Fashion Industry Advisory Board
Members are listed in alphabetical order by role and by last name below.
Julie Koch-Beinke, Chairperson
Partner & Co- Founder, Alternatives
Alternatives is a multi-disciplinary design agency, works with clients on two and three-dimensional projects and maximizes their image in all media. Alternatives’ work over the past 20+ years has encompassed award winning and business building projects ranging from branding programs and strategy development for some of the most successful U.S. and International companies, to museum exhibitions, multi-media projects, advertising, publication design, interior and product design. Alternatives has been recognized as a leader in designing environmentally responsible programs for over 20 years. Some of her clients include Kiss My Face, Orion magazine, Jeep, Dr. Pepper/Snapple Group, The American Red Cross, among others. Julie has also co-founded Wink Optics, a luxury optical frame and sunglass company that sold to Neiman Marcus and high-end optical retailers.
Areas of Expertise: Marketing/Advertising, Brand Development/Strategy, Communications/ Graphic Design
Amie Blumberg, Co-Chairperson
Vice President of Industry Relations, LIM College
In this role, she will identify and cultivate new industry relationships and opportunities for us, and develop programs to connect these industry partners with our faculty and students. She will also serve as Co-Chair of this Advisory Board. Amie comes to us with years of expertise in merchandising, design, sourcing, branding, marketing, development and e-commerce—for both wholesale and retail businesses, with extensive experience in footwear, accessories, and hosiery. She also has a background in executive coaching and consulting. Among the positions Amie’s held are: Vice President of Merchandising at Kayser Roth; Executive Vice President at Lindsay Phillips; VP/General Manager for Liz Claiborne, and Divisional Merchandise Manager at PVH Footwear Group. She also worked for Ralph Lauren, Bloomingdale’s, and Macy’s earlier in her career. This is not Amie’s first involvement with LIM. She’s previously come in to help evaluate master’s degree capstone projects and she’s been an in-class guest speaker as well.
Areas of expertise: Retail, Wholesale, Career Coaching
Co-Founder & COO, Fado
Fado is a lifestyle brand redefining the retail market. Elevating the customer experience and focusing on leading contemporary brands & designers. Curated by a seasoned team focused on bringing the latest trends to their contemporary lifestyle boutique at exclusive industry prices. Prior to launching his own company, Nick was Senior Director & Global Category Lead of Corporate Services & Transportation Procurement for Tapestry, Inc. where he was responsible for the Global Category strategy and management of Corporate Services (Human Resources, Finance, Facilities, Temp Labor, Travel, Store Operations, Transportation, Logistics & Distribution. Previous to Tapestry, Nick was Director, Global Procurement at Hudson’s Bay Company (Lord & Taylor, Saks 5th Avenue, and Hudson’s Bay) where he was responsible for developing the strategy and leading Special Projects group, Project Management Office, Contract Management team, Procurement Systems team, Facilities, Store Operations, and IT and Financial Services Categories. Prior to that he was part of the Global Sourcing & Supply Chair team for Avon and Senior Analyst Global Procurement at PepsiCo.
Areas of Expertise: Finance, Supply Chain Management, Procurement & Sourcing, Logistics, Transportation
CMO, Direct to Consumer & Tomorrow Sleep, Serta Simmons Bedding
He is the Advisor and former Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President Digital for Alex and Ani, the multi-channel fashion jewelry retailer, where he helped its founder grow the company to over $350 million in annual revenues and #3 top retailer ranked by Inc.500. He is highly recognized for his interest in helping to promote and grow innovation in fashion technology through his association with the New York Fashion Tech Lab, for which he is a Founding Member. Ryan started his career in artificial intelligence with technology firm Quantum Leap Innovations, and then moved to the digital marketing world dealing with private equity, venture capital and hedge funds. He is currently the Principal of Mount Cuba Capital, an investment office for limited partnerships in various alternative investment managers.
Areas of Expertise: Marketing, Digital, ecommerce, Private Equity
President, Max Studio
Robert Bronstein is a fashion leader with 40 years running experience at major apparel companies. Prior to this, he was President of Sales and Business Development at BCBGMAXAZRIA, as well as, Executive Vice President at French Connection Group. Mr. Bronstein has extensive experience in business and brand building, fashion merchandising, design, sales, administration, as well as, management.
President, NYC Alliance
Jackie Buffon is a senior management executive with extensive wholesale and retail achievements in multi brand, channel and dimensional disciplines including sales, merchandising, production, and product placement. Most recently, she held the position of President of Sales, NYC Alliance, a privately-owned woman’s multi-platform apparel company. Prior to this position, she was Senior Vice President of Elie Tahari and, earlier, she was the Vice President and General Manager at Donna Karan, Inc. She rose through the ranks at Liz Claiborne, Inc. to become Vice President General Manager of Apparel for their Off-Price Channel for all brands. Jackie started her career at Bloomingdale’s as Sales Operations Manager.
