⚡️ AI techniques you can use today. Don't miss our in-person workshop with GAI Insights, The AI Advantage in Sales, 8:30 on June 4 at the Marriott Chicago O'Hare. Learn more »

⚡️ AI techniques you can use today. Learn more about our sales AI workshop on June 4!


Keynote Speaker – Zack Kass

Zack is the former Head of Go-to-Market for OpenAI, makers of ChatGPT. At the conference, to be held in Chicago on June 4th–6th, Zack will present, “The Innovator’s Dilemma: Navigating Our AI Future.”

Zack navigates the challenges and opportunities that lie at the forefront of AI innovation. He dissects the paradoxical landscape where technology moves at an astounding pace, yet practical, scalable solutions remain elusive.

In this keynote, Zack highlights how innovators can transform these challenges into stepping stones to success in an AI-driven era.Drawing on his vast experience in AI strategy and implementation, Zack offers a pragmatic approach to future-proofing your business.

He provides a forward-thinking perspective, sharing lessons learned, strategies adopted, and the transformative power of resilience in the face of relentless technological progression.

Key takeaways

  • Lessons from the frontlines of AI strategy and implementation
  • Actionable approaches to future-proofing your business in an AI-driven world
  • Insights into how innovators can turn these challenges into opportunities

For over a decade, Zack Kass has stood at the crossroads where artificial intelligence meets the pragmatic world of business. With 14 years navigating this evolving landscape, Zack has had a front-row seat to the nuances and transformative possibilities AI brings.

Tony Aug

Tony Aug is co-founder and CEO of Nimble Gravity, a data science and digital consultancy.  He was previously the Vice President of R&D and CTO of Digital for Arrow Electronics.

An industry veteran, Tony has also held a number of engineering, supply chain and IT leadership roles at Sanmina, a leading electronic manufacturing services company and currently serves on the board of EETech.  In 2009, Tony co-founded TimZon (now SnapEngage), a live chat software company and a graduate of the TechStars startup accelerator program.  Tony graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in electrical engineering.

At the conference, to be held in Chicago on June 4th – 6th, Tony will join a panel of distribution executives describing the talent, process and training distributors must put in place in order to build state-of-the-art AI capabilities.  

Founded in 2019, Nimble Gravity is an international consultancy firm that specializes in AI, Data Science,  Digital Transformation, and Strategy.  Nimble Gravity believes in the power of data and data-driven approaches to drive growth, transform businesses, and create winning solutions for a diverse clientele. 

Paul Baier

Paul Baier is the CEO and principal analyst at GAI Insights. At the conference, to be held in Chicago on June 4th–6th, Paul will deliver the keynote, “Using Generative AI in Your Company.” 

Paul is a seasoned software entrepreneur with two decades of experience, most notably as VP of Product at First Fuel, an enterprise AI SaaS company. He earned an MBA from Harvard and a BA from Kenyon College. Mr. Baier co-authored two Harvard Business Review articles about GenAI: “Where Should Companies Start with GenAI?” and “Your Organization Isn’t Designed to Work with GenAI.”

GAI Insights is an analyst firm helping AI Leaders and their teams achieve business results with GenAl. The company’s reputation is founded on key industry firsts: establishing the largest ChatGPT Meetup group in the US, curating 15 videos of high-impact ChatGPT use cases, and conducting ChatGPT workshops and webinars for Harvard Business School, UBS, Council of Foreign Relations, Boston University Questrom School of Business and dozens of companies and investors. GAI’s newsletter is now a trusted resource for enterprise GenAI information.

Jonathan Bein, Ph.D.

Jonathan Bein, Ph.D., is the co-founder and Managing Partner of Distribution Strategy Group. At the conference, to be held in Chicago on June 4th–6th, Jonathan will deliver the keynote, “AI Driven Revenue Growth.” 

He’ll explore how AI can bring new levels of effectiveness and efficiency to areas like:

  • Salesforce management
  • Customer relationship management
  • Cross selling and upselling
  • Marketing automation and campaign management
  • Digital marketing
  • eCommerce capabilities 

Jonathan Bein Ph.D. has worked with over 100 distributors to apply advanced analytics and AI to improve customer experience, define value proposition, estimate sales potential and create digital strategy.

Before Distribution Strategy Group, Bein has successfully led and been part of executive management for software product and services companies in information technology, healthcare and communications. Bein has been CEO of several companies. He earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science at the University of Colorado with a focus in Artificial Intelligence and his BA in Computer Science at Indiana University.

Mark Brohan

Mark Brohan is senior vice president, B2B and market research at Digital Commerce 360, covering B2B ecommerce trends. At the conference, to be held in Chicago on June 4th–6th, Mark will deliver the keynote, “Where AI is Heading in B2B Digital Commerce and Transformation, and What You Need to Know Now.” 

Prior to his current role, Mark was vice president of research for DigitalCommerce 360 and editor of Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide, Top500Guide.com and related research publications. Mark’s previous experience includes leading new print and web product business development for Faulkner & Gray as web publisher and editorial director for DM Review magazine and its two websites: DMReview.com and dataWarehouse.com. He was also the founding editor of various Faulkner & Gray technology magazines, including Internet Retailer.

Mark earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education and history from Western Michigan University and a master’s in journalism and public affairs from the American University.

Digital Commerce 360 takes a full-circle approach to ecommerce journalism and research, with products and events that cover both the retail and B2B industries. The company is immensely proud of its longstanding reputation as a trusted source of ecommerce intelligence, and remains dedicated to helping ALL businesses navigate the latest technologies, trends and strategies to succeed online.

Emanuela Delgado

Emanuela Delgado is Group Vice President of The Revolution (aka GVP of Growth and Innovation) of Parts Town Unlimited, responsible for bringing game-changing innovation and technology to the foodservice industry and beyond through its Red Lightning Division, a team designed specifically to accelerate the pace of innovation. Most recently, the team launched the parts identification tool, PartPredictor and last mile delivery solution, Same Day Delivery.

She has been with Parts Town since 2005 holding various roles running E-commerce, marketing and other specific business units. For over 19 years, Emanuela has been instrumental in Parts Town’s innovation and expansion.

Mike Emerson

Mike Emerson is Managing Partner of Indian River Consulting Group.  Mike has been with the firm since 1998 and has specialized in supporting the firm’s distributor clients on go-to-market strategy initiatives. He has broad expertise in wholesale distribution strategy with an unhealthy passion for sales compensation design, of which has authored two books on the subject for the National Association of Wholesaler-distributors.  He serves as an outside advisory board member and frequently consults with boards of directors on strategy.

Brooks Hamilton

Brooks Hamilton is the founder of Hamilton AI Strategy Advisors. At the conference, to be held in Chicago on June 4th–6th, Brookswill deliver the keynote, “Driving Profit Growth with AI,” focusing on how to use new technologies to improve margins, enhance purchasing effectiveness and working capital performance and more. 

With a deep understanding of both AI technology and business operations, Brooks and his team enable organizations to successfully navigate the rapidly evolving AI landscape.

A seasoned veteran in the tech industry, Brooks spent 17 years at Zilliant, where he held pivotal roles in Professional Services and Product Management, including Vice President of the Professional Services team. His tenure was marked by ground-breaking work in AI-driven price optimization and sales effectiveness in B2B companies. Brooks also spearheaded Product Management at several Austin-based startups.

Passionate about the transformative impact of AI, Brooks is a sought-after speaker and thought leader in the B2B business community. He is deeply committed to leveraging AI for positive outcomes in business, society, and scientific discovery.

Hamilton AI Strategy Advisors is an Austin-based consultancy specializing in crafting AI strategies for Fortune Global 1000 companies, family-owned businesses, and high-growth startups.

Sandy Mattinson

Sandy Mattinson is President of Zoro, an ecommerce platform helping businesses thrive by offering an endless assortment of every product for every business need. Launched in 2011, the company has grown rapidly to over 600 team members and over $1 billion in annual revenues. 

Sandy joined Zoro in 2019 as its first female vice president and has taken on roles of increasing responsibility across the company, including serving as the Chief Merchandising Officer. In that role, she provided strategic and operational leadership across Zoro’s business development, category management, product information, pricing, and digital merchandising teams. She has been instrumental to Zoro’s success, expanding its assortment to over 13 million products.

In 2023, she took on the role of President and continues to position the company to be a leading innovator within the wholesale distribution industry. Under her leadership, the Zoro team continues to embrace the values that have contributed to their success, while building new capabilities for Zoro’s future. 

