Retailing Smarter Symposium

Retail Smarter Conference

June 23 - 24, 2011
Orlando, FL

Each year the David F. Miller Center for Retailing Education and Research at the University of Florida offers an executive continuing education conference specifically designed for retailers. A group of senior retail executives from leading firms are assembled to focus on topics of strategic importance to retailers. The executives candidly share information and ideas that are working to keep their organizations ahead of their competition.

Brochure (pdf)
Agenda (pdf)


    Vice Chairman & Chief
    Merchandising Officer
    DSW, Inc.

    Deborah L. Ferrée joined DSW in 1997 and serves as Vice Chairman and Chief Merchandising Officer. She has previously served as President, Executive Vice President, Senior Vice President of Merchandising and Vice President of Merchandising.

    Prior to joining DSW, Ms. Ferrée worked in the retail industry for more than 30 years in various positions including Divisional Merchandising Manager of Shoes, Accessories and Intimate Apparel for Harris Department Store, Women's Buyer for Ross Stores and Divisional Merchandising Manager of the May Company.

  • Yolanda M. Wang

    Retail Center of Competence,
    China Global Business Services, IBM
    Slides: Retailing in China

    Yolanda Wang is consultant with IBM Global Business Services, Retail Industry Practice. She has 18 years experience working with global enterprises in the retail, consumer goods and hospitality industry to align business strategy and technology initiatives. Since the fall of 2008, Ms. Wang has been working in Greater China to bring best practices and innovative solutions to support the development of organized retail. Her clients include both multinational retailers expanding into China and domestic retailers. Ms. Wang received her bachelor's degree in Physical Sciences from Harvard University. She currently resides in Shanghai and San Francisco.

    – Ms. Wang replaces originally scheduled speaker, Ben Fischman.


    Two-time Olympic Medalist

    Shannon Bahrke Happe is a three-time Olympian and was the first American to win two Olympic medals in the sport of freestyle skiing claiming Silver in the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and Bronze in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

    Since retiring from competition she and her husband, Matt, made the transition from world champion athletes to entrepreneurs beginning their own business, Silver Bean Coffee Co. Ms. Bahrke Happe is also working on starting a career in television commentary, and growing her motivational and public speaking endeavors.

    – Ms. Happe replaces originally scheduled speaker, Steven Messler.


    International Council of Shopping Centers
    Slides: Embracing the Future

    Michael P. Kercheval is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). He is responsible for the day-to-day management of ICSC's global operations and carrying out the association's strategic objectives.

    Prior to joining ICSC, Mr. Kercheval was a senior executive at Lend Lease Real Estate Investments, an Australia-based global real estate company. He was also an economist for the Equitable Life Assurance Society and later held a series of positions culminating with the title of Senior Vice President and Portfolio Manager of Equitable's $12 billion U.S. commercial mortgage portfolio.


    President, Online
    The Home Depot

    Hal Lawton is President, Online for The Home Depot. He is responsible for integrating online sales with existing merchandising efforts and overseeing the expansion of the company's online presence as both a selling channel and an information source for customers.

    Mr. Lawton joined The Home Depot in 2005 as a Director of Strategic Development and was later promoted to Vice President of Finance for Merchandising. He was named to the newly-created position of President, Online, in September 2009.

    Before joining The Home Depot, Mr. Lawton was an Associate Principal at McKinsey & Co. and a Process Engineer at Champion International Corp.


    Chief Executive Officer
    Brown Shoe Co., Inc.

    Diane M. Sullivan was promoted to the position of President and Chief Executive Officer of Brown Shoe Company, Inc., effective May 26, 2011.

    Ms. Sullivan joined Brown Shoe in 2004 as President and added the role of Chief Operating Officer in 2006. She was first elected to Brown Shoe's Board of Directors in 2007. Ms. Sullivan's tenure has been marked by strategic enhancements to the company's brand portfolio including the growth of Famous Footwear to $1.5 billion, the development of a $250 million contemporary footwear business, the evolution of flagship women's brand Naturalizer and significant growth in Dr. Scholl's.


    Chairman and Chief
    Executive Officer
    The Container Store

    Kip Tindell has led The Container Store, the first-ever store devoted solely to storage and organization products, since its opening in Dallas in 1978. The retailer has posted a compounded annual growth rate of 26 percent since its inception and 2011 fiscal year sales are projected to approach $650 million.

    Mr. Tindell received the National Retail Federation's 2010 Gold Medal Award, the most coveted award in retail. It is given to individuals who have served the industry with distinction and achieved a national reputation for excellence. His exploits have landed the company on FORTUNE magazine's list of "100 Best Companies to Work For" the last 12 years.


    Vice President
    Kantar Retail
    Slides: Retail Over the Years: The Evolving Role of Stores

    Geoff Wissman has more than 15 years of retail consulting experience and specializes in analyzing strategic issues regarding the distribution of products and services.

    Mr. Wissman has created economic models that analyze new business opportunities and store performance among other aspects. He also has significant experience with primary consumer research studies that track shopping and purchasing behaviors. His clients have included Caterpillar, Lowe's, Nationwide, Nokia, Pepsi, PETCO, Pfizer, S.C. Johnson, Samsung, Scotts, Sony Style and Walmart among others.

    Mr. Wissman most recently served as a Principal Consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers. He holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Kenyon College and an MBA from The Ohio State University.


Caribe Royale

Orlando, FL


Office Depot
Pinch-A-Penny Naturalizer Famous Footwear The Container Store Dick's Sporting Goods Tires Plus Hess ERS Walgreens ERS Wells Fargo Dunnhumby Firestone YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund