Join GELF's Cross-border Ecommerce Oktoberfest! Oct 1st, 8th & 15th

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What brings the world together in good times and bad? Good spirits, great content and growing connections!

Although the GELF community will take a hiatus from GELF NYC this Fall, we look forward to returning to New York City next September for GELF NYC 2021.

In the meantime, we’re launching our first virtual GELF Oktoberfest this October! Join the GELF community for three Thursdays in October – October 1st, 8th and 15th – from 1PM to 5PM ET each day. Dive into a series of engaging keynotes, actionable panel discussions and fast-paced workshops and breakouts.

Let’s Take GELF to the Next Level!

February’s GELF LA 2020 was by far our biggest and best West Coast Forum yet. The audience increased over 50% thanks to a fast-growing number of brands selling direct-to-consumer (DTC) joining us and a record-setting number of sponsors and partners supporting the cause! We are thrilled to see the GELF community keep growing and really look forward to building on the momentum from GELF LA 2020.

Yes, we’re all in a virtual world right now, so let’s reach out and embrace the opportunity to hear from enthusiastic leaders representing leading retail and DTC brands from around the world.

Kick back, grab a refreshing beverage and enjoy their unique perspectives and experiences about how global ecommerce is leading the retail world to a new future. Learn more about emerging global opportunities and how cross-border ecommerce best practices will advance the retail industry into its next phase of growth.

Interested in being a sponsor? Please contact

In the meantime, stay connected with the GELF community by joining us at the Global E-Commerce Tech Talks podcast!

GELF Oktoberfest speakers will deliver a mix of strategic insights and tactical cross-border To Dos about their global retail expansion practices. Learn how to prioritize the key operational aspects of your global commerce plan and how to organize your team to execute them successfully.

Together we’ll explore how to:

  • Anticipate and prepare for disruptions to global supply and demand chains – and how digital commerce strategies and technologies can help your team seize opportunities and mitigate risks
  • Succeed in today’s multi-platform world by working with leading cross-border ecommerce platforms and global distribution partners like Amazon, Walmart and Alibaba
  • Balance incumbent traditional wholesale retail distribution models with emerging direct-to-consumer ecommerce opportunities
  • Differentiate “only in China” innovations from other advances that can re-energize your omnichannel retail operations in the US and other key global markets

Bring your experiences and questions. Leave with insights and answers.

Look Who's Attending GELF Oktoberfest

Below is a sample of the brands and retailers that attended GELF NYC 2019


GELF's Oktoberfest Spans Three Thursdays in October 2020 - October 1st, 8th and 15th!

Each Thursday will feature great keynotes, insightful fireside chats and engaging panel discussions followed by interactive workshops/executive meet-ups to facilitate creating new virtual connections.

Every Thursday will feature new content and different speakers as we set the stage for a successful end-of-the-year global ecommerce surge! Stay tuned as we build out the draft agenda below and add speakers in the weeks ahead for each different Thursday program.

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  • 1PM ET - Welcome and Opening Remarks
  • 1:10PM - Opening Keynote: Global Ecommerce and the Path Ahead
  • 1:40PM - Executive Leaders Keynote Panel
  • 2:30PM - Global Growth Showcase
  • 3PM ET - Cross-border Ecommerce Panel
  • 3:50 PM - DTC Leadership Showcase
  • 4:20 PM ET - Closing Keynote Fireside
  • 5PM ET - GELF's Executive Meetups
Thursday Oct 1st: 1PM ET to 1:10PM ET
October 1st Welcome to Oktoberfest! GELF's Opening Remarks

GELF welcomes our audience and sets the stage for our first virtual Global Ecommerce Leaders Forum by exploring key global ecommerce trends framing the day’s program.

Oct 1st: 1:10 to 1:40PM
Retail is Dead. Long Live Retail! Unmasking Retail’s Future as Global Ecommerce Takes Center Stage

GELF’s favorite keynoter, Tom Davis opens with a provocative  keynote exploring this year’s meteoric rise of global ecommerce and the path ahead for retail brands around the world.

Join us to discuss how ecommerce is offsetting the financial impacts on store closures around the world and the demise of traditional global retail wholesale distributors.

Learn how cross-border ecommerce and other digital innovation from international markets like China is offsetting significant challenges including the loss of international travelers shopping for fashion and luxury.

Tom will recount how digital’s move from complementary channel to primary channel is helping Cartier dramatically rethink the key role of global ecommerce and omnichannel retail as the Next New Normal dawns.

Learn why intn’l market entry hacking matters in the Age of COVID and how operational agility can help you re-balance and re-prioritize your global market  expansion planning.


Tom Davis, Global Digital Operations Director, Cartier

Oct 1st: 1:40 to 2.10PM ET
Executive Leaders Keynote Panel: How Bold Guesses and “Happy Accidents” Help Digital and Wholesale Teams Work as One Team

The pandemic’s negative impact on traditional wholesale distribution globally has been immediate – and possibly long-lasting.  Meanwhile, the ecommerce boom since March has accelerated wholesale disruption by digital-direct models – and has forced digital and wholesale teams to work as one team.

This session features leaders from two fast-growing retail brands whose experiences are rooted in traditional wholesale. Learn how digital disruption is driving brands to re-think how they prioritize global markets and the retail channel partners with whom they serve international shoppers.

Find out how bold guesses and “happy accidents” have helped integrate global marketing and operations teams as they adapt to dynamic challenges and grow their international retail sales.


  • Tracy Hermans, Director of Ecommerce, L-Space by Monica Wise
  • Debby Martin, National Sales Manager, L-Space by Monica Wise
  • Casey Gee, Sr. International Business Manager, MANSCAPED
Oct 1st: 2:10 to 2:30PM ET
Oct 1st: 2:30 to 3PM ET
Global Growth Showcase: Canada

Curious about how much consumers in Canada are planning to spend this holiday – and on what products? Wondering what fulfillment and shipping strategies will pay off during peak season?

Join our panelists to learn more about how the Canadian shopping journey is evolving as we head into the Next New Normal.

We’ll also learn more about the “New NAFTA” and how the USMCA trade pact will reduce friction and create new cross-border opportunities for retail brands selling into Canada.


  • Shelly Wilson, VP Ecommerce and Digital Marketing, SAXX
  • Jamie Briggs, Director, eCommerce Emerging Markets, Canada Post
  • Michael LeBlanc, Founder of the Voice of Retail Podcast (moderator)
  • Alex Yancher, CEO, Passport Shipping
Oct 1st: 3PM to 3:30PM ET
Cross-border Ecommerce Panel

The pandemic has upended the traditional hierarchy of consumer needs fulfilled via retail ecommerce operations.

Consumers around the world have flocked online to purchase a vast new assortment of products ranging from health essentials to home & fitness/ sporting good to crafts, games and collectibles.

What lies ahead for global markets as holiday shopping accelerates? Will discretionary product categories rebound – and if so, when? Is a universal shopping journey emerging that offers retail brands of different shapes and sizes exciting new opportunities to service an international audience of online shoppers?

Join our cross-border panelists to learn how holiday gifting, group buying, social commerce and new international consumer preferences, behaviors and awareness will put pressure on existing global ecommerce operations and their supply chains. Get ready to execute on the new opportunities that lie ahead in 2021.


  • Emma Lawson, Director of Global Ecommerce, HUDA Beauty
  • Indy Guha, VP, Enterprise Marketing, Signifyd
Oct 1st: 3:30PM to 3:50PM ET
Oct 1st: 3.50 to 4:20PM ET
DTC Leadership Showcase: Global Transformation via Collaborative Acceleration

The final hour of Oktoberfest Day One opens with three retail executives steeped in the nuances of digital transformation.  As three-to-five-year global ecommerce plans pivot quickly to frenzied three-to-five-month sprints to optimize DTC online selling opportunities for the holidays and 2021, leaders are asking “How best can our digital team execute these accelerated strategic timetables?”

