NRF Foundation Emerging Leaders | At Work

NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship finalist Clay Lute stands in front of a retail space

NRF Foundation Emerging Leaders

NRF Foundation Emerging Leaders Summit 2023

Build your skills and expand your network. Engage in professional development to evolve your career. And get exclusive insights from retail leaders.

The NRF Foundation Emerging Leaders Summit is an invitation-only two-day summit of networking, learning and skill building for emerging retail leaders of color who are early careerists (2-5 years post college graduation).

Benefits and Learning Outcomes

The NRF Foundation provides the skills and resources people need to build great careers and continues to invest in the future of the retail workforce.

The Emerging Leaders Summit will bring together 50-100 young professionals, retail leaders and subject-matter experts to provide exclusive insights and engaging professional development that will help early careerists become stronger future leaders.

The event seeks to provide young professionals of color with support, access, and opportunities to further themselves as leaders, and to support the retailer community with investing in early talent that will contribute to a stronger, more diverse workforce.

By participating, Early Careerists will:

  • Build their knowledge of the wider world of retail, hearing directly from NRF experts and retail leaders from various companies on what they need to know about the industry.
  • Cultivate a network of peers across the industry and mid to senior level individuals that are eager to invest in the next generation of leaders.
  • Develop effective workforce navigation skills and techniques to be engaged, authentic and successful team members at their company.


To be eligible to attend the Emerging Leaders Summit, individuals:

  • Must be a person of color who is currently employed full-time at a retail company.
  • Should have completed their bachelor’s degree between two and five years ago.
  • Hold entry-level up to manager roles in any function within the organization.


Wednesday Sept. 20, 2023

5:00PM – NRF Reception honoring the Congressional Black Caucus
Optional Event

The National Retail Federation is hosting a rooftop reception to honor the Congressional Black Caucus during their 52nd Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, DC. At this event, NRF will celebrate the power of unity and the conference theme of "Securing our Democracy. Protecting our Freedoms. Uplifting our Culture."

NRF will honor the valued leadership of all CBC members and their extraordinary work in shaping future generations. Members of the CBC work every day to uplift and promote a common goal of equity, diversity, and inclusion in all sectors of our communities. These efforts include supporting entrepreneurial businesses run by women, people of color, and underrepresented individuals.

Attendees of the Emerging Leaders of Color Summit are invited to attend this event. Details will be provided to those who confirm their attendance.

Thursday Sept. 21, 2023

12:00PM – Welcome & Lunch
Lunch will be provided for all attendees

1:00PM – Opening Keynote

Mecca Mitchell
Mecca Mitchell

Senior Vice President & Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer
Burlington Stores, Inc.

Learn more about Mecca Mitchell

1:45PM – NRF Curated Session - Industry & Consumer Trends

Katherine Cullen
Katherine Cullen

Vice President, Industry and Consumer Insights
National Retail Federation

Learn more about Katherine Cullen

Session description: NRF conducts research throughout the year, staying on the pulse of the retail industry and consumer behavior as they evolve. Katherine Cullen, NRF's VP of Industry and Consumer Insights, will present an inside look into the state of the industry and the role that retail plays in today’s economy, sharing the data and insights that NRF provides to its members every day. With holidays around the corner, Katherine will also share trends NRF will watch going into the season and why it matters for retailers.

2:30PM – Break

2:50PM – Conversations with Retail Leaders

Aman Advani
Aman Advani

Co-Founder & CEO
Ministry of Supply

Learn more about Aman Advani


Ron Brown
Ron Brown

Vice President, Community Impact

Learn more about Ron Brown

Ceara Flake
Ceara Flake

Vice President & Deputy General Counsel

Learn more about Ceara Flake

Session description: Investing in team members and communities is a key priority for leaders at companies of any size. Moderated by Ceara Flake, NRF Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, panelists Ron Brown, Target's VP of Community Impact, and Aman Advani, Ministry of Supply's Co-Founder & CEO, share how they each built their careers, the importance of resiliency through change and obstacles, and how their respective large and small businesses are taking steps to invest in their workforce and in the customers they serve.

