Spring 2018 Newsletter

Happy summer!
April and May are always a bittersweet time for us in the Center. There is so much excitement for our graduates. But of course that means that they will be moving on. Every year it seems that we think this was the best group of students we could ever work with. And every year the next group arrives and they too live up to high standards of their predecessors.

As I write this today I am also in the process of putting together a few presentations I will be delivering at various conferences this spring and summer. I notice some words and phrases that have become a part of my daily thinking and teaching: 
Disruption, Surprise and Delight, Innovate and Lead, Wellness.  I'm guessing many of you find yourself using these or something like them often also.

Our industry and the economy as a whole are most certainly experiencing a level of disruption that is unprecedented. And because of this I am extremely grateful to work with a faculty and staff committed to not only keeping up but keeping ahead of the change. I hear regularly from our alumni and their employers that they are surprised and delighted by how well prepared our graduates are to lead and innovate in these uncharted times. Our curriculum has adapted to the changing needs by adding in-depth data analytics and a focus on consumer behavior. But maybe even more importantly our faculty and staff continually focuses on the overall wellness of our students. Our curriculum goes beyond the technical skills necessary to lead and innovate. We work to provide the extra curricular activities and opportunities that inspire big questions and ignite new ideas.

I hope all of our supporters; our partners and our friends take great pride in the role they play in providing a truly exceptional education for our students. We could not do this with out all of you.

Thank you,
Jerry O'Brien
Executive Director
Kohl's Center for Retailing
School of Human Ecology
University of Wisconsin-Madison

P.S one of our May graduates is Kendra Trost. Kendra will be moving to New York to work in product development for Kohl's. In addition to be president of the Student Retailing Association, Kendra has also worked for me and Danielle in the office for 2 years. One of her duties has been to be the editor of this newsletter. This will be her last one. We are very proud of Kendra and will miss her.

New Partner Welcome!

                     We are excited to have Kwik Trip, from La Crosse, Wisconsin, joining the Center for Retailing this Spring! 

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: Graduating Seniors

Kendra Trost  Senior, Retailing & Consumer Behavior, Certificate in Entrepreneurship
I have had the pleasure of working with the Center for Retailing for the past two years and wow has it been an incredible journey! I'm passing off my leadership positions to charismatic students who I know will continue to have an tremendous impact on this program. 
Here is a recap of Kendra's time at UW!

Leadership:  Student Retail Association; President, UW Threads Fashion Show; Business Director, Center for Retailing; Assistant & Case Competition Coordinator

Recent Awards:  Willis L. Jones Authentic Leadership Award, Rosalie Amlie Morton Award (CS)

Full-time job offer: Product Development Coordinator, Kohl's Design Office, NYC

Jason Molus Senior, Retailing & Consumer Behavior
Becoming a part of the Retailing & Consumer Behavior program here at UW has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Two classes that have helped me the most are Retail Financial Analysis and Product Development Strategies because they helped me discover my passion for working with the product and analyzing inventory data.

After graduation , I will be moving to New Jersey to be an Assistant Buyer with Burlington Stores, which I am very excited about as I believe they have an amazing culture and are currently one of the strongest retailers in the industry in terms of growth.

My advice to students is to get involved! I came into the program late and wish I would've been more involved in the Student Retail Association or taken part in the many industry trips and abroad opportunities available to you.

The staff in this program are extremely supportive and will go out of their way to help you accomplish your goals. This has been an amazing experience and I believe I have all the tools necessary to succeed in my future career with retail. On Wisconsin!

Meet Linda Ahlers
Fall 2018 Alumni Executive in Residence

Linda Ahlers will serve as the Center for Retailing's 2019 Alumni Executive in Residence. An alumna of the School of Human Ecology's Retaling major, Ahlers is the retired president of Marshall Field's, a SoHE 
100 Women Honoree
, and a member of the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association Board of DirectorsRead more about Linda's storied career and service to SoHE and UW
here . We look forward to Linda's mentorship and contributions to our students and program!
More about the Executive in Residence Program
Executives in Residence bring an energy and perspective to the School of Human Ecology that enhances classroom and experiential learning, and develops long-term relationships between the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the retailing industry. The Executive in Residence's role relies on the strengths, interests, and experiences of the individual executive to influence the development of retail's future leaders and innovators.

Learn more about the program and how you could serve our students as a future Executive in Residence here .

