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June 10th, 2020
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT

Retail’s Response to Injustice & Bias – A Special Discussion



To respond to the current events surrounding injustice in the community, the hosts of Future of Retail festival will host a town-hall session with discussion on the retail sector and its relationship with people of color.

The objective is to create a forum that gives insights to a broader community of folks working at brands/retailers and their partners. It is a constructive and open dialog with a look to moving things forward / where do we go from here.

The discussion will cover how retail sector engages people of color as shoppers, as store staff, as corporate executives and in their marketing and brand activism.


The Speakers

Adaora Udoji

Adaora Udoji is a media innovator and award-winning storyteller with expertise in emerging technology. She is currently the Director of Corporate Innovation at New York City’s RLab, the nation’s first city-funded center for education, entrepreneurship and innovation in emerging technologies like virtual reality, augmented reality, and spatial computing.

Adaora has wide-ranging expertise building new tech products, teams and business model strategies. She’s also a media maker, writing and directing experiences for the likes of Google Daydream VR, and producing documentaries and short films. She previously ran a media-tech startup called News Deeply, worked in venture capital, and as a journalist and television news anchor, she has covered some of the most compelling stories of our time from the Iraq war to Hurricane Katrina and the election of President Barack Obama for ABC News, CNN and public radio. 


Kelle Jacobs

Kelle Jacob has spent the last ten years at Estee Lauder Companies in a number of roles spanning Global Product Development to Millennial Innovation to Estee Lauder Ventures. In that time, Kelle has worked on four product patent teams, launched two brands under the Estee Lauder portfolio, and led the global retail expansion of some of the company’s recently acquired brands, including BECCA Cosmetics.

Throughout her career, Kelle has displayed an ability to not only recognize developing trends, but to harness that knowledge to cultivate and grow innovative brands that meet the needs of a rapidly changing marketplace. Now, Kelle has taken all of her knowledge and experience and has focused on the cannabis industry, investing her energies in developing Balanced Beauty, a clinically tested CBD skincare and lifestyle brand that both redefines the concept of modern beauty and re-shapes how we approach our skin wellness.

Prior to her career in beauty, Ms. Jacob was the Founder and CEO of Oswald Cleaved Gallery and a contestant on America’s Next Top Model, Cycle 3. She currently sits as the youngest Trustee member on the Hunter College Foundation Board.

Melissa Gonzalez

Melissa is a pioneer in bringing the pop-up retail format to the mainstream. She is the founder and CEO of The Lionesque Group, a firm of award-winning retail strategists and pop-up architectsTM as well as a Principal and Shareholder in MG2, a global architecture firm. Beginning with a deep dive into strategy, Melissa helps clients rethink environments and in-store experiences to convey compelling stories – ones that animate discovery and engagement – attracting new customers, elevating loyalty with existing customers, and building a platform for their future evolution. Some of her clients include  Amazon, COTY, Estee Lauder, M.Gemi, Nordstrom, Purple, Stella & Dot, The RealReal, YUM brands, and others, as well as property groups such as GGP Properties (now Brookfield) and Steiner & Associates.

Devon Powers

Devon Powers is an associate professor in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations at Temple University (Philadelphia, PA, USA). Her research explores branding, promotion, and how culture moves through the world. She is the author of On Trend: The Business of Forecasting the FutureWriting the Record: The Village Voice and the Birth of Rock Criticism, and co-editor of Blowing Up the Brand: Critical Perspectives on Promotional Culture. Follow her work on Twitter @devjpow.

G. Kofi Annan

G. Kofi Annan is a strategist and technologist who uses insights and analytics to build authentic connections between people and brands. Kofi works with entrepreneurs, startups, and global brands like Pfizer, PUMA, and Mercedes-Benz, helping them create value at home and abroad. He has held senior roles at global communications agencies Saatchi & Saatchi and Ogilvy & Mather and has presented to audiences at the United Nations, Harvard University, and the SXSW Interactive Festival. Kofi’s work has been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and in the book “Secrets of Social Media Marketing”.

Shantell Martin

Shantell Martin is a visual artist best known for her large scale, black-and-white drawings and collaborations with artists and institutions including Kendrick Lamar, the New York City Ballet, Tiffany & Co., Puma, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, The Museum of the Moving Image, MoMA and her upcoming exhibition NEW/NOW opens at the New Britain Museum of American Art later this year.

Her first art book in collaboration with HENI publishing LINES, featuring text by Katharine Stout and an interview by Hans Ulrich Obrist, is now available.

Michael Robinson

Michael Robinson was appointed Director in November 2019 and joined Ynvisible’s executive team in September 2020. Previously he was Director of Open Innovation & Business Development for Packaging Innovation at L’Oréal USA. His role at L’Oréal centered on technology scouting & strategy, business development, and integrating business and design best practices to accelerate and launch new packaging, products, and experiences. An Industrial Designer by training, Michael has previously held positions in Hasbro Toys, Bliss World LLC, and Colgate-Palmolive.

Sledge Smith
The RIW program has been developed to provide inspiration and direction to executives working in retail, at brands and their partner companies.

The Future of Retail festival has been produced by the team at Retail Innovation Week(R), a spin-off division from research and strategy think-tank PSFK.