Our first panel opens with a digital transformation framework stressing the importance of reassuring stakeholders and stabilizing digital operations while reconfiguring products, channel partnerships and international markets for a digital-first world of commerce.

Learn why adaptive customer communications, shared digital assets and hyper-relevant personalization efforts are helping accelerate the execution of DTC strategies at home and abroad. Our panel explores how some global manufacturers and brands are preparing for dramatic shifts in their retail partner ecosystem – and why accelerating from traditional B2B models to DTC selling may be a bigger challenge than they know.


  • Michelle Frank, Director, Global Ecommerce, HARMAN International
  • Shyna Shetty, Senior Principal Commerce, Accenture Interactive
  • Eric Tam, Partner at Fortium Partners
Oct 1st: 4:20 to 4:50PM ET
Closing Keynote Fireside: Digital Takes Center Stage: How to Scale Global Gracefully in the Age of COVID

From supply chains to organizational growing pains, this year’s ecommerce boom has tested digital’s ability to scale.

The 2020 holidays will offer retail ecommerce leaders an opportunity to prepare for a retail world where digital finally moves from a side show to the main stage.

Although it’s clear that holiday orders will arrive early and often – and from anywhere and everywhere — its less clear whether existing ecommerce services infrastructures and back-office operations are ready to handle the load.

GELF’s closing fireside discussion will focus on how global ecommerce leaders are embracing innovation to more quickly execute tomorrow’s ecommerce strategies today — and to do so cost-effectively.  Our two speakers will explore how brands are rethinking global architectures to reduce operational friction throughout the shopping experience and especially during the post-order customer experience this holiday.


  • Jerry McGlynn, CIO, Specialized (formerly)
  • Adam Coyle, CEO, Digital River
Oct 1st: 5PM to 5:30PM
GELF's Oktoberfest Virtual Happy Hour Workshops/Executive Meetups

GELF’s Executive Meetups are small virtual group discussions on Zoom about high priority topics you select.

Learn how to tackle head-on the top cross-border ecommerce pain points creating friction for today’s international sellers.

Sit back and relax at home as we network virtually Oktoberfest-style!

October 8th: 1PM ET to 1:10PM ET
October 8th Welcome Back to Oktoberfest! GELF's Opening Remarks

GELF welcomes back the audience and sets the stage for the second Thursday of the 2020 virtual Global Ecommerce Leaders Forum by exploring key global ecommerce trends framing the day’s program.

Oct 8th: 1:10 to 2PM ET
Opening Keynote Fireside Panel - China Ecommerce

Retail ecommerce leaders who have invested in growing international markets are now being rewarded for their strategic foresight.

As cross-border ecommerce has exploded during the global retail lockdown(s), retail brands have also benefitted from their digital-first market diversification strategies.

Our panel discusses how investments to grow ecommerce revenues in Asia-Pacific markets – and especially China – have helped steady the ship as they have navigated turbulent seas in other international markets.

Positioned at the headwaters of digital retail ecosystem, China offers the world another glimpse into the innovations that await the retail community as we collectively head downstream into uncharted waters.


  • Deborah Weinswig, CEO & Founder, Coresight Research
  • Gary Penn, Global VP of Digital and e-Commerce, Nixon
  • Jeff Lord, VP of Global Direct and Digital Commerce, Burton Snowboards
Oct 8th: 2PM ET to 2:20 ET
Oct 8th: 2:20 to 2:50PM ET
Cross-border Ecommerce Case Study: How Universal Standard is Growing Global Retail Sales by Liberating Cross-Border Shoppers

Cross-border e-commerce is exploding, but some e-commerce brands are missing out. Many, especially store-centric retailers, haven’t adapted quickly enough to massive shifts of shoppers online. Others are unfamiliar with the cross-border best practices and tactics that have enabled competitors to respond quickly to recent market disruptions.

Universal Standard, a revolutionary plus-sized fashion brand has gone all-in on cross-border ecommerce. The socially forward brand is providing loyal fans around the world the freedom to shop when, where and how they prefer. By doing so, Universal Standard is expanding their growth into new markets and winning on the global stage.

Join Rita Hudetz, Chief Operating Officer at Universal Standard and Flow CEO Rob Keve as they examine the different facets of the fashion brand’s cross-border growth planning and execution. Learn how online retailers everywhere can execute a winning global strategy.


  • Rita Hudetz, Chief Operating Officer at Universal Standard
  • Rob Keve, CEO of Flow
Oct 8th: 2:50PM to 3:20PM ET
Global Growth Showcase: Driving Top-Line Growth by Reducing Friction for Post-Pandemic Global Shoppers

Retail stores around the world have closed, re-opened and then closed again.  Shipping delays result as fulfillment centers react to a range of pandemic-related constraints and postal services face challenges on multiple fronts.

As online traffic soars and ecommerce booms, what are the key steps retail ecommerce leaders can take to smooth out the kinks in the cross-border ecommerce shopping and checkout process?

Learn how to get ready for the new shopping journeys that lie ahead. Explore how lessons learned from overseas can improve your domestic and international ecommerce experience as more and more global shoppers come online and adjust to the Next New Normal.


  • Janelle Spatz     Director of Operations, Ecommerce,   PVH Corp
  • Lily Varon, Senior Analyst, Forrester Research
  • Indy Guha, VP, Enterprise Marketing, Signifyd
Oct 8th: 3:20 to 3:50PM ET
Oct 8th: 3.50 to 4:20PM ET
Social Goes Global: Boosting Conversion with Discovery Commerce

The pandemic has accelerated trends throughout the digital world, perhaps none more so than product discovery. When it comes to discovery in today’s new normal, social commerce is what’s next. But where does the vision stop, and reality begin?

Join our social super session to learn how innovations in social commerce are helping global ecommerce leaders engage and serve new international audiences currently residing outside their granular targeting algorithms.

Working with Facebook, global e-commerce brands have had great success in recent years targeting well-defined consumer personas based on age, gender, interests and affinities. However, machine learning-based advertising has led to new avenues of growth by creating serendipitous moments of consumer delight and purchase.

Hear from Facebook Director of Disruptors, Jake Bailey, on the rise of discovery commerce and how businesses can adopt this approach in their global marketing strategy.


  • Jake Bailey, Director, Head of Industry – Disruptors (DTC), Facebook & Instagram


Oct 8th: 4:20 to 4.50PM ET
Closing Executive Keynote Panel

Our social session continues as we explore what awaits online retailers and DTC brands this holiday season.

Will social commerce blend with  global shopping festivals to impact the traditional peak selling periods in Q4?

Will 2020 usher forth the first holiday season to be redefined by the intersection of social and international ecommerce?


  • Doug Jensen, SVP CRM, Corporate Marketing Analytics & Innovation Insights, Estée Lauder
  • Abby Whitmer, Executive Director, E-Commerce, Digital and Social Marketing, ReVive Skincare
Oct 8th: 5PM to 5:30PM
GELF's Oktoberfest Virtual Happy Hour Workshops/Executive Meetups
October 15th: 1PM ET to 1:10PM ET
October 15th Welcome Back to Oktoberfest! GELF's Opening Remarks

GELF welcomes back the audience and sets the stage for the third Thursday of the 2020 virtual Global Ecommerce Leaders Forum by exploring key global ecommerce trends framing the day’s program.

Oct 15th: 1:10 to 1:40PM
Opening Keynote Fireside

GELF’s final Oktoberfest keynotes conclude with rapid-fireside conversations with cross-border visionaries.

In our opening fireside,  GELF welcomes Hendrik Laubscher, CEO and Founder of Blue Cape Ventures. We open with a no holds barred look back at key cross-border themes from the first two Thursdays of Oktoberfest.

We’ll also explore the accelerating rise of digital titans and whether Amazon or Alibaba will be the first to blink – when and where. We’ll look at the growth of international marketplaces and how cross-border marketplace selling opportunities differ between mature and emerging int’l markets.

