Introducing our 2019 Conference Speakers!

Our aim throughout the 2019 Customer Engagement and Loyalty Conference, is to take you through a journey and to highlight the highs, lows, and all that comes in-between for Customer Engagment / Customer Loyalty and what makes a 'good' Loyalty Program.

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John Merakovsky - CEO at FlyBuys

John is currently the CEO of Loyalty Pacific Pty Ltd (flybuys). Previously, John was the CEO and Managing Director of ASX-listed Integrated Research Limited, a global leader in performance management and monitoring software. Prior to this, as General Manager of SEEK Learning, he was responsible for transforming the business model and underlying platform through the period of government VET reform. In April 2008, John joined Experian to start its highly successful email marketing business in Asia Pacific and over a six-year period, held various roles across Australia and Asia. After returning from Asia in 2014 John was appointed Managing Director of Experian Australia and New Zealand, which included management of its newly launched credit bureau.

John holds a PhD from the University of Melbourne and is passionate about operating in a values driven culture, driving high performance and recognising talent and achievement.

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Elisse Jones - National Loyalty Manager at Total Tools

Elisse is the National Loyalty Manager at Total Tools, Australia’s largest professional tool retailer. An Australian-owned and operated franchise network, Total Tools continues to grow and expand its offer nationwide.

A passionate data-driven marketer, Elisse transformed the loyalty program at Total Tools with a customer-centric approach; leveraging insights and automation to create personalised journeys and enhance customer value and engagement. Prior to this role, Elisse has held positions with some of Australia’s leading brands including Cricket Australia, MYER and the Country Road Group

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Billy Loizou - Vice President, Go-To-Market APAC

Billy is Vice President Go-To-Market, APAC for Cheetah Digital, the largest independent enterprise marketing technology company and a leader in The Forrester Wave™: Loyalty Technology Platforms Q2 2019. Billy’s experience spans more than a decade working in SaaS, creative agencies, systems integration and digital marketing. Over this time he has worked with some of the world’s most renowned and respected brands, helping marketers create lasting customer trust and drive revenue outcomes for their brands. His expertise across design, technology and marketing enables him to focus on human centred, design-led innovation.


Jeremy Rabe - CEO of Aimia

Jeremy Rabe joined Aimia as Chief Executive Officer in May 2018, responsible for driving the company’s business strategy and performance. His extensive loyalty industry experience includes six years at Premier Loyalty & Marketing, where he was a Board Director and the founding CEO responsible for the management of Club Premier, Mexico’s leading coalition loyalty program. Prior to joining Aimia, Jeremy was the Founder and Managing Partner of On Point Loyalty, a boutique investment and advisory firm focused on the airline loyalty industry and an Operating Partner with Advent International, a leading global private equity firm. While working with Advent, he provided strategic support to portfolio companies including LifeMiles, the loyalty program of Avianca. He has also worked as a strategy consultant and frequent flyer program director for Aeromexico and TACA Airlines. Jeremy represents Aimia on the Boards of Premier Loyalty & Marketing and BIG Loyalty Sdn Bhd, the owner and operator of AirAsia’s BIGLIFE loyalty program.

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Sammy Major - Director at TRIBE

Sammy is AU Sales Director at TRIBE – the world’s fastest-growing influencer marketplace. An experienced and talented digital-sales leader, Sammy joined TRIBE in 2018 following a progressive career at some of Australia's most innovative tech and media companies. Most recently, Sammy held the positions of Commercial Director at HuffPost Australia and Group Sales Manager at REA Group, where she won the FY17 Sales Incentive Program rewarding sales excellence globally, as well as a B&T 30 under 30 Award in the Media division in 2016.

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Regan Yan - Group CEO at Digital Alchemy

Regan founded Digital Alchemy in 2003, as Australia’s first dedicated Database Marketing Services Provider. Under his leadership, Digital Alchemy has grown to become Australia’s largest provider of outsourced database marketing solutions, and is the largest Unica implementer in Asia Pacific.

