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Licensing Conferences: B&LIS Unveils Speaker Lineup for New York Event

The Brand & Licensing Innovation Summit is living up to its name with a slate of speakers on everything from metaverse licensing and NFTs to sustainability and experiential entertainment.

Brand & Licensing Innovation Summit (B&LIS) North America is a two-day thought leadership conference dedicated to transforming the future of brand licensing. The summit announced its first  wave of speakers confirmed for the Nov. 8-9 event at Convene New York in New York City.

B&LIS North America, in partnership with Licensing International, is strategically designed to be a one-stop shop for in-depth education and trend analysis within brand licensing.

The summit also now open for registration in what will be a live, in-person event, where US-based industry leaders and decision makers will come to learn and connect over the hottest topics for licensing consumer products across all categories.

Beanstalk, Brand Central, Hot Topic, Virtual Brand Group, and WHP Global are among the first wave of companies confirmed to take the stage.

“This year’s B&LIS North America speaker lineup covers all the latest topics and trends impacting the business of licensing,” said Anna Knight, SVP of the Global Licensing Group, organizers of B&LIS. “As consumers emerge from the pandemic, the desire for peer connection is driving this transformative era forward.”

The speaker list spans a gamut of hot topics for the licensing industry. One session dives into the critical issue of retail strategies as the pandemic draws to a close, and consumers switch back to in-store purchases.

Justin Hochberg, whose company Virtual Brands Group recently one a Licensing Excellence award at Licensing Expo, will address the important but difficult topic of how to license in the metaverse, while another panel will dive into the associated topic of how to work with NFT licensing.

Andrea Green from Products of Change will lead the discussion on sustainability in licensing, while Cory Moss, the CEO of Collegiate Licensing Co. (CLC) will deliver an address on the importance of inclusion and diversity in licensing.

The full slate of speakers confirmed to date includes:

Session: Changing Retail Landscape: Retailers’ Evolving Post-Pandemic Strategies

Speakers: Maura Regan, President, Licensing International; Robin Motts, Vice President/GMM, Hot Topic Inc.; Jamie Uitdenhowen, EVP/GM of Toys “R” Us, WHP Global

Session: Metaverse in Action: Converting Buzz to Consumer Purchase

Speaker: Justin W. Hochberg, CEO & Founder, Virtual Brand Group


Session: From NFT to Dollars: How NFTs can Actually Make Sense

Speakers: Ross Misher, CEO, Brand Central; Alex Locke, Founder and Managing Member, Bored of Directors, and IP/Technology Associate, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP


Session: Sustainability Session

Speaker: Andrea Green, Advisory and U.S. Ambassador, Products of Change


Session: Economic Overview: What Challenges are Forecast for 2023?

Speaker: Simeon Siegel, CFA, Managing Director, BMO Capital Markets


Session: Sustainability Panel

Speaker: Linda Morgenstern, Vice President, Brand Management, Beanstalk


Session: Think Tank: Can the Licensing Process be Rebuilt?

Speakers: Michelle McLaughlin, CEO, Brand Activation Consulting; Sam Hafif, CEO, Concept One Accessories; Maya Assis, VP of Licensing, KOMAR; Winnie Jaing, Senior Director, Licensing Strategy & Partnerships, Hot Topic Inc.


Session: Marketing 2.0: How to Reach Gen Z and Alpha

Speakers: Philippe Guinaudeau, CEO, BrandTrends; Todd Kaufman, VP, Strategy & Partnerships, Beanstalk


Session: Diversity & Inclusion: Walking the Talk

Speaker: Cory Moss, CEO, CLC


Session: Trends: The Changing Consumer and Product Trends Set to Dominate in the Year Ahead

Speaker: Erin Rechner, Head of Kidswear, WGSN

Knight says the panels and the ability to meet in person are critical right now, as the industry emerges from the pandemic, but faces serious new challenges due to the War in Ukraine, inflation, and a range of other economic issues.

“Given the uncertain times ahead, it is now more important than ever to come together to navigate these challenges, to learn from one another, and understand the opportunities available to drive success for the entire industry,” Knight said. “This year’s conference lineup will facilitate thought-provoking conversation and help those in attendance adapt to the fast pace of change to continue to serve consumers with the brands they love in new, innovative ways. ”


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