Areas of Expertise: Apparel, Wholesale, Merchandising/Production
Former Chief Merchandising Officer, Venus Fashions, Inc.
David Burnett directed the buying, merchandising, product development and creative for this on-line retailer of women’s apparel, footwear and accessories. A veteran of the swimwear industry, David has held senior level positions with The Amerex Group, where he headed up the Jessica Simpson and Red Carter swimwear divisions. As a swimwear expert, David is known for having developed the swimwear businesses for such other brands as Liz Claiborne, Anne Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Perry Ellis and Victoria’s Secret. With his merchandising, sourcing and product development expertise, David has been able to successfully direct the merchandising, design, product development and sales teams on the licensee side of brand management. He started his career at Saks Fifth Avenue.
Areas of Expertise: Apparel (swimwear), Ecommerce/Direct to Consumer, Merchandising/Product Development/Sourcing
Co-Founder/Creative Director, Small Girls PR
Bianca graduated from LIM in 2007 and was this year’s Shining Star Alumni Award winner. She’s the co-founder and Creative Director of SmallGirls PR and co-founder and Executive Director of The Wishart Group, which is a mental health nonprofit for musicians.SmallGirls PR now has offices in New York and LA and clients have included Ann Taylor, Verizon, Outdoor Voices, Simon & Schuster, and Google. Bianca and SmallGirls have received widespread notice, including being featured in Marie Claire, BuzzFeed, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, and WWD. As a LIM alumna, Bianca has been heavily involved in giving back to our students as a guest speaker, mentor, and internship host. And last year she and SmallGirls partnered with the College to successfully relaunch our social media platforms.
Areas of Expertise: PR, Fashion & digital media, Sales
Founder, Meow Mini Mart
Founder of www.meowminimart.com an on-line boutique for cats and cat enthusiasts and the publisher the www.bestlifepets.com a blog dedicated to organic and sustainable living for cats. Sherry started her career in retail on the selling floor in 1970. During the subsequent years she worked for several of the most progressive retailers including Charivari as well as the junior/contemporary buying office Micki Duchon, Inc. In 1981, Sherry launched her own buying and merchandising consulting/buying office, Sherry Cassin and Company, Ltd. which specialized in the contemporary/designer market and worked with many of the most prestigious specialty stores both nationally and internationally. In 1995, she sold her consulting business to The Doneger Group and assumed the position of Executive Fashion Director. In 1999, she decided to leave retail and transition to having her own collection of luxury accessories - carried by many of the best stores in the fashion business. In 2016, she decided to step-off the fashion accessories grid and launch a new career in the fashion pet products industry.
Areas of Expertise: Apparel, Wholesale, Merchandising/Design
VP of Logistics and Distribution, David's Bridal
Tony Coccerino has been with David's Bridal for over 20 yrs. He currently oversees two distribution centers with square footage in excess of 350,000. One is located in Conshohocken, PA which handles GOH (garments on hanger) and the other located in Bristol, PA, which handles “flat” merchandise. Other departments overseen include; Transportation, Vendor Compliance, Regulatory, and Quality Assurance/ Quality Control of finished merchandise. He has over 20 yrs. experience in distribution, warehousing and Logistics in the retail sector. Tony’s impressive career has spanned a spectrum of positions, from garment manufacturing to final destination. All positions held were based around process improvements, material handling, labor standards, and logistics. Mr. Coccerino is currently responsible for strategic planning, overall performance of operations and logistics. He is also responsible for budgeting, and human resource decisions, as well as working with the corporate steering committee to plan for David’s Bridal future.
Areas of Expertise: Logistics, Distribution, Retail, Process Improvements
Vice President/Chief Merchant, Luggage and Travel, Randa
Mindi Cooke has extensive experience in diverse roles focused in merchandising, licensing, project management and marketing. She previously held the position of Senior Vice President of Merchandising, LF USA Home, where she spearheaded the recent launch of Tommy Hilfiger Home Collection comprised of bedding, bath, tabletop decor and decorative accessories all under license to LF USA. In her prior role at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSLO) as Senior Vice President Merchandising, she was the principle corporate liaison between MSLO and The Home Depot and home decorating licensees. There, she was responsible for the day-to-day business management, financial performance, merchandise development and marketing of all Martha Stewart Living product categories at The Home Depot (United States and Canada), Home Decorators Collection and the KB Home licensed partnerships. Starting her career at Tommy Hilfiger, Cooke gained her expertise in brand management and licensing after having risen from the buying office to licensing manager.
Areas of Expertise: Wholesale, Merchandising/Product Development, Hard Goods/Home products
Vice President, Creative Services, Vera Bradley
Harry Cunningham is a retail store development, design and visual merchandising specialist. Prior to Vera Bradley, he served as Senior Vice President, Store Planning, Design and Visual Merchandising for Saks Fifth Avenue. In that role, He was responsible for the in-store environments and experience at all Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks OFF 5th locations. This included the repositioning and redesign of the company’s OFF 5th stores and creation of the design for new retail concepts such as 10022-SHOE, WEAR NOW, Fifth Man and D-Bar. Earlier in his career, he held senior level positions in visual merchandising with Liz Claiborne, Inc., Profit’s/McRae’s and Saks Department Store Group.
