Fall 2018 Newsletter

What a great year!

Happy New Year  to all of our Partners, Colleagues, Friends and Students.
As 2018 comes to a close, we are very grateful for your support and engagement.
It's been another positive year for the Center. New faculty, expanded enrollment, increased participation in extra curricular activities, new partners and more exciting opportunities than ever made available to our students.
It is such an exciting time in our industry. The rapid pace of change, while challenging to keep up with, is also exhilarating. Our students are very obviously taking advantage of opportunities to be creative leaders and innovators. Our faculty and staff work tirelessly to stay on top of the changes and to guide our students to think differently. Our partners have given generously to provide financial resources and expertise to support the Center. Thanks to their generosity, we are able to ensure the education is top notch and the extra curricular activities are inspirational and affordable to all of our students.
As you read through this newsletter you will see many new offerings, many stories of success, and entwined in all of that is the story of the lives of many students changed. I hope all of our supporters are proud of the impact they have through the center.
Looking forward to 2019!

Were you inspired by an instructor, participated in a case competition, traveled to a conference, had in internship, engaged with the Student Retail Association, or discovered a new path in the retailing industry?
The annual fund supports student life and learning experiences- from scholarships to small-group mentoring to career counseling, the fund provides vital and and immediate support to take advantage of "just in time" opportunities for students. 

When you give to the SoHE annual fund you are a part of something bigger than ever imagined- you are joining a community of Badgers just like you who say:  Yes, I believe in the School of Human Ecology and I cant wait to see what the next generation can do! 

Spotlight: Stellar Student Internships

Nicholas Jackson- American Family Insurance
Connect with Nicholas on LinkedIn  here.
Dream Curator Intern for DreamBank, Madison
Senior, Retailing & Consumer Behavior

Nicholas Jackson  interned for the  DreamBank  at American Family Insurance in Madison. Nicholas's main job as a Dream Curator Intern was to help organize and market events that DreamBank hosted. Aside from the day to day tasks, he worked on a project to develop a presentation for a local non-profit organization to demonstrate how a financial gift from American Family Insurance could help the organization.

Nicholas talked about his achievements from the project, "Our presentation was given in front of an audience of employees and panel of judges, and we were able to win $1,000 for [nonprofit] Sustain Dane." His accomplishments as an intern landed him a full time position at DreamBank within American Family Insurance after he graduates in May of 2019!

Lizz Denning- Home Depot
Connect with Lizz on LinkedIn 
Operations Intern, Atlanta, GA
Senior, Retailing and Consumer Behavior 

Lizz Denning  spent her summer at Home Depot as an Operations Intern in Atlanta. She was given a summer long project to improve efficiency of employees in the garden centers. Each day Lizz would spend time on the floor with store associates to find what they needed to improve their daily responsibilities.

Lizz's project was very successful for Home Depot, "I was able to decrease associate footsteps taken by 20% with my new process, and there are plans to roll this out to more stores by Spring 2019. It feels so amazing to know that a $100 billion company wants to use something that I came up with!"

Lizz summed up her experience perfectly, "This internship definitely solidified my decision to pursue roles that allow me to improve stores for customers and provide the best experience possible."


Linda Ahlers
Fall 2018 Alumni Executive in Residence

Linda Ahlers served as the Center for Retailing's Alumni Executive in Residence in the fall.  Linda's storied career was an asset to the role and to the students interested in exploring the retailing industry. 

School of Human Ecology alumna Linda Ahlers (Retailing '72) served as fall 2018's Alumni Executive in Residence for the  Kohl's Center for Retailing . Linda made the most out of her time by connecting with students throughout the major.

Linda had a positive impact while helping students with their projects for the course, "Product Development Strategies in Retailing". Students had the opportunity to practice presenting their trend forecasting projects for Linda and she offered individual feedback to help these future retail professionals improve their presentation skills. 

In addition to student mentoring, Linda's residency included presentations at the  Retail Leadership Symposium and the  Women in Leadership event.
Thank you Linda for an amazing semester!
Featured Alumni: Michael Stallsmith 
Account Supervisor, Theory House

Michael Stallsmith is a 2011 BBA Marketing graduate of UW-Madison who was highly involved with the Center. In this interview, Michael provides his background as UW graduate and advice for future graduates.  
Connect with Michael on LinkedIn here.

What was you favorite part of your program?

"No question, it was every experiential learning opportunity I took advantage of with the Center for Retailing. My only regret was not discovering it all sooner. Representing UW-Madison while presenting at the NRF Big Show as well as traveling to China with the program were definitely a couple of my personal highlights that I still value looking back on today." 

How did you get your first job out of college?

