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Retail Futures: Critical Friends Development Session

As the next stage of the challenge, we invited our nine finalists to attend a critical friends development workshop where start-ups could recieve feedback on their business ahead of the finals on November 5th from some industry experts:

Briana Cross, Head of Marketing Operations (UK), Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield

Briana has worked within retail marketing for over 12 years and now leads Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s centre teams in the UK. With experience across both Australia and the UK, she brings knowledge of delivering strategic marketing plans across different markets. Through a deep understanding of the consumer, Briana has delivered marketing campaigns, events, new experiences and innovations to ensure our centres remain number one choice for customers and retailers.

Carolina Neri, Account Director, Brunswick Group

Carolina is a corporate and financial communication advisor specializing in the consumer and tech industries, with a strong focus on luxury retail and start-ups. Aside from her interest in these industries, at Brunswick Group, Carolina deals with reputation management and crisis communication for established and upcoming companies.

Francesca Baillieu, Commerical Analyst, True Capital

Francesca joined True, a retail and consumer innovation and investment firm, after gaining experience as an Investment Analyst at technology seed fund, Playfair Capital. Prior to this, Francesca spent two years working at ecommerce startup Evode Group as Project Coordinator. Francesca’s role at True is to identify innovative business to work with True’s corporate partners such as M&S, Abercrombie and Fitch, Morrisons, Shell and 7-Eleven (to name a few).

Katie Baron, Head of Retail, Stylus.com

Katie Baron is a journalist, author & futurist who specialises in defining and predicting the intersections between technology, pop culture and consumer behaviours. An inaugural member of London College of Fashion’s Digital Anthropology Laboratory think-tank, she’s currently Head of Retail – Trends, Insights & Innovations – at global futures agency Stylus, and contributes to Forbes on the topics of retail innovation and brand culture. She’s also authored two books on visual culture – Stylists: New Fashion Visionaries (2012) and Fashion + Music: Fashion Creatives Shaping Pop Culture (2016).

Lisa Chatterton, Business Manager, Fashion Innovation Agency,

Lisa Chatterton works at the Fashion Innovation Agency, at London College of Fashion. Here she establishes collaborations between the worlds of fashion and technology. Lisa implements innovative projects that use emerging technologies to accelerate the pace of change in the fashion industry.  Lisa has a wealth of fashion retail experience from her career in merchandising, which provides real insight into how new technologies might be applied within fashion businesses. Lisa has worked with major brands including Microsoft, Disney, Unilever and Arcadia Group, alongside designers such as Preen, JW Anderson, Steven Tai and Phoebe English. She has delivered a range of projects that include bringing Mixed Reality to London Fashion Week, using artificial intelligence to predict fashion styles and a project that Forbes described as “the first example of truly beautiful wearable tech”.

Kiara Alves-Walters, Senior Strategy Analyst, Farfetch

Kiara Alves Walters is a Senior Analyst in the Strategy & Innovation team at Farfetch, where she specialises in delivering strategic cross-functional initiatives with a focus on luxury fashion, retail and brand building. Before Farfetch, Kiara spent 4 years as a management consultant at PwC, working on a range of client engagements from global transformation projects to M&A advisory. Kiara is currently a mentor for the Farfetch Dream Assembly accelerator programme, and co-creator of the Farfetch X #FASHHACK panel events that aim to explore market trends in an open forum with the wider Fashion Tech ecosystem.

Mark Sims, Senior Development Manager, Customer Experience, John Lewis & Partners

Mark is responsible for developing John Lewis & Partners future store blueprint – what the physical experience of John Lewis will be in 2030.  He is working with teams across the business to identify what customers will want in the future and develop the capability to meet those future needs.  He has experience of developing new formats and improvements to the customer experience across Grocery, DIY and Telco retailers.  His passion is for finding ways to reduce operational costs and improve customer experience with changes to the operating model.

Marina Atarova, Dream Assembly Accelerator Lead, Farfetch & Fash-Hack Founder

Marina is an entrepreneur and mentor with over 7 years of experience working with early stage tech startups and investors. As a partner in several projects, Marina has been involved in running marketing campaigns, events, workshops and hackathons and created a network of tech investors, looking to back up early stage tech superstars. Marina also has the #Fashhack tech community for fashion and retail brands, startups and investors looking to disrupt Fashion Industry.