10th Annual NYU Stern Luxury & Retail Conference

For the past 10 years, the Luxury & Retail Club at New York University's Leonard Stern School of Business has hosted our annual conference bringing together top graduate students with leading industry professionals in Luxury, Retail, Beauty, and Consulting.

The goal of the conference is to create a forum where current topics in luxury and retail can be discussed by industry leaders in an academic environment. This year’s conference theme is Expanding Horizons: Navigating New Channels & Thinking in Retail. Recognizing that the retail space is constantly evolving, our hope is that the day will highlight how top companies are adapting their strategies to remain relevant and competitive. Below are the biographies of our esteemed participants, as well as a detailed description of the day.  

After the closing fireside chat we invite you to join us for casual conversations & cocktails overlooking Washington Square Park.  


Friday, October 14, 2016

NYU Kimmel Center

60 Washington Square South

New York, NY 10012

12:45 p.m - 7:00 p.m

Event Schedule

12:45 pm - 1:20 pm     Registration

1:20 pm - 1:30 pm       Welcome Remarks

1:30 pm - 2:30 pm      keynote conversation with Anish Melwani, CEO of LVMH Inc. & Courtney Hagen, SVP of Human Resources for LVMH Inc. 

2:30 pm - 2:50 pm     coffee break

2:50 pm - 3:40 pm     Authentic Activations: Customers to advocates

It is becoming increasingly important for brands to develop unique ways to engage with consumers outside of traditional marketing tactics. Our panelists lead brands which have successfully developed experiential initiatives that create unexpected, memorable experiences converting consumers to brand advocates. Additionally, the panel will explore how these activations have informed longer-term business strategies.

3:40 pm - 3:50 pm      Quick Break

3:50 pm - 4:40 pm      Shifting strategies: retail in a digital age

From shoppable Instagram posts to on-demand delivery through mobile – digital is forcing an industry-wide pivot. In-store experience is dramatically changing and retailers are challenged to engage with consumers in new ways. Our panel will explore the evolving role of content and its convergence with commerce, as well as the many new ways in which retailers are connecting with consumers and streamlining the user experience via digital enhancements.

4:40 pm - 5:00 pm      Coffee Break 

5:00 pm - 6:00 pm      Keynote Fireside Chat: Mark Lee, CEO of Barneys New York

6: 00 pm - 7:00 pm      Cocktail Reception sponsored by Belvedere

Meet Our Speakers


anish melwani

Chairman and ceo of LVMH inc.

As the Chairman and CEO of LVMH Inc. Anish Melwani is responsible for the development of LVMH activities in North America, working alongside the company’s global leaders in 5 sectors including fashion & leather goods, perfumes & cosmetics, watches & jewelry, wines & spirits, and selective retailing.

Prior to joining LVMH, Anish was a senior partner at McKinsey & Company, where he co-led the Global Strategy & Corporate Finance practice and supported clients across industries.  At McKinsey since 1999, he counseled senior executives of leading global companies on issues related to corporate strategy, M&A, alliances, portfolio management and organization. He  worked in McKinsey’s Singapore and Hong Kong offices, and most recently, was based in the New York office, where he advised leaders of public sector institutions in New York City. Anish is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Board of the United Way of New York City, and holds a BA in Economics from Harvard University.


Courtney Hagen

SVP of Human Resources for LVMH INC.

Courtney Hagen is Senior Vice President of Human Resources for LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton Inc. In this role, she works across brands and functions in North America and with global headquarters to create and execute strategic HR programs to support current and future talent needs for LVMH, including internal and external talent sourcing, assessment and acquisition, succession planning, strategic organization development programs, and diversity and inclusion initiatives. Prior to joining LVMH, Courtney led global executive talent acquisition for PepsiCo across sectors, functions and geographies, as well as all professional recruiting for the Marketing function for North America. Courtney joined PepsiCo from a career in executive search and management consulting, most recently with Russell Reynolds Associates, where she led searches for marketing, sales and HR executives. Prior to this, Courtney led business development and marketing strategy for cobranded card partnerships at American Express. She started her career with management consulting firm Bridge Strategy Group/Renaissance Worldwide, where she led strategy consulting engagements for Fortune 1000 companies in the US, Europe and South Africa.


