Kohl's Center for Retailing 
Spring 2016 Newsletter

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Letter From Jerry O'Brien
Director of the Kohl's Center for Retailing Excellence
It is very difficult to fathom how it could possibly be time to write the newsletter for the end of the Spring 2016 semester, but here we are.

As is always the case, I need to begin by offering my sincerest thanks to our partners and friends in the industry who provided financial resources and expertise to the Center and to our students. Your involvement has allowed us to continue to build and improve upon what is certainly one of the best retail programs in the country.

Your involvement with the Center and in our classrooms has provided a level of excitement and knowledge to our students that would simply not be possible otherwise.

To our faculty and staff, both at the School of Human Ecology and across campus, we are very fortunate to be part of a truly world-class university. Your dedication to our students has been a huge part of their ongoing success.

Success is what we see in every facet. Our curriculum continues to be fine-tuned and is focused on preparing our students to lead and innovate. Our students have become accustomed to doing well in national case study competitions, and as you will read further on in this newsletter this year we have continued the tradition. Our students are off to exciting internships this summer and our graduates have accepted an amazing array of leadership positions in nearly every aspect of the industry.

Our Retailing major continues to grow and at the same time, more and more students from a variety of majors are reaching out to the Center to explore potential careers in the industry. We have more freshmen coming to campus that have pre-determined that they want to be retailing majors and our current students give us great feedback on the personalized attention they get.

We will be making some changes this summer. Our Assistant Director, Angie Badura has accepted a new position on campus at the Wisconsin School of Business as the Associate Director of BBA Career Advising. While we will miss Angie, I could not have worked with a more dedicated colleague. Having her at the Wisconsin School of Business will only strengthen our already wonderful partnership. We will be recruiting for Angie's replacement very soon.

I am always grateful for the opportunity to serve such an amazing group of students and be part of such a great organization.

I look forward to another great year,

YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund Gala
Marriott Marquis, New York City
This year, the University of Wisconsin-Madison had 11 students win a Fashion Scholarship Fund scholarship! UW tied with two other schools to have the largest amount of winning students! The 11 students and our Geoffrey Beene scholar all traveled to New York for the annual YMA Gala.
The festivities kicked off in the morning with some presentations from executives from the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund and HR representatives from partnering companies. The gala began with a networking hour where students could get to know the executive board of the  scholarship  fund and other working professionals in the retailing industry. That was followed by a banquet and some more networking! The following day, the students were able to attend a private career fair with many of the scholarships partnering companies before heading home!

Retail's BIG Show
National Retail Federation, New York City
A group of 30 students attended the National Retail Federation's annual tradeshow in New York City from January 13th - 18th. The students kicked off the trip with visits to Macy's Herald Square offices, Lands' End design office, and Kohl's design office. The corporate visits were followed by two busy days of student programming, which included talks from the founder of Leave Your Mark LLC, Aliza Licht, panels of executives, a financial literacy session, and an amazing executive mentor experience! The trip ended with the students spending the day at the NRF's annual BIG Show where they could explore some of the newest innovations in the retail industry.
When they weren't busy with student programming, students were able to take full advantage of exploring the Big Apple. Students attended Broadway shows, shopped, went to the Top of the Rock, went ice skating at the Rockefeller ice rink, and enjoyed some great food! Students had a great time during their stay in New York and met some amazing people!

NRF Next Generation Gala
Pier 60, New York City
Kohl's Center for Retailing staff and retailing students Megan Donovan and Jaylin Carlson attended the National Retail Federation Next Generation Foundation Gala in January! Megan was able to attend as she made the top 25 for the Next Generation Scholarship, and Jaylin was able to attend as she was named a Rising Star.  
The event began with a networking hour and a banquet where the NRF honored some of the leading disrupters, givers, dreamers, influencers, and power players in the industry. Some of those being honored included Kohl's Chief Merchandising and Customer officer Michelle Gass and Chairman and co-CEO of Tory Burch LLC, Tory Burch. The event was hosted by Mindy Grossman of HSNi and Terry Lundgren of Macy's!

Robbie Bach
Author, Xbox Revisited
The School of Human Ecology was lucky enough to welcome Robbie Bach the former Chief Xbox Officer and Civic Engineer for Microsoft this semester!
He talked to students about finding ways for them to find their superpower and to find their kryptonite. The students who came were able to get signed copies of his book, Xbox Revisited.