Areas of Expertise: Retail Development Visual Merchandising, Store Planning
Mary Ann Domuracki
Managing Director, MMG Advisors, Inc.
Mary Ann Domuracki brings over 25 years of experience combining accounting, advisory and operating management services. MMG provides investment banking, strategic and financial advisory services to clients in the retail, fashion, textile, home and accessory sectors. The firm services top global clients in these sectors with business ranging from $50 million to over $1 billion in volume. Mary Ann previously had advisory experience at Financo, Conway DelGenio Gries and Ernst and Young. Mary Ann’s industry experience includes senior management positions as President of Danskin, Inc., Executive Vice President of Administration and Finance of Kasper A.S.L., Ltd. and Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Pegasus Apparel Group, Inc.
Areas of Expertise: Finance, Mergers & Acquisitions, Operations
Senior Vice President, Sales and Merchandising – Branded and Private Label Handbags, Chateau Group International
Mark Donatiello is a senior level wholesale and retail executive with notable experience in merchandising and business development for branded accessories, footwear and apparel. Additionally, Mark's expertise encompasses omni-channel revenue and brand development including direct to consumer, wholesale digital commerce as well as integration of sales and branding strategies across both brick and mortar and digital commerce. Mark's passion for brands has driven his success in building sales and merchandising strategies for large scale brands, emerging brands and successful turnarounds of smaller to medium sized boutique brands. Mark’s expertise spans the luxury, contemporary, mid-tier and mass markets, including notable brands; Liz Claiborne, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Kooba, Tahari, Judith Leiber, Elliott Lucca, Olivia and Joy, Union Bay and Margaritaville by Jimmy Buffet. Mark's career began at Macys, with buying responsibility for Intimate Apparel and Woman’s Footwear. From Macy's, Mark spent 15 years at Liz Claiborne in various management roles in Apparel, rising to Vice President and General Merchandise manager for Mid- Tier Branded Accessories. It was there that he launched the first contemporary fashion jewelry brand, Stamp 10 exclusively for Target Stores. Currently Mark serves as Senior Vice President of Sales , Merchandising and Licensing and for Chateau International, a mid-sized Handbag and Accessory company specializing in licensed branded and private label products. A graduate of Rutgers University, Mark holds positions on the Fashion Advisory Board of Mercado Global, a non-profit Handbag and Accessory Company that helps indigenous women in Guatemala achieve independence and supports educations, as well as the Industry Advisory Board at LIM College.
EVP, Marketing & Business Development, Wests Design Consultants USA
Wests Design Consultants began as a graphic design company and has since expanded to include digital media, interior design, events, exhibitions and corporate marketing. Prior to this Dan was the President and Creative Director at Goldsmith - the nation’s oldest premier mannequin and visual merchandising company .In June 2005, he merged his former company Joint Collections Inc., his well-established retail client list and creative talent to partner with Goldsmith. Prior to joining Goldsmith, Dan held senior positions with leading industry Visual Merchandising and Store Fixturing & Design companies.
Areas of Expertise: Visual Merchandising, Retail Development, Manufacturing
Chief Executive Officer, Evins Communications
Louise Evins directs the firm’s strategy, marketing and development, as well as manages the operations and finance of the business. Under Ms. Evins’ leadership, EVINS has become the leading branding, marketing, communications and public relations firm in the luxury and prestige sectors, with specialist expertise in developing integrated multi-platform programs for niche, icon and legacy brands. Prior to joining EVINS, Ms. Evins established a reputation as an outstanding and innovative specialty retailer in accessories, cosmetics, fashion and jewelry, having served as Senior Vice President and General Merchandise Manager of Henri Bendel. Ms. Evins previously led a leveraged buyout and served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Joshua Slocum, Ltd., building a chain of thirty-five retail stores specializing in women’s apparel, sportswear and accessories, before which she held various senior management and merchandising positions at Lord & Taylor.
Areas of Expertise: Strategic Brand Development, Marketing/Communications/Public Relations, Operations
Dr. Nicola Evoli
CIO-Strategy-International Sales, GROTTINI Retail Environments
Grottini Retail Environments is a retail design and fixture manufacturing company based in Porto Recanati, Italy. Concurrently, he is also the President of Impel LLC, a creative, marketing and store environment firm out of Minneapolis. Nicola has been involved with store and shopping mall development all over the world including: The Middle East (Dubai, Egypt, Turkey and Israel), Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Areas of Expertise: Retail/Store Development and Planning, Sales, Marketing, Manufacturing
Jeannette Ferran Astorga
Vice President - Corporate Responsibility, Ascena Retail Group, Inc.