Alumni Spotlight
Nicole Andrew: Head of Content and Curation, Perigold at Wayfair

Major at UW:  Retailing

Current Role:  Head of Content & Curation, Perigold which is a newly-launched luxury brand within the Wayfair portfolio

How did your major and/or student experience at UW prepare you for a career in the retailing industry?
The retailing major gave me a fundamental understanding of retail -- which, ultimately, is the consumer. Everything anyone does in the retail industry -- buyers, editors, engineers, visual merchandisers, marketers -- is to service the consumer in some capacity. It's important to stay rooted in that, and the Retailing program at UW really set the tone for having that mentality. It seems obvious, but it's an easy thing to forget once you're in the day-to-day work.

Why did you choose to work in the retailing industry? 
If I'm being honest, I love to shop! And loved the idea of being on the other side of it -- helping to architect what, how, and why people buy. 

What is your favorite aspect about working in retailing? 
The satisfaction of seeing the immediate results of your work. Having worked mainly on the digital side of retail, you can get an almost instant read on whether or not your project is a success. Either way, you get quick learnings. Consumer behavior is changing so rapidly -- it's an exciting industry to be a part of!

Experience China Study Abroad
Spring 2018 | Hangzhou, China

This spring, a group of UW-Madison students are studying abroad in China for the semester!

The unique program supported by Zhejiang International Studies University (ZISU) will fully immerse students in the Chinese culture while they live off campus in the city of Hangzhou. 

In May, Dr. Nancy Murray, Faculty Associate in Consumer Science and Academic Director of the Center for Retailing, will travel to China to teach an accelerated course for the students entitled Product Development Strategies in Retailing. In addition  to classroom learning, students will experience first-hand apparel and textile production, sourcing, quality, and compliance operations while visiting a variety of Chinese and US-based organizations.

Student Perspective: 
Mara Howell-Vandenburg, upcoming Senior, Retailing and Consumer Behavior

Connect with Mara on LinkedIn!

"I chose to spend spring semester in China to explore this fascinating culture including their effective business practices. In addition to  attending Zhejiang International Student University in the beautiful city of Hangzhou, I have been traveling throughout the country.  While many trips have focused on Chinese customs and rich history, this May our Product Development course will have the opportunity to go to Hong Kong and Shanghai for apparel factory and ship yard tours. This extensive exploration of China has given me the chance to make many Chinese friends and experience regional differences. Based on these countless discussions, it is apparent that Chinese values align with American values. We all want to be prosperous and create a better world for our families. It is essential that we start emphasizing our similarities, while still celebrating the complementary skills each countries citizens share, in order to work together towards our common goal"

Next Generation Scholarship Competition
UW Students are the Future of the Retail Industry!

In our last newsletter, you learned that two UW students placed in the top 25 for the National Retail Federation's Next Generation Scholarship competition. We are proud to report that Senior Marketing and Management major, Brian Lucksinger , was named as the runner up of the competition (at the NRF Foundation's Gala in New York City in January) and received a $10,000 scholarship for his achievement. Brian truly is #retailsfuture
Meet Brian and his fellow honorees by watching this video!

JOAMM Case Competition
Adobe and Infegy Atlas, Digital Storytelling in Retail
By Student Randi Armstrong

Randi Armstrong is an incoming Senior, studying Retailing and Consumer Behavior with certificates in Business, Entrepreneurship, and Sustainability! She is a new hire for the Center for Retailing and she will work on case competition coordination and mentorship. Randi has amazing personal experiences with case competitions and is ready to help her peers do the same! Connect with Randi on LinkedIn here.

This spring, students had the opportunity to participate in the JOAMM (or Journey of a Million Miles) Case Study Competition hosted by the Idea Incubator, Center for Retailing, Adobe, and Infegy Atlas. This competition allowed students to identify a need within the retail industry and creatively share it with others. The goal was for teams to start a passionate and informative conversation about this need that ended with possible solutions and calls to action. Our students all submitted powerful stories using Adobe Spark as the presentation platform. To support the need found within the industry, students used the social listening tool, Infegy Atlas. The Center for Retailing is proud to be able to offer such an innovative tool to our students as we are one of the only Universities in the country with such access.

This competition attracted students of different backgrounds who wanted to build their professional network, storytelling ability and public speaking; all of which were utilized in the case. The winning team, "Rock Your Vote", consisted of students: Jack Lindenberg, Katherine Bruce, Maggie Brennan, and SJ Spreng. This group told a compelling story about the demand for social responsibility in the age of social media. Rock Your Vote touched on conscious consumerism and corporate responsibility which are both hot topics within the industry right now.

For more details feel free to check out the 2018 JOAMM Summary page here !

