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 Hegde, 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
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 and the Path Ahead

Lying at the headwaters of the digital commerce ecosystem, China offers a window into the ecommerce innovations that await the retail community. Never has this vantage point been more valuable than today as the retail world collectively heads downstream into uncharted waters.

Retail ecommerce leaders who have invested to grow international sales and diversify market risk are being rewarded for their strategic foresight. Our panel discusses how investments to grow ecommerce revenues in China have helped steady the ship as they have navigated turbulent seas in other international markets.

Deborah Weinswig, CEO & Founder of Coresight Research, explores key trends in China from pre-crisis, high-crisis and post-crisis perspectives — and re-establishes a baseline perspective for how brands can learn and grow digital sales in China … and beyond.

Gary Penn and Jeff Burton join the conversation to provide insights into lessons learned from their companies’ respective journeys into China ecommerce.

Together we’ll compare and contrast how market dynamics have evolved in China since the pandemic accelerated the shift towards online shopping. Learn how these changes are impacting the path ahead for global ecommerce leaders


  • 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
  • Viraj D’Costa, Forecast 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 Fireside: What’s Next as Social Engagement Accelerates?

Our social super session continues as we explore what awaits online retailers and DTC brands as the holiday season is redefined by the intersection of social and international ecommerce.

With a nod to our opening session, we explore how China’s influence on the early trajectory of social commerce has benefited the health and beauty and fitness / wellness categories. June Pai updates the GELF audience about her brand’s journey in China – and how social marketing & commerce has been key to a successful growth strategy in China and other emerging global markets.

Doug Jensen brings an analytical eye to the social scene and provides a viewpoint from the lens of one of the world’s top beauty brands. He shares learnings gleaned from Estée’s global shopping data and shifting consumption patterns throughout the COVID-19 crisis.  Learn how Estee successfully pivoted towards/within skincare, body care, hair care products and away from makeup and fragrance as shoppers’ needs shifted dramatically in key international markets.

Join the conversation about the shifting use of influencers and how (if?) it differs in key intn’l markets. Hear how social listening has helped leaders prepare for the 2020 holiday season and get ready for what’s next in 2021 as importance of social selling accelerates.


  • Doug Jensen, SVP Consumer Marketing Analytics & Innovation Insights, Estée Lauder Companies
  • June Pai, GM, APAC, Manduka
Oct 8th: 5PM to 5:30PM
GELF's Oktoberfest Executive Meetup

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 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: Grounding the Future of Global Ecommerce in Today's Realities

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

Oct 15th: 2:10 to 2:30 PM ET
Oct 15th: 2:30 to 3PM ET
Driving Conversions and Building Customer Loyalty by Localizing the Cross-Border Experience

One of the realities of cross-border ecommerce is that conversion rates lag behind domestic rates. What turns off shoppers from buying cross-border after struggling to find a specific product or brand? One leading culprit is the uncertainty regarding the tariffs, taxes and fees that might be added to the product price. Another issue is high shipping costs and vague or non-existent return policies. Market differences, the constant change to global regulations and the effect of major global events such as the COVID-19 make it complex for merchants to effectively manage their cross-border potential. Local market insights and the ability to quickly adjust international price strategies have become key to achieving global online success. In this session, Aaron Hallerman, Co-Founder at Vincero Watches, explores the brand’s focus on global online sales and their new strategy to overcome friction before and after checkout. Join us to hear how localizing the shopping experience for each market enables merchants to increase international conversion rates and boost customer satisfaction by providing shoppers with a seamless, tailored experience. Matthew Merrilees, CEO North America at Global-e, will discuss the importance of big-data analysis as a tool to support brands’ global strategy and optimize cross-border offerings and ROI.


  • Aaron Hallerman, Co-Founder at Vincero Watches
  • Matthew Merrilees, CEO, North America, US, ‎Global-e
Oct 15th: 3PM to 3:45ET PM
DTC Leadership Showcase: Pivoting Global Growth Plans to Reflect Today’s Marketplace Realities

As digital commerce booms at home and abroad, leaders from emerging and established DTC brands are doubling down on global ecommerce investments to gain market share.

In some cases, the digital team needs to offset significant losses from other divisions; in other cases, leaders need to marshal whatever resources they can to grow their digital teams as quickly as possible.

This session features voices that range from brands relatively new to cross-border ecommerce to global brands seeking to pivot to take advantage of unprecedented digital opportunities.  Learn how some global ecommerce leaders are embracing international marketplace channels in part because they don’t have time to stand up in-country sites. Hear why others are building their own marketplaces to connect loyal global clients with valuable vendors facing significant supply chain constraints.

Whether your organization is new to ecommerce or more seasoned, join our panelists as they provide insights into how to build and grow teams remotely, to re-connect and re-engage shoppers shifting to new channels and to share other insights about how 2020’s wild ride has prepared their organizations for what’s ahead in 2021.


  • Abby Whitmer, Executive Director, E-Commerce, Digital and Social Marketing, ReVive Skincare
  • Michael Worsek, Senior Distribution Manager, Harry’s, Inc.
  • Jeanne Anderson, SVP and General Manager, Saatchi Art
  • Aaron Zagha, CMO, Newton Baby
Oct 15th: 3:45ET to 4:15 PM ET
Connecting Diversity to Better Global Ecommerce Results

GELF is excited to partner with Na’Im McKee, who is a past speaker and veteran global ecommerce executive, for a discussion on the important role of diversity in global ecommerce and technology. We’ll explore how diversity helps drive better results by aligning leadership with your customer base, which is especially important in global ecommerce and the need for localized customer experiences. Na’Im recently  moved into a leadership role in a next generation technology recruiting company and will share his recommendations for establishing a better balance of Black leaders in technology and ecommerce organizations and the role of diversity in global ecommerce and localization.


  • Na’Im McKee, VP, Marketing, Above Board

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

Jeanne Anderson

SVP and General Manager, Saatchi Art

Casey Gee

Sr. International Business Manager, MANSCAPED

Aaron Zagha

CMO, Newton Baby

Michelle Frank

Director, Global Ecommerce, HARMAN International

Doug Jensen

SVP Consumer Marketing Analytics & Innovation Insights, Estée Lauder Companies

Abby Whitmer

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

Jeff Lord

VP of Global Direct and Digital Commerce, Burton Snowboards

Paul Goodman

CFO & Co-Founder, Pura Vida

Griffin Thall

CEO & Co-Founder, Pura Vida

June Pai

GM, APAC, Manduka

Adam Coyle

CEO, Digital River

Rita Hudetz

COO, Universal Standard

Viraj D’Costa

E-Commerce Forecast Analyst, Forrester Research

Harvey Bierman

VP Digital, Christy Sports

Emma Lawson

Global Director of E-Commerce, Huda Beauty

Aaron Hallerman

Co-Founder, Vincero Watches

Shelly Wilson

VP Ecommerce & Digital Marketing, SAXX

Na'Im McKee

VP, Marketing, Above Board

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

Viraj D'Costa

E-Comm Forecast Analyst, Forrester Research

Indy Guha

SVP, Marketing & Alliances, Signifyd

Jake Bailey

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

Shyna Hegde

Sr. Principal Commerce, Accenture Interactive

Jerry McGlynn

CIO, Specialized (formerly)

Eric Tam

Partner, Fortium Partners

Matthew Merrilees

CEO, North America, US, ‎Global-e

Michael LeBlanc

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

Rob Keve

CEO & Co-Founder, Flow

Hendrik Laubscher

CEO and Founder, Blue Cape Ventures

Alex Yancher

CEO, 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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