2023 Business Workshop

The Accessories Council hosted its 9th annual Business Workshop on November 14th, 2023. The Business Workshop was created to inspire, inform and provide ideas to help our companies endure our ever-changing retail environment.

The sessions were loaded with experts who shared statistics, data, and insights. Topics included AI’s Impact on Fashion, Selling Strategies, Industry Statistics, Advice from Experts, Successful TikTok Strategies, Fashion, Art and DEI: How These Industries Are Setting an Example on How to Create Inclusive Environments, and Sustainability Law Updates.

Thank you to our sponsors: FashionGo, Hearst, LIM College, Morgan Media and FabFitFun.

Please see more information about this year's speakers below.

Barry McGeough
Edmond Handwerker

A native New Yorker with experience in fashion that ranges from his time at FIT studying womenswear, the launch of his namesake men’s accessories collection, and his experience in the tech-fashion-retail space, Edmond is currently Accenture’s Global Head of Generative AI for Marketing, Content and Production, bringing his career in content to the forefront of innovation in helping define the future of content experiences for brands and consumers alike.

Edmond’s background is in the production and content space with over two decades of experience in marketing, content, studio, and technology. His leadership and work were awarded the highest honors from Accenture’s Greater Than Awards for program strategy, innovation, delivery, and impact. He has helped define and lead major enterprise-wide strategic initiatives that create measurable business outcomes by helping to drive transformation and innovation for clients. By defining the outcomes and leveraging a proven approach to create new ways of working across silos, he continues to lead teams and work with clients that change the game while remaining focused on innovation, growth, team leadership, problem solving and delivery throughput.

Frank Zambrelli

Frank Zambrelli is a design and branding chief executive, educator, and sustainability expert with extensive professional experience spanning fashion and retail, and the environmental, social and governance (ESG) implications therein. After more than a decade working for world-class brands, he began the award-winning studio, Design Quadrant, and launched the NYC-based, sustainable luxury brand, 1 Atelier. His extension into academia nearly over decade ago was inspired by a desire to better knit the changing demands of industry to curricula.

Additionally, Frank leads the Responsible Business Coalition at Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business, supporting the cross-sector collaboration of industry and education to reduce environmental and social impacts – driving toward a future that considers people, planet and profit.

His broad-spectrum experience has followed the pulse of change in the fashion industry, where his work has been instrumental in the success of companies for over 15 years, a roster including Chanel, Calvin Klein, Coach, and many others. He’s a culture creator - whether shaping start-ups for long-term growth or short-term sale – or leveraging his experience to redirect global brands toward more sustainable and regenerative futures.

In Frank’s latest venture he co-leads the ESG retail practice within Accenture, the multinational professional services company, shaping strategy, digital technology and operations through the lens of sustainability and a more responsible future.

A familiar face in digital, broadcast and print media, and on panels discussing responsible business and the acceleration of ESG, his latest work focuses on guiding industries in disruption toward a more equitable and regenerative future in a digitally rebalanced business environment.

Frank holds a Bachelor of Science degree from FIT, and a Master of Science from Glasgow Caledonian.

Grace Ryu
Ian Michael Crumm

Ian Michael Crumm is a New York City based celebrity esthetician, content creator, and podcast host. Combined with his esthetician credentials, Ian’s 10+ years of experience in content creation help him share the often dense topic of skincare in an accessible way.

Focused on skin health over skin trends, Ian is particularly passionate about sun safety. He aims to shift public perception of SPF usage and advocates for skin cancer prevention. #ProtectedSkinWins

Jessica Jesse

Jessica Jesse is redefining the path to well-being by combining contemplative
practice, science, and fashion, through her company BuDhaGirl.

Jessica believes that fashion is a powerful driver of behavior and that every day at
every level we make fashion decisions that impact ourselves, our work, our family,
and our world. She wants to teach others about the importance of internal motivation
using fashion as a conduit, believing that a life filled with awareness and joy is one
well lived.

