9 women making waves in retail

A look at the industry leaders taking the stage at NRF NXT
Director, Editorial Content
July 2, 2019

You don’t have to go far to find remarkable women doing remarkable things in retail. From innovators like Brandless founder Tina Sharkey telling her story on Retail Gets Real to Sephora's head of Omni Retail Mary Beth Laughton speaking at NRFtech, NRF brings together powerful women — industry icons and thought leaders — to share their experiences.

NRF NXT, retail’s deep dive, is no different. As NRF's newest event, NRF NXT answers the question, "yes, but how?" for retail practitioners, providing real case studies and tactical road maps from the people that have actually done it. Retail practitioners across digital marketing, ecommerce, data analytics and customer experience will have the chance to hear real-world case studies and strategic insights from some of the best minds in the industry, including these visionary women.

Lockie Andrews of UNTUCKit
Lockie Andrews

Lockie Andrews, chief digital officer, UNTUCKit

Lockie Andrews leads omnichannel and enterprise-wide digital transformation efforts for apparel brand UNTUCKit; she’s also the founder of Catalyst Consulting, a boutique firm specializing in consumer, fashion, retail and next-generation technology companies.

She has worked with such high-growth companies as Lane Bryant and Nike, and has held roles including head of new business at Liz Claiborne Accessories (Kate Spade) and vice president of business development at babystyle.com.

Andrews says strong leadership is responsible for fostering growth and equality in the workplace. “I love what I do,” she says, “so I make a point to carry myself with a level of confidence that says, ‘I belong here.’

Where can you hear her? Case study: Why 70% of IT initiatives fail.

Miki Berardelli, CEO of KIDBOX
Miki Berardelli

Miki Berardelli, executive committee board member, National Retail Federation

Before joining KIDBOX as CEO in 2016, Miki Berardelli’s career included a stint at Chico’s FAS as president, digital commerce and chief marketing officer, where she was responsible for digital commerce and marketing across three brands: Chico’s, White House Black Market and Soma Intimates. Prior to Chico’s FAS, she served as CMO at Tory Burch and held positions at Ralph Lauren and Limited Too/Tween Brands.

KIDBOX recently announced a partnership with Walmart to deliver Walmart.com customers an exclusive stylebox for kids; Walmart has been expanding its portfolio of kids’ fashion brands as part of a broader effort to establish the retailer as a fashion destination. “We have very similar customer bases from a geographic and socioeconomic perspective,” Berardelli says. “I like to say we are building a brand for the heartbeat in the country.”

Where can you hear her? Deep dive: Raising money in retail.

Carrie Bienkowski, CMO, Peapod
Carrie Bienkowski

Carrie Bienkowski, chief marketing officer, Peapod

Carrie Bienkowski joined online grocer Peapod in 2014 as the company’s first chief marketing officer and immediately set out to better leverage the company's first-party data. She is a seasoned brand strategist with experience in consumer packaged goods, ecommerce, user experience, digital marketing and retail, and previously worked as the head of buyer experience for eBay’s Fashion in Europe.

The importance of continuing to learn — and letting go of things that are no longer useful — is clear to Bienkowski. “I think sometimes we might have a blinder to those things that we need to unlearn,” she says. “Not necessarily because they’re bad habits, but industries have changed or the paradigms have changed … it’s all part of being an adaptive, evolving individual and a great leader.”

Where can you hear her? Keynote session: Mapping the keys to Peapod’s success.

Rachel Bonsignore, Senior Consultant, GfK Consumer Life
Rachel Bonsignore

Rachel Bonsignore, senior consultant, GfK Consumer Trends

Rachel Bonsignore is a lead consultant on consumer trends and brand partnerships, providing actionable and future-focused insights on the consumer landscape on topics including media, retail, consumer packaged goods, food and apparel.

At GfK, Bonsignore has written on a number of topics including the health innovations consumers are looking for brands to provide and the “xennial” generation — those born between Generation X and millennials. “This group is caught between two worlds in more ways than one,” she says. “They grew up as technology did, learning to use computers and cell phones in their teen and college years. Many were hit hardest by the tech bust, 9/11 and the Great Recession, which happened at critical moments in their nascent careers. And they exhibit a curious mix of the cynicism of their Xer elders and the optimism of their younger counterparts.”