Prior to this, Regan was CEO of Persona Asia; an infomediary aimed at delivering permission based marketing solutions to online clients. Earlier in his career, Regan was the Managing Director of Multinet, a leading company in data mining and sophisticated database marketing. Prior to joining Multinet, Regan was responsible for customer analytics, customer profitability system as well as introduction of analytical marketing at Westpac. With over 20 years of experience in strategic and data-driven marketing areas, Regan is a recognised subject matter expert in the area of Analytical Database Marketing and Customer Relationship Marketing, speaking regularly at Australian and international events.

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Sean Sand - Associate Professor of Marketing at Swinburne University

Sean is Associate Professor of Marketing at Swinburne Business School. He is also Director of the Customer Experience & Insight (CXI) Research Group, a commercially-oriented group that works with organisations to generate foresight though insight. CXI work with brands to develop optimal customer experiences and inform experience innovation.

Sean has delivered seminars globally on retail innovation, design thinking and customer experience strategies, Sean has assisted brands in mapping customer experiences and develop an understanding of the customer journey, expectations, needs and desires. He frequently presents at industry conferences on the future of retail and consumer behaviour. His research expertise includes strategy, service design, customer experience design, advanced research methods, new product development, pricing research, and market segmentation. He is published in European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Retailing, and Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, among others.

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Joanne Mercer - General Manager of Footwear & Accessories at MYER

Joanne Mercer grew up in the UK moving to Australia at 18. She completed an Arts degree at Melbourne University in 1986, whilst attending Ormond College. During her undergraduate years Joanne developed a passion for retail, working in the Myer Miss Shop Department. At the completion of her degree she started the Myer Graduate Program which exposed her to all aspects of retail including warehousing, stores, HR, marketing and buying. Joanne chose the buying stream after a short stint of management in stores, and spent from 1989 to 1997 working firstly as a trainee buyer before becoming the International Designer and Upmarket Footwear Buyer.

Joanne's love of shoes began, and in 1998 Joanne and her 2 business partners secured private equity to launch the Joanne Mercer Footwear chain. This was an amazing journey. It was during this time Joanne completed her Masters in Business Administration through UQ.

The MBA gave Joanne the knowledge and confidence to manage and drive her business to the next level, and was invaluable the journey through her career. She left the business to have a baby at the end of 2007, but has returned to the workforce in 2008 as General Manager Footear and Accessories for Myer. This is the position she holds today.

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Ruper Naylor - Senior Vice President at Mastercard

Rupert Naylor, Senior Vice President at Mastercard Data & Services, is in charge of Mastercard Advisor’s APAC operations. Prior to transferring to the current role, Mr. Naylor was in charge of APT’s EMEA business. Before Joining Mastercard, he spent many years at Bain & Company, working in London, Mumbai, Paris and San Francisco. In his early career, he spent several years in Japan working in banking for Merrill Lynch and in telecoms. Mr. Naylor started his career in the UK Government, including a posting at the Embassy in Tokyo. Mr. Naylor was educated at Oxford and is a Sloan Fellow from London Business School.

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Lincoln Hunter - General Manager at Loyalty Legal

Lincoln Hunter has over 20 years’ experience providing legal services to business, initially with Allen Allen & Hemsley and subsequently in various in-house roles. Specialising in procurement and supply arrangements including long term supply arrangements, licensing, distribution, product development, system integration and software development. Most recently, Lincoln has spent 9 years providing all forms of legal services to Qantas Airways including 6 years assisting the Qantas Frequent Flyer loyalty. Prior to Qantas, Lincoln spent many years advising on all commercial law requirement for Australian Defence Industries and in engineering fields.

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Rathia Gierdien - Senior Manager Vitality Partnerships at AIA Insurance

Rathia Gierdien is a health and well-being professional, working in the area of business development and strategic partnerships. Rathia is experienced in designing, implementing and expanding wellness propositions which inspire consumers to care about their health, make small yet meaningful behavioural changes, resulting in impactful health outcomes.

Rathia joined AIA Australia in 2010 as the National Rehabilitation Manager where she was responsible for establishing the first occupational rehabilitation team across the enterprise. After a successful four years, Rathia moved into the role of Strategic Partnership Manager, working with one of Australia’s largest superannuation funds, Sunsuper, creating an insurance product that supported the principles of early intervention and workplace rehabilitation. In late 2015, Rathia moved into AIA Vitality, heading up Vitality partnerships.

