Fresh perspectives. Inspiring experiences.

2018 GRMA Executive Leadership Forum

Alex Tapscott, Co-author of <em>Blockchain Revolution</em>, Founding Member, IMF’s High Level Advisory Group on Fintech

Alex Tapscott

Co-author of Blockchain Revolution
Founding Member, IMF’s High Level Advisory Group on Fintech

Disruptive Technologies and Business Opportunity

Alex Tapscott is a globally recognized thought-leader, speaker and writer focused on the impact of emerging technologies on business, society and government. Alex is the co-author (with Don Tapscott) of the critically acclaimed Non-fiction best-seller, Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin is Changing Money Business and the World, which has been translated into 15 languages. His work has been featured in TIME, Fortune, Forbes, the Harvard Business Review, the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail and dozens of other publications.

Karin Timpone, Global Marketing Officer, Marriott International

Karin Timpone

Global Marketing Officer
Marriott International

As Global Marketing Officer at Marriott International, Karin Timpone is leading the transformation of the company’s diverse portfolio of 19 brands. She is responsible for the company’s integrated global marketing efforts and consumer relationship management strategies which encompass evolving strategies that strengthen the relevance of Marriott’s brands to the Next Generation Traveler. Her focus is on portfolio coordination to increase share potential, elevate digital channels, and strengthen approaches to drive consumer intimacy.

Kurt A. Kane, Chief Concept & Marketing Officer, The Wendy’s Company

Kurt A. Kane

Chief Concept & Marketing Officer
The Wendy’s Company

Kurt Kane is the Chief Concept & Marketing Officer for The Wendy’s Company, with responsibility for all marketing communications, digital engagement, and food innovation. He was recently named one of the “Top 40 Marketing Innovators to Watch” by PR Week magazine and one of the “Top 100 Marketers in the World” by the World Marketing Congress.

Prior to joining Wendy’s in May of 2015, he held several different leadership positions within the food and beverage space that provided him a broad and deep perspective on how to connect effectively with customers. Specifically, his previous roles included marketing leadership positions with Yum! Brands, Frito Lay, Molson Coors Brewing Company, and Procter & Gamble. In addition, he also served in the U.S. Army as an Air Defense Artillery Officer in the 4th Infantry Division.

Kane holds a B.S. in Management from the United States Military Academy at West Point, and an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. He has been married to his wife Christine for 19 years and together they have two children (Elizabeth, 14 & Andrew, 11).

Christine Hunsicker, CEO and founder, Gwynnie Bee

Christine Hunsicker

CEO and founder
Gwynnie Bee

Christine Hunsicker is the CEO and founder of Gwynnie Bee, an online clothing subscription service exclusively for women sizes 10-32.

Launched in March 2012, Hunsicker’s conceptualized a subscription service for an overwhelmingly underserved consumer—the plus size woman. Representing only 16.6% of apparel spending despite making up 67% of the U.S. population, Hunsicker decided to leverage technology to provide this demographic with a revolutionary new way to experience clothing without limitations.
In five short years, Hunsicker’s vision is in full swing with four hundred employees and offices in New York, Palo Alto, Columbus, and overseas. To date, the company has shipped over four million boxes to members across the United States.

Hunsicker has an outstanding pedigree of leading successful startups, including COO of, which sold to Facebook, and President and COO of Right Media, which sold to Yahoo! for $850M. She has received accolades such as inclusion in Crain’s ‘40 Under 40’ and Inc.’s ‘Most Impressive Women Entrepreneurs’ as well as Fashion Group International’s Rising Star Award.

Kevin Lavelle, Founder & CEO, Mizzen+Main

Kevin Lavelle

Founder & CEO

Kevin Lavelle is the Founder and CEO of Mizzen+Main, an innovative company transforming the landscape of the apparel industry by introducing advanced performance fabrics to traditional menswear. Mizzen+Main has changed the way men approach this staple of their wardrobe, creating a shirt that is moisture wicking and wrinkle free, has four way stretch, and requires no ironing or dry cleaning. Kevin launched the company in July 2012 to create the next great American brand. The shirt has quickly become a favorite among a variety of customers with a strong adoption among professional athletes. Mizzen+Main is carried in 300 retail locations in addition to its rapidly expanding e-commerce presence. The company has been featured in The New York Times, WWD, Esquire, The Wall Street Journal, Men’s Health, Inc., and many more. Mizzen+Main products are proudly American made. The company has a long standing commitment to giving back to the veteran community through partnerships with The Navy SEAL Foundation, 31 Heroes, and many more.