Outside work, Courtney is President of the Board of Directors for Young Survival Coalition, the premier global organization dedicated to the critical issues unique to young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer.  Courtney received a B.A. from Wellesley College and an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School. 

Authentic activations: Converting consumers to advocates

It is becoming increasingly important for brands to develop unique ways to engage with consumers outside of traditional marketing tactics. Our panelists lead brands which have successfully developed experiential initiatives that create unexpected, memorable experiences converting consumers to brand advocates. Additionally, the panel will explore how these activations have informed longer-term business strategies.

Nathan taN

Associate Director, Brand Partnerships & Experiences at Cadillac

Nathan is responsible for driving Cadillac's vision and strategy for all experiential marketing, sponsorship and partnership activities, as well as branded entertainment, brand experience centers and branded merchandise.

Prior to joining Cadillac, Nathan was at Mercedes-Benz where he led brand strategy and advertising production for the U.S. market. While at Mercedes-Benz, he was pivotal in evolving the brand to make it relevant and resonant to a millennial target while maintaining equity with its core buyer.

Before his time at Mercedes-Benz, Nathan founded Forgetful Gentleman, an award winning luxury lifestyle brand that provides products, services and educational tools to help the modern gentleman translate good intentions into gentlemanly action. He is author of "The Forgetful Gentleman: 30 Ways to Turn Good Intentions into Action," published by Chronicle Books, and has been profiled by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg BusinessWeek and NPR among others. 

Additionally, Nathan has brand management experience at Coca-Cola where he worked in the Tea innovation group. He began his professional marketing career at Lowe New York, a leading global advertising agency.


Carlos Zepeda

VP, Belvedere at Moët Hennessy USA

Carlos Zepeda is VP, Belvedere for Moet Hennessy USA. In this role, he is responsible for growing the business and building the brand in the US market. Prior to joining Moet Hennessy, served as Vice President of Marketing for Havaianas USA based in New York City. Under his leadership the brand developed strategic partnerships with designers and apparel verticals, launched the first generation of own retail stores and increased the brand’s digital presence.

Previously, he held several marketing roles at PepsiCo over a span of 10 years including Diet Pepsi, Starbucks Frappuccino RTD and SoBe. Earlier in his career, Carlos held consulting positions at Ernst & Young’s Customer Connections practice and at Peppers and Rogers Group, both in NYC.  

He holds a B.A. in Marketing from Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM), a M.S. in Integrated Marketing from Northwestern University and Executive Education at Harvard Business School. He has spoken at several universities and industry forums including CMO Club, Brand Innovators, Bloomberg, Northwestern, Thunderbird and Royal Roads University.



VP of brand marketing, Chobani

With a breadth and diversity of industry and functional knowledge both in-house and as a consultant — Lisa joined Chobani in September 2016, charged with driving growth in our emerging product platforms. Lisa began her career in the fashion world – first as a Producer and Art Buyer working with fashion and entertainment brands from David Yurman to Britney Spears –and later as a Talent Agent managing a top-tiered roster of photographers, stylists, and set designers worldwide. After receiving an MBA from INSEAD in 2008, she spent two years in the Consumer Products practice of The Boston Consulting Group contributing to diverse client projects, consumer insights, and knowledge development. She went on to lead the global repositioning of Rockport shoes which had recently been acquired by The adidas Group, later being named Director of Product Marketing Operations charged with overseeing global go-to- market activities and brand licensing. More recently, Lisa headed up marketing at online print and design company moo.com based in Boston. 


Lauren Locke

VP of Sales at Food52

Lauren Locke is the VP of Sales at Food52, a leading lifestyle website where 10 Million food and design obsessed people flock to find inspiration, watch innovative videos, browse our trusted recipes and design ideas, and shop for all things kitchen and home.  Lauren leads the ad sales team creatively engaging with advertising partners. 

Lauren has been in the media and sales business for 15 years, working on both the agency and publisher side (Yahoo!) and holds her MBA from Babson College.  She's spoken at a number of conferences including the Digiday Publishers Summit, and keynoting at the DTC Wine Symposium.

Born in Canada, she grew up in the States and has lived in Japan and Costa Rica. She's a huge advocate of seasonal eating and loves her year-round CSA membership. She resides in Westchester with her husband and their (adorable) sons Hudson and Campbell.