Prior to this, Jeannette held the position of Vice President of Corporate Responsibility & Charitable Initiatives, ANN, INC. With over 20 years of retail experience in specialty retail, Jeannette now leads the global CSR team responsible for driving social and environmental responsibility across Ascena Retail Group’s brands - worldwide offices, stores and supply chain. This includes executing the corporation’s Social Compliance Program for suppliers worldwide, its Green initiative, and the implementation of its sustainability strategy. Prior to this position, Jeannette held management positions in areas such as information systems, merchandise planning and various business support functions. She started her retail career at Liz Claiborne, Inc.
Areas of Expertise: Corporate Social Responsibility/Supply Chain, Charity Foundation, Logistics
David L. Fisher
Former Executive Vice President, General Merchandise Manager, Men’s & Young World, Bloomingdale’s
David L. Fisher began his career there in 1983 as Divisional Merchandise Manager for Ready-to-Wear, Fashion Accessories, Cosmetics and Young World in the King of Prussia store. Throughout his time at Bloomingdale’s he has held various senior merchandising positions both in the 59th Street Flagship and King of Prussia stores, as well as in the corporate offices.
Areas of Expertise: Men’s Wear, Retail, Merchandising
Former President of Corporate Licensing, Liz Claiborne Inc.
Barbara J. Friedman is a business consultant with over 30 years of experience in the strategic development and marketing of fashion and lifestyle consumer goods. Her areas of expertise include licensing, marketing, brand management, merchandising, and product development for American and French brands covering mass to luxury channels of distribution. As President of Corporate Licensing at Liz Claiborne, Inc. Barbara was responsible for the strategic development and management of the licensed businesses for the corporation’s portfolio of 40 brands. She has also held senior management positions with Anne Klein, Chloé, Christian Dior, Bloomingdale’s, JC Penney and Bonwit Teller in both the wholesale and retail arenas.
Areas of Expertise: Licensing, Brand Development, Marketing, Merchandising, International Business Strategy/Development
Michael T. Gilson
CEO and Founder, Cormac Advisory Services
Prior to this he was the Vice President Global Sourcing – Operations, Wholesale & Finance, Lord & Taylor, a division of the Hudson Bay Company, is the former Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer for a design and wholesale company - Smart Apparel US - in the United States with vertical manufacturing capabilities in China and Sri Lanka. Michael is experienced in product development, sourcing, supply chain, mergers and acquisitions, licensed brands and corporate governance, dealing with enterprises in the Far East, India, Sri Lanka, Europe, the Middle East and the United States. Michael joined the Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) Board of Directors in January 2013.
Areas of Expertise: Operations, Sourcing/Supply Chain, Finance
Group Vice President, dds Discount – A Division of Ross Stores, Inc.
Ross Stores is an $15 billion Fortune 500 company that is the largest off-price apparel and home fashion chain in the United States with 1,810 locations in 39 states. After graduating from LIM College in 2003, Leanne launched her retail career as an Assistant Buyer at G&G Retail. She joined dd's Discounts in 2005 as an Assistant Buyer. She quickly received several promotions - first to Senior Assistant Buyer in 2006, then in 2008 she was promoted to Buyer. Leanne was promoted to Merchandise Manager in 2009 and to Divisional Merchandise Manager the following year. In 2012, she was named Vice President/ Divisional Merchandise Manager for dd's Kids and she became a Group Vice President of Kids and Men’s in 2015. With 15 years’ experience in the off-price sector, Leanne is known for driving businesses with actionable strategies, strong vendor relationships, and assortment building skills. Leanne received LIM’s Shining Star Award in 2016 and is the 2020 Maxwell F. Marcuse Award recipient for her success and contribution to her field of buying.
Areas of Expertise: Retail, All Apparel, Merchandising/Buying, Product Assortment, Negotiations, Product Development, Vendor Relationships, Business Strategy
James Gundell is an accomplished leader with hands on experience developing and implementing programs that drive operational growth, efficiency and profitability. Jim recently co- founded a hospitality cruise line business, Play Bridge at Sea. Prior to this Jim spent 14 years at Eileen Fisher, most recently as Co-Chief Operating Officer and Facilitating Leader. During his tenure there from 2004-2018, Jim was a senior member of the executive team responsible for guiding and inspiring the integration of creative, culture and business aspects of the collaborative, employee-owned B corp company. Jim had direct oversight of Eileen Fisher’s retail, E-Commerce, Web Global, IT Facilities and Architecture areas, leading over 750 domestic and global employees. He is credited for co-leading the implementation and transformation of the business from retail stores to Omni-channel and direct to customer initiatives as well as the implementation of several other innovative leadership structures and practices. Jim has had an extensive career in retail management, including 19 years at Bloomingdale’s where his last two positions were as general manager of the 59th street flagship store and general merchandise manager for women’s accessories, intimate apparel and footwear. He has also held positions as president of MOMA Retail, a division of the Museum of Modern Art, and division president, Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Outlets.
Areas of Expertise: Omni Channel, Retail Management, Hospitality
Senior Vice President of Production, John Varvatos
With over 25 years of experience working with some of the most important American brands, Luisa Herrera-Garcia is recognized as a leader in the menswear industry. MS. Herrera-Garcia currently oversees a staff of 15 in the production and design departments at John Varvatos Enterprises. She is responsible for setting the global strategy for planning, production and operation processes while securing profitability requirements for the Varvatos wholesale and retail operations. Her professional expertise includes creating the framework for sustained growth and expansion into new markets and developing strong leaders who possess passion and creativity. Prior to her affiliation with John Varvatos Enterprises, Ms. Herrera-Garcia spent six years with Calvin Klein, rising to the role of Vice President of Production, where she facilitated the global production and merchandising directives for the Tailored, Sportswear and Furnishings lines. She held similar roles with Perry Ellis, PVH and Cutlass & Moore earlier in her career. Luisa is a graduate of LIM College.
Areas of Expertise: Operations, Production
VP, Licensing & Business Development, Perry Ellis International
Connie Hoza is a passionate leader whose motivation comes from the business, the customer and her team. She is a hard worker, known for being innovative and results-driven. With her 20+ years in the retail industry she brings to the table a wealth of knowledge in business development. She has experience managing large global teams navigating through the ultra-competitive retail landscape. At Perry Ellis International Connie leads an innovative team overseeing licensing and business development in the womenswear and home categories. She keeps her finger on the pulse of the business through her relationships in the marketplace and independent research. Connie is constantly seeking and negotiating new business opportunities and partnerships to grow the brands. As a senior leader at Lord & Taylor and Hudson’s Bay, Connie led the strategic vision of the business including merchandising, planning, marketing, product development, and analytics for stores and e-commerce. She is known for combining sales, negotiation and management expertise to: drive the performance of new business divisions; to secure retail partnerships and brand acquisitions; and influence product innovation. Connie is known in the marketplace as an industry leader. She takes pride in her team building and strategic partnerships. At HBC she managed large cross-functional teams in the US and Canada, while consistently shifting priorities to focus on the demands of the business. Connie has taught executive training and merchant development programs. She spends time mentoring and developing not only her team, but others growing up in the industry. She focuses her time and energy on developing relationships internally and externally.
Areas of expertise: Cross-Functional Team Leadership, Budgeting & Finance, Vendor Relations, Negotiation Retail Merchandising, Product Assortment, Inventory Planning & Management Branding & Positioning, Territory Alignment & Optimization, Product Development Identify & Maximize Trends, Competitive Analysis
Senior Vice President, Kirk Palmer Associates
Adelle Kirk joined executive search firm, Kirk Palmer Associates, in 2008 following a 15-year career in strategy roles within the retail, wholesale and fashion industries. As a search executive, Adelle leads Kirk Palmer’s Strategy, Finance and Operations practice, in addition to filling C-level roles within Merchandising, Planning & Allocation and Sales. She spent the first 11 years of her career with Kurt Salmon Associates, a global retail and consumer products consulting company. As a Principal in the strategic services group, she was regarded as an in expert consumer marketing/insights and growth strategies, presenting at major industry conferences including Fairchild Global CEO Summit and the National Retail Federation Conference. She went on to lead strategy and business development at Wenger Swiss Army. Adelle then served as Vice President, Group Strategic Planning at Liz Claiborne Inc. from 2003 to 2006, where she helped identify new portfolio opportunities and develop growth strategies for brands such as Juicy Couture and Lucky Brand.
Areas of Expertise: Human Capital/Human Resources, Finance, Operations
Founder & CEO, RAREculture
RAREculture grew out of a passion for pairing real artists and craftspeople with ideators and visionaries. From fine handicrafts to highly technical endeavors, their curatorial expertise and in-house design team produce specifically tailored works. They are advisers, curators, designers, matchmakers and problem solvers and they travel the globe seeking untapped creativity with a passion. RAREculture creates custom hospitality art programs that enrich the visitor experience and elevate the overall brand story. They partner with top designers, hospitality groups, real estate owners & developers for niche properties around the globe. Prior to founding RAREculture, Susan spent years as a Senior Creative Executive in the fashion industry.
Area of Expertise: Visual Studies
Senior Vice President Global Merchandising, PVH Corporation
David is an accomplished senior retail executive with extensive experience in North America, overseeing multiple businesses with revenues over $1 Billion. His expertise lies in introducing, creating, and building national brands with a strong track record of delivering on sales and marketing initiatives. Currently, David works for the PVH corporation as SVP Global Merchandising for The Underwear Group and Calvin Klein Apparel. Prior to working at PVH, he was a Strategic Advisor for a leading UK based consulting firm, Quarto Advisors, where he was responsible for identifying opportunities and developing strategies for clients to enter into, and succeed in, the North American market. Prior to Quarto, David was Chief Merchant at Lord & Taylor, America’s oldest specialty department store. Prior to that, he was a Senior Vice President / General Merchandise Manager for Hudson’s Bay Company Department Store Group, representing 140 stores + 2 Digital Flagships across North America.
Areas of Expertise: Brand Building, Marketing & Merchandising
Managing Member, Group L Consulting
Michael Lichtenstein has over 30 years of experience on the business/legal side of the fashion industry. He currently consults for new businesses and reorganized businesses. Prior to starting his own business, he spent 17 years at Joan & David Footwear, as Executive Vice President and later was President of Donna Karan New York.
Areas of Expertise: Law, Licensing, Business Strategy
Executive Vice President, Sourcing Global Brands Group
In this role, Laurianne is responsible for developing and managing key strategies and initiatives across the Global Brands Group supply chain. Prior to assuming this position, Laurianne was Executive Vice President – Fashion Design Services Group for LF USA. Based in Panyu, China, she oversaw design support functions throughout Asia and was instrumental in developing a premier designer center there. Laurianne’s other previous positions include being Senior Vice President of Merchandising and Design for the Direct Sourcing Group, which provided product development and design for Wal-Mart. She also worked for Oxford Collections, which was acquired by LF USA in 2006. At both LF USA and Oxford Collections, Laurianne played a key role in developing a strong and profitable relationship with Wal-Mart. Laurianne has also had her own apparel consulting business, specializing in sourcing/production, product development, and merchandising for European design houses and retailers and U.S. wholesalers. Now a leader in sourcing and production, Laurianne began her fashion industry career in the retail sector, where she developed expertise in the buying and merchandising of apparel and fashion accessories. In 2009, Laurianne was the recipient of LIM College’s Shining Star Alumni Award.
Areas of Expertise: Sourcing, Supply Chain, Merchandising, Design
Product Specialist, Author, BMackay Consulting
Bonnie is a consultant in BMackay Consulting and the author of the highly regarded, “Tree of Treasures: A Life in Ornaments”. Until recently, she was the Director of Creative and Marketing at MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art. Previously, she was Operating Vice President, Fashion Director for Home at Bloomingdale’s. She has had an immense impact on product and brand development in her roles at MoMA and Bloomingdales because of her extensive global retail experience in product sourcing and development in Europe, Scandinavia, India, and Asia. During her 14-year tenure, Bonnie had the unique opportunity to direct and develop the MoMA Retail rebranding of the catalog, website, packaging, advertising, store redesign and in-store renovations.
Areas of Expertise: Visual Merchandising, Retail Development, Product Development/Merchandising, Home/Hard Goods
Founder, Debra Malbin Associates
DMA is an executive search firm focusing on middle to senior level management talent for clients in the fashion related industries. Ms. Malbin launched DMA after an accomplished career in both the manufacturing and retailing of men's and women's apparel. For 14 years, she was President of two menswear divisions of Oxford Industries, Inc., a $700 million apparel company where she launched Jhane Barnes, a men’s designer sportswear, furnishings, and tailored clothing brand. Prior to this, she started her career at Bloomingdale’s in the executive training program and was a buyer in men’s apparel. In addition to her business endeavors, Ms. Malbin is a sought-after career coach and long-standing student advocate for the fashion industry. For over 25 years, she has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund, as well as serving as Co-President of this international non-profit fashion industry organization, that has helped to nurture and provide scholarships to hundreds of students interested in pursuing a career in fashion and retail related businesses.
Areas of Expertise: Human Capital/HR, Menswear, Retail/Wholesale, Non-Profit
David Meir Sasson
Chief Operating and Financial Officer, Bonobos
Prior to this David was the Chief Operating Officer at Derek Lam, the designer level apparel and accessories company, started his career in Italy as a business consultant and analyst working for clients in various sectors of industry including utilities, shipping and banking. After receiving his MBA from the Stern Business School of NYU, he joined Elie Tahari, Ltd, where he rose from operations manager to Vice President of Finance and Business Development reporting to the COO. He then went on to the role of Corporate Vice President for Kenneth Cole. David has also been an independent consultant for the Retail Division of Vantage Marketplace - Goldman Sachs Group.
Areas of Expertise: Finance/Operations, Business Development/Strategy, Retail Development
Editor-in-Chief, CEO, DAILY FRONT ROW
Editor in Chief and founder of Daily Front Row, Inc., fashion’s leading business-to-influencer media enterprise. Founder and CEO of the first fashion news website in the U.S. (1998). Builder of brands from the ground up, in print and digital. Uniquely well-rounded executive, an expert at both planning and implementation, creative direction and selling, running in tandem both the business and creative sides of an enterprise. In addition to editorial, very strong in marketing, sales, finance, and operations. Proven EIC and publishing leader. Brandusa acquired the division she created from IMG to form her own company. DFRI currently publishes The Daily Front Row at NY’s Fashion Week, The Daily Coterie at the NY-based tradeshow, The Daily Summer in the Hamptons, The Daily Hollywood in Los Angeles, and The Daily Art Basel in Miami. In addition, DFRI launched the Fashion Media Awards in 2013 celebrating the fashion insiders who work behind the scenes to create the industry’s most inspirational creations as well as the Fashion Los Angeles Awards in 2016 recognizing the iconic fusion between fashion and Hollywood. DFRI also hosts various events during New York’s Fashion Week, in the Hamptons during the summer season, and in Miami for Art Basel in partnership with the Faena District. Prior to this, Brandusa was Editor in Chief, Senior Vice President: IMG Media. In this role, she Led the publishing business unit of global media and entertainment conglomerate IMG, reporting directly to the Chairman and CEO. Founded the unit for IMG in 2002 and grew it to include 31 several targeted publications, websites, and online video shows that are syndicated worldwide. Responsible for IMG Publishing’s P&L. Prior to this, Brandusa was the CEO, EIC, and Founder of Fashion Wire Daily, the first 24/7 online fashion news site. The site acquired over 50,000 paid subscribers and nearly 300 print and online syndication clients for FWD’s daily newswire contents.
Areas of expertise: Fashion Media – editing, publishing, sales
Manager-Brand Strategy and Marketing, Moda Operandi
Stefani graduated from LIM in 2013 and was this year’s Rising Star Alumni Award winner. She’s now the Global Brand Marketing Manager for the luxury e-commerce retailer Moda Operandi. Stefani launched her career with Chanel right after graduation and continued with the company in a variety of roles for the next five years. Stefani left Chanel to oversee global marketing and communications for the fine jeweler Nirav Modi—and then went on to her current role, where she oversees marketing and media strategies to support Moda Operandi’s expansion into global markets. As a LIM alumna, Stefani has contributed to our community in so many ways — including supporting interns, speaking in classes, and serving as a First Year Experience course mentor and panelist at special events.
Area of Expertise: Accessories, Apparel, Retail, Wholesale, Merchandising
Shawn R. Outler
EVP and Chief Diversity Officer, Macy's Inc.
Prior to this Shawn was EVP, Licensed Businesses, Food Services and Multicultural Initiatives at Macy’s. In this role, Shawn oversaw all the leased and owned businesses for the store’s wedding and related gifts businesses, both online and in store. In addition, she was responsible for business development with the store’s top 25 vendors. In 2011, she launched the Workshop at Macy’s program to prepare and train new and existing vendors on retail business practices through a formalized retail business development and mentorship program, thus creating a successful benchmark for retailers in the Retail Supplier Diversity area. Prior to this, she was Group Vice President of Leased Businesses & Electronics. Shawn joined Macy’s as a Divisional Vice President/Merchandise Manager in their Atlanta division, and prior to this, held merchandising positions at Lord & Taylor and Abraham & Strauss, where she started her career in their executive training program. Shawn is also an active member and 2009 honoree of BRAG (Black Retail Action Group) and 2014 NRF Foundation honoree.
Areas of Expertise: Retail Development, Retail Franchising/Licensing, Merchandising, Buying, Planning
Michael H. Ratner Consulting, LLC
Richter+Ratner is a consultant specializing in the retail construction and design fields and works with clients to analyze and solve retail design and construction challenges. Richter+Ratner, is a leading New York-based construction firm. Michael’s vast experience spans more than 40 years of working with renowned architects, designers, retailers and developers in the U.S. and abroad.
Areas of Expertise: Retail Design, Planning and Development
Former Managing Director, PricewaterhouseCoopers – Advisory Services
Before joining PWC, Ellen was Chief Executive Officer of Lela Rose, the US luxury designer and bridal business, she transformed the brand by expanding its lifestyle offerings, widening its distribution and increasing customer reach through its new direct to consumer digital business, while increasing sales and profitability. Known for her strategic planning competence and marketing expertise, Ms. Rodriguez successfully directed and grew French Connection USA, a division of the British parent company, as President and CEO in her years prior. Leading up to these two top level positions, Ms. Rodriguez held senior level positions for such highly regarded global fashion brands as Juicy Couture (a division of Liz Claiborne, Inc.), Calvin Klein, Cole Haan, Kenneth Cole Productions and Nautica Enterprises where she honed her experience in licensing, international business development, retail franchising, brand management and marketing.
Areas of Expertise: All Apparel and Accessories, Wholesale, Licensing, International Business and Brand Development
Former Chief Executive Officer, NXT Brands
Denise V. Seegal, was most recently Chief Executive Officer, of NXT Brands after her tenure as the President and CEO of M. Magtague International, Magaschoni. Ms. Seegal is known for her strong brand building expertise and product and marketing savvy, and she has successfully built and managed global fashion brands throughout her career. Prior to Magaschoni, Denise was CEO of Amsale and prior to that, she was President and CEO of VF Sportswear Coalition for VF Corporation, which included the Nautica, Kipling NA, and John Varvatos brands. Earlier in her career, Denise has been President or CEO of such leading companies and fashion brands as Liz Claiborne, Inc., Sweetface, DKNY, CK/Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren. She started her career at Bloomingdale’s.
Areas of Expertise: All Apparel and Accessories, Wholesale, Retail and Brand Development, Merchandising, Mergers and Acquisitions
President, Mark Shulman Inc.
Mark Shulman is the consummate retailer and strong general manager having spent over 40 years running some of the most venerable American retail companies. Most recently, Mr. Shulman was the Chief Merchandising Officer for a startup, off price retail concept called The Cut, a division of Sears Canada that was housed in all 95 Sears’ doors and online. Prior to this, he was the President and Chief Merchandising Officer of the Mandee and Annie Sez divisions of YM USA, Inc. He also held the position of President of Filene’s Basement, the first of his roles in the off- price retail arena. Having started his career at Bloomingdale’s where he rose to Vice President, General Merchandise Manager, Shulman went on to become President and Chief Merchandising Officer of these specialty retailers: Ann Taylor, Henri Bendel, Stage Stores, Talbots, and Brooks Brothers. His expansive retail career was augmented by two senior level assignments in the wholesale sector with Leslie Fay Dress Division and Bonjour, Inc.
Areas of Expertise: Retail Development, Merchandising/ Buying, Operations/Finance, Wholesale
Vice President of Product Development, Laura Mercier
Prior to this Kristi was VP of Product Development for COTY where she led the Product Innovation Team for the FACE and NAIL categories. She works on upstream innovation developments for a diverse brand portfolio consisting of COVERGIRL, Rimmel. Sally Hansen, Bourjois and Max Factor. Prior to joining COTY in 2015, Kristi was the Executive Director of Global Product Innovations for Avon Color Cosmetics Category where she led the Product Innovation Team. She managed the innovation development for a $2.1B category with a portfolio including Avon Makeup, Color Trend, Luxe and Anew Beauty. Kristi also led the Marketing and Innovation Team at Bliss World LLC, developing a portfolio of spa-inspired face, body and beauty tools. Before moving to Bliss World LLC, Kristi was employed at L’Oreal Corporation for 10.5 years leading the product innovation for globally successful brands like Kiehl’s Since 1851, Maybelline and L’Oreal Paris. Kristi started her product development career at Gryphon Development, the development house for the Limited Brands, where she developed her passion for beauty products. Kristi is also a member of Cosmetic Executive Women. Kristi is a graduate of LIM College.
Areas of Expertise: Product Development & Product Innovation
President, Retail Assistance Corporation
RAC is a retail service/marketing company specializing in branding, merchandising, training and sales that employs over 1,000 people across America. Alan has nearly 40 years of retail experience. He started his career as an executive trainee at Bloomingdales. He held numerous executive roles over eight years at Bloomingdales including ADMM and Assistant Store Manager of their 59th street store before joining Dayton Hudson Corporation in various merchant roles. He moved back to NYC to start a business representing multiple vendors/manufacturers to department and specialty stores nationwide. It was at this time that RAC was born. Alan saw a void in the market to train, merchandise and advocate for manufacturer's products at the store level. By having retail activists and brand ambassadors at the stores, his client's products received the best real estate and elevated displays. The store associates were trained on the brand, and the features and benefits of the product. The net result was increased sales and brand recognition for his clients. Today, RAC works with nearly all of the major retailers directly where Alan's team coordinates the in-store execution and maintenance of their private label and corporate programs. In addition, his firm partners with hundreds of manufacturers. His greatest achievement is being the proud father of his two sons.
Director of Sustainability + Social Impact, Free People
Julie is currently the Director of Sustainability and Social Impact at Free People, of URBN Inc. and has dedicated her career to driving social and environmental change through the fashion industry. Working for large brands, including Adidas, for nonprofits, and entrepreneurially in the Americas, Europe, and Asia she is on a mission to build industry awareness, create ethical product and drive community focused initiatives. As a Chilean-American she also holds a special passion for the empowerment of latinx communities across creative fields. Julie also sits on the Board of Directors of Cuba Skate, and the Associate Advisory Board at Girls Inc. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Industrial and Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan and an MBA from IESE Business School in Barcelona, Spain.
Areas of Expertise: Sustainability, Social Impact and Brand Marketing
President & Chief Marketing Officer, Authentic Brands Group
With 24 years of experience from stock room to boardroom, Nick understands the challenges and rewards of growing a Canadian retail icon from $55 million to $1.7 billion in annual sales. As Vice President of Forzani Group Ltd, Nick created and drove the “360 degrees of success” model, which reinforces retail fundamentals and demands all aspects of project management and execution to work cohesively. In 2012, he became President and Chief Marketing Officer of Authentic Brands Group that owns and manages iconic consumer brands in the luxury apparel and accessories, sporting goods, action sports, home, celebrity, entertainment and consumer electronics segments.
Areas of Expertise: Brand Management/Licensing, Mergers/Acquisitions, Marketing, Retail