The Accessories Council hosted our 7th annual ‘Business Workshop’ in August of 2021!
The business workshop was created to inspire, inform and provide ideas to help our companies endure our ever-changing retail environment. Our 2021 dynamic lineup of speakers shared fashion and interior design trends, industry statistics, financial insights and sparked conversation on diversity and inclusion.2021 Business Workshop Lineup:
Marshal Cohen - Retail’s Big Shifts
Marc Beckman - NFT’s and the Fashion Industry
Randi Zuckerberg interviewed by Jay Lakhani
John Dick - Civicsciences
Felita Harris, Brandice Daniel, Amber Cabral and Melissa Carter - Diversity in the Fashion Industry
Kathy Sheehan and Michael Corti - Gen XYZ
Jessica Richards - Fall 2022 MegaTrends Forecast
Jane Newton and Michael Pappachristou - Expert Strategies for Financial Success
Rachael Grochowski and Valentina Di Donato - Designing a Smooth Return to the Office
Amber Cabral, Cabral Co.
Amber Cabral is an Inclusion and Diversity Consultant and CEO at Cabral Co. Formerly a Diversity Strategist at Walmart Stores, Inc.; Amber founded Cabral Co to guide organizations of various size and scope seeking to create and execute strategies that achieve sustainable, inclusive behavior shifts in the workplace. Amber has a Masters in Organizational Leadership from Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan and a Bachelors degree in Psychology with a minor in Sociology from Wayne State University from her hometown; Detroit, Michigan. Passionate about nurturing the next generation of decision-makers, she serves on the boards for multiple non-profit organizations, including Brown Girls Do, Inc™, that are committed to promoting diverse representation in the arts, in workplaces and in communities; as well as empowering women and girls, globally. In her free time, she travels and writes articles focused on equity, culture and working-class life. She completed her first book, Allies and Advocates published on Wiley Press in 2020.
Brandice Daniel is a proud fashion outsider from Memphis, TN. Daniel has experience in fashion buying, production, and has a talent for bridging the gap for designers of color. In a historic move, Daniel led the collaboration between HFR, Nike and Lebron James on the HFRxLBJ16 shoe, the first Lebron sneaker designed by and for women. The shoe sold out in less than 5 minutes.
Brandice is an entrepreneur, speaker, author, wife and mother. Her perspective on being a proud outsider has been shared on many stages including Ted X Memphis, the Forbes 30 under 30 summit, and the Forbes CMO Summit. She’s been a guest judge on Project Runway and is a proud member of Gucci’s Changemakers Council.
She’s been featured in the Wall Street Journal, NY Times, Good Morning America, ESSENCE Magazine, BET, and more.
Felita Harris, ENFORM
Felita Harris is an accomplished senior fashion executive for international companies. With more than 25 years of experience in the fashion industry, she intuitively sees innovative ways to amplify business strategies by leveraging a brand's vision and product opportunities to drive exponential growth. She is a respected leader with a proven track record as Senior Vice President and Executive Vice President leading global commercial wholesale and franchise partnerships spanning 400 locations and managing satellite teams in the U.S., U.K., Italy, and Hong Kong. Felita understands that sustainable businesses are built through meaningful connections with key internal and external stakeholders.
She has extensive experience scaling revenue ($15MM-$120MM) for privately-held multi-million dollar organizations such as Donna Karan Collection, Alexander Wang, and Lela Rose. Felita has successfully expanded global distribution with luxury retailers and spearheaded go-to-market product and marketing launches. She possesses an in-depth understanding of financial planning alongside P/L responsibility for wholesale.
She is the Co-Founder of ENFORM; an industry celebrated iOS app that empowers product knowledge between brands and frontline sales teams. During her tenure, Felita implemented operational processes that drove app ideation to product MVP, onboarded brands, content partnerships, and secured venture development funding.
Jane Newton, CFP
Jane Newton advises individuals and families to help them realize their financial and personal objectives. Drawing on her Wall Street background, Jane has a particular focus on the unique planning and investment needs of women on Wall Street, extending to their career and personal issues. Her expertise includes addressing the challenges of employer stock-related compensation and evaluating career options in the context of each client’s goals. Jane shows clients what’s possible to help them make sound, informed decisions to move toward their goals, with well-designed investment portfolios and advice on critical planning needs and opportunities – adapting as needed to a client’s compliance constraints. In 2010, Jane founded the RegentAtlantic Wall Street Women Forum® for high-level women in the industry.
Jane joined RegentAtlantic in 2005. She has 17 years of prior experience on Wall Street in J.P. Morgan’s investment banking and private banking groups. Jane received a BA from Tufts University in Economics and an MBA in Finance from New York University’s Stern School of Business. She also holds the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certificate. A member of the Women’s Bond Club, 100 Women in Finance, NYU Stern Women in Business, and the Women’s Advisory Council of The New York Community Trust, Jane has been quoted and profiled in a number of publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Fortune and The New York Times.
Jay Lakhani, Deepa Gurnani
Jay Lakhani, a Jewelry Designer, started his training at the Fashion Institute of Technology NYC where he trained under the head designers from Tiffany and Bvlgari. He progressed to work with some of the finest names in the fine jewelry industry which enabled him to refine his eye for detail and luxury. In addition to his love of fine jewelry, Jay was always drawn to fashion. He dreamed of combining the art of fine jewelry with fashion accessories, to create easy-to-wear works of art. He noticed a trend for black and basic-silhouettes in the marketplace, which he saw as blank canvasses for exquisite embroidered accessories.
In 2005, Jay Lakhani and Deepa Gurnani came together and became husband and wife. After their marriage, the two designers collaborated and launched their label “Deepa Gurnani”. The duo combined their talents to create a line of unique and distinctive embroidered accessories, which continues to amaze, and inspire fans, season after season. Their first line was launched at Henri Bendel’s, NYC in November 2006 and subsequently sold in various stores across the globe.
Through today, the highest quality standards prevail in all collections with no compromise on the quality and the ethics of our workmanship.
Jay Lakhani now serves on the Board of the Accessories Council and is the Chairman of the Accessories Innovation Committee, mentoring division of the AC.
Jessica Richards, JMR Design
Jessica Richards is a trend forecaster, brand creator, and founder of JMR Design Consulting, whose synergistic focus inspires what is now and next.
With an extensive background in forecasting, concepts, and design for major North American retailers, she brings a forward-thinking yet commercially and brand-right viability to projects across the fashion and wellness industries. Jessica graduated from Boston University with a degree in Magazine Journalism, and has been additionally certified from the Fashion Institute of Technology. She has been quoted and featured as a guest expert across international media, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Bustle, and more. Jessica serves as Fashion Director for the Accessories Council, a not-for- profit, international trade organization with the mission to stimulate global consumer awareness and demand for fashion accessory products. She is also Fashion Director for AC Magazine, whose dedicated focus on accessories serves the trade