3:30PM – Conversations with Retail Leaders

Tonya Hallett
Tonya Hallett

Vice President, People eXperience Technology (PXT)

Learn more about Tonya Hallett

4:20PM – Day 1 Wrap Up

5:00PM – Networking Reception
Attendees, speakers and NRF representatives are invited to participate in a networking reception. Food and beverages will be provided.

Friday Sept. 22, 2023

8:00AM – Networking Breakfast
Breakfast will be provided for all attendees

8:40AM – NRF Curated Session - An Insider Look into Policies Impacting Retail

Dylan Jeon
Dylan Jeon

Senior Director, Government Relations
National Retail Federation

Learn more about Dylan Jeon

Session description: Retail supports one in four American jobs. The policies impacting retail have a profound impact on retailers' ability to do business and serve their customers. And as the nation's largest private sector employer, issues such as jobs, innovation and consumer value are vital to the overall economic competitiveness of the United States. Dylan Jeon, NRF's Senior Director of Government Relations, will share insights on NRF's latest initiatives and priorities, and the work that he and his team do every day to advocate for the retail industry and its' consumers in Washington and across the country.

9:00AM – Early Career Mastery: A 101 Success Strategies Workshop

NRF Foundation Emerging Leaders Speaker Halleemah Nash
Halleemah Nash

Founder & Lead Coach
Rosecrans Ventures

Learn more about Halleemah Nash

Session description: Halleemah Nash, Founder & Lead Coach for Rosecrans Ventures, will lead this workshop to help early careerists implement strategies to create a foundation for future career success including career mapping, securing mentors and allies, managing up, succeeding in the multigenerational workforce, and developing core emerging workforce skills.

11:00AM – Break

11:20AM – Young Professionals Panel

Sheneque Alexander
Sheneque Alexander

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager
UNIQLO/ Theory

Learn more about Sheneque Alexander

Robert Davison-Long
Robert Davison-Long

Department Manager
The Prada Group

Learn more about Robert Davison-Long

Melanie Muñoz
Melanie Muñoz

Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Crate and Barrel Holdings

Learn more about Melanie Muñoz

Session description: Building your career in retail is an ongoing journey, and these young professionals have worked their way up from graduating college to now managing teams, leading initiatives, and making an impact. They’ll share their stories, challenges they faced along the way, and the advice they have for the next generation of young professionals and future leaders in retail.

12:00PM – Lunch
Lunch will be provided for all attendees

1:00PM – Conversations with Retail Leaders

Bobby Amirshahi
Bobby Amirshahi

Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications
Macy's, Inc.

Learn more about Bobby Amirshahi

Samantha Di Scipio
Samantha Di Scipio

Senior Director, Social Impact
Macy's, Inc.

Learn more about Samantha Di Scipio

Session description: Finding your purpose and making an impact at your company can be daunting. In this session, Sam Di Scipio and Bobby Amirshahi of Macy's share how corporate social responsibility is more important than ever in today's world — and how you can harness your personal passion to help drive change.

1:40PM – Conversations with Retail Leaders

Karen Cho
Karen Cho

Chief Human Resources Officer
Designer Brands, Inc.

Learn more about Karen Cho

Kimberly Lee Minor
Kimberly Lee Minor

Bumbershoot Group

Learn more about Kimberly Lee Minor

Christiane Pendarvis
Christiane Pendarvis

Board Member
Him & Hers Health, Inc. and Hootsuite

Learn more about Christiane Pendarvis

Session description: The leadership journey isn't a straight shot. It takes skill, strategy, and resilience. This Leadership Journey session presented by the Women of Color Retail Alliance (WOCRA) will provide honest and real leadership career stories, tools, and answers from women retail leaders to help participants create their own roadmaps to a successful path to leadership.

2:30PM – Wrap-up, Takeaways, & Closing

Contact Us

For more information, please contact Maggie White at