Cross-border growth is hard work! Learn how to be smart about managing cross-border growth expectations – and about making the right decisions for the long game.


Hendrik Laubscher, CEO and Founder of Blue Cape Ventures

Oct 15th: 1:40 to 2.10PM ET
How “Local-First” Lessons Learned Drive Successful Global Marketing Programs

GELF’s second keynote welcomes another long-sought after speaker, Amazon’s world-traveler Fred Neil.

Consumption patterns around the world have changed this year, at times dramatically. But success still comes down to knowing your customer.  For most consumer brands, staying connected with customers, patrons and fans during the pandemic has been Job #1 – and in most cases, digital marketers have taken the lead. But engaging today’s customer can require new mindsets and different skillsets.

Join Fred Neil, Global Head of Engagement Marketing at Amazon Music as he shares insights and lessons learned from his leadership of Amazon India and Amazon Music.  Learn why US retail brands need to set aside their US playbook – and how “outside-in” discovery and innovation starts with understanding local language and culture.

Gain a deeper appreciation about why ecommerce and digital engagement are at very different stages of growth and maturity in markets around the world — and how adapting to global consumers’ preferences for safety and comfort today can help drive profitable customer acquisition, repeat purchasing and successful cross-marketing tomorrow.


Fred Neil, Global Head of Engagement Marketing at Amazon Music

More to Come!
Stay tuned for the final sessions at GELF Oktoberfest!

We're pleased to announce our speakers for GELF Oktoberfest

If you are an executive at an online retailer or brand selling direct to consumer and would like to share your cross-border and international ecommerce experiences, please email us at! Although GELF speakers are primarily retailers and brand executives, we are able to include select leaders from our sponsor partners in the program as well. If interested in sponsoring GELF Oktoberfest, please contact

Tom Davis

Global Digital Operations Director, Cartier

Deborah Weinswig

CEO & Founder, Coresight Research

Gary Penn

Global VP of Digital and e-Commerce, Nixon

Fred Neil

Global Head of Engagement Marketing, Amazon Music

Janelle Spatz

Director of Operations- Ecommerce, PVH Corp

Casey Gee

Sr. International Business Manager, MANSCAPED

Michelle Frank

Director, Global Ecommerce, HARMAN International

Doug Jensen

SVP Consumer Marketing Analytics & Innovation Insights

Abby Whitmer

Executive Director, E-Commerce, Digital and Social Marketing, ReVive Skincare

Jeff Lord

VP of Global Direct and Digital Commerce, Burton Snowboards

Adam Coyle

CEO, Digital River

Rita Hudetz

COO, Universal Standard

Harvey Bierman

VP Digital, Christy Sports

Emma Lawson

Global Director of E-Commerce, Huda Beauty

Shelly Wilson

VP Ecommerce & Digital Marketing, SAXX

Lily Varon

Senior Analyst, Forrester

Michael Worsek

Senior Distribution Manager, Harry's, Inc.

Debby Martin

National Sales Manager, LSPACE by Monica Wise

Tracey Hermans

Director Of Ecommerce, LSPACE by Monica Wise

Indy Guha

SVP, Marketing & Alliances, Signifyd

Jake Bailey

Director, Head of Industry - Disruptors (DTC), Facebook & Instagram

Shyna Shetty

Sr. Principal Commerce, Accenture Interactive

Jerry McGlynn

CIO, Specialized (formerly)

Eric Tam

Partner, Fortium Partners

Peter Jensen

E-Commerce Marketing Manager, Skechers

Michael LeBlanc

Founder & President, M.E. LeBlanc & Company Inc.

Rob Keve

CEO & Co-Founder, Flow

Hendrik Laubscher

CEO and Founder, Blue Cape Ventures

Alex Han

Head of Marketing, Passport Shipping

Jamie Briggs

Director, eCommerce Emerging Markets, Canada Post

Kent Allen

Co-Founder, GELF

Jim Okamura

Co-Founder, GELF

Scott Silverman

Co-Founder, GELF

Stay Tuned for Your Virtual Invite!

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