by Jaylin Carlson, Retailing and Consumer Science student
This past January I was given the incredible opportunity to represent UW-Madison as the National Retailing Federation’s Rising Star. A major part of this honor was attending Retail’s BIG Show in New York City. The Rising Star Scholarship award recognizes undergrads currently in their freshman or sophomore year that have shown a commitment to learning about the Retail industry. It also allows them to travel to the Big Apple to experience Retail in a way they have never seen before.
Every year the National Retail Federation: Retail’s BIG Show brings together 33,000 industry professionals for a three day convention showcasing all that retail has to offer. In addition to the expo, I was able to attend the student program, which is designed to give prospective undergrads exposure to unlimited possibilities of pursuing a career in retail. The student program experience includes a chance to hear from influential retail leaders, resume workshops, career fairs, CEO mentoring sessions, and so much more.
As a sophomore, I can honestly say that this trip was one of the most influential parts of my undergraduate experience. Not only did it give me an in-depth look at the retail industry, but it gave me the opportunity to connect with other students from all over the nation, network with leaders in the industry, and get invaluable insight on pursuing my professional goals.
As a sweet perk of the Rising Star Award, I was invited to attend the NRF Gala, where retail leaders like Macy CEO Terry Lundgren and HSN CEO Mindy Grossman, gathered to celebrate and reward the accomplishments of professionals in the industry. I even got a chance to meet the President of the NRF, Matthew Shay, which was extremely humbling.
I would have never been able to take advantage of this incredible opportunity if it weren’t for connections I made with faculty members, my involvement in the Student Retail Association, and my motivation to explore my passions early on in my undergraduate experience. This trip is proof that asking questions, getting involved, and staying curious will take you places in life you have never been before… maybe even New York City!
This trip was one of the most influential parts of my undergraduate experience.
Center for Retailing Report on the NYC Trip
Retail’s BIG Show
A group of 30 students attended the National Retail Federation’s annual tradeshow in New York City from January 13th – 18th. The students kicked off the trip with visits to Macy’s Herald Square offices, Lands’ End design office, and Kohl’s design office. The corporate visits were followed by two busy days of student programming, which included talks from the founder of Leave Your Mark LLC, Aliza Licht, panels of executives, a financial literacy session, and an amazing executive mentor experience! The trip ended with the students spending the day at the NRF’s annual BIG Show where they could explore some of the newest innovations in the retail industry.
When they weren’t busy with student programming, students were able to take full advantage of exploring the Big Apple. Students attended Broadway shows, shopped, went to the Top of the Rock, went ice skating at the Rockefeller ice rink, and enjoyed some great food! Students had a great time during their stay in New York and met some amazing people!
NRF Next Generation Gala
Kohl’s Center for Retailing staff and retailing students Megan Donovan and Jaylin Carlson attended the National Retail Federation Next Generation Foundation Gala in January! Megan was able to attend as she made the top 25 for the Next Generation Scholarship, and Jaylin was able to attend as she was named a Rising Star.
The event began with a networking hour and a banquet where the NRF honored some of the leading disrupters, givers, dreamers, influencers, and power players in the industry. Some of those being honored included Kohl’s Chief Merchandising and Customer officer Michelle Gass and Chairman and co-CEO of Tory Burch LLC, Tory Burch. The event was hosted by Mindy Grossman of HSNi and Terry Lundgren of Macy’s!
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