Spring 2017 Board of Trustees Meeting: Customer Experience Beyond the Hype

Taj Hotel, Boston, MA


It’s time to bring rigor and actionability to customer experience and the customer journey. This meeting will offer Trustees new marketing insights and research findings that are relevant across industries and organizational roles. Our speakers—experts in quantitative, behavioral, and strategic domains—will focus on key questions about design, implementation, and measurement of customer experience and customer journeys, when those “customers” may be buyers, shoppers, or consumers.

  • How can the brand come to life wherever it shows up?
  • How can marketers design and map a journey to have actionable takeaways?
  • What are the opportunities for differentiation or disruption?
  • Is a “seamless” experience always the goal, or is some “friction” a good thing?

Presentations will also address the value of customer experience initiatives: How can a “better” customer journey help your company sell more next year? What are the long-term payoffs of customer experience? What are the right metrics? For both marketers and academic researchers, this meeting will offer a deeper understanding of, and frameworks for improving, customers’ end-to-end experience.

Add this event to your calendar


You must be logged in to view this content. Please login or register for access.


  • Natalie Bush

    Vice President, Innovation Solutions, Harte Hanks

    Natalie Bush is Vice President of Innovation Solutions at Harte Hanks, a marketing services firm specializing in multi-channel marketing solutions. A collaborative and innovative marketing leader, Natalie has a track record of assessing market needs and providing strategic leadership to develop and deliver business value through leading edge offerings.

    In her role at Harte Hanks, Natalie communicates differentiated value propositions, directs innovation across the organization, and enhances profitability and growth into new markets to achieve financial targets, gain market share, and increase customer retention. Prior to Harte Hanks, Natalie was Senior Vice President of Strategic Relations at Equifax. Before Equifax, Natalie spent nine years at Nielsen Claritas. She is a graduate of Mary Baldwin University and received her master’s degree at Georgetown University.

  • Utpal Dholakia

    Rice University

    Utpal Dholakia is George R. Brown Professor of Marketing at the Jones Graduate School of Business, Rice University in Houston, Texas. He has a master's degree in psychology, and a Ph.D. in marketing from the University of Michigan, a master's degree in operations research from the Ohio State University, and a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering from the University of Bombay. His research interests lie in studying financial decision making by consumers and investors, marketing strategy for small and medium-sized businesses, and online marketing issues. He also studies relational aspects of consumer behavior. He has published in various marketing and management journals, and consults with firms in financial services, high-tech, energy, and health-care industries.

  • Kristin Diehl

    University of Southern California

    Kristin Diehl is Associate Professor of Marketing at the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business. Her research focuses on two different areas: 1) how consumers search for and use product information, particularly in environments where search costs are low, assortments are large, and recommendation tools may be available and 2) how people anticipate, experience, and remember events that unfold over time. In particular, she is interested in how taking photos during such experiences affects consumers' enjoyment and memories of the experience. She has published in marketing and psychology journals such as the Journal of Consumer ResearchJournal of Marketing Research, Journal of MarketingJournal of Behavioral Decision MakingJournal of Retailing, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and Psychological Science. In 2010, she received the Early Career Award from the Association for Consumer Research. She serves as Associate Editor for the Journal of Consumer Research and is a member of the Editorial Review Boards of the Journal of Marketing and the Journal of Consumer Psychology. Kristin teaches classes on consumer behavior at the undergraduate, M.B.A., and Ph.D. levels.