Before joining Zoro, Sandy held leadership roles in strategy, merchandising and marketing with Bain & Company and leading consumer and retail businesses including The Clorox Company, Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works. Sandy holds a bachelor’s in business administration from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MBA from Stanford University Graduate School of Business. She was selected as an International Women’s Forum Leadership Fellow in 2021.

Alex Moazed

Alex Moazed is the Founder & CEO of Applico and co-author of the best-selling book, Modern Monopolies, which defines the platform business model dominating the 21st century economy. In his role as CEO at Applico, Mr. Moazed is the trusted adviser to CEOs of multi-billion dollar enterprises. At Applico Capital, Alex is the Founding Partner and on the investment committee of the first venture capital fund dedicated to B2B distribution.

Alex has been featured in media ranging from the WSJ, Financial Times to CNBC, Bloomberg and Fox Business. Alex is a graduate of Babson College, Choate Rosemary Hall and Greenwich Country Day School.

Ryan Merkel

Ryan Merkel, CFA, is a Senior Research Analyst at William Blair responsible for Specialty Distribution and Building Products and Technologies coverage. At the conference, to be held in Chicago on June 4th – 6th, Brian will serve on the panel, “AI in Distribution: What Boards and Owners Expect.”

Ryan joined William Blair in 2005. Previously, Ryan worked as a consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers in its valuation services group. Ryan was named No. 3 earnings estimator in the 2015 StarMine Analyst Awards for his coverage of trading companies and distributors. Ryan received a B.B.A. degree in finance from Indiana University and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago. Among the companies in Ryan’s coverage list are: SiteOne Landscape Supply, Inc., POOL; MSC Industrial Direct Co, Inc.; W.W. Grainger, Inc.; Global Industrial Company; Ferguson plc; Fastenal Company; Beacon Roofing Supply, Inc.; Watsco, Inc.

William Blair is a premier global boutique with expertise in investment banking, investment management, and private wealth management. The company provides advisory services, strategies, and solutions to meet clients’ evolving needs. As an independent and employee-owned firm, William Blair, with its strategic partners, operates in more than 20 offices worldwide.

Theresa Payton

One of the nation’s most prominent cybersecurity authorities, Theresa Payton shows audiences how to be future-ready and secure—especially as advancements in artificial intelligence are reshaping cybercrime as we know it.

Distribution Strategy Group welcomes Theresa as a keynote speaker on cybersecurity at the upcoming conference, “Applied AI for Distributors,” June 4-6 in Chicago. 

An inventor and visionary in the digital world, a U.S. patent holder, and the first female White House CIO, a two-time company founder and CEO, Theresa Payton, was named one of the “Top 50 Women in Tech” byAward Magazinein 2021. She captivates audiences by drawing on her unmatched knowledge and expertise to help business, association and government audiences safely navigate a rapidly changing digital future.

In presentations that masterfully blend stories from the trenches with cutting-edge insights (and all the flare she was known for as co-star on the CBS hit series Hunted), Theresa helps audiences understand the current impact and future applications of AI, Quantum Computing, Blockchain, Web 3.0 / the Metaverse, the Internet of Things and Big Data for their business. A trusted advisor to companies and governments, Theresa helps organizations of every size balance the risks and the enormous promise of emerging technologies for business transformation and growth.

Before serving as White House CIO, Payton was a technology leader in the banking and finance sector. She went on to co-found Dark3, a company later acquired by Celerium. Today she is the founder and CEO at Fortalice Solutions, a world-class consulting firm recently named to the lists of “The Global Hot 150 Cybersecurity Companies,” by Cybersecurity Ventures, and “The Top 5 Most Innovative Cybersecurity Companies” in the Washington, D.C. area. Her work in the field of fighting crime earned her the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award. Theresa is a member of the Cyber Defenders Council, a group of 50 preeminent leaders from the public and private sectors who promote cross-sector collaboration and proactive cyber deterrence, and she sits on several advisory boards for innovative global technology firms.

In 2020,Business Insidernamed her one of their “Top 50 Cybersecurity Leaders” andSecurity Magazinenamed her one of the “Top 25 Most Influential People in Security.” Past awards have included “One of the 100 Most Influential People in Cyber Security,” “Woman Cybersecurity Leader of the Year,” and “Cybersecurity Crusader of the Year.”