Retail Leadership Symposium
Spring Semester 2018
By Student Angelina Leonard

Angelina Leonard will be a Junior in the fall and is a new student assistant for the Center for Retailing. She will be working with her peers in the Retail Symposium next year! 
Connect with Angelina on LinkedIn here.
Through the Retail Leadership Symposium, students can interact directly with professionals who have hands on experience in various areas of the retail industry. Guest speakers have offered students advice on how to succeed in the retail industry and answer questions about different career paths. Through this class, students have been exposed to buying and merchandising roles, fair trade organizations, and entrepreneurship stories. This class has proven to be beneficial to not only students, but as well as speakers. Speakers are able to connect with the next generation of consumers and future professionals.

Students have learned through this class that building your professional network is essential in any industry so we would like to say thank you to the professionals that have volunteered their time in the Retail Leadership Symposium:

Blain's Farm and Fleet
Fetch Reward
Campo Alpaca
Ascena Retail Group
Peter Sachse
Colony Brands

Your presence on campus and in the classroom benefit our program, and most importantly, our students and their futures in the retail industry!

Students with Wes Schroll,  CEO & Founder of Fetch Rewards

Course Spotlight: Introduction to Retail
By Student Colin Durlacher

Colin will be a Sophomore student with Majors in Retailing and Consumer Behavior, and Communications. He is a new addition to the Center for Retailing at UW and will be the new Marketing and Communications Coordinator! 

Introduction to Retailing has been an eye-opening experience into the array of retail career possibilities. The opportunities I have been presented with in this class have made me confident and excited to continue my studies in Retailing and Consumer 
Behavior. Dr. Murray uses her own experience and speakers from major retail companies to help students get a clear understanding of the career paths in retail. Speakers from Target and Kohl's among other major retail companies have  helped assist me refine my focus for my future career.
Exposure to the retailing industry is a crucial aspect of the class. Student had the ability to apply to attend the MAGIC trade show in Las Vegas, a trends trip to Europe, and even a study abroad experience in China.  This has helped me understand larger aspects of the retail industry! The course has an entire webpage section dedicated for students to explore the different case competitions opportunities. Class presentations on these opportunities has made me excited to participate in my first competition, the Fashion Scholarship Fund, this upcoming summer.
Introduction to Retail covers a very extensive range of material that prepares students, like me, for advanced courses. Any student interested in the retail industry will find this class beneficial and exciting!

Faculty Spotlight: Nancy Murray 

Not only does Dr. Nancy Murray serve as the instructor for the Introduction to Retailing course (described above), but she also serves as a contributor and editor for the textbook utilized for the course!
Retailing Management by Levy, Weitz and Grewal is the most widely used retail textbook at colleges and universities throughout the United States. With rapid changes in the industry, come rapid changes in textbook content. 
Over the last year, Murray's contributions to the 2019 edition of the textbook included:
  • Collaborating with authors to edit and contribute to chapters  
  • Creating & writing "Comparing Financial Performance" case study
  • Developing quiz and test bank questions (over 100 questions for each of the 17 chapters that are available for instructors to incorporate into their course)
  • Producing online learning activities (Connect Interactive Exercises) for instructors to incorporate into their course (collaborated with the National Retail Federation to include select videos into the online learning activities)
Thank you, Dr. Murray, for your contributions, support, and impact on the retailing industry!

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.
SRA took 38 students to the National Retail Federation Student Program in NYC this Janurary, more here
Members attended the Home & Housewares Tradeshow in Chicago!
SRA's incoming Executive and Management Teams!

SRA hosted their first Fair Trade panel which featured speakers from Serrv, Campo, Wisconsin Without Borders Marketplace, and Fair Indigo!

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

Danielle Nicole Handbag Project
UW Students bring a designer handbag to campus!
A group of students from within the Student Retail Association have been collaborating with New York designer,  Danielle DiFerdinando of Danielle Nicole Handbags, over the past year to bring you an exclusive Wisconsin tote bag! This team has developed and worked with Danielle from concept, design, licensing, retail partnership, marketing, and now launch! The tote bag launched at the University Book Store's physical locations as well as online, early November. The tote bag is currently  available at uwbookstore.com! 

A portion of the proceeds from handbag sales came back to the Student Retail Association to support the club's New York Industry Trip to the National Retail Federation Big Show and  Student Program this past January.   It feels good to purchase something that supports other Badgers! 

Only 200 bags were made and about a third are left. Get one while you can and support future student professional development opportunities! 

Elizabeth Wanzer is a graduating Senior, from the Retailing and Consumer Major, and she has contributed greatly during her time at UW.  She lead the Danielle Nicole Handbag initiative  for the Student Retail Association and is handing it off! Elizabeth with be starting full-time with Von Maur this June! Thank you, Elizabeth!  




Kohl's Center for Retailing