Top executives speak with students, public at Indiana University on state of the retail industry

Post courtesy of IU newsroom intern Bailey Briscoe:

Jenny Ming

Jenny Ming

Each year, the Retail Studies Organization at Indiana University Bloomington brings top retail experts to campus for a forum centered around current retail challenges and hot topics. This year’s Retail and Design Forum features executives from Burberry, Finish Line and Charlotte Russe.

While the speakers are particularly relevant to students studying apparel merchandising and business, the event is free and open to the public. The event will be held from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25 in the Whittenberger Auditorium in the Indiana Memorial Union.

“We are so fortunate to have three amazing executives from the retail industry coming to campus,” said Janis Shaffer, a senior lecturer in the Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design. “These executives have extensive backgrounds in the industry and they will be sharing their experiences and knowledge with students. It is a tremendous gift to IU students.”

In addition to the public talk, select Retail Studies Organization students will be having individual chats with the executives to network and learn more about how they, too, can have careers in the retail industry.

“I love the Forum because it makes retail come alive for me,” said Hannah Klipsch, Retail Studies Organization president and a senior studying apparel merchandising in the School of Art and Design. “These incredible professionals bring life into the field that we are studying and make what we are learning every day in the classroom feel real and exciting. It reminds me of how much I love what I do and I cannot wait to be in their shoes one day.”

Imran Jooma

Imran Jooma

Students like Klipsch aren’t the only ones looking forward to the event. The presenters can learn from the students, as well.

“Next week, students and I will engage in a discussion about overcoming today’s retail challenges and preparing for the obstacles of tomorrow in that environment. As I prepare for that presentation, I look forward to the energy, creativity and integrity they will bring to the table,” said Imran Jooma, divisional president of omnichannel strategy of Finish Line. “Students have fresh ideas and I will value hearing from them and evolving that input as we at Finish Line strive to deliver the epic finish to our customers.”

The Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design, which supports the student-run organization, joined with the Department of Studio Art in August 2016 to create the new School of Art and Design in the College of Arts and Sciences. The new school creates a “culture of creative interaction and opportunity” for students interested in both art and design. In Fall 2017, the school will officially launch their new academic programs.

Retail + Design Forum schedule:

4 p.m. — Marianne Naberhaus Smith, senior vice president of wholesale and digital at Burberry Americas, “Connecting with the Customer in Today’s world”

5 p.m. — Imran Jooma, divisional president of omnichannel strategy of Finish Line, “Overcoming Today’s Retail Challenges and Preparing for the Obstacles of Tomorrow”

6 p.m. — Jenny Ming, CEO and president of Charlotte Russe, “Fireside chat with a CEO”

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