Jessica’s 30-year career in high fashion led her to hold directorship positions at Saks
Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. At various times she also had the privilege of
working closely with fashion icons: Hubert de Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent,
Valentino, Gianfranco Ferre, Gianni Versace, and many other notables. Her past
career was the foundation for creating her current enterprise: BuDhaGirl. BuDhaGirl
Mindful Glamour; is the first-ever, science-based contemplative and meditative
fashion brand.

John Dick

John Dick is the Founder and CEO of CivicScience, a market intelligence platform serving the largest brands and media companies in the world. He’s the host of the podcast, The Dumbest Guy in the Room and author of What We’re Seeing, the weekly newsletter read by a who’s-who of business and tech leaders. John is a contributor to AdAge and Forbes and has appeared on Good Morning America, Yahoo! Finance, and NewsNation, and as a speaker at numerous business and media conferences.

CivicScience provides strategic insight services to decision-makers at the largest brands, media companies, and investment firms in the world while giving consumers a trusted, convenient way to affect change. Through a proprietary polling and analytics platform, CivicScience studies consumers and markets across thousands of dimensions, from macro forces to brand-specific trends, and how they relate. CivicScience helps companies make winning bets on the future, hone go-to-market strategy, and reduce marketing waste.

Julia Hackman Chafe

Julia Hackman Chafe, a New York City-based luxury and jewelry content creator, passionately explores the nexus of pop culture and jewelry. With over 350,000 followers across Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, her captivating insights resonate with a global audience. Julia also brings her expertise from her family's wholesale gemstone business, IntercolorUSA, which she shares moments of her daily life from on her social media.

Linda C. Harrison

As the leader of The Newark Museum of Art, a large, complex, urban museum campus, Linda plays a strategic and unifying role for the organization and the city of Newark. She communicates the work and mission of the organization and works with the Board, staff, and community to identify and implement priorities and tactics to further the Museum’s goals. During her first 100 days, Linda developed a 3-year Strategic Vision Plan to transform the museum, adding a sense of urgency and a bold vision. Her plan expanded the notion of a logo upgrade into a major brand transformation, involving a re-engineering of the mission, brand image, and adding the clarifying words ‘of Art’ to the museum’s name. Linda has established a new Senior Leadership Team and revamped the organization for more engaging community impact. The new Vision incorporates five critical paths to be worked on simultaneously; Improving Financial Stability, Investing in Digital Future, Developing Right Infrastructure, Leveraging and Enhancing the Brand, and Investing in Right Programming.

Liza Amlani
Lynette Harrison Brubaker

Lynette Harrison Brubaker activates her strategic thinking, boundless curiosity and deep well of personal relationships to drive business value to brands, people and products.

In June 2018, after spending nearly two decades in the fashion and beauty industry and holding positions such as publisher of both WWD and In Style Magazine, Lynette launched her boutique marketing and communications, LHB Group. The company has attracted a diverse portfolio of brands and executives who have enlisted Brubaker and her team to successfully launch, re-launch or pivot in a rapidly changing business environment. Her clients include makeup mogul Bobbi Brown and all her businesses including clean beauty brand, Jones Road Beauty; retail legend Mickey Drexler and his brand Alex Mill; Michelin-star chef Missy Robbins and private finance firm Rosenthal & Rosenthal.

Lynette lives in Montclair with her husband Paul and their three children.

Marissa Casey Grossman

Marissa Casey Grossman launched her career at ELLE in 2010. After a few months at ELLE, she became the publisher’s youngest seller. She has since held roles at InStyle, Clique (Who What Wear, Byrdie, MyDomaine, College Fashionista) and most recently, goop. Marissa’s experience selling omni-channel partnerships to luxury brands led her to Editorialist as VP, Head of Brand Partnerships. She brings a strong background in developing innovative brand partnerships. Marissa is responsible for building the company’s advertising strategy and creating value-driving marketing programs for brand partners. In her current role, she oversees: Pre-Sale, Post-Sale, Affiliate, Advertising, Campaign Management, Marketing and Events. Marissa built Editorialist's omni-channel partnership strategy from the ground up.