Mike Powers

ARG Industrial is a 100% employee-owned, industrial manufacturer and distributor to the oil & gas, mining, fishing, timber, agriculture, marine, OEM and construction industries. In his capacity as Chief Digital and Technology Officer at the company, Mike is responsible for overseeing ARG Industrial’s B2B Digital strategy, which includes developing and launching the company’s first E-Commerce platform, including product information system (PIM), content management system (CMS), mobile app, and digital hose assembly configurator.

Arjun Srinivasan

Arjun Srinivasan is a Director and Head of Data Science (AI/ML/GenAI) at Wesco International, a B2B distribution and supply chain company. He leads a cross-functional and global team of data engineers, data scientists, and business analysts, and oversees the Data Science and AI/ML practice and strategy for Wesco’s Enterprise Applications. He has extensive experience in algorithm development and commercialization of ML/AI and running simulations on High Performance Computing (HPC). His functional expertise spans business development, program management, product management, strategic planning, and digital transformation. Prior to Wesco, Arjun worked at ExxonMobil, Amazon and AWS across energy, retail and tech sectors. 

Outside of work, Arjun actively participates in external speaking engagements and sharing his knowledge to the Data and AI community through thought leadership and other industry engagements. Arjun volunteers his time in mentoring high school and college students and prepares them for the workforce with technology and leadership skills. Arjun believes in authentic leadership and empowering his team to achieve their maximum potential. He holds a Masters in EE from New Mexico State University and an MBA from Cornell University. 

Stu Tisdale

Stu Tisdale is SVP and Chief Experience Officer at ADI, and responsible for setting the overall strategic direction for the company. He is focused on enhancing ADI’s commercial capabilities to accelerate growth and leads the strategic marketing, sales operations and enablement, pricing, and analytics functions.   

In this role, Stu works closely with senior leaders to identify, develop, and execute initiatives that drive improved business performance and support ADI’s growth strategy. He plays a significant role in cultivating M&A opportunities to accelerate ADI’s growth, which has resulted in five tuck-in acquisitions since 2020. Additionally, Stu has been instrumental in leading many of ADI’s digital transformation initiatives including pricing optimization, touchless ordering, analytics, AI/ML sales tools and more. Under his leadership, ADI implemented a leading cloud-based pricing technology globally across 10 countries that has contributed to a +100 bps YOY margin improvement for the business. 

Stu is an accomplished business leader with deep expertise in B2B marketing, strategy and commercial excellence. Before this role, he served as VP of marketing for ADI North America and previously held a variety of roles across the company’s product management function. Prior to joining ADI, Stu served in product management and marketing roles at Henry Schein, Inc., a leading global healthcare distributor. 

Stu is an active member of the National Association of Wholesale-Distributors, and is often called upon to participate in panel discussions and speaking engagements on digital transformation.

Stu holds an MBA with dual concentration in Marketing and Finance from Fordham University Graduate School of Business, along with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics with honors from Fordham University. 

Brian Walker

 Brian leads the prioritization of Grainger’s technology investments including Grainger’s digital platforms, mobile solutions and the industry leading Grainger.com. At the conference, to be held in Chicago on June 4th – 6th, Brian will describe Grainger’s journey to adopting AI.

Brian has held many roles of increasing responsibility at Grainger. Most recently, Brian served in technology innovation capacities including Vice President, Digital Architecture and Operations and President of Gamut.com.  Prior to that, while headquartered in London, England, he served as Vice President of Strategy and Marketing for Grainger’s Online Business with operations in Canada, Germany, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States.  Brian has also led teams responsible for corporate strategy, merchandising and pricing for the Grainger U.S. Business. He joined Grainger in September 2006 as Purchasing Manager. 

Prior to joining Grainger, Brian led teams in warehousing, logistics, supply chain and sales operations at McMaster-Carr Supply Company. 

Brian holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Wesleyan University, a master’s degree in Applied Statistics from DePaul University, and an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. Brian serves on the Board of Trustees of the Illinois Institute of Technology, the Board Chair Executive Council and is on the Board of Advisors for IIT’s Institute of Design. He has served as a founding board member for Wesleyan’s Quantitative Analysis Center and is a current member of Wesleyan’s President’s Council. Brian also is a Lecturer at Carnegie Mellon University for their CIO and CDigitalO programs. 

W.W. Grainger, Inc., is a $16.5 billion leading broad line distributor with operations primarily in North America, Japan and the United Kingdom.