Moderator: Gil Krakowsky

vp, strategy at gap inc.

Gil Krakowsky is currently VP of Corporate Strategy and Business Development for Gap Brand in NYC. Gil came to Gap in April 2015 from management consulting firm AT Kearney, where he was a partner in their consumer and retail practice. During his 7+ years at AT Kearney, Gil led a number of high profile projects, including developing an end-to-end turnaround strategy for a global apparel company; creating an omnichannel strategy for a women’s clothing retailer; and building the consumer insights capability and organizational model for a multi-brand CPG firm. Gil was also a co-owner of a successful chocolate business, where he gained hands-on experience in starting and running a business. Earlier in his career, he spent time in China developing a strategy for a health care company.


Gil now leads a small team in NYC that identifies and develops strategic operating initiatives to fuel the brand’s growth. He is also responsible for broader innovation, assessment of potential expansion opportunities, and white spaces in the retail market as relevant to the Gap.

Shifting Strategies: Retail in a Digital Age

From shoppable Instagram posts to on-demand delivery through mobile – digital is forcing an industry-wide pivot. In-store experience is dramatically changing and retailers are challenged to engage with consumers in new ways. Our panel will explore the evolving role of content and its convergence with commerce, as well as the many new ways in which retailers are connecting with consumers and streamlining the user experience via digital enhancements.



Pau Sabria and his co-founders created the world’s first earned content platform to help brands curate, activate, and analyze consumer photos and videos across all marketing and e-Commerce channels. Based in the company’s New York headquarters, Sabria oversees the company strategy and direction in the marketplace.  He is a graduate of Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Barcelona with a degree in Telecommunications Engineering, and conducted his thesis in distributed video coding at Purdue University in Indiana. He then joined The Boston Consulting Group, where he worked for three years and co-founded Olapic while completing his MBA at Columbia University in New York City. Sabria is extensively quoted in the media about visual social platforms such as Instagram, the future of e-commerce and how consumer-generated images will impact the way brands interact with customers.

Karin Tracy_Facebook.JPG



As Head of Industry, Beauty & Luxury, Karin Tracy oversees Facebook’s beauty and luxury practice, which she built within the CPG vertical to help brands drive real business results through their work on Facebook and Instagram. 

Since joining Facebook in 2015, Karin has developed go-to market strategies tailored for beauty and luxury marketers, forging senior-level relationships within the industry and pioneering initiatives such as Facebook’s first-ever Beauty Summit.

Previously to Facebook, Karin Tracy was Publisher of InStyle from 2013-2016, following four highly successful years in senior leadership roles within Time Inc.’s Style and Entertainment Group.  At InStyle, she oversaw the magazine’s marketing, advertising sales and brand strategy for the monthly and annual special issues. In addition, she oversaw marketing and sales strategy for InStyle.com and its social platforms, including product innovation, audience development and ad solutions.


Ted Vasquez

VP Strategic Planning and Analysis at J.Crew

In his current role at J.Crew, Ted is responsible for identifying, shaping, and executing opportunities to profitably grow or improve the business. In this capacity, he leads large initiatives including establishing the company’s omni-channel and customer insights capabilities.  He also helps direct overall strategy, resource allocation, and executional governance on several high-priority initiatives for the J.Crew and Factory brands.

Prior to his current role, Ted spent over a decade in business consulting where he advised leading companies in the retail and consumer goods industries on ways to grow revenue and improve operational efficiency.  His former clients include J.Crew, Amazon.com, Sysco, TJX, Target, Walmart, Hewlett-Packard, and Hanesbrands.




Maggie is a New York based Senior Manager in Kurt Salmon’s Digital practice. During her career Maggie has led strategy, merchandising, marketing and e-commerce teams with oversight of over $4B in retail and digital global expansion strategies, digital marketing and merchandising strategies and technology implementations. Maggie started her career in consulting where she was responsible for PMO support for several complex strategic initiatives including organizational change, improvement of business processes, strategic vendor selection and IT implementations. Prior to Kurt Salmon, Maggie was the VP of Digital at Uniqlo where she led their digital merchandising, site, marketing, omni-channel, IT and customer service teams.

