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© SOCAP International 2019

625 North Washington Street · Suite 304 · Alexandria, VA · 22314
Telephone: (703) 519–3700 ·
Email: socap@socap.org

©2019 by SOCAP International.



October 20–23, 2019

Tucson, Arizona



Strategic Leadership

Monday, October 21 • 11:00 am–Noon

The Science of Storytelling: Winning Commitment Within Your Organization

Are you trapped in an exhausting cycle of trying to demonstrate the value of customer service? Effectively telling your customer service story at scale requires service leaders to understand the science of storytelling. Beyond just visualizing data, mastering these steps will help you get people to open their hearts and tell you what it’s really like to be your customer. More importantly, it will help you package this information in ways that move your teams to action—and commitment.

In this session, you’ll learn the science of stories that stick in our memory and move us emotionally. We’ll show practical examples of powerful techniques used everywhere from the New York Times’ Bestseller List to your favorite Netflix series to consistently win your internal audience.


  1. The definition of storytelling vs. journalism (according to Academy Award-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin) and why it’s critical for you to understand it.

  2. Why Titanic is not just a story about a ship that sinks.

  3. Story curation tools you’ll use to automate storytelling every day in your company.


  • Lisa Oswald, Head of Customer Service, Travelzoo
    Lisa Oswald is senior vice president and global head of customer service in support of Travelzoo’s 28 million members worldwide. Well-versed in travel, previously she was vice president of operations and customer service for Priceline.com, where she led sales and service for the dot com and its affiliate partner network, from startup through more than a decade of transformational change. Lisa is a director of SOCAP International and an advisory board member with Execs In The Know, a global community of customer experience executives.

  • Max Israel, Founder and CEO, Customerville
    Max Israel is founder and CEO of Customerville, the design-driven Voice of the Customer platform. Customerville is dedicated to blending technology, art, and behavioral science to elevate Voice of the Customer—a concept it refers to as “design-driven feedback.”

    In 2003, Customerville registered what was among the first real-time customer feedback surveys on the internet. Today, Max’s company works with brands in over 20 countries and in a wide variety of sectors, including insurance, finance, medicine, hospitality, and retail.

    Max is a passionate advocate for change in how companies measure and use customer experience data. He believes that, too often, companies focus on the dry exercise of collecting data and distributing this information. Design-driven feedback offers us the chance to use technology to curate these stories in ways that make customers feel listened to and employees feel valued.

    Max is the author of the widely read customer experience book Design-driven Feedback. His regular vlog on the subject of customer experience, 40 Billion Reasons, is viewed by over 5,000 people per week.

    Max and his family live in Valencia, Spain, where Customerville has its European headquarters. 

Monday, October 21 • 2:00 pm–3:00 pm

Claiming Your Seat at the Executive Table

Key strategies will be discussed such as leveraging the Three V’s (be Visible, Valuable, and Vocal). The discussion will also include ways to turn data into actionable business intelligence, resulting in objective, measurable information to help their organizations ensure regulatory compliance, brand protection, and continued growth.

Seizing a seat at the table often boils down the right timing. As such the “Three C’s” will also be explained, that is seizing opportunity in times of Calm, Crisis and Connections.

Attendees will walk away from this session with actionable strategies and tactics to elevate their positions and accelerate gaining a seat at the executive table.


  1. Understand how to change your vocabulary -learn how to talk "business" and teach your C- Suite how to talk "consumer care".

  2. Learn from examples demonstrating how to be Visible, Valuable and appropriately Vocal with your senior management team.

  3. Understand strategies for turning consumer care data into actionable business intelligence for your C-Suite.


  • Melanie Neumann, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Matrix Sciences
    Melanie Neumann, J.D., M.S. is Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Matrix Sciences. Matrix Sciences is a growing, multi-disciplinary group of experts focusing on contract laboratory testing, sensory testing, data analytics and food safety advisory services including recall and crisis management planning and response.

    Melanie is the founder of Neumann Risk Services, LLC, (NRS), which was acquired by Matrix Sciences. Melanie leads the Advisory Services business unit and provides legal counsel to the company.  She assists the food and beverage industry with regulatory, operational and brand reputation risk mitigation solutions, helping companies mitigate and manage these various risks in today’s ever-changing regulatory landscape.

