5 powerful women leading their industries through change

These female execs take the (virtual) stage at NRF Retail Converge
NRF Retail Converge

From the executive offices of America’s top retailers to the White House itself, women today are making their presence known. Female leaders are confidently guiding and supporting employees and customers and leading large businesses through one of the most complex periods in retail.

It’s no surprise that women are also a driving force at NRF’s new virtual show, NRF Retail Converge, where they will take the stage over the course of the five-day event to deliver keynote speeches on topics ranging from U.S. trade policy to changing customer preferences.

Meet five women who are going further, doing more and breaking through barriers in retail and beyond.

Valerie Jarrett
Valerie Jarrett,
President of the Barack Obama Foundation

Valerie Jarrett

As President Barack Obama’s longest serving senior advisor, Valerie Jarrett championed equality and opportunity for all Americans as advisor for public engagement and intergovernmental affairs. Currently, Jarrett is president of the Barack Obama Foundation and serves on the boards of Lyft, Ralph Lauren, Walgreens Boots Alliance and Sweetgreen, among others.

At NRF Retail Converge, Jarrett will share her expertise on how U.S. trade impact, key economic levers and monetary policy extend to the global stage and affect international trading partners. Tune in to this opening fireside chat to understand how the retail industry’s influence reaches beyond borders in the path to global economic recovery.

Where can you hear her? Session: World in rebound: Lining up opportunities for 2022 and beyond

Neela Montgomery

Neela Montgomery
Neela Montgomery,
Executive Vice President of CVS Health and
​​​​​President of CVS Pharmacy

Neela Montgomery took on the role of executive vice president of CVS Health and president of CVS Pharmacy at a critical time. CVS Health is in the process of transforming its 10,000 pharmacy locations into HealthHubs, redesigned health-focused concept stores with space dedicated to helping customers manage chronic conditions.

At NRF Retail Converse, Montgomery will discuss the company’s recent successes with its health and wellness efforts and its leading role in the country’s pandemic response, including COVID-19 testing and now vaccine rollout. She’ll also talk about how changes in consumer behavior during the pandemic are impacting the retailer’s multichannel strategy.

Where can you hear her? Purpose in action: How CVS’s role in the pandemic is reshaping it as a community health hub



Carol Tomé

As the first female CEO of UPS and one of only three women leading a Fortune 50 company, Tomé is leading UPS through one of its biggest roles ever: the safe and speedy delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine nationwide.

Carol Tome
Carol Tome, CEO of UPS

Before joining UPS, Tomé served as executive vice president and chief financial officer of The Home Depot Inc. During her 18 years at the company, Tomé focused on developing people alongside profits, an initiative she plans to replicate at UPS.

During her keynote session at NRF Retail Converge, Tome will talk about her experiences driving growth at a global organization, maximizing shareholder value, developing talent and successfully executing against strategic priorities.

Where can you hear her? Partnership paradigm: Delivering operational excellence at the speed of retail

Michelle Gass

Michelle Gass
Michelle Gass, CEO of Kohl's

Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass has recently set a bold new vision for the company — to be the most trusted retailer of choice for the active and casual lifestyle. Recent partnerships with Amazon, Land’s End and Sephora could help Gass realize that vision and position the company for long-term growth coming out of the pandemic.

In a virtual fireside chat with Fortune magazine reporter Phil Wahba, Gass will discuss how she led her team of more than 100,000 associates through one of the most pivotal years in Kohl’s history, how it is emerging as a stronger and better company, and lessons from her more than 30 years of experience in the retail and consumer goods industries.

Where can you hear her? Session: Leading in the new normal


Kathryn McLay

McLay held a number of leadership roles at Walmart before becoming president and CEO of Sam’s Club in 2019. Her first role was driving the transformation of the Walmart U.S. business through oversight of a set of strategic, cross-functional initiatives called Legacy. In 2016, she moved to supply chain, where she redesigned the way product moved from supplier to shelf, created an integrated end-to-end Walmart U.S. supply chain and led operations of the imports and reverse networks.

Kathryn McLay
Kathryn McLay,
​​​​​​​CEO of Sam's Club

But it’s McLay’s background in finance that gives her a unique perspective on the retail industry’s “profitability paradox” — despite increasing investments to satisfy customers, returns on these investments continue to diminish over time, impacting profits along the way.

McLay will share her experiences on the warehouse club’s omni-retail strategies focusing on digital innovation, productivity-centered automation, brand ethos and a thoughtful club member experience during NRF Retail Converge.

Where can you hear her? The profitability paradox: How to boost bottom line results amid retail’s many complexities

To learn from these women and other industry leaders at NRF Retail Converge, register for the event, to be held virtually June 21-25.

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