Where can you hear her? Deep dive: The personalization paradox.

Sarah Hoffmann, CMO, Drybar
Sarah Hoffmann

Sarah Hoffmann, chief marketing officer, Drybar

As chief marketing officer for breakout salon chain Drybar, Sarah Hoffmann oversees global marketing, creative, ecommerce and analytics. Before coming to Drybar, she led brand performance for fashion retailers including J.Crew, Cole Haan and Converse.

While data plays an important role in the customer experience, Hoffmann says Drybar puts an emphasis on one-to-one connections between stylists and customers. “We invest in our people to deliver a great experience. This starts with great training and customer service,” she says. “Data informs this, but it is our goal to ensure whatever insights are put into action are creating the right effect.”

Where can you hear her? Keynote: Disrupting the industry.

Michelle Kelly, President, Lilly Pulitzer
Michelle Kelly

Michelle Kelly, president, Lilly Pulitzer

During her 11-year career with Lilly Pulitzer, Michelle Kelly has held several management and leadership positions in the company’s marketing, merchandising and distribution teams. Under her leadership, Lilly Pulitzer has developed a profitable, fast-growing direct-to-consumer business, including launching ecommerce, refining the retail store model and building innovative marketing programs such as the recent Lilly Pulitzer for Target designer collections.

Kelly keeps a hard and fast focus on the customer. “We actually have a pretty consistent, almost systematic approach to reviewing changes in how the customer is shopping and how she is dressing,” she says. “Those are our two key questions because those are the changes that will affect us the most.”

Where can you hear her? Case study: Balancing the heritage of a 60-year-old brand while staying modern; Deep dive: How Lilly Pulitzer balanced heritage while staying modern.

Stacey Renfro, EVP, Chief Digital and Customer Experience Officer, The Vitamin Shoppe
Stacey Renfro

Stacey Renfro, EVP, chief digital and customer experience officer, The Vitamin Shoppe

Stacey Renfro leads digital, marketing, creative and the overall customer experience across all selling channels at The Vitamin Shoppe. Prior to joining the company, Renfro held leadership positions at Pier I Imports and JCPenney and has a background in all aspects of retail including stores, ecommerce and technology, digital, wholesale, analytics, merchandising and planning.

In 2017, Renfro was named as one of the Top Women in Retail by Total Retail; in 2016, she was named one of the Top 10 Women in Retail Technology by Chain Store Age.

Where can you hear her? Deep dive: Who owns the customer at your organization?

Julie Roy, VP, CRM, digital marketing, and customer insights and analytics, DSW
Julie Roy

Julie Roy, vice president, CRM, digital and analytics, DSW

Julie Roy has been with DSW for 11 years, starting as a senior financial analyst and moving up through the ranks at the footwear retailer until landing in her current position last year. Responsible for loyalty, customer relationship marketing, digital marketing and customer insights and analytics, she leads the optimization and growth of DSW’s cross-channel marketing programs.

Roy has an acute passion and proven track record for delivering meaningful results by developing data-driven strategies that engage consumers and achieve business goals.

Where can you hear her? Case study: Using data to transform customer loyalty.

Erin Vitero, CRM Manager, TechStyle Fashion Group
Erin Vitero

Erin Vitero, CRM manager, Techstyle Fashion Group

As manager of customer relationship marketing at Techstyle Fashion Group, Erin Vitero oversees email, browser and push notification strategy to create dynamic, highly personalized experiences for JustFab members. She previously held roles at companies including car insurance startup Metromile and ModCloth.

Techstyle stays in contact with its customers through emails and personalization strategies; Vitero says a breakthrough in personalization was the inclusion of “abandoned cart” items in emails, calling it one of the company’s “biggest opportunities.”

Where can you hear her? Case study: Building smarter cart abandonment marketing; Deep dive: How to put smarter cart abandonment marketing into play.

To learn from these women and more at NRF NXT, register for the event, to be held July 22-24 in Las Vegas.

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