Kohl's Center for Retailing 
Fall 2014 Newsletter

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Future Perfect Retail Conference 
"Unplug for a day and fast-forward to tomorrow"
Is more better? Communication and technology are increasing at an astounding pace, but what does this mean for retail today and tomorrow? Industry leaders, faculty, Board of Visitors, and students came together to explore these questions. The line up for the days' events included renowned industry leaders sharing their insights with the millennial generation and future industry leaders. Speakers included Robin Lewis, author of The New Rules of Retail and The Robin Report; Mark Logan from Barkley USA; Alfredo Muccino, Chief Creative Office at Liquid Agency; and J. Walker Smith of the Futures Company. 

Design Thinking: Building the Perfect Retail Experience 
Dee Warmath, Assistant Professor, lead the group in designing the "perfect" retail experience for their client. This exercise gave everyone an opportunity to think about and apply the topics from the days' conversation to construct a retail experience prototype. Design Thinking reinforces new thinking by starting with the consumer, framing the challenge in terms of consumer experience, and validates interpretations of consumer needs. This learning tool from Stanford's d.school is something that Dee Warmath has been implementing in her consumer science classes and the engineering school. 

Badger Networking Event 

The Badger Networking Event gave students the opportunity to hear SoHE alums talk about their personal growth and professional success. Participants, both students and alumni, got the chance to hear about different career paths, network, and connect with fellow Badgers. The day started with speed networking so students could hear tips and advice from alumni about future career paths in different fields and industries. Speed networking included all four areas of study in SoHE: consumer science, design studies, human development & family studies, and interdisciplinary studies.  Later, Dee Warmath moderated a panel conversation. 


Meet the Panelists

Adrian Reif and Matt D'Amour, the co-founders of Yumbutter, a company that aims to create wholesome, nutritious food and help "nourish the world". Matt graduated from the School of Human Ecology where he majored in Consumer Affairs.


Brenda Chamberlain was the executive director of Horton's Kids, a program that provides wrap-around services to children in Washington DC's Anacostia neighborhood. She also has managed, volunteered, consulted and directed at dozens of nonprofit organizations. Now she is the principal at Brenda Chamberlain Consulting in Madison. She graduated from the School of Human Ecology where she majored in interior design. She later earned a certificate in nonprofit management from Georgetown University. 


Matt Muenster graduated from the School of Human Ecology where he majored in interior design. He has worked on a variety of projects in restaurants, hotels, casinos and high-end residences. For the past 6 years he has been a host on shows including Bath Crashers, BATHtastic!, Blog Cabin, and HGTV Dream Home on the GHTV and DIY Networks.


John Zeratsky has worked on consumer, enterprise, and medical software products as a designer and writer. He helped redesign YouTube in 2011, and as a design partner at Google Ventures he has worked with over 50 companies such as Pocket, RetailMeNot, Blue Bottle Coffee, and Foundation Medicine to help use design successfully. 


Jon-Paul Bianchi is a program officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. His work focuses on impacting children from birth to age eight and their families. Before joining the foundation Jon-Paul worked as the early childhood initiatives directory at Colorado Children's Campaign, staff advisor to the Colordado Early Childhood & School Readniess Legislative Commission, UW Waisman Center for Developmental Disabilities, and Wisconsin Council on Children and Families. He holds a Master of Science in Human Development and Family Studies and a Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Studies from the University of Wisconsin. 



Student Retail Association
Building Future Leaders of the Retail Industry 

The Student Retail Association provides an environment of activities that enables members to explore many dimensions of retailing and gain an "on-the-job" perspective of the ever-changing retail world. The association strives to provide members with opportunities to develop leadership skills, interact with students with common interests as well as hear from and network with professionals in the retail industry. This semester SRA had a busy schedule filled with fun and beneficial events! 


Professional Events 

SRA kicked off the semester with a presentation from buying and product development representatives from Kohl's. Students learned about different career paths available and got to hear from students who interned at Kohl's the past summer.  Before the career fair, Macy's lead an informational session about the do's and don'ts of resume writing, career fair etiquette, and interviewing.  In October, they welcomed Milwaukee Tool, who had a very interactive presentation about their new soft line products; students got very involved expressing their questions and feedback which made for a great conversation.  There were also great informational sessions throughout the month from Bon-Ton, AT&T, and Target. In November, Roundy's spoke to SRA about internship and career opportunities, and had fun trivia about the Milwaukee based retailer. The semester's informational sessions ended with a panel of merchants from Land's End.

Community Service, Fundraising, and Social Events 
The management teams also put together great social, fundraising, and community service events for members to get involved on campus and 
in the community. Community service started off the semester volunteering at Brides Against Breast Cancer, and continued to help local businesses such as Helping Hands to donate hats and gloves for the YWCA, and teaming up with our fundraising committee for Rethreads donations. At the end of the semester SRA brought holiday spirit to the troops with letters and cards. There were also fun social events for members to get to know one another. In October, everyone got into the fall festivities by going apple and pumpkin picking! Later in the month back by popular demand members had a fun dinner at Diego's then walked across the street to have some laughs at the Comedy Club on State Street. 
Chicago Industry Trip
On October 17th the Student Retail Association brought 23 students to Chicago for their annual trip to learn about different opportunities in the greater Chicago area. The first stop was to Crate & Barrel headquarters, were they learned about e-commerce strategies to enhance the online shopping experience as well as career opportunities at their Northbrook, IL headquarters and Crate & Barrel stores. Next stop was downtown to tour Trunk Club's headquarters and learn about their unique retail format. Students heard from recent SRA and SoHE alumni Sara Weber and Clare Jacobs about their roles as a stylist, and the adjustment of working and living in downtown Chicago. The final stop was just a few blocks away to Walgreens' State Street flagship store where students got to hear about the store experience at one of the company's largest stores. This was a great way to round out the day, giving students the chance to learn about corporate and store opportunities. 