  • Jason Ferrell

    Senior Director, Experience Design, Capital One Financial Corporation

    Jason Ferrell is a Director of Experience Design at Capital One. Jason leads a diverse design team with skillsets ranging from service design to UX/UI and front end development. His team engages with Product and Tech partners to ensure key moments in the customer’s lifecycle are effortless and memorable. While in school, Jason abandoned a career in journalism for business, but he couldn’t shake the burning curiosity to understand what makes people tick. As a result, he began his career as a market researcher for Wachovia Bank (now Wells Fargo), and later evolved into a Brand Strategy role at Capital One. These two roles converged 3 years ago, as Capital One began its transition to an Information-Based Technology company. He jumped at the opportunity to help the business set a strategic agenda for its critical experiences by way of human-centered design practices. Jason received an M.S. In Decision Sciences and a B.S. In Management from Virginia Commonwealth University. Most importantly, however, he’s a doting dad of 2-year-old, twin girls.

  • Ben Grossman

    Senior Vice President, Group Strategy Director Jack Morton Worldwide

    Ben Grossman is Senior Vice President, Group Strategy Director at Jack Morton Worldwide, which is part of the Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE: IPG). There, Ben leads the NYC and Boston strategy departments across top accounts and sits on both of the offices’ Leadership Teams, contributing to the development of agency capabilities, its brand marketing, and its Global Creative Council. As a marketing and advertising strategist, he sits at the intersection of brand strategy, communications planning, and marketing effectiveness. He has brought his progressive and innovative point of view to brands including Subway Restaurants, P&G, Liberty Mutual, Love Has No Labels, Calvin Klein, Fidelity Investments, Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, and many more.

    Ben has been tapped globally as a frequent industry speaker for iconic events and organizations, including SXSW, CES, Microsoft, and Intel. He has also been sought out as a source for publications such as Yahoo! News,, PSFK and BtoB Magazine.

  • Ryan Hamilton

    Emory University

    Ryan Hamilton is Associate Professor of Marketing and Caldwell Research Fellow at Emory University's Goizueta Business School. He received his Ph.D. in Marketing from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.

    His research investigates shopper decision making: how brands, prices, and choice architecture influence decision making at the point of purchase. He is a leading scholar in the area of retailer price image, exploring how customers form store-level price impressions and how those impressions influence consumer behavior. His research has been published in Journal of Consumer ResearchJournal of Consumer PsychologyJournal of Marketing Research, Journal of MarketingMarketing Letters, Management Science, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and has been profiled in the Harvard Business Review, New York TimesWall Street Journal, Time, USA Today, Financial Times, and CNN Headline News.

    In 2016, Ryan co-authored a book, The Intuitive Customer, which applies the insights from research on consumer psychology and decision making to more effectively managing customer experiences. He has also produced two lecture series, "Critical Business Skills for Success: Marketing" and "How You Decide: The Science of Human Decision Making," for The Great Courses. He was a 2013 Marketing Science Institute Young Scholar and in 2011 was named one of "The World's Best 40 B-School Profs Under the Age of 40" by Poets & Quants.

    Ryan has an eclectic background includes both an undergraduate degree in physics and time spent performing stand-up and sketch comedy. He is the proud father of five young children, which means he spends much of his time exhausted and slightly rumpled. This also gives him some social cover for his unabashed enthusiasm for Legos and superhero movies. He has never run a marathon and has no intention of ever doing so.

  • Charlie Herrin

    Executive Vice President, Customer Experience, Comcast Corporation

    Hear from Charlie >>

    Charlie Herrin serves as Executive Vice President of Customer Experience for Comcast Cable. In this role, Charlie serves as a customer advocate, partnering with leaders across all business units to reimagine the customer experience and ensure that customers are at the center of every business decision.

    Charlie previously served as Senior Vice President of Product Design and Development, where he was responsible for all aspects of the design of Comcast’s Xfinity products from conception through consumer testing and deployment. Charlie led a talented product experience team across Philadelphia, Denver, and Silicon Valley to develop and design products that are used by millions of people each day. Most recently, Charlie led the design team behind the X1 Platform, the Company’s next-generation television experience, and was the driving force behind the Company’s initiative to deliver a consistent user experience across platforms. For their work, the team received a 2011 Emmy Award for outstanding achievement for the Xfinity TV iPad app and a 2013 Emmy Award for the X1 user interface.

    A 17-year veteran of Comcast, Charlie has held a variety of business and product development roles since he joined the Company in 1999, serving as VP of Business Development as well as VP of Product Development for Comcast Interactive Media (CIM). During his tenure, Charlie has led the development of key platforms and industry firsts, including user self-installation, national retail agreements, and the widely adopted Comcast homepage and smart phone applications.

    Charlie graduated with honors in Economics from the University of Washington.

  • Kathy Koontz

    Practice Director — Customer Journey, Teradata

    Kathy Koontz is Practice Director — Customer Journey for Teradata. In this role, she leads a group of business consultants in identifying opportunities and designing solutions to utilize data and analytics to improve customer relationships.

    For 10 years prior to joining Teradata, she was Associate Vice President in the Customer Insights & Analytics group at Nationwide Insurance developing capabilities to increase the value and size of the customer portfolio and reinforce Nationwide’s brand promise. Kathy has more than 20 years of experience developing strategy and designing solutions to strengthen customer relationships. Her experience is in retail, insurance/financial services, and non-profit industries. She is a graduate of the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism.

  • Jenna Lebel

    AVP & Head of Digital Marketing, Liberty Mutual Insurance

    Jenna Lebel is currently AVP & Head of Digital Marketing at Liberty Mutual Insurance. She is a passionate marketer with a track record of success throughout her career in a variety of settings from tech startup to agency startup to Fortune 100 insurance company. Jenna’s passion for digital started as soon as Facebook opened beyond the college market. Jenna saw the potential for marketers to use the channel to drive business outcomes and joined one of the first social media marketing agencies called Likeable. At Likeable, she managed social media strategy for brands like Verizon, Neutrogena, GE, Medtronic, Logitech, Cumberland Farms, and 1-800-FLOWERS. In 2013, she left the agency side and moved to Liberty Mutual to start digital marketing for the Fortune 100 insurance company. There, she manages a team of 15 and a budget that’s doubled year over year under her leadership. She’s built a best-in-class digital marketing presence for the company that has been recognized by a variety of publications like AdAge, AdWeek, USA Today, Fortune, and Forbes and has won over two dozen awards including a 2015 Cannes Lions. She has been published in several trade publications and has spoken at over a dozen industry conferences including the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA). Jenna earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Communication from Stonehill College and her Master’s Degree in Integrated Marketing Communication from Emerson College. She currently serves on the Alumni Board of Directors for Emerson College and is a member of Boston’s Future Leaders.

  • Katherine N. Lemon

    Marketing Science Institute & Boston College

    Hear from Kay >>

    Katherine N. Lemon holds the Accenture Professorship at Boston College’s Carroll School of Management. She is currently also the Executive Director (2015–2017) of the Marketing Science Institute. She is a globally recognized expert in the areas of customer management, customer equity, customer experience, and the dynamics of customer-firm relationships. Kay’s research appears in leading marketing journals including the Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Marketing Science, Management Science, and the Journal of Service Research. She has authored three books including Driving Customer Equity: How Customer Lifetime Value Is Reshaping Corporate Strategy.

    Her research has been recognized with the Sheth Foundation/Journal of Marketing Award, given each year to the article that has made long-term contributions to the theory and practice of marketing, as well as several other best article awards. She is past Editor of Journal of Service Research. In 2015, she received the Christopher Lovelock Career Contributions to the Services Discipline Award, and most recently, she was inducted as a 2016 American Marketing Association Fellow. Kay has extensive speaking, advising, and consulting experience with leading global companies. Kay received her Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley.

  • Steven Pepe

    Global Leader, Commercial Marketing, General Electric Company

    Steve Pepe is Director of Customer Experience for GE, based in Philadelphia and NYC. He is responsible for revenue marketing and customer experience (CX) on strategic projects across the company. Recent examples include the launch of a new smart home product line for GE Lighting. launched in 2016 and is the company’s first business model that mixes traditional retail with direct-to-consumer e-commerce. Other previous roles include leading digital marketing for GE Water, product management roles at GE Healthcare, and IT consulting for clients like Bosch and Johnson & Johnson.