Adobe Day at UW
Broflyster Training Day
We were fortunate to have a group from Adobe come and host a training day for our students this semester! The training was held at College Library and included a short lecture on how to be an effective digital story teller from Susan Mango Curtis, an associate professor at Northwestern's school of journalism, Medill. Following Susan was a presentation from Ryan Dietz of Adobe where students learned how to utilize Adobe products such as InDesign to create a Broflyster. 
A Broflyster, which is a combination of a brochure, a flyer and a poster, is a term coined here in the School of Human Ecology and is now being used by Adobe as they work with other universities around the country! It is a new and exciting way to tell a digital story.
Krista Berry
Inaugural Alumni Executive-in-Residence
We are excited to announce that Krista Berry will be serving as our inaugural Alumni Executive-in-Residence! As part of the Executive-in-Residence program, Krista will be available on a monthly basis to present in and participate in classes, advise, participate in and help develop the future vision of our Design and Innovation Center, mentor students involved in independent studies and case studies and advise in Career Readiness.
Krista Berry served as the Chief Digital Officer for Kohl's Department Stores. Prior to that, she served as the General Manager for Nike Direct to Consumer for North America growing their omni-channel businesses.  
Krista began her retail career at Marshall Field's / Target Corporation where she spent the first years of her career in a variety of positions including merchandising, planning and ultimately becoming a Group Manager of Target.com. 
Krista is a proud graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Madison and the School of Human Ecology, that launched her passion in retail through their internship program. Krista and two of her brothers are badger alumni. Last year she was thrilled to be honored with a Distinctive Fellowship Award from the University.
She and her family are huge badger fans and enjoy spending as much time in Madison as possible. Volunteering with the students is one of her favorite activities. She and her husband Jerry and son Max currently live in Hartland, WI. Her oldest son Tanner is currently enjoying his freshman year as a Badger! 

Women in Entrepreneurship Panel
April 20, 2016
This year, the Center for Retailing hosted our very first Women in Entrepreneurship Panel! We were so pleased to host Sally Mueller of WHYSE Branding, Jane Blain Gilbertson of Blain's Farm and Fleet, Lea Culver of Culver's Restaurant, Jill Dybdahl of Lollyzip and Jen Van Wart of Twiggs Boutique! The women held a panel where they took student questions and then had the opportunity to sit with a table of students for a more personalized chat.
Prior to the Panel, the women were able to listen to two different student case competition presentations and later attended a dinner with Dean Shim.

Threads IMPACT Fashion Show
Design and Fashion Event  
Each year, the School of Human Ecology hosts a design and fashion event to showcase our Design Studies students hard work. This year the theme of the show was IMPACT, where designers showed through clothing how they want to have an impact on the world. We had a wonderful turn out for this years fashion show and could not be more proud of the student who create these amazing designs!
The fashion show is planned each year by a group of students as a class. A small group are selected to be leaders for the year and spend fall semester deciding on the creative direction of the show, and then are joined by more students in the spring to build sets, create a viewbook, sell ad space, create graphics, manage the PR and social media for the show and act as designer and model liaisons. It is a tremendous effort by these students and they did a great job this year! 

Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference
Fort Meyers, Florida
Three students traveled to Fort Meyers, Florida this semester with Jerry to attend the Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference! Brian Lucksinger, Lexi Van Camp and Megan Donovan were able to go in large part due to Stefan Midford and his team from Natural Insight. The students attended the RMMC's annual banquet, went to receptions where they were able to meet and network with other attendee's and went to several keynote speeches.

Ideas Worth Building 
Independent Study Public Forum
Four of our senior retailing students, Megan Donovan, Miranda Henke, Audrey Ackley and Penny Peng participated in an independent study this spring focusing on retailing channel strategies. The students spent the spring semester researching their 'ideas worth building' and did three smaller talks for a small group and ended the semester with a larger public forum to share their ideas with a large audience. 

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 spring semester with a presentation from Bon Ton, where students were able to learn more about the internship and full-time opportunities with the company. Macy's came on campus next to host a networking session so that students could get to know more about professional opportunities with the company in a more personal setting. Rethreds, a recycled fashion boutique, hosted an info session for the club to give students more information about local businesses. Multiple resume sessions were held with recruiters from Macy's and one from our Alumni Executive-in-Residence Krista Berry. Target hosted an info session with SRA to give members more information about their opportunities for internships and full-time positions. Our second monthly meeting was hosted by Lands' End, who brought multiple team members from their merchandising area to tell members about their experiences with the company and post-grad life. Later in the month, members attended an Adobe training session to learn more about their Creative Cloud suite. Von Maur was on campus to give some more information to our members about opportunities with their company. The last monthly meeting with hosted by Spectrum Brands who gave some unique insights into a company that SRA does not hear from as often as others.
Community Service, Fundraising, and Social Events 
The first fundraising event of the semester was an Eat Wings Raise Funds fundraiser at Buffalo Wild Wings. This was followed up by a fundraiser at Qdoba and Panera!
The first social event of the semester was a night of bowling at Union South. Later in the semester, a group of students met at Kung Fu tea on State Street to enjoy some tea while studying for exams. The club had an outing to a Brewers game and wrapped the semester up with a night at the Comedy Club on State Street!
Community service was kicked off this semester with an event with All Dressed Up where members were able to help with an event that allows girls who wouldn't normally be able to afford a prom dress shop for free. To celebrate St Patrick's day, members volunteers at the annual Shamrock Shuffle. 

