2023 Hardlines Conference Speakers


Geneviève Gagnon
President, Gagnon La Grande Quincaillerie, Evolution Distribution and Evolution Structures

Geneviève is part of an illustrious family business that she’s been involved in since her childhood. Today, she heads up a chain of five renovation centres in Quebec. But that’s not all. As the third generation of her family, she has been responsible for many big changes to update the business. That includes the establishment of a hardware distribution centre, the leadership of a major wood products manufacturing company in Québec, and leads a team of a 600 people. On the personal front, she deeply involved in her the community, supporting causes including pediatric cancer care and palliative care homes.

Geneviève holds a Bachelor degree of Management in International Finance. She is married with three children—and definitely focused on the future.



Cody Smith
Director of Home & Building Solutions, Federated Co-operatives Ltd.

Since joining FCL in 2000, Cody has held various positions in the Home & Building Solutions division and was promoted to Director in 2018. Under his leadership, the department provides strategic partnership and services to over 90 Co-op Home Centres across Western Canada.

Cody has volunteered for numerous community initiatives, including sitting on the Board of Saskatoon Habitat for Humanity and coaching minor sports teams. He has also provided guidance to the FCL Community Investment Fund as a committee member and chair.

He holds an MBA from Jack Welch Management Institute.



Jim Inglis
Retail Consultant, former Home Depot Executive

James W. Inglis is a world-renowned retail expert with 60 years of experience in the retail home-improvement industry. He served in executive positions with The Home Depot as Vice President of Merchandising, West Coast; Executive Vice President of Merchandising; and Executive Vice president, Strategic Development, as well as a member of the Corporate Board of Directors.

Jim has helped shape the industry worldwide as a special advisor to the boards of leading home-improvement retailers around the world: Sodimac in Chile, Hornbach in Germany, Bunnings in Australia and New Zealand; and Komeri in Japan. He also is a past member of numerous boards of directors for top retailers and manufacturers worldwide.

He is also the author of Breakthrough Retailing: How a Bleeding Orange Culture Can Change Everything, the inside story of how The Home Depot grew from its first few stores in 1979 to become the largest home improvement retailer in the world. This book chronicles the founding, growth, stagnation, and rebirth of this American retail success story. The first half describes how the magic of a Bleeding Orange culture made this story possible and revolutionized the way building material products are sold. The second half delves into the 10 principles of high-productivity retailing gleaned from this amazing success story.

In 2015, Jim was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Global Home Improvement Network and the European DIY Retail Association.



Dan Tratensek
COO & Publisher, North American Hardware & Paint Association

Dan is a key player with the North American Hardware and Paint Association, a 120-year-old, not-for-profit trade organization representing independent retailers in the $400-billion-plus home improvement, paint and decorating industry throughout the U.S. and Canada. In his position at NHPA, Dan has the opportunity to visit with independent retailers of all types and sizes and shape the association’s content, training, and research to meet the needs of its members.

Prior to his current position, Dan worked in a variety of roles for the association and has been involved in business journalism and news reporting for more than three decades.



Jean-Sébastien Lamoureux
Senior Vice President, RONA Affiliates, Wholesale & Public Affairs

Jean-Sébastien joined RONA in 2017 as Vice President, Communications & Public Affairs. He was promoted to Senior Vice-President, Public Affairs, Asset Protection, and Sustainable Development in 2018, and then to his current role in 2022.

Prior to joining RONA, Jean-Sébastien was Vice-President of Financial Communications and Investor Relations at National Public Relations, Canada’s leading public relations agency. He also served as Vice President at Investissement Québec, a governmental agency dedicated to the economic growth of the Province of Québec, where he was responsible for the organization’s subsidiaries, and was Chief of Staff for the Québec Treasury Board. He was also the youngest elected member of the National Assembly of Québec for the Anjou constituency.

A lawyer by training, Jean-Sébastien holds an MBA from HEC Montréal and sits on the advisory committee of the RCC for Québec, as well as on the boards of the Fondation Hôpital Charles-LeMoyne and the Pensionnat Notre-Dame-des-Anges.



Zaida Fazlic
Vice President, People & Culture, Taiga Building Products Ltd.

In her lead HR role at Canada’s largest distributor of building materials, Zaida Fazlic oversees the overall operations of the Human Resources and Payroll functions at Taiga. But she also focuses on people and talent development by creating programs and initiatives that actively support and encourage employees to grow, succeed, and accomplish their goals.

Fazlic began her career with Taiga in 2005, first as an Executive Assistant before pivoting into the world of real estate. There, she managed the development of a property in the heart of Richmond, B.C., that consisted of 704 residential units, a community centre, and a school. She returned to Taiga in 2018 in the HR department, where she was eventually promoted to her current role.

Fazlic obtained her Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a concentration in Human Resources in 2005 and recently graduated from the Executive MBA program at Simon Fraser University.



Marilyne & Sylvain Laferriere
Store Owners,
Ace Victory Building Centre 

Mackenzie, B.C., is a remote town of just 3,800 people in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. In 2005, motivated by their frustration with a lack of products and services in the area, long-time residents Sylvain and Marilyne Laferriere purchased an existing business in town.

They renovated the store, added product lines—and Ace Victory Building Centre was born.

Local engagement is essential for the Laferrieres, who love their town. It’s also an important aspect of their business model. These 2019 Outstanding Retailer Award winners will share the ups and downs of delivering on that model during the challenges of staff shortages, rising Insurance rates, plus wages, fuel, and transportation costs.


Romain Mercier
Customer Engagement & Communication Expert

Romain has 20 years of sales experience, including 10 years in Advertisement and Marketing Technology sales.

Before joining Resulticks, Romain worked with Oracle Marketing Cloud, Adobe and SAP. He collaborated with global organizations in transforming their go-to-market customer engagements with measurable digital customer experience. His expertise includes channel and direct business development, SaaS revenue generation and customer success enablement processes.



David Ian Gray
Retail Strategic Advisor, Founder DIG360 and INBOW Holdings

David Ian Gray is a recognized expert on retail trends, landing in Rethink Retail’s Global Top 100. David has consistently produced high-impact knowledge for over 26 years that separates substance from hype, causes from symptoms. He provides fresh counsel in Canada to senior leaders on defining customer-relevance, rethinking customer-experience and tailoring roadmaps for evolving their retail and DTC concepts. Widely sought for comment by business media, David presents regularly on critical shifts in the retail ecosystem and the reasons for them. He co-founded the pandemic podcast The Business of Retail and has taught senior executives with the prestigious London Business School and the next generation of talent at Canadian business schools.