Prior to founding Mizzen+Main, Kevin worked at the venture capital group of the Hunt Consolidated focusing on emerging energy technologies. Prior to that, Kevin worked for international consulting firm Oliver Wyman in the Middle East and the US. Kevin graduated summa cum laude from Southern Methodist University with a B.S. in Engineering. In 2016, Kevin was named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and Southern Methodist University’s Distinguished Alumni Emerging Leader recipient. Kevin lives in Dallas, Texas with his wife and business partner, Jen, Mizzen+Main’s CMO, and their son Jack.

Rakesh Tondon, Co-founder & CEO, Le Tote

Rakesh Tondon

Co-founder & CEO
Le Tote

Rakesh Tondon is the co-founder & CEO of Le Tote. Prior to Le Tote, Rakesh spent 12 years in technology investment banking, working on technology deals with some of the biggest names in the consumer, enterprise and telecom spaces at JP Morgan’s technology group in New York.

Rakesh advised clients on billions of dollars of equity and debt financings and M&A transactions. Prior to JP Morgan, Rakesh was employee #1 at a Fintech startup, where he helped scale the company to over 120 people in 3 countries in less than 12 months. During his tenure he held several technical, product, financial and strategic management positions. Rakesh has been focused on the technology sector as an advisor, operator and investor for over 15 years.

After Rakesh’s stint at JP Morgan, he moved to San Francisco to join a boutique investment bank to be in the epicenter of technology & innovation and he worked with several startups in the mobile, digital media and ecommerce spaces.

Philip Krim, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Casper

Philip Krim

Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer

As CEO, Philip leads Casper’s comprehensive business strategy, expansion, and vision for the future. He drives Casper’s goal of becoming the first end-to-end sleep brand. Philip and his co-founders recognized a paradox in 2014 — a generation of entrepreneurs and working professionals who were placing increasing value on their health and fitness were neglecting sleep. Casper is now reimagining the sleep industry from the ground up. A serial entrepreneur, Philip has founded two previous startups, where he focused on evolving consumer and e-commerce trends. He launched his very first business out of his dorm room at the University of Texas, Austin, where he earned his B.A. Philip has won numerous entrepreneur awards, and was recently named Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in New York. In 2017, Casper was listed as one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies.

Edgar Blazona, Founder/CEO, BenchMade Modern

Edgar Blazona

BenchMade Modern

In early 2015, Edgar founded BenchMade Modern, a technology-focused custom sofa company designed to shift the paradigm in conventional sofa retail with by-the-inch custom sizing and previously unheard of 7-day manufacturing.

BenchMade Modern has garnered national recognition in publications like The New York Times, Fast Company, and Forbes, plus two Furniture Industry Leadership Awards from Furniture Today, the industry’s leading trade magazine.

With more than 25 years in the furniture industry, Edgar has positioned himself at the forefront of many of the industry’s trends. Prior to launching BenchMade Modern, Edgar founded TrueModern (in 2005), a company originally focused on affordable modern bedroom pieces for kids. Today, TrueModern is a nationally recognized modern furniture brand sold through top online retailers, brick-and-mortar shops across the country, and direct through TrueModern’s website and San Francisco retail shop.

Prior to founding TrueModern, Edgar served as Design Director and VP of Furniture at Thinc, a San Francisco-based furniture and textiles design and marketing company. Here, he designed and placed multiple collections in big box retailers like Target, Walmart, Office Max, Office Depot, Staples, and Home Depot.

Edgar got his start in the corporate furniture world at Pottery Barn in the late 1990s. During this time here, he became an expert in sourcing and streamlining the manufacturing processes, working directly with factories in Asia and Indonesia. By day, he designed occasional and living pieces that suited the rustic Americana style of Pottery Barn, but he needed a creative outlet to fuel his modernist spirit. He launched Modular Dwellings, a prefab backyard shelter company, and pioneered what we now know as the prefab movement of the early 2000s. He ultimately partnered with ReadyMade magazine, making his MD100 plans available for sale to anyone who wanted to build their own.

Edgar grew up in a household with parents who owned a construction company, and was instilled with both an entrepreneurial spirit and a hands-on DIY mentality. As a School of the Arts high school student in San Francisco, he launched his first business — a graphic arts company — as a way to monetize his artistic talents outside of the classroom, which he expressed through street art. He produced several commissioned art pieces for the City of San Francisco, legendary skateboard competitions, Lollapalooza, and other iconic landmarks like The Warfield.

Edgar’s work has been shown around the world at Sweden’s Ice Hotel, San Francisco’s Limn Gallery, and Bergamont Station Arts Center in Los Angeles. His designs have been featured in national publications such as The New York Times, Elle Décor, Vogue, Dwell, Paper, the San Francisco Chronicle, and ReadyMade.

Additional speakers to be announced.