Keynote Fireside Chat with Mark Lee, CEO of Barneys New York



Mark Lee joined Barneys New York as Chief Executive Officer in September 2010. Prior to Barneys, he served as Chief Executive Officer for the global Gucci brand from 2004–2008.

Mr. Lee previously held leadership positions within the Gucci Group. From 1999–2004 he served as Chief Executive Officer and President of Yves Saint Laurent S.A.S. He first joined Gucci in 1996 and served as Worldwide Merchandising Director of Gucci from 1997–1999.

Mr. Lee began his career in the buying office at Saks Fifth Avenue and also served in senior management roles at Jil Sander America Inc.and Giorgio Armani Corporation.

Mark Lee graduated from New York University in 1984 and resides in New York City since 1980. 


Platinum Sponsor

LVMH is the world leader in luxury with over 125,000 employees and a network of over 3,800 stores worldwide.

The Group has a unique portfolio of over 70 prestigious brands, among them Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Marc Jacobs, Hennessy, Moët & Chandon, Guerlain, Sephora and TAG Heuer.

LVMH operates in five different core businesses: Wines & Spirits, Fashion & Leather Goods, Perfumes & Cosmetics, Watches & Jewelry, and Selective Retailing and generated sales of over €35.7 billion in 2015.

Joining LVMH means becoming part of a unique process of creativity and innovation. It marks a personal and collective commitment to a perpetual quest for excellence to build the Future of Tradition.


Gold Sponsor


Doris and Don Fisher opened the first Gap store in 1969 with a simple idea — to make it easier to find a pair of jeans and a commitment to do more. Over the last 46 years, the company has grown from a single store to a global fashion business with five brands — Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Athleta and Intermix. Gap's clothes are available in 90 countries worldwide through 3,300 company-operated stores, almost 400 franchise stores, and e-commerce sites and is still growing.



Givaudan captures the essence of the moment, bringing you memorable flavours and fragrances to be enjoyed throughout the day. We maintain our leadership position – approximately 25% of our industry’s global market share – by challenging ourselves daily, inspiring our partnerships across the globe and serving our customers with heart and soul.




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Where will the conference take place?

The conference will be held at the NYU Kimmel Center located at 60 Washington Square South - all events will be held in the Rosenthal Pavilion located on the 10th Floor. 

Where should I check-in?

Check-in will take place outside of Rosenthal Pavilion on the 10th floor of the Kimmel Center. Upon entering the main entrance of the building from Washington Square South, turn right and walk toward the main security desk. You will need to check-in with security before taking the elevator to the 10th Floor. There will also be signs and event staff to direct you. If you are arriving late, you should check-in with security and proceed to the 10th Floor. Please bring a photo ID.

I'm a Prospective Student, can I attend?

Of course! We'd love for you to join us at conference to learn more about NYU and the Luxury & Retail Club. Please reach out to Emily Schlesinger for more information about tickets and special events for prospective students (emily.schlesinger@stern.nyu.edu)

Traveling with Bags or expecting rain?

We will have a coat check available on the 9th Floor of the Kimmel Center. Upon arrival please proceed to the 9th Floor if you need to check a coat or bags.


The Kimmel Center (60 Washington Square South) is easily accessible by public transportation (A,B,C,D, E, F or M at West 4th Street; N or R at 8th St-NYU or the 6 at Astor Place). If you are traveling by car, public parking is available on West 3rd Street and on Thompson Street.


Last Year's Conference

A Note to all attendees: 

The conference will feature a number of candid conversations with industry leaders, and all presentations will be off the record. Please refrain from live social media coverage or filming of any sessions. 


E-mail us at luxret@stern.nyu.edu


About Us: NYU STern Luxury & Retail Club

Established in 2004 as a pioneering career-based outreach program for MBA students interested in the luxury and retail sectors, the NYU Stern Luxury & Retail Club aims to promote NYU Stern as a premier source of talent and academic leadership in these specific industries. The club now boasts over 1,200 members and has established relationships with some of the most prominent companies and individuals in the luxury and retail space. 

In 2009, NYU Stern introduced the Luxury Marketing specialization, the first of its kind among top-tier business schools. This focus differentiates NYU Stern from other MBA programs and as a club, we collaborate with faculty and industry executives to develop an interdisciplinary curriculum driven by today’s industry leaders.