Board of Advisors & Directors

Board of Advisors

First Insight’s Board of Advisors is a diverse group of retail, technology and academic leaders.

Robert Blattberg

Robert Blattberg is currently the Timothy W. McGuire Distinguished Service Professor of Marketing and Director for the Center for Marketing Technology and Information at the Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University.  He was the Polk Bros. Distinguished Professor of Retailing at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University from 1991 to 2007.  He served as the Charles H. Kellstadt Professor of Marketing and Director of the Center of Marketing Information Technology at the University of Chicago. Professor Blattberg received his PhD in industrial administration from Carnegie Mellon University, has co-authored four books and has written a number of industry-related articles that have appeared in leading academic journals.

Mark A. Cohen

Mark A. Cohen is a professor of Marketing at Columbia University Graduate School of Business. Mark has over 20 years of experience in CEO-level positions in the retail industry. Most recently he was Chairman/CEO of Sears Canada Inc. Previously he was CMO and President of Softlines of Sears Roebuck & Co., Chairman/CEO of Bradlees Inc., and Chairman/CEO of Lazarus Department Stores. He has also held positions with The Gap, Lord and Taylor and Mervyn’s. In addition to his role at Columbia, Mark serves as an independent consultant to both the retail and consumer products industries.

deborah i. fine

Deborah Fine is a highly accomplished omnichannel executive and CEO with 20+ years of experience leading six diverse businesses to record growth and profit. Originally recruited to their Board of Directors,  Fine was most recently EVP, Chief Commercial Officer at Modell's Sporting Goods, Inc. In prior roles, she was CEO of Victoria's Secret Pink, President and CEO of Direct Brands, Inc., President of iVillage Properties at NBC Universal Digital Media, Founder and President of Avon Mark, and Vice President and Publisher of Glamour Magazine and Publisher of Brides.

Fine has also been elected to serve as a Director on the Board of seven businesses and organizations,  including Active International, Pet360, Wilmington Trust and The Girl Scouts of America.

Mindy meads

Mindy Meads is a seasoned retail executive with more than 30 years of experience in the retail industry. Currently a Board Director for Blue Nile, Mindy has served as co-CEO of Aeropostale and as CEO of Lands’ End and Calypso St. Barth. She earlier held a wide range of senior executive merchandising and operating positions at Victoria’s Secret, Sears, Gymboree, The Limited, and RH Macy’s. Mindy is also a former Director of the Federal Reserve Board for the 7th District (Chicago).  

Chris Mizer

Chris Mizer is President and CEO of Cornerstone Retail Group. Chris has over 30 years of experience in senior level retail positions. Most recently he was SVP of Customer Operations for Macy’s. He has also held senior merchandising, operations and multi store positions for Macy’s/Federated department stores.

Chris advises several private companies.  

Matthew E. Rubel

Matthew E. Rubel is a Senior Advisor at TPG Capital, a leading global private investment firm with over $50 billion of capital under management. Previously, he was Chairman and CEO of Collective Brands, where he led the acquisition of the Stride Rite Corporation and the integration with Payless Shoesource. Prior to that, Matt was Chairman, President and CEO of Cole Haan, Matt also served as Executive Vice President, J. Crew Group and CEO of Popular Club Plan.

Matt Rubel is a member the Board of Directors of several companies, including HSN Inc., Hudson’s Bay Company, and SUPERVALU Inc. As a White House appointee, Matt serves on the United States Trade Representative (USTR) Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations.

Edward M. Schmults

Edward M. Schmults is currently the CEO of Wild Things LLC.  Ed is also a member of the Board of Directors for Vera Bradley as well as the Outdoor Industry Association. He most recently served as the CEO of FAO Schwarz with prior senior roles with Red Envelope, Moonstone Mountain Equipment and Patagonia. Mr. Schmults also has a strong background in finance, starting his career in investment banking with Goldman Sachs & Company.


Board of Directors

Joel Adams

Joel founded Adams Capital Management in 1994 and has led its growth to $815 million capital under management. Before establishing ACM, Joel served for eight years as Vice President and General Partner of Fostin Capital Corporation.

Prior to Fostin, Joel served for seven years as a nuclear test engineer for General Dynamics, where he managed chemical, electrical and mechanical engineering teams and directed nuclear power plant sea trials. Joel is a member of several charitable organizations, a Trustee of Carnegie Mellon University and a frequently requested speaker on the topic of venture capital.

Richard C. Marcus

Mr. Marcus has over 50 years’ experience in the marketing and retailing field, 27 of which were spent at Neiman Marcus where he served as CEO from 1979 to 1988. Currently, Mr. Marcus is Senior Advisor to Peter J. Solomon Company, a director of First Insight and WineSimple, and an advisor to Newgistics, Shelfbucks, Clearhead, NewComLink and Rick’sPicks. He has previously served on the boards of three public companies: Zale Corporation, Michaels Stores and Lands’ End. Mr. Marcus is a graduate of Harvard College and the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School. 

Greg Petro

As CEO of First Insight, Greg Petro is passionate about removing the distance between consumers and retailers. During his 25-year career in retail industry and with one of the world’s leading supply chain technology firms, Greg saw a need for retailers and brands to re-engage with consumers to determine how products will perform before costly investment decisions are made.

In 2007, Greg founded First Insight to deliver what is now the world’s leading platform empowering retailers and brands to introduce the right products at the right price.  Greg is a regular contributor to, is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Fashion Institute of Technology, and speaks at the graduate business schools of Columbia University and the University of Pittsburgh on how retailers can use technology to identify and deliver what their customers really want.