Prior to joining AIA Australia, Rathia ran her own health business, consulting to the life insurance, workers compensation and motor vehicle sector.

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Philip Shelper - CEO at Loyalty and Reward Co

Philip Shelper has over 13 years' experience within the loyalty industry, including roles at Qantas Frequent Flyer and Vodafone, as well as running Australia's leading loyalty management consultancy, Loyalty & Reward Co. Loyalty & Reward Co focuses on loyalty program design and implementation for major companies globally. Phil is also an Advisory Board member of the Australian Loyalty Association.

Phil is a member of several hundred loyalty programs, and a researcher of loyalty psychology and loyalty history, all of which he uses to understand the essential dynamics of what makes a successful loyalty program.

Phil is the author of ‘Blockchain Loyalty; Disruptin loyalty and reinventing marketing using blockchain and cryptocurrencies (2nd Edition).’ He regularly share knowledge about blockchain loyalty via, a global resource centre.

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Michael Smith - Managing Partner at AI Group

In his current role, Michael designs and develops the agendas for Ai’s market leading events. From loyalty, ancillary merchandising to payments and fraud Ai, via its events, helps delegates connect not only with their peers but also market leading content and insights. He’s also a co-founder of the Loyalty Fraud Prevention Association and has been actively moderating Loyalty Fraud Prevention sessions for the last few years.

Prior to Ai Events, Michael was a board Director of British Airways Global Financial Services Limited. This included responsibility for developing mileage sales with partners such as American Express, Avis Car Rental and bringing on-board all the brands within InterContinental Hotels and Resorts portfolio. Early on in this role, Michael recognized that real value could be delivered by BA (and other airlines) by understanding what customers were buying. It was more than just an airline seat, many of them wanted a “one stop” shop for the products ancillary to the flight. As a result, BA developed in-depth relationships with many of its Executive Club partners that delivered more benefits to passengers than just miles. It also delivered an additional multi-million-pound revenue stream to BA on the back of these ancillary sales.


Michael Barnard, General Manager at Customology

Michael oversees a team of Customologists with combined talent across strategy, data science, and technology, who help brands understand and influence customer behaviours. Michael’s experience in human centred design is foundational in our principles of design thinking and starting with the customer, focusing on how brands engage, keep, and grow customers.

A graduate of Griffith University, Michael studied product design and business, starting his career at HP Enterprise Services in product management. Moving on to Aquent where he was a leading member of their UX design team. Michael then took up a new challenge in building the retail division and digital services capabilities for Colourwise, which was subsequently acquired by GJI. Michael has excelled in innovation and transformational roles at GJI, first developing their CX and Product Development capabilities before leading the Data and Technology Services and is the founding GM of Customology.

GJI Group has now expanded into a house of brand model with Michael heading up Customology. Here he has applied his design thinking, experience in behavioral economics and data science, leading the team in helping brands understand their customers and develop programs to keep them coming back.

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Lee Martin - Head of Shopper Engagement at Metcash

Lee has always been motivated by wanting to understand how and why customers behave the way they do. So far he’s been able to do this in the UK, Oman and Australia with roles in retail, banking and mobile telcos across multiple marketing disciplines including merchandising, loyalty program management, customer acquisition and retention, CRM, market research, shopper analytics, and marketing effectiveness. Lee currently works for Metcash supporting independent retailers across the IGA network to better understand and communicate with their customers to drive sales and advocacy for their stores.

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Andrea Byrne - Consultant

Andrea is a senior marketer, digital strategist and consultant with 20+ years’ experience across a variety of industries – most recently at Collingwood Football Club, where she was responsible for using transformational marketing and digital strategies to drive both fan engagement and commercial returns.

Andrea's extensive experience encompasses marketing, strategy, digital, ecommerce, brand, CRM and loyalty, on both the agency and client sides. She particularly enjoys the challenge of establishing or refining loyalty strategies and programs based on unique customer insights and loyalty drivers. In recent times she successfully relaunched Hairhouse Warehouse's loyalty program Style Society, turned at underperforming B2B loyalty program into a profitable customer retention driver at Clifford Hallam Healthcare, and was part of the team that successfully relaunched the MyerOne customer loyalty program.

Andrea is also a passionate advocate of using digital channels to drive both superior customer experience and commercial returns.