Keynote Speakers
Kate Sweetman – kicks off the 2017 RECon Conference
Kate is the co-Author of Reinvention and is an experienced leadership consultant, educator, author, editor and speaker. Through contemporary and relevant examples, Kate will give the audience the formula, principles and tools to make quantum change happen fast, proactively both individually and corporately.  In the Age of Disruption, Kate’s message will give insights into how to stay ahead of the pack.  The ‘How To Guide’ for navigating 21st Century retail turbulence. You will want to buy her book after listening to her on stage!
Ali Al Saloom is an author, cultural consultant, professional speaker, TV show host. He is one of the fastest rising media stars and public speakers in the Gulf. He has delivered his intercultural awareness talks to hundreds of business groups. His TV show, Ask Ali, reaches thousands, as does his column on the National.ae newspaper every Friday. Ali was chosen as the “Best Male Personality” in 2010 by Ahlan Magazine for his work as a cultural & tourism ambassador in and was nominated twice in the HOT100 of personalities in the UAE in 2010 & 2011. Also was recognized by Time Out Dubai as one of their 40 Local Heroes in 2008.
Herculano Rodrigues, Associate Director, Javelin Group – Accenture Strategy, London

The Future of Retail – How to Create a Customer Centric ‘Living Business’.
Shoppers have now taken control of the purchasing journey. The most successful retailers now have taken control with a compelling end to end customer experience. Find out practical examples for utilizing technological advancements to create the next phase of retail customization called “Living Services”
Darren Katz, Managing Director of Excellerate Brand Management is a veteran in taking the retail experience into the future.  Understanding shoppers and what motivates them is more critical than ever before for retail success.  Creating customer loyalty means tailoring the experience like never before.  Through changing the perception of retail space for property owners and bringing retail alive by understanding the behaviors, needs and attitudes of today’s consumers we all win. Come and listen to the guru in the South Africa retail world.
Gilbert Rochecouste, Managing Director, Village Well

Gilbert Rochecouste is one of the world’s leading Placemakers and founder of Village Well. He has worked with over 1000 cities, shopping centers and places around the world over the last 25 years and helped create some of the most successful and high performing mixed use and destinations in Australia and around the world. He has played a key role in helping Melbourne become the world’s most livable city and was General Manager of Chadstone Shopping Center, the most successful in the southern hemisphere.
Mario C. Bauer is member of the Executive Board of Vapiano SE responsible for International Growth & Partnerships within the group as well as member of the Advisory Board for International Franchising.
He and his team are responsible for almost 200 restaurants in over 30 countries around the globe. “All we do, we do with love to refresh your life” is the vision of Vapiano and his personal daily mission in dealing with Vapianisti (colleagues), partners and guests. Vapiano is a fresh casual, front cooking Pasta – Pizza – Bar lifestyle concept within a Mediterranean ambience.
Ian Ohan, CEO Founder, Freedom Pizza

A later in life entrepreneur, husband and father of three, Ian has lived, worked and created in the Gulf Region for the past 18 years. 
Most recently Ian is the CEO and Founder of Freedom Pizza, a UAE based, all natural carry out and delivery pizza chain with over 250 employees, an airline packaged product division (developed initially for Emirates Airlines and soon for VOX Cinemas) and six locations in the United Arab Emirates.  Freedom Pizza is part of KRSH Investments, a food and beverage investment platform (also owned by Ohan) that is in the process of developing additional homegrown food concepts in the healthier fast and fast casual food sector. In its quest to satiate its need for high-quality, all natural ingredients, KRSH has also become a regional distributor for high-quality/value food products and has developed its own, bespoke leading edge e-commerce platform for the fast casual and delivery sector, partnering with companies like Visa to be the first merchant in the Middle East to offer Visa Checkout.
Ravi Raman is currently the Senior Vice President for Khaleej Times, one of U.A.E.’s oldest and largest news media brands. In his current post, he oversees the entire operations of the organization as a whole, while exploring opportunities for brand and business expansion. Prior to joining Khaleej Times, he was the Vice President and Associate Publisher of Bloomberg Businessweek’s Middle East edition that is published out of the United Arab Emirates. 
He has been with the media, publishing & communications industry for over two decades; having worked with brands like The Telegraph, India Today Group, T: The New York Times Style Magazine & msn.co.in (Microsoft Network).