STORE SPACES

SPECS Speak: Make way for the women of SPECS

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

The glass ceiling is inching closer to shattering, and women in retail are contributing to the splintering.

SPECS Show 2019, which will be held March 3-5, at the Gaylord Texan in Dallas, is hosting even more sessions dedicated to diversity, including a stronger focus on women and their increasing roles in store design, construction and maintenance. Whether discussing their triumphs, challenges, or how their perseverance have become teachable moments for their male counterparts, female executives are ready to shine at this year’s event.

Among the must-see female-led sessions are:

* Tuesday’s Keynote Address by Kat Cole, COO and president, Focus Brands. This SPECS keynoter knows what it takes to succeed. Cole, who started her career as a hostess at casual dining chain Hooters, adapted to changes in the industry and adopted innovation to earn a place among the C-suite. After joining Focus Brands, Cole turned around the company’s ailing Cinnabon brand, taking the company’s earnings over the $1 billion threshold in just four years. As the current president of Focus Brands, Cole drives the multinational food conglomerate while pushing employees, entrepreneurs, and businesses to see the positive and the possible.

* Women in Retail: Drivers of Change. Female executives in retail construction and facilities are actively making a difference in their organizations and in the industry, as a whole. In addition to discussing challenges and opportunities they have faced in their career, attendees will also hear how they are inspiring male colleagues to raise their own personal bars when it comes to striking their own work-life balances.

* Trends that Keep Retailers Up at Night. Technology remains a male-dominated field, but more female executives are proving they have the gumption and leadership skills needed to succeed in today’s ever-changing retail environment. Kim Williams-Czopek, VP of digital at Perficient, a St. Louis, Missouri-based consulting firm (and one of the female executives featured this year in Chain Store Age’sTop 10 Women in Retail Technology” report), will lead a discussion about what it takes for retailers to embrace ever-evolving trends and technologies that challenge even the most savvy retailers.

* The Women in Retail Wine-and-Cheese Reception. An annual SPECS favorite, this women-only event invites all registered female attendees to gather, network, converse, and celebrate key women in retail over wine-and-cheese refreshments. (The reception is sponsored by American/Interstate Signcrafters.)

To hear more from these executives, as well as other companies benefitting from strong female leaders, click here to register for SPECS Show 2019.

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