Marissa is also the founder and CEO of Shop Ambitionist LLC. Shop Ambitionist LLC knows you love a good bodysuit as much as we do. Which is why we made these comfortable and durable bodysuits that will last wash after wash. Our mission is to lead the way to a more confident, beautiful, successful and stylish life through comfort and quality. Getting dressed should be easy. Your clothes should be comfortable. Every woman needs the perfect bodysuit to wear, everywhere. These are timeless pieces you'll wear now and treasure for years to come.

Marshal Cohen

Marshal Cohen is a nationally known expert on consumer behavior and the retail industry. He has followed retail trends for more than 30 years at Circana (formerly The NPD Group) and as the head of leading fashion and apparel manufacturers and major retailers.

As part of his work at Circana, Cohen leads many top firms in long-range and strategic planning sessions. He often utilizes motivational presentations to help launch corporate goals and kick-off meetings. Cohen is the author of two books, “Why Customers Do What They Do” (2006) and “Buy Me! How to Get Customers to Choose Your Products and Ignore the Rest” (2010).

In addition to his duties at Circana, Cohen is a member of several boards of directors and was appointed to the Cotton Board and American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA). He is also a guest professor at North Carolina State University’s Wilson College of Textiles, where he introduces students and faculty to techniques for analyzing and applying data. Cohen has been a guest lecturer at the Wharton School of Business, the Fashion Institute of Technology, and Savannah College of Art and Design. He has also twice been named to the Footwear News Power 100 list.

Cohen is a regular contributor to many major media outlets. He is frequently quoted in publications like The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Women’s Wear Daily. Additionally, he appears on various television news programs, including “Today,” “Good Morning America,” and “CBS Sunday Morning,” and he has been a regular guest on Bloomberg TV and Radio. He is also a sought-after speaker at key industry events such as MAGIC, The Fairchild CEO Summits, The National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Annual Convention, and The American Apparel and Footwear Association’s (AAFA)
Annual Executive Summit. Cohen was the only industry expert who appeared in the documentary, “God Save my Shoes,” produced by Caid Productions.

Cohen has held a variety of positions analyzing and interpreting Circana’s uniquely combined consumer and point-of-sale tracking services for the apparel, footwear, accessories, and sports industries. His career began in the training program at Bloomingdale’s, where he worked his way up to merchandise manager. From there, he became president of WilliWear and subsequently president of Stanley Blacker. He was also founder, owner, and president of Motive Marketing Group.

Melissa K Montes

Melissa K. Montes is Vice President of Airport Experience News (AXN) and Womenswear in Nevada (WWIN). Melissa is responsible for the strategic vision of both portfolios. She leads her teams in hosting unparalleled exhibition, networking and education opportunities for the airport concession industry and the fashion industry.

In addition to her leadership of AXN and WWIN, Montes is the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging (DEIB), Business Lead for Clarion Events North America and serves as a passionate advocate for all populations of the Clarion workforce. In this role she supports the senior leadership team with the development of innovative and measurable solutions that create and cultivate an inclusive corporate culture. Melissa holds certifications in Leading Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion from prestigious universities Northwestern and Cornell.

Millard “Mickey” Drexler

Millard Drexler is the chairman of Alex Mill — a new brand creating timeless, well-made and well-priced pieces that last a lifetime.

Previously, he served as Chairman and CEO of J.Crew Group, where he grew it into a leading specialty fashion brand and founded Madewell. Prior to that, Mickey spent eighteen years at Gap, Corp. While there, the company grew from $400 million to $14 billion dollars in sales. During his tenure, Mickey founded Old Navy, which he named after a bar on Rue St. Germain in Paris on his way to the airport. He also started Gap Kids. Early in his career, after getting his start in the department store business, Mickey joined Ann Taylor as CEO in 1980, where he spent four years building and repositioning the company.

Mickey also served as a director and investor in Warby Parker until 2020 and was a Director of Apple Inc. from 1999 to 2015. He has since launched his own investing company Drexler Ventures, LLC.

An expert in schmoozing and intuition, he is known to be a notorious kibitzer to businesses and entrepreneurs.