    Melanie is a graduate of Mitchell-Hamline Law School in St. Paul, MN for her juris doctorate degree, and Michigan State University for her M.S. in Food Safety. She has worked for major multi-national food companies, private law firms focusing on food law and intellectual property law, was instrumental in launching national food safety risk management practices for one of the “Big 4” tax and auditing firms as well as playing pivotal roles in other well-known consulting firms.

    She is an Adjunct Professor at Michigan State University and serves on advisory panels and boards of notable organizations.  Melanie is a frequent speaker on food regulations including FSMA. Outside of her profession, Melanie is an avid triathlete, to date completing 28 marathons and seven Ironman triathlons.


  • Marie Shubin, Consultant, Former Leader of Customer Care, E&J Gallo Winery
    Marie Shubin is newly retired from E&J Gallo Winery and currently consulting. Marie’s long career has blended her formal education as a teacher, extensive experience working in both supermarkets, technology, healthcare, and consumer products manufacturing with a passion for service excellence. She has developed customer care curriculums and trained thousands of individuals in face to face and contact center programs for B2B and B2C environments. She advocates deploying technology to improve operational effectiveness in the contact center while maintaining the human interaction and personalized service. Marie has been active in SOCAP since 1993 as a Chapter Officer and Board member. She led the launch of the CPG Industry Community and the Data Reporting Workshop and was the 2015 Chairman of the SOCAP Board.


  • Tom Asher, Head of Global Support, Twist Bioscience
    Tom oversees Global Support for Twist, a biotech company that manufactures genes at scale for life sciences research.  He oversees all customer retention operations including Customer Support, Scientific Technical Support, and Key Accounts in the Americas and Customer/Technical Support in Europe. Prior to Twist, Tom led Support for another type of jeans company -  Levi Strauss & Co. as well as Sunrun, a solar energy provider. He also oversaw account management for Action App! and Humach. 

    Tom is a huge fan of SOCAP, having served for six years as an officer and chairman on SOCAP’s national board. He’s also served on the NW chapter and various SOCAP committees for the past 15 years.


  • Carlos Suarez, Consumer Engagement Services Manager, Nestle USA
    Carlos Suarez leads Consumer Engagement Services at Nestlé USA and serves as Director on the SOCAP Board of Directors. He has been in customer service for more than 20 years starting as a bank customer service representative and now specializing in Food & Beverage at the #1 food and beverage company in the world.  


  • Heather Cooper, Senior Manager of Global Consumer Services, Newell Brands
    Heather Cooper is the Senior Manager of Global Consumer Services for Newell Brands. Newell Brands has a portfolio of 100+ iconic household brands that consumers use every day where they live, learn, work, and play. Heather has led implementations for B2B and Consumer Care for Newell and formerly, Newell Rubbermaid. She has centralized, decentralized, led acquisitions, divestitures, with “in house," onshore, off shore, and hybrid teams. She is part of a team that currently supports over 4 million consumer engagements a year. In addition to handling the consumer experience and supporting the operations teams, Heather helped build out an analytics team that now provides Consumer Marketing Insights to the broader organization. She resides in High Point, North Carolina with her husband and four kids. 

Monday, October 21 • 3:15 pm–4:15 pm

Happily Ever After - How to Manage Through Mergers & Acquisitions

This workshop will include a short presentation on setting culture as the foundation of a successful merger and acquisition followed by flash group work with rich discussion about processes, technology and contact center staffing and providers. Some flash groups will have an opportunity to share their own happily ever. 



  • Practical tips on how to merge cultures, systems, and processes

  • Connecting with others in the industry  

  • Identifying the strategic benefits of a merger or acquisition as you reinvent your team


  • Karen DiFabio, Director of Global Consumer Engagement, E. & J. Gallo Winery
    Karen DiFabio is currently the director of Global Consumer Engagement for the largest winery in the world (E. & J. Gallo Winery) supporting over 150 brands. Her experience ranges from being a master trainer and staff development specialist at Fortune 500 companies to leading an IT help desk, a customer service team, and a project management office for a regional grocery chain before joining the Gallo team in 2013.  

    Karen’s passion for consumers and her personal motto of “everyone is your customer” has allowed her to foster relationships across the enterprise, building a “speed of trust” culture. In her current role, she has been a relentless advocate of social community management as another channel of consumer care and has recently expanded her team to take on the responsibility of all community management for the more than 90 Gallo hosted social sites. She is also currently involved in the acquisition and merger of the third largest winery in the world.    