"Through a connection I was able to work my way into getting an introductory phone call with a recruiter at Dick's Sporting Goods. They were not recruiting at UW-Madison, but at that time, I was determined to marry my passions for sports and retail. Lucky for me, I was able to secure one of the final spots in their merchandising trainee program. Most importantly I learned to be myself but be prepared. Holding intelligent, thoughtful and genuine conversations with working professionals goes an incredibly long way in making that important first impression." 

What is one area you wish you would've focused on more, academically or non-academically, during your time at UW? 

"Entrepreneurship. While I've yet to fully try something on my own, I wish I had realized then that I had every opportunity in college (resources, time, people, etc.) to take a shot at something I thought was worth exploring. If nothing else, I would have learned a lot in the process of figuring it out."

If you could give advice to your college self what would you say? 
  • Trust your gut. It will rarely steer you wrong.
  • Lose the fear of failure. Be confident in what you have to give.
  • Be vulnerable and put yourself in more uncomfortable situations.
  • Learn to appreciate learning for learning's sake. It doesn't end with college.
Where can you see yourself in the next couple years or where do you see the retail industry? 

"Tough question. I'm one that tends to get a little anxious when thinking about the future as the world and industries continue to change at faster rates. Retail is a prime example of that (no pun intended). This is no longer the retail of old. The industry is still learning to move, adapt and change more quickly. I see myself growing as a retail thought leader and strategist. My experience has been built on a foundation of business leadership in merchandising, which I've now combined with a greater acuity for marketing, creativity, and design. I aim to grow more technologically skilled in the years to come so that I am able to provide a unique retail voice and perspective no matter what my professional role may be.

Guest Badger Football Coach
Dr. Nancy Murray Takes the Field!  

Dear Dr. Murray, I am writing this email on behalf of the Office of Academic Services to invite you to be a "Guest
Kapoi, Murray, and Deiter
Coach" for a UW football game this upcoming fall!  Two of our football student-athlete s, Michael Deiter and Micah Kapoi, nominated you to be a guest coach because of the positive impact you have made on their time here at UW-Madison." 

This was the message our Academic Director for the Center for Retailing and Faculty Associate for Retailing and Consumer Behavior (RCB) courses, Nancy Murray, received in the latter part of August. At the time, both Deiter and Kapoi were entering their final semester as UW Badger football players and RCB majors.  Deiter and Kapoi were initially students of Murray fall semester of 2015 in Intro to Retailing, later followed by other courses such as Global Consumer, Retail Financial Analysis and she was their advisor for their Retail Internships in which both student scholar athletes interned with one of our partners, Blain's Farm n' Fleet.  

Murray's stint as guest coach started on Friday, October 4th with a tour of Camp Randall and the Fetter Center for Student-Athlete Excellence to better understand the support provided and academic requirements of UW student athletes. Then after watching the end of practice from the sideline she was greeted by the nominating players as well as other players, head coach Paul Chryst, Defensive Coordinator Jim Leonard and Athletic Director, Barry Alvarez.  

Saturday, October 5th was the Badger's BigTen home opener game vs. Nebraska.  To start the day, Murray was invited to have a meal with the incoming recruits, their families and coaches.  There, Barry Alvarez addressed the high school athletes about the importance of playing football at a place "where you are going to get a quality education and be with people who truly care about you."  After watching warm-ups from the game field sideline she followed the team out through the tunnel during the opening ceremony.  Murray was sideline for the first part of the game and then was provided complimentary seats for the remainder of the game.  The UW Badgers beat the Nebraska Cornhuskers 41-24.  In 2016, Murray was also guest coach for a UW Volleyball game with RCB students Tori Blake and Lauren Carlini (who currently plays on the USA National team).  That night, UW swept Kent State in three sets, so Murray's record as a NCAA Division 1 (honorary guest) coach sits at a perfect 2-0!

Two of our newest Retail and Consumer Behavior Graduates!                    

Experience China Study Abroad
Spring 2018 | Hangzhou, China

This spring, a group of UW-Madison students accompanied by Professor Murray, studied abroad in China for the semester.

The UW students lived amongst other international students on the campus of Zhejiang International Studies University in Hangzhou. Local host families invited them into their homes for meals and visits. Students were able to explore much of China through many organized group trips to places such as Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Guilin. The students were enrolled in various courses that further aided in their immersion of the Chinese culture such as Introduction to Mandarin Chinese language, History and Culture of China, etc. For their Product Development Strategies course, students visited companies such as Ascena Global Sourcing, Macy's Merchandise Group, Macy's China, Li & Fung and  e-commerce giant Alibaba.