Consumer Strategy and Evaluation
Design Thinking Course
Consumer Strategy and Evaluation is a course taught by retailing Professor Dee Warmath that focuses on the design thinking process. This fall, the class has 9 different student teams working on projects. The projects included working with a group of mechanical engineering students, marketing classes for the Office of the Registrar, creating more awareness of the Consumer Science majors, researching e-commerce in Grocery for Roundy's, planning a season of shows for the Wisconsin Union Theatre, and increasing foot traffic and sales at the Robin's Nest Cafe!
Design thinking is an innovative way of working with clients by gaining empathy and finding the right question to answer.

The class was also lucky enough to get a visit from Krista Berry this semester! Krista went around to each group and gave them some advice as they enter the implementation phase of their projects.

Kohl's Invitational
Spring 2016 Case Competition
This year, the University of Wisconsin-Madison had a team participate and win the annual Kohl's Invitational case competition!  The team came up with new and innovative ways to solve the current obstacles Kohl's faces with attracting young millennials. 
The girls traveled to Milwaukee in April to Kohl's corporate office to present their ideas for a new department between women's and juniors to a panel of Kohl's executives and ended up taking home the grand prize! Congratulations to this amazing group of students! We could not be more proud!

Macy's Case Competition
Spring 2016 Case Competition
Each year groups of students apply for the Macy's Case Competition. This year we had a group of students Brianna Chin, Sarah Elsner and Lexi Van Camp take second place! The group summed up their experience below-

The Macy's Marketing Challenge took place in February and the prompt was "What can Macy's do better." It was simple and allowed for many opportunities, but that also turned out to be the most difficult part of the project. We as a group decided to focus on Macy's social media campaign, more specifically their Instagram. We chose this idea when we realized although all three of us had heard Macy's speak several times, especially about their Omni-Channel strategy, none of us followed Macy's on any social platform. Once discovering their Instagram page, we realized none of us followed it simply because it wasn't engaging or relatable . Their Instagram would have been great for an in-store marketing campaign, but for a social media site that was supposed to engage, it was too stiff. Likewise, we didn't want to change anything in store because Macy's is a classic, timeless company. They have done things in the store right for years, and we didn't want to touch that aspect of their business. Social Media was uncharted territory.
We pitched that their Instagram focus less on the aesthetic of the product and focus more on the consumer's use and relation to the product. We argued that while aesthetics were important; there needed to be a balance. Therefore, the photos need to evoke emotion in the consumer. It was an easy implementation as many of their partnerships such as Nike, Michael Kors, and Free People did this in their own Instagram and had many more followers. By simply adapting this strategy and focusing on companies who held more followers than Macy's did, their page would be able to grow and thrive without much change. We took second place and it was a great opportunity to work with a great company and have so much free range of direction that we could work with.

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! 
Natural Insight
Three students from the University of Wisconsin made it to the final rounds of the Natural Insights case competition this year! Megan Donovan, Brian Lucksinger and Lexi Van Camp traveled to Fort Myers along with Jerry to attend the World Alliance for Retail Excellence Standards annual Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference. The students attended various networking events, keynote speaker events, as well as the expo floor. While there, the students interviewed for the chance to win a $1,000 scholarship, and Megan won the prize! Congratulations to Megan, Brian and Lexi!

JOAMM Case Competition
This semester, the Center for Retailing Excellence in partnership with Adobe and Infegy Atlas held their inaugural JOAMM Case Competition! JOAMM stands for 'The Journey of a Million Miles.' This case competition challenged students to brainstorm a consumer need, create a need statement by going through the early stages of the design thinking process, research this need on Infegy Atlas, and finally, put all this together in a visual using only Adobe tools. In its first year, there were 4 teams, comprised of Consumer Science and Business students. Cash prizes of $1,000, $600, $300 and $100 dollars were awarded to teams 1-4, respectively and all students were give year-long subscriptions to all of Adobe's products! Retailing students Miranda Henke and Tayler Nowak were awarded the first prize for their Broflyster on food waste! Congratulations to Miranda and Tayler! 

Ray Greenly
Each spring, the National Retail Federation selects a group of students to compete in a case competition to win the chance to attend the Shop.Org Summit in the fall. This year, The Center for Retail nominated Brain Lucksinger to apply, and he was selected as one of the students to compete in the case competition! He will be working on a case study for Nordstrom. Congratulations and good luck to Brian!
Goodbye, Angie!
As some may know, our Assistant Director Angie Badura has accepted a new job as the Associate Director of Career Services for the Wisconsin School of Business. While we are sad to see her go, we are looking forward to having a friend of the Center and a retail advocate in the BBA career advising office. 
We miss you already Angie and thank you for all you did for this program!