    In her downtime, Karen enjoys mentoring new generations of professionals to become great leaders. On the weekend, you’ll find her kayaking the Stanislaus River with her husband or kicking back by her koi pond and stalking her grown children on Facebook and Instagram.


  • Tara Bischoff, Director of Consumer Care, freshpet
    Tara has most recently taken on the role of Director, Consumer Care at Freshpet – a young disruptive brand that offers cats and dogs fresh food.  While her journey started in the Fashion and Cosmetics industries, she found her way to the CPG world holding various roles within the Consumer Relations function.  Prior to joining Freshpet, Tara oversaw Consumer Relations Operations & Technology and VOC Analytics at Bayer HealthCare and Pinnacle Foods.  She has been a SOCAP member since transitioning into Consumer Relations 15 years ago and is a past NY Metro Board member.  For the last 7 years, she has served on the SOCAP National Education Committee.

    In her spare time, Tara is a group fitness instructor and enjoys creating pastel artwork and spending time at the beach with her husband and Beagles!


  • Vicky Cherne, Manager of Consumer Affairs & Customer Concerns, Dairy Division, Land O’Lakes, Inc.
    Vicky Cherne is currently the manager of Consumer Affairs & Customer Concerns for the dairy division of Land O’Lakes, Inc., located in Minnesota. Her team is responsible for handling phone, email, social media, and product review contacts for several brands, including the product most everybody recognizes—LAND O LAKES® Butter. In 2012, Vicky helped to successfully merge the division’s largest company acquisition and in 2018 began working on merging the consumer affairs functions of an artisan company, one where maintaining culture has been key.   

    Vicky’s history in the consumer relations industry began as a kid growing up at her family’s fishing resort in Ely, Minnesota, near the Canadian border. She started waitressing at 12 and, after being inspired by a SOCAP member she met while in college, she continued to pursue a passion for providing great service to consumers, working for Land O’Lakes, The Prudential Life Insurance Company, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. She is currently the SOCAP MN Chapter president and an active member and past chair of the CPG committee.

    When not working, Vicky enjoys downhill skiing, baking, volunteering at her church, and spending lots of time in northern Minnesota with her husband and three kids.

Tuesday, October 22 • 2:00 pm–3:00 pm

Customer Voice Data: Building the Bridge Between Customer and Product

The Customer Voice role has transformed over time to where they are now responsible for advocating on behalf of the customer to the rest of the company. At Pinterest, the Customer Voice team is called the Product Specialist team and they are the bridge between customer, Product, and/or Marketing. In this talk, Shashank Bharath (ads product strategics, Pinterest) will cover how Pinterest was able to use intelligent categorization of feedback at scale to turn Customer Ops data into actionable feedback for their Product team. It will contain a few tips CS/CX professionals can follow to get their data ready to have meaningful meetings with these other stakeholders in their companies.


  • Chris Martinez, Founder & CEO, Idiomatic
    Chris is the Founder and CEO of Idiomatic (www.idiomatic.com), a company that uses artificial intelligence to help customer care teams unlock customer intelligence. Their AI mines free form verbatim data to automatically understand and categorize conversations with customers at scale. This lets companies systematically know what their customers are saying and how they can improve customer experience. Prior to Idiomatic, Chris founded and ran data for Glow (www.glowing.com), a leading publisher of mobile health apps for women. Glow was spun out of HVF, Max Levchin’s (a co-founder of PayPal) startup studio, where Chris was an Entrepreneur-in-Residence. Previously, Chris spent many years camped at Stanford, racking up a BA in math & computer science from Stanford University, a JD from Stanford Law School, and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.


  • Shashank Bharath, Ads Product Strategist, Pinterest
    Shashank Bharath is an Ads Product Strategist at Pinterest. His work involves looking into product analytics and user feedback data related to the ads experience on the platform and to help advocate and provide a positive experience for users on Pinterest. Prior to Pinterest, Shashank has over seven years working on the ads platform at Facebook. As an early employee, he has spent a lot of time working with product feedback data and helping build user controls and tools to better understand how ads are recommended to users as well as improving ad recommendations. Shashank has a diverse experience spanning across advertising policies, user feedback features, and intent based advertising.