Oliver Chen
Susan Sokol

Susan Sokol is a renowned business leader in the global fashion industry in the contemporary and luxury markets. Partnering directly with creative founders, Ms. Sokol has served in President and COO positions and stewarded all aspects of the business – sales, merchandising, production, marketing, operations, licensing and retail management – for iconic fashion brands Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Michael Kors, Vera Wang and J. Mendel during exciting growth phases.  Ms. Sokol is also the founder of Susan Sokol Consultancy, leveraging her knowledge to provide strategic guidance to fashion companies poised for their next stage of growth.

In 2017, Ms. Sokol co-founded High Alchemy, a luxury women’s multi-brand wholesale showroom located in the heart of New York City’s Soho. Since then, Ms. Sokol, along with her business partner, Suzanne Zikas, have leveraged their combined decades of industry knowledge and know- how to build a highly successful destination for the best retail stores and buyers who come to High Alchemy for a sense of discovery along with the showroom’s taste, curation, and service. Each designer is carefully selected to create a beautiful assortment emphasizing each designer’s point of difference. High Alchemy currently oversees more than twenty global designers covering all categories within the ready-to-wear and accessory businesses.

Tim Callahan

Tim Callahan is a shoe industry veteran whose background includes tenures at Schwartz & Benjamin, Global Brands Group, and Titan Industries before joining the WalkingCo in late 2021 as President and Chief Operating Officer. A brand executive with a demonstrated record of exceeding profitability goals, turning around underperforming businesses, and increased revenues & market share, Tim has used his expertise to modernize and enhance performance of the brands under the WalkingCo umbrella.

Tom Nastos

Tom is a Cofounder of Blu-Ensign, a strategic advisory firm serving consumer brands and event planning organizations across the entire global value chain. He drives business development as well as the execution of client mandates focused on digital transformations, commercialization, partnerships and alliances, new market entry, product innovation, and financial forecasting.

Tom was previously Chief Commercial Officer of the Fashion Group at Informa, a multinational publishing, business intelligence, and exhibitions group with $4B in annual revenues and 11K employees. In this position, he effectively served as the Chief Executive Officer of an organization creating a marketplace for buyers and sellers
as well as organizing B2B trade events while overseeing 146 employees. At Informa, Tom has boosted annual revenues by $6M+ by launching a new digital marketing business as well as by rolling out the industry’s 1st app for navigation of in-person trade events. He also launched a new digital marketplace in response to the COVID- 19 pandemic, rapidly growing to 1.2K brands and 40K retailers.

Tom previously served as the President & Chief Executive Officer at UBM Fashion prior to its acquisition by Informa. He played a key role in transitioning the entire UBM organization to Salesforce (resulting in ~$80M in annual cost savings), led the $69M acquisition of a direct competitor (Business Journal), and executed a successful post-merger integration to realize $6M in annual cost savings.

As President & Chief Executive Officer at ENK International, Tom was recruited by the private equity owners (Forstmann Little & Company) to lead a contemporary fashion trade show company with 14+ annual exhibitions, 6K+ exhibitors, and 50K global buyers. He led the divestiture of ENK International to Advanstar Global for $155M at an EBITDA multiple of 7.5X. He subsequently grew the new organization and played a vital role in the sale of the combined entity to UBM for $972M at a significantly higher EBITDA multiple of 10X.

As Founder, President & Chief Executive Officer at Endurance, Tom led design, manufacturing, marketing, sales, distribution, merchandising, and finance for a manufacturer and distributer of men’s and women’s apparel and footwear with 145 employees across U.S. and China. He grew peak annual revenues to $128M, created an
innovative e-commerce strategy, secured licensing deals with Rocawear, Marc Ecko, PRO-Keds, Joseph Abboud, Pelle Pelle, and Paper Denim & Cloth, and developed partnerships with Jay-Z and Steve Aoki.

Tom serves on the Board of Directors of the Fashion Institute of Technology Foundation, the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America (FDRA), the Fashion Service Network, and the Accessories Council.

He graduated cum laude from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) with a Bachelor of Science in Textile Development and Marketing.