Press Release | 6.22.18

The Lead Assembly 2018 Brings Together a Curated Community, Bridging the Fashion and Retail Industry with the Global Silicon Valley 

{NEW YORK, NY, June 22, 2018} The Lead hosted its executive forum — The Lead Assembly — June 21 at Cadillac House. The invitation-only event centered on emerging technology, and its adoption, across the fashion-retail-commerce value chain, brought together 160 fashion brand and retail leaders, digital native founders, rapid growth technology firm heads, venture capitalists, and enterprise technology executives. Structured around keynotes, CEO ​problem ​talks, panel discussions and roundtables, participants engaged in lively discussions on a variety of topics including moving beyond the digital to new diversified revenue channels, how to efficiently build a brand online, the emerging headwinds in marketing, supply chain management, and the desires of millennial shoppers.

The day’s speakers included Marc Mastronardi, EVP New Business Development, Innovation, Macy’s; Daniella Yacobovsky, Co-Founder, BaubleBar; Mariah Chase, CEO, ELOQUII; Aaron Sanandres, Co-Founder & CEO, UNTUCKit; Bai Gan, Chief Product Officer, Zenni Optical; and Guido Campello, CEO & Creative Director, Cosabella.

Roundtables hosted by industry experts from companies including Store No. 8 / Walmart, Glossier, NBCUniversal, Facebook, Google, CFDA, eBay Fashion, IBM Watson Commerce, and Cadillac offered focused groups of executives the opportunity to discuss dynamic topics including leveling the playing field with AI, applying VR to elevated commerce, creating loyalty in the omni-channel era and meeting the needs of Millennial & Gen-Z shoppers.

“I thought the mix of speakers and attendees was fantastic and it was the best use of my time,” said Michelle Levy, CEO and Founder at Ilhabela Holdings Inc. / Melissa Shoes USA.

“Fashion and Retail is an industry in transition and we serve to bring together a community of stakeholders that have not frequently been in the same room,” said The Lead’s Co-Founder and CEO, Noah Gellman. “The silos of cutting edge technology (start-ups), established know-how (enterprise technology), next generation brands (digital natives) and fashion brands and retailers themselves need to be collapsed. The Lead is about converging these once separate communities in a format and a forum for the future. This is what will bring the insight and fresh perspectives to the table.”

“Noah has an unnatural ability to put the right mix of people around a table or in a room,” said Russell Scherwin, Chief Marketing Officer of Watson Commerce at IBM.

“The Lead was born from my own frustrations. With my own label, we struggled to stay ahead of the innovation curve without the resources we needed. Fast forward to The Lead Assembly. It was a room filled with the people who are creative the future, not those looking to catch-up. It’s exactly what I needed, come to life,” said Timo Weiland, Co-Founder & Chief Community Officer of The Lead.

Guido Campello, CEO & Creative Director of Cosabella shared his approval following the event, “Timo and Noah know what I have been asking for. I love having creatives together, but business minded creatives and I think that’s one of the hardest things to do. This has a good mix. The Lead brought together the users, the vendors, the creators, the product people, and I think that made it pretty awesome.”

The event also served as a platform for honoring The Defiant 25 of 2018, The Lead’s annual list of the leading fashion and retail executives who have embraced innovation and technology to drive business and move their companies forward.

The Lead’s next event The Lead Summit will take place on October 23rd & 24th at The Williamsburg Hotel in Brooklyn.


The Lead bridges the fashion and retail industry with the global Silicon Valley, empowering the fashion business’ transition to digital centricity. In partnership with industry leaders, The Lead conducts research, produces a quarterly publication and holds a series of events centered on emerging technology, and its adoption, across the fashion-retail-commerce value chain. Analysts including Awais Khan (Leader in the Venture Capital Practice at KPMG and former chair of AlwaysOn Private Company Selection Committee) track the emerging technology companies innovating at the intersection of these two industries. The Lead produces three lists of innovation leaders that the fashion brand and retail community must know: The Leading 100 (B2B Start-Ups across the value chain), The Foremost 50 (Digital Native Start-Ups), and The Defiant 25 (Executives taking chances and pushing their businesses forward.) Digital transformation in the fashion-retail-commerce space is a macro trend gaining in velocity. Our work is to reveal what is coming next, and to help our community get ahead of it.