Innovators George Blankenship and Jeremy Gutsche headline April's NAMA Show

Feb. 22, 2022

The National Automatic Merchandising Association announced the keynote speakers who will headline its 2022 NAMA Show, and set the tone for the event's theme, “Convenience Service Reimagined.”

George Blankenship, who redefined customer engagement and created breakthrough customer experiences and brand loyalty on behalf of Tesla Motors, Apple Computer and GAP Inc. will deliver the keynote address as part of the General Session on Wednesday, April 6, at 1 p.m. CT.

Award-winning author and innovation expert Jeremy Gutsche, who has consulted for Google, Sony, Disney, IBM, Adidas and NASA, among other world-class organizations, will deliver a plenary session Thursday, April 7, at 9 a.m. CST.

“With a theme of ‘Convenience Service Reimagined,’ The NAMA Show 2022 meets the moment of rising opportunity for self-service,” says NAMA director of meetings and events Kristen Keenan Griffith. “Attendees will discover powerful technology, explore new products, uncover emerging trends and build a strong network of allies – assets that will help set any convenience services business on a path to success.”

Blankenship revolutionized the car buying experience at Tesla Motors. Earlier, as vice president of real estate at Apple, he executed one of the most triumphant retail growth strategies in history and is widely recognized as the architect of the company’s brand-building retail method, which generated a sustained increase in sales, profit and consumer loyalty. His innovative processes inform and transform secure, status-quo organizations into forward-thinking and dynamic players of the future.

Blankenship will demonstrate how businesses can remain competitively positioned in the modern market and deliver first-class customer care. In addition to his presentation, Blankenship will be interviewed on stage by celebrity emcee Mark Jeffries.

Gutsche, the founder and chief executive of Trend Hunter, the world's No. 1 trend website and innovation consultancy with over 3.5 billion views and 10,000 projects completed, regularly shares his insight with more than 300,000 business leaders who subscribe to his weekly newsletter. His recent book, “Create the Future + the Innovation Handbook: Tactics for Disruptive Thinking,” is a New York Times bestseller and winner of the Gold Medal in the 2021 Axiom Book Award competition. 

In a fast-paced plenary session, Gutsche will draw parallels from social changes happening now to those that occurred due to the bubonic plague and the Spanish flu. Gutsche says these pandemics, respectively, were responsible for ushering in the Renaissance and the Roaring ’20s. He says that times of crisis lead to urgency, action and ultimately to innovation. In post-pandemic periods, for example, Gutsche says people are drawn to leisure activities that help them live life to the fullest.

And back by popular demand, Jeffries will act as emcee of the NAMA Show General Session and will interview session speakers as part of the 90-minute program. Some NAMA members may know Jeffries as the main stage host and facilitator of NAMA Executive Forum events. He brings sharp business knowledge, years of insight into many industries and a warm wit to the role. A former stockbroker, Jeffries regularly appears as an expert guest on NBC’s Today Show, Fox Business, BBC News and writes for the Huffington Post. He is the go-to facilitator, moderator and emcee for multinational events of large and small organizations around the world.

The NAMA Show is the largest event for the convenience services industry. The three-day event, happening April 6-8 at Chicago’s McCormick Place, delivers opportunity and education for operators and professionals in vending, micro market, pantry and coffee, tea and water service industry.


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