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Agenda & Speakers

Loyalty360 Awards Finalist Presentations: Technology and Trends

Wednesday, October 27, 2021 - 11:15 AM - 12:15 PM
The finalists competing in the 2021 Loyalty360 Awards will share details of their programs and strategies in fast-paced, 10-12 minute presentations. These presentations give attendees a chance to hear first-hand from the brands that are delivering experiences that set them apart from the competition in creating loyal customers. 

As a part of the award process, all registered conference attendees are eligible to vote for platinum, gold, silver, bronze and honorable mention (if applicable) for each category. Winners will be announced during the Loyalty360 Awards dinner on October 27 (Loyalty360 Award finalist and Loyalty360 member-only). 

Category Description - Technology and Trends
Successful customer loyalty and engagement strategies rely on technology to better understand, connect with, and serve customers. This category recognizes brands that have leveraged new technologies and techniques (ex: machine learning, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, internet of things, identification management) to develop a fresh approach to their loyalty strategy. The winner will have developed a project that previously would have been either significantly more difficult or impossible without the presence of this new technology or platform.


Yaqub Baiani, Head of Consumer Digital Product & Design, 7-Eleven

Yaqub Baiani is the Head of Consumer Digital Product & Design at 7-Eleven, Inc. Yaqub leads the digital ecosystem for all customer facing products including 7Rewards, Digital Wallet, Mobile Checkout, Fuel Loyalty and more. In his role, he is responsible for building and launching new digital experiences, features and capabilities for both customers as well as franchisees. Those experiences help to grow the overall member base, scan rate, merchandise sales, basket size, repeat customers and customer satisfaction.

Prior to joining 7-Eleven, Yaqub was Sr. Manager of Digital Product Management at Capital One where he led Machine Learning and the At-Home experience for the flagship product, Auto Navigator. Yaqub has an extensive background creating meaningful product experiences by leveraging human-centered design, customer back problem solving, journey mapping, blueprinting and digital innovation. Yaqub is enthusiastic in creating a truly best-in-class Delivery & Pick Up experience in 7NOW that will WOW our customers.

Yaqub is an avid traveler and his favorite place to visit is Japan. Yaqub holds an MBA in Business Management and Operations Management from St. Edwards University in Austin, TX and a BA in Business and Chemistry from Austin College in Sherman, TX.

Meredith Dack, Senior Marketing Manager, Ally Financial

Meredith Dack is a Senior Marketing Manager on the Advertising Team at Ally, responsible for marketing strategy and integrated campaigns promoting Ally’s products and tools, as well as disruptive marketing initiatives across TV, digital, social and the latest tech. Meredith is a North Carolina native, starting her career on the agency side in Greensboro before moving to Charlotte, where she lives with her husband and daughter.

Christy Johnson, Vice President of Branding, Certified Angus Beef

Connecting with consumers is the name of the game for Christy Johnson, the Certified Angus Beef ® brand’s vice president of branding. In her role, she enjoys strategizing with design, media and advertising professionals to create pieces that resonate with the shopping audience, and developing the brand’s consumer loyalty program, Steakholder Rewards. A big part of her success comes from her love for research and passion for not just marketing, but marketing intelligently.
A cowgirl at heart, Christy originally joined the brand’s supply development team in 1997 after interning at cattle ranches and graduating from The Ohio State University with a degree in animal science. Her skills in coordinating events and training programs led her to a broader role with the marketing team, where she directed development of rancher profiles and video resources, and training programs for retailers, foodservice sales teams and restaurant waitstaff.
She resides in Dalton with her husband, Allen, and their four teenagers. After work hours, Christy’s usually found raising livestock and cheering on the kids at 4-H shows and sporting events.

Jolly John, Head of Consumer Digital Business, 7-Eleven

Jolly John is the Head of Consumer Digital Business at 7-Eleven, which includes 7-Rewards, Digital Wallet, Mobile Checkout, Fuel Loyalty and the supporting functions of analytics and program management. Additionally, Jolly also leads the integration of Digital products and Speedway Digital with the recent acquisition, bringing the best of both digital products to Speedway and 7-Eleven customers. Prior to 7-Eleven, Jolly held several positions in FedEx from Chief of Staff, Product Manager, to leading large initiatives in Corporate Strategy.
Jolly holds an MBA from University of Michigan and a B.S. in Information Sciences and Statistics from University of Maryland.

Mary Riemer, Director of Customer Experience, Metrolink

Mary Riemer is the Director of Customer Experience for Metrolink, Southern California’s regional passenger rail service spanning 538 miles of rail across six counties that are home to nearly 20 million residents. Mary has a passion for the connection between mobility and innovation. With over 15 years of experience in the transportation industry, her expertise lies in understanding customer friction points, and using design and technology to solve them. She brings this focus to strategy, product design and implementation – including the application of real world problems like getting Metrolink back to its’ record breaking 12 million annual boardings prior to COVID. Launching a loyalty and rewards program is a central piece of that strategy, and of the future of Metrolink, as we prepare to move the region and the world for the 2028 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Nishanth Mandaara, Group Product Manager, 7-Eleven

Nishanth leads product teams in building awesome consumer-facing digital experiences in Rewards, Checkout and Financial Services. He led the rollout of Mobile Checkout from an idea/concept to scaling the service to over 3,500 stores. With the launch of Mobile Checkout, 7-Eleven became the first ever c-store chain to build and launch this frictionless checkout technology. Nishanth has proven track record of building and launching innovative customer-facing products. He is passionate about gaining deep understanding of customer needs and leading teams to deliver products and experiences that address them. Nishanth has a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from JNTU India and MBA from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Jimmy Budnik, Vice President of CRM, Overstock

As Overstock’s Vice President of Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Jimmy Budnik leads a cross-functional team including customer analytics, IT development, and customer activation strategy. The CRM organization is dedicated to creating a shopping experiences designed to the preferences of each customer as well as grow the company’s loyalty program, Club O. His team strives to foster an enduring relationship with customers while promoting Overstock’s reputation as an award-winning and customer-centric online retailer.
Budnik began his career with the online retailer in 2008. Budnik started as a Senior Process Improvement Engineer after half a decade working as an Industrial Engineer, first with UPS and then with Homeshield. Budnik has held several positions in his time at Overstock. These roles included transitioning between multiple departments as a Chief of Staff, including Customer Care, Marketing, Merchandising, and the Office of the President. Budnik has also served as Vice President of Customer Care for three years. Since joining Overstock, Budnik has helped develop strategies and execute initiatives to drive growth and improve the customer experience in various leadership positions.

Sabrina Davis, Senior Manager - Marketing and Digital Programs, Metrolink

Sabrina Davis is the Senior Manager, Marketing and Digital Programs at Metrolink based in Los Angeles. Her work is focused on developing and implementing all aspects of marketing initiatives. Her areas of expertise at Metrolink include marketing campaign planning and execution, loyalty program marketing management, email marketing strategy and much more. She has more than 20 years of marketing experience within major markets in both Canada and the USA in the restaurant and transportation industries. Sabrina’s passions include leadership, effective interpersonal communications and a great customer experience. Sabrina is looking forward to the challenge ahead for Metrolink; to restore ridership following a decline of more than 80 percent since the onset of the pandemic.

Stephen Kinch, Director of Digital Technology, 7-Eleven

As Director of Digital Technology, Stephen leads technology strategy and execution for the 7-Eleven app and 7Rewards Loyalty Program. With 20 years of experience at 7-Eleven, including 9 years on the consumer digital products, Stephen thrives off of the constantly changing needs of the convenience customer and the tech that "makes it happen."

Agenda Overview

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