University of New Orleans student Olivia Monnerjahn, a junior who is majoring in marketing, recently received a National Retail Federation Rising Stars Scholarship and attended the national conference in New York.
The scholarship, which includes a $1,000 award, was created to teach students about the variety of career opportunities available in the retail industry. Monnerjahn attended the National Retail Federation Foundation Student Program held in New York on January 11-14.
Over the course of the four-day conference, Monnerjahn said she was able to meet many entrepreneurs and mentors in the retail industry.
“On the first day of the conference, Julie Averill, EVP and chief information officer of Lululemon, talked about the use of technology in retail and the various aspects of a product's lifecycle. Kristin Shane, SVP and chief merchandising officer of PetSmart, also spoke at the conference. She shared about staying agile to be successful in merchandising,” Monnerjahn said. “I found this very interesting because trends are always changing and evolving.”
The conference also included a career fair, she said.
“The last day was an amazing opportunity to market myself at the annual NRF career fair and engage in sit-down conversations with the mentors, including some of the speakers for this year's conference,” Monnerjahn said. “There were so many companies to talk to.”
Monnerjahn was able to sit-in on the taping of a podcast, “Retail Gets Real,” featuring Bill Thorne, senior vice president for communications at the National Retail Federation, and Monica Royer, founder and CEO of the clothing brand Monica+Andy.
The conference included a tour of Kohl’s design office in New York.
“I enjoyed hearing insightful first-hand experiences of Kohl’s employees in their fashion and design department,” Monnerjahn said. “I learned about those designers' personal ways of creating daily.”
There were over 1,500 students from around the U.S. in attendance, and Monnerjahn said she found it inspiring to meet so many other students who were on similar career paths.
“I am so grateful for this opportunity to advance my career and learn more about the retail industry,” Monnerjahn said. “I learned so much!”