  • Bernd Schmitt

    Columbia University

    Hear from Bernd >>

    Bernd Schmitt, Ph.D., is Robert D.Calkins Professor of International Business at Columbia Business School in New York, where he also directs the Center on Global Brand Leadership. He is widely recognized for his contributions to branding, marketing, and management through his unique focus on creativity, innovation, and the customer experience.

    He has authored or co-authored eight books which have been translated into more than 20 languages, including Experiential Marketing (1999), Customer Experience Management (2003), Big Think Strategy (2007), Happy Customers Everywhere (2012), and The Changing Face of the Asian Consumer(2014).

    He has authored and co-authored more than 70 articles in leading academic marketing and psychology journals. He is a frequent keynote speaker at conferences worldwide. His speaking and consulting clients include leading companies in the consumer package goods, automobile, electronics, software, financial services, pharmaceuticals, beauty and cosmetics, hospitality, and media industries. Bernd has been profiled on CNN's "Business Unusual" and has appeared on BBC, CNBC, CNBC-Asia, CNN, NHK and on "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart. He has contributed articles to the New York Times, Asian Wall Street Journal, and Financial Times.

  • Jim Sprigg

    Director, Database Marketing & Analytics, InterContinental Hotels Group

    Jim Sprigg is Director of Database Marketing and Analytics at InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), where he has led IHG’s innovations in promotional design, targeted marketing, and marketing measurement. Jim leads a center-of-excellence comprised of 75 rock-star individuals residing in Atlanta, Manila, and Bangalore, supporting both science and execution of marketing for stakeholders across the globe.

    Previous roles at Lockheed, UPS, and Department of Defense involved advances in cost-based pricing, actuary/underwriting, effects-based military planning, and economic simulation. Jim is a frequent speaker at marketing conferences, and has published in peer-reviewed journals including Marketing Science, Computational Economics, and Journal of Consumer Marketing.

  • Stephen Tax

    University of Victoria

    Stephen Tax is Professor in the Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria. He teaches marketing management, services management, and international marketing to undergraduate, graduate, and executive students.

    Steve's research interests focus on interdisciplinary issues in services management, notably service recovery, service design, customer performance, and service networks. His overarching research goal is to improve the design and deliver of the customer experience. His work has produced a host of articles appearing in such journals as the Journal of Marketing Research, Sloan Management ReviewJournal of Marketing, Journal of RetailingJournal of Operations Management, and the Journal of Consumer Psychology. His co-authored article, "Customer Evaluation of Service Complaint Experiences: Implications for Relationship Marketing", won the AMA Award for best services marketing article published in 1998. The article "Recovering and Learning from Service Failure" was awarded the Richard Beckhard Prize in 2000 for the outstanding article published in Sloan Management Review in the field of planned change and organizational development. The Marketing Science Institute selected his co-authored paper "The Service Delivery Network (SDN): A Customer-Centric Perspective of the Customer Journey" as one of its 2013 must read articles. The paper was also selected as a finalist for 2013 best paper in the Journal of Service Research.


Taj Boston HotelRooms are available at The Taj at the group rate of $299 per night for a King room. You may reserve your room by contacting the hotel’s Reservations Team by phone at 1-877-482-5267 or by email at and referencing the MSI Board of Trustees room block.

You can also book online here.

Rooms will be available at the group rate until March 6th, so please make your reservations as soon as possible!*
*The group rate has been extended through March 13th so be sure to book today!


Apr 06 – 07, 2017



Taj Hotel, Boston, MA



  • Trustee: FREE

The deadline to register for this
event has already passed.

Registration not
available to the public

Registration Deadline: Mar 24, 2017