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The Path to Purchase for Brands to Win at Retail: Harnessing the Power of Shopper Marketing and the Customer Journey

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Ken Hicks
4042 North, Co-Founder, Managing Partner

 Ken Hicks co-founded 4042North, a cannabis branding, digital, and shopper marketing creative agency. He is a seasoned agency executive with 25+ years of experience and an exceptional track record of leading Agency teams toward strategic marketing communication solutions and award-winning creative programming, both domestically and internationally. The solutions have helped to change human behavior, build brands and lead to increased shopper engagement and transactions for clients’ businesses.  With a deep understanding of the CPG category, he has taken his expertise and passion into the area of the growing Cannabis Market. He is passionate about Cannabis and is committed to taking this category to the next level in brand marketing and activation.  He has developed a team of agency brand, digital and shopper marketing experts at 4042North that guide cannabis clients and brands to unparalleled results.   Ken is a graduate of the University of Michigan and holds a Master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

Lara Fordis
Fordis Consulting, Market Research Renegade

Lara is a market research renegade committed to helping cannabis businesses use actual data and insights instead of just relying on hunches or gut feelings. Her mission is to make market research accessible to all cannabis brands, regardless of their size, stage or budget. Her work reveals trends in the canna-curious, the invisible shopper, and other consumer segments.

Sarah O'Leary
Gal Pals Minis, Founder

Sarah O’Leary began her career writing jokes for McDonald’s Happy Meal boxes. 30 years later she created Gal Pals Minis™, a Happy Meal for female Cannabis consumers that also benefits breast cancer patients in Michigan. 

Prior to her entry into Cannabis, Sarah served as the creative lead on brands including Wal-Mart, PepsiCo, Princess Cruises, KIA Automotive, Jack in the Box and Hershey’s. Within Cannabis, Sarah created the Wacky Weed Tour of Ann Arbor ( and the brand Gal Pals Minis.  Her agency, Immortal Jellyfish, creates brands and shopper strategies for companies who want to build authentic, evergreen emotional bridges with their audiences.  

Ben DiSanti
4042 North, Co-Founder

Ben DiSanti co-founded 4042North, a cannabis branding, digital and shopper marketing creative agency.  His prior work with retail stalwarts like Walmart, Safeway, Kroger, Meijer, Target, Family Dollar and others provided the foundation for applying data and developing insights that were applied to build effective shopper marketing programs.  Over the past three years he has transitioned this insight-driven approach into the cannabis marketplace where there is a need for a better understanding of cannabis shoppers beyond just POS data.  His past work in both online and in-store retail environments has paved the way for significant shifts in brand status at retail (e.g., Hershey achieving Volume-producing item status at Walmart), and increased brand presence and sales (e.g., launch of Pharmacann’s Matter brand through dispensaries).  In addition to his focus on cannabis marketing, Ben is also an adjunct professor at Columbia College – teaching Consumer Behavior, Planning, and Brand Strategy.  

Katie Brewer
BrewStump Insights, Founder

Katie Brewer is founder of newly launched BrewStump Insights, a multi-faceted agency designed to provide clients with actionable, data-driven strategies spanning market research, branding & PR, with expertise in the CPG, SaaS, and cannabis sectors. Her diverse professional experience includes market research agency work for Ingather Research & Sensory, TripleScoop Market Research, and Schlesinger Group as well as brand side marketing for cannabis edibles brand, marQaha.