Mara, a returning student from the study abroad wrote to Dr. Murray reflecting on her experience, "It was a pleasure to spend time in China with you and to gain so much insight into the product development world. Thank you for providing us with such excellent learning opportunities... I really miss Chinese friends, food and adventures." 

Click here to learn more about the experience.

Las Vegas Trade Shows
August 2018 | Las Vegas, Nevada

T he annual opportunity for students to experience various trade shows in August did not disappoint for 2018!
Students were provided the unique opportunity to meet with a variety of brands and
manufacturers, shadow buyers, attend trend seminars, meet with fashion directors and which all augmented their learning outside of the classroom. 

Above: students shadowing buyers at a vendor meeting.

Click here to watch a quick 1-minute overview video of the students experience at the trade shows. 

Minneapolis Industry Trip 
Fall 2018 | Target, JL Buchanan, Aveda

In early November, these Badgers had the opportunity to step into the world of retail professionals on a multi-day trip in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

" The Minneapolis Trip was an amazing opportunity to solidify what I've been learning in the classroom out in the real world. By networking with business leaders from Aveda, JL Buchanan, and Target, I was able to get a glimpse of what working in the corporate offices might truly look and feel like by getting the chance to immerse myself in their cultures. This was a great experience for anyone looking to go into retail and for exploring the various career paths some may not have even known existed within the field!" -
Raven Patzke

"The SRA industry trip to Minneapolis really opened my eyes to new career opportunities in the retail industry and expanded my professional network. I also met so many new students who share the same interests. Now I feel more connected to SRA and my major as a whole!" -  Kate Gorlinksi

National Retail Federation 
UW-Madison Team Excels in Student Challenge Competition 

E very fall UW-Madison Students with a passion for retail have the chance to compete in the NRF Student Challenge. The Student Challenge is a comprehensive case study that students work on in small teams. Historically the NRF has created a entrepreneurial case study by partnering an assortment of sponsors with  Story , a store in NY C that has an extremely unique concept and was just recently acquired by Macy's. 

Four UW Madison Students have made it through first rounds and were chosen as semi-finalists for the 2019 NRF Student Challenge Competition. 

Molly Foley, Sarah Jane Spreng, Lance Dismukes, and Ian Hirsch will be attending the NRF Student Program on Scholarship in January. Our students have already won $1500 worth of travel stipend money and will be competing for further scholarship while attending the Student Program this January. This team will be presenting their case study live in front of judges in New York as they are competing against two other semifinalist teams for additional scholarship and awards. 

Every year the Center enjoys advising teams entered in this competition, and we are so very proud of how innovative and hardworking this year's team was. Stay tuned in the Spring to see how the UW Madison NRF Student Challenge Team places within the final rounds! 

To read more about the 2019 Prompt and NRF Student Challenge click here. 

Women in Leadership Event
Celebrating Women Leaders in the Consumer Space

On Wednesday, October 17th,  the School of Human Ecology's  4W Initiative   and the  Kohl's Center for Retailing  co-hosted  SoHE's 2018 Women In Leadership Event. 

Linda Ahlers, the retired president of the Marshall Field's department stores, interviewed Author Jane Plitt. Together, they spoke about women in business, reinforcing the importance of leadership, how good leaders stay on top of a changing market and master change-including social change and retail changes-while maintaining a sense of humor.

Both took time to answer questions from the audience, which included requests for advice on starting a career, insight on social entrepreneurship trends, and using business roles to find positive social outcomes. "With change and revolution come opportunity," concluded Ahlers.
Click here to read more about the experience. 

Retail Leadership Symposium
Fall Semester 2018
Thank you to the following companies for presenting in the Retail Leadership Symposium during the Fall 2018 semester. Your presence on campus and in the classroom benefit our program, and most importantly, our students and their futures in the retail industry! 

University Bookstore
Home Depot
Honest Kitchen
Land's End
Milwaukee Tool
Kwik Trip
Ulta Beauty

Thank you again to all of the individuals and organizations. 
You are what makes our program great!
The students involved with the Student Retail Association at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are at the forefront of industry, networking and engaging the local community. Students of all majors with a variety retail sector interest fuel this organization with 180 active members. Email sramadison1@gmail.com to setup a student info session or collaboration for our Minneapolis, Chicago, or NYC Industry trips.
Info Session with JL Buchanan in Minneapolis
Retailers of the Midwest Event with Kohl's, Kwik Trip, Lands' End, Von Maur, Target, Hy-Vee, and Footlocker
Our brand new website for all things SRA!
One of our members giving back to the community.

Connect with the Student Retail Association on our website to stay informed on the latest news and events. 



Kohl's Center for Retailing