s. She helped to develop and grow NPD’s thought leadership offering, and most recently served as an industry analyst for its Juvenile Products, Toys and Entertainment division.

Lafontaine is a graduate of Syracuse University with a degree in retail management. She was a 2021 Legacy Award Honoree by Women in Consumer Technology.

Thomas N. Trkla
Thomas N. Trkla
Chairman, CEO and President
Product Innovation Panel

Thomas N. Trkla is the founder of Yesway, Inc. and has served as Yesway, Inc.’s Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, President and as a member of Yesway’s board of directors since its formation. He is also the Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of Brookwood Financial Partners, LLC, which he founded in May 1993. Tom directs all aspects of Yesway’s businesses, including managing operations, shaping and setting the company’s culture, values and principles, assembling and leading the senior management team, formulating and implementing investment and disposition strategies, and evaluating, structuring, and capitalizing the companies’ acquisitions. He is also Chairman of Brookwood’s and Yesway’s Executive and Investment Committees.
Mr. Trkla currently serves as an Advisory Committee member of the Massachusetts Campaign for Children, a non-profit statewide child advocacy organization, a Director of the Princeton Association of New England, a Director of the Foundation for Excellence in Higher Education, a Director of the Land Conservation Assistance Network (LandCAN), a member of the Advisory Council for the James Madison Society at Princeton University, and a member of the Urban Land Institute. In 2021, Mr. Trkla was named an Entrepreneur of The Year® 2021 Southwest Award winner by Ernst & Young LLP. Mr. Trkla holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton University and a Master of Management degree from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. In 2004, he completed the Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School.

Claudio Gemmiti
Claudio Gemmiti
Club Coffee L.P.
Chief Innovation Officer
Product Innovation Panel

Claudio Gemmiti has led Club Coffee’s disruptive approach to innovation in the coffee world since 2013, with a focus on sustainable packaging solutions. Club’s first major breakthrough under his leadership was the world’s-first compostable single-serve coffee pod. Claudio’s latest project arrives on store shelves later this year when Club Coffee and its brand partners introduce Boardio™, a revolutionary, high-barrier, paper-based, recyclable packaging format. Before joining Club Coffee, Claudio earned a strong reputation as a strategic thinker with deep CPG R&D acumen in building a record of success with iconic brands at Loblaw Companies Ltd. and Procter and Gamble.

Marty Esarte
Marty Esarte
Vice President Owned Brand
Product Innovation Panel

Marty Esarte serves as Vice President, Owned Brands at Walgreens. In this role, he is responsible for leading all of Walgreens owned brands and driving innovation that is uniquely ownable to the retailer.
Marty has a relentless focus on quality, sustainable sourcing, and design which greatly contributes to Walgreens pursuit of the growth of its owned brand business. He also plays a pivotal role in bringing our purpose of more joyful lives through better health to life through our product assortment.
A 20+ year retail and CPG leader with experience at Clorox Company, Conagra and Walmart, Marty is a results-oriented leader with a strong focus on the customer. He has experience across private brands, merchandising and marketing.
Most recently, he led the front-end merchandising team for Walmart where he was responsible for omnichannel strategies and plans across assortment, space, pricing and replenishment.
Prior to that role, Marty led the transformation of Walmart Private Brands, where he managed the food division’s private brand products across fresh, snacks, beverages, packaged goods, frozen and dairy. In this role he led the private brand business strategy, product development, sourcing and quality teams.
Marty received his undergraduate degree from Stanford University along with his M.B.A. from University of California, Berkeley. Marty is married with two children and will reside in Evanston, Illinois.

Kevin Gueta
Kevin Gueta
Thrive Market
Senior Continuous Improvement Engineer

Kevin is the Sr. Continuous Improvement Engineer at Thrive Market, focused on packaging cost savings, supply vendor management, implement lean manufacturing practices, and leading projects that improve operational efficiencies. Kevin’s projects require cross-functional work with multiple departments and external vendors, while diligently working with Operations through change management.
Prior to his role at Thrive Market, Kevin started his career in the automotive industry as a Quality Engineer for three years, working with customers and vendors on root-cause investigations, implementing effective solutions and striving to meet quality standards and excellence. Kevin then joined Imperfect Foods as a Continuous Improvement Engineer II with his Green Six Sigma Belt and focused on packaging reduction, standardizing processes company-wide, and supporting Operations meet consistent quality KPI’s. Kevin resides in Laredo, Texas and enjoys going to the gym and watching all Sports.