Center for Design and Innovation
School of Human Ecology 
The Center for Design & Innovation, located in the School of Human Ecology, encourages creative, human-centered, interdisciplinary solutions to a wide range of issues via the application of Design Thinking.
cDI welcomes all who have need of and/or interest in what Design Thinking can contribute to problem-solving or concept development.  To learn more about research or project opportunities via affiliation with the center, please contact Dee Warmath at warmath@wisc.edu.


Faculty Spotlight 
Dee Warmath 
Dee Warmath, Assistant Professor of Consumer Science, comes to the program with almost three decades of industry experience. The courses she designs and teaches offer students immersive real world experience in the areas of Consumer Strategy & Evaluation, Advanced Analytics and Omni-Channel Retail Strategy. Her research focuses on the relationship between consumption and well-being with a special focus on decisions involving more than one decision maker (such as husbands and wives or partners) . Dr. Warmath holds a Master's Degree in Sociology from Vanderbilt University and PhD in Consumer Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Student Spotlights
Jory Brannan
Bachelor of Science in Retailing and Consumer Behavior with a certificate in  Entrepreneurship
With my third year at UW coming to a close, I look back at the incredible journey I have had. I came to UW determined to be an engineer. However, I soon came to realize that this path was not for me. I decided to take a big step in a different direction. As soon as I heard about the retailing program in the School of Human Ecology, I knew it was for me. I became a retailing major my sophomore year and consider it the best decision I have made in college. I took the Retail Symposium class my first semester in retailing, where I got to meet Jerry O'Brien and Angie Badura. Their knowledge of the industry and dedication to students really made me realize how special the Center is. Through the Center I came to participate in a Macy's Case Competition that semester, which was something I didn't think I would do in my first semester in an entirely new major. I also became involved in the Student Retail Association, where I have gotten the chance to participate in numerous activities and trips, and grown closer to fellow members. I went with Student Retail Association this past January to New York City, where I attended the NRF Big Show and got an internship with Walgreens for this upcoming summer. I am so excited to gain even more knowledge of the retail industry through my internship and to spend a summer in Chicago. I know that all of the great experiences I have had as a retail major would not have been possible without the help of the Center. Due to these opportunities I feel confident and ready to succeed in the retail industry after my graduation.

Nick Sheahan
Bachelor of Science in Retailing and Consumer Behavior with a certificate in  Entrepreneurship
I have always had a passion for the outdoors and activities that allow me to explore. Before I transferred to UW Madison, I worked for an outdoor sporting goods store as a sales associate and absolutely loved it. When I found out that the School of Human Ecology had a retail program I was immediately interested. I was particularly happy to see that SoHE aligned with my passion for the outdoors by making moves to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly. My love for the outdoors, along with the knowledge I gained from my education, ultimately landed me a full time position at Grand Teton Brewing in Victor, Idaho. I was on the Hoofers Ski and Snowboard trip over spring break and struck a conversation with a man sitting next to me at a bar in Jackson Hole. We had a lengthy conversation about beer, my education and my desire to move to the mountains. After talking with him, he got up and handed me his business card and told me to send him my resume. Turns out, he was the Brewmaster at Grand Teton Brewing. I am extremely excited to move to the mountains and continue to cheer for the Badgers.

Retail Leadership Symposium


Thank you to the following companies for presenting in the Retail Leadership Symposium during the Spring 2016 semester. Your presence on campus and in the classroom benefit our program, and most importantly, our students and their futures in the retail industry! 



The Honest Kitchen


Home Depot

Dollar General

The Diamond Center


Harley Davidson


American Eagle


Blain's Farm and Fleet 


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



All Ways Forward
Help us change the world
All Ways Forward is UW's newest giving campaign.

From pioneering the field of bone marrow transplant to changing how the nation takes its vitamins to transforming Bascom Hill into a habitat for flocks of flamingoes, we've expanded the definition of possible in all directions. And that's just in our first 167 years. Now we're asking everyone who supports UW-Madison to help continue to make our university the home of innovation and a force for positive change in the lives of people everywhere.

One of the featured initiatives for this campaign was born in the School of Human Ecology- The 4W Initiative.The 4W Initiative (which stands for Advancing Women's Well-being in Wisconsin and the World) gets to the heart of what SoHE stands for. It's a special application of the Wisconsin Idea, aiming to improve the lives and health of women across the state and around the globe.

Thank you to all of our amazing Partners!





Kohl's Center for Retailing Excellence