Women Rule at the NRF Big Show

Women Rule at the NRF Big Show

By: Melissa Campanelli

Were any of you at the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Big Show in New York City this week? If you were, you may have noticed something a bit different than what you may have seen lately at other conferences and trade shows (ahem, CES) … lots of women speakers and keynote speakers!

In fact, Monday morning’s keynote was all about transformational leadership, and featured three women at the top of their games who are empowering change. They included GE’s former vice chair Beth Comstock, who spoke about transforming corporate culture through disruption and innovation; Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post as well as founder and CEO, Thrive Global, who spoke about the direct correlation between well-being and workplace performance; and Helena Foulkes, CVS Pharmacy president and executive vice president, CVS Health, who spoke on, among other things, how CVS Pharmacy is making a commitment to not materially alter the beauty imagery it creates for its stores, marketing materials, websites, apps and social media.

There were many other senior-level women speaking at NRF, including Mary Campbell, chief interactive officer, QVC Group; Lori Flees, senior vice president, next-gen retail and principal, Store No 8; Tyler Haney, founder and CEO, Outdoor Voices; Jennifer Hyman, CEO and co-founder, Rent the Runway; Shan-lyn Ma, CEO and founder, Zola.com; and Rachel Shechtman, founder and CEO, Story.

In addition, there was a fabulous Women Run Retail breakfast that, what else, featured a panel of women working in, rocking, and running retail. Speakers on that panel included Tina Sharkey, CEO and co-founder, Brandless; Michelle Peluso, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, IBM; and Shannon Schulyer, chief purpose officer, PwC. The moderator was one of Women in Retail Leadership Circle’s favorite speakers, Shelly Zalis, CEO, The Female Quotient and founder, The Girls’ Lounge.

Here are some enlightening quotes from these fabulous women. Hopefully their thoughts and perspectives will inspire you as much as they inspired me.

“The physical/digital intersection is happening in every industry. Digital-first companies don’t necessarily understand physical. Being a physical-first company is a great advantage. I would use strength as part of my story.” — Beth Comstock

“The more you keep innovating, the more you’re going to keep your customer coming along with you.” — Beth Comstock

“I’ve never seen a team that likes to change. I don’t like to change.” — Beth Comstock

“We looked at where retail was going in 20 years and decided to disrupt ourselves, not let others disrupt us.” — Lori Flees
 
“You can have it all, you just can’t have it all at the same time.” — Tina Sharkey
 
“Own the transparency of what s going on [in your life]. Normalize it for other people you work with. Own what is happening.” — Tina Sharkey

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