Hello dear readers! I’m excited to announce that the speaker squads are set for the Women in Retail Leadership Circle’s (WIRLC) New York City and San Francisco “Girl Talks” events, taking place on Oct. 3 and Oct. 23, respectively. (Is it just me or is this year flying by?)

In case you’re not aware, WIRLC’s Girl Talks are networking and dinner events designed to help improve your lives both personally and professionally. At these events, women retail executives gather with their peers to hear short, passionate presentations delivered by powerful women leaders. We’re sure you’ll be inspired by their personal stories, as well as gain new insights and ideas on critical areas such as leadership skills, emerging retail technology trends, learning from failure, how to negotiate, and so much more

At the New York City event, we’re excited to announce that Dawn Robertson, a true retail legend who has been leading companies for more than 30 years in the U.S. and internationally, has joined our speaker squad. Currently, Dawn is the president of Scout & Molly’s, a trendy boutique chain that uses a franchise model, as well as a partner at strategic advisory firm Collective Growth Partners.

Dawn has been a global business leader for major retailers and wholesale companies, holding positions such as president of Old Navy, and managing director of Myer Department Stores, the largest department store chain in Australia, where she developed and executed a new strategy for the $3.2 billion organization and sold the company to a private equity firm — beating all market expectations on sale price.

Dawn started Macys.com and Bloomingdales.com, and led Sean John, a private, high-growth wholesale and retail company founded by Sean “Diddy” Combs, where she successfully negotiated an exclusive relationship with Macy’s.

As president and CEO of Avenue, a plus-size women’s apparel retailer, Dawn successfully sold the company to a private equity firm after a new strategy was developed. Up until 2016, Dawn led Stein Mart, a 310-store retailer.

Dawn will be joining Miki Racine Berardelli, CEO of  KIDBOX , the first kid’s style box offering premier brands, significant savings and a mission to clothe 1 million children; and Liza Landsman, president of Jet.com. Along with Dawn, both Miki and Liza will have so much to discuss based on their impressive careers.

Also, we’ve confirmed our third speaker for the San Francisco event: Shelley Zalis, CEO of The Female Quotient and creator of The Girls’ Lounge. Both organizations are designed to support and mentor women to find their voice, embrace their feminine leadership powers and work together to transform corporate culture for this and future generations of women.

Shelley has gone against the grain most of her career, starting in 2000 when she left the corporate world to pioneer online research. She created OTX (Online Testing Exchange), which in nine years became one of the largest and fastest-growing research companies in the world. She sold OTX to Ipsos in 2010, where she led global innovation in over 80 countries.

As the first female chief executive ranked in the research industry’s top 25, Shelley changed the game, brought emotion and passion to the boardroom, and devoted herself to becoming a mentor and friend to women and leaders in her industry.

Shelley is also a strategic partner of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and its Alliance for Family Entertainment (AFE) #SeeHer initiative, as well as a board member of AWNY, I Am That Girl, Dress for Success, The Women Economic Forum, ColorComm, The Foundation for Exxcellence in Women’s Health, and the Women’s Military Symposium. Shelley has been awarded the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, Global Marketing Leadership Award, ARF Great Minds in Innovation Award, and AWNY’s Game Changer Award. Shelley has also been inducted into the IRTS Hall of Mentorship, and has been honored by Girls Inc. for her achievements as a business leader. A pioneer, wife and mother of three, she successfully juggles between CEO and mom.

Shelley will be joining the two amazing speakers who were already lined up for our San Francisco event: Jenny Ming, president and CEO of Charlotte Russe, and Rosie O’Neill, co-founder and chief creative officer of luxury candy boutique Sugarfina. (Have you ever had Rosé gummy bears? They are a Sugarfina product!) Shelley, Jenny and Rosie will all have so much to discuss in their talks.

Make sure to grab your ticket to either event today (or both)! The cost is $49 for each event for qualified retailers, and free for WIRLC members! (Members, please email me at mcampanelli@napco.com for the discount code.)

I can’t wait to see you this fall!

Melissa Campanelli
Women in Retail Leadership Circle