New York Trip
Over winter break SRA will be taking 26 students to New York where they will attend the National Retail Federation Big Show! This includes the Student Program where students will attend a career fair and professional development seminar. This is an opportunity for students to seek internship and job opportunities that may not be as readily available on campus, and meet with students from across the country interested in retail. SRA will also be visiting Macy's corporate office above the Harold Square store where they can hear about opportunities with Macy's, as well as what it's like living and working in New York. Students also get to enjoy a tour and shopping at the famous Harold Square location! Kohl's will also be hosting students at their design office. Students in the past have been able to sit through mock vendor meeting and see how products for their exclusive celebrity brands are produced.  Many students aspire to work in New York, and SRA's trip gives them a taste of life working in retail in the Big Apple. 




Student Spotlights
Ryan Zibrowski
Bachelor of Science, Retailing

As I have made my way to my final semester here at Madison, there have been things that went as planned and others that were a surprise. I planned on becoming a diehard Badger fan and can safely say I succeeded. I did not plan on majoring in retail, but glad that I am. After reading the retailing description, I knew I found something unique. A new door was opened that would end up playing a vital roll in where I am today. Through the customer focused classes in the School of Human Ecology, I have the methods and understanding to look at situations from the consumers' perspective. What makes this program really unique are the opportunities to experience the industry first hand through the involvement of the Student Retail Association as well as events provided by the Center for Retailing.  One example includes speaking with alumni and other successful professionals to help build a network that I can utilize in every facet of life. Another example includes the trips to visit a variety of companies and conferences to see and hear industry leading companies and professionals. Utilizing these opportunities has provided both a summer internship and a full time job with Dick's Sporting Goods in Pittsburgh, PA.  I truly believe I have surpassed what I thought I could achieve thanks to the wealth of knowledge and opportunity available through the School of Human Ecology. I can confidently say that I am well prepared and ready to make a difference in the retail world. 

Paige Cero

Bachelor of Science, Journalism-Strategic Communications 

My four years at UW-Madison have been spent getting a degree in journalism with a focus in strategic communication. I aimed to work on the promotional marketing side of business, the side that creates the ad campaigns, but this past summer I interned with Target Corporation. My plans changed. All my student jobs have been based in retail, but it wasn't until my internship that I realized the two sides to retail: in store and corporate. My mentor at Target saw my passion for the retail world and connected me with the Center for Retailing, and specifically Jerry O'Brien. When I meet with Jerry he helped me describe my dream job, and find retail classes that would position me for success. He also gave a list of opportunities the Student Retail Association and the Center has to offer given my interest. This led to the opportunity to attend the Shop.org Summit in Seattle, Washington. While in Seattle, I heard major executives speak from Nordstrom, Amazon, WalMart and REI. I had moments to discuss their career paths and learn about where they foresee retail moving. Furthermore, I got to learn about new advances in digital retail, and network with various companies. My advice to all students interested in retail is to visit the Center. They are well connected and have immense resources to help students excel. No matter if you're a freshman not sure what careers are out there, a sophomore or junior primping your resume for internship interviews, or a senior looking for a job, the Center has the resources to put you ahead. 


Faculty Spotlight 
Nancy Wong
Professor, Faculty Directory

Nancy Wong, Professor of Consumer Science, has begun her 3-year term as Department Chair of Consumer Science this September. She is leading the retailing program through its 10-year review (a requirement of all academic programs at UW-Madison), which is expected to be completed in Spring 2015. She has also been working with units across campus on developing certificate programs in retailing for business, economics, and consumer finance. On the research front, she has completed a year-long study with UW researchers from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies on understanding acquisition and disposal behavior of UW students living in dormitories (funded by UW Office of Sustainability) and other related studies (funded by the National Science Foundation). She presented these research findings as a Speaker at the Weston Roundtable Series in March this year. She has also completed another year-long study with a visiting professor from Wuhan University, China on conservation behavior of Chinese consumers.

Case Competitions 

and Scholarships


The Center for Retailing offers students many opportunities for case competitions and scholarship to show off their knowledge and apply their class work to real industry scenarios. This semester there were many students who were able to excel in these national case competitions! 

National Retail Federation Student Challenge 

This year the case for the NRF Student Challenge was to create a business plan for a new product. Congratulations to Dakota Smith, Kelly McCamley, Monica Wilson, and Morgan Loomis on their top 5 finish!

National Retail Federation Next Generation Scholarship 

Dylan Mack, a senior majoring in retailing, was awarded one of the National Retail Federation Next Generation Scholar semi-finalists! He will join the Student Retail Association on their trip to New York to represent Wisconsin among other scholars across the country, congratulations Dylan! 

YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund

The YMA Scholarship gives students interested in retailing, merchandising, design, fashion, and business the chance to create and compete against students nationwide. Winners receive a $5,000 scholarship and a trip to New York where they are recognized by industry leaders at a gala in the famous Waldorf Historia!


Congratulations to our winners! 

Mariel Bolger

Lauren Wellenstein

Megan Donovan

Dvorah Elster 

Anastasia Janson

Lauren Smyczek 

Madalyn Manzeck 


Retail Leadership Symposium


Thank you to the following companies for presenting in the Retail Leadership Symposium during the Fall 2014 semester. Your presence on campus and in the classroom benefit our program, and most importantly, our students and their futures in the retail industry! 


Milwaukee Tool


NPD Group

Fair Indigo


The Diamond Center

The Honest Kitchen


University of Wisconsin-Bookstore


Thank you again to all the individuals and companies--you are what makes our program great! 



Thank you to all of our amazing Partners!





Dustin Ortiz

Our work and our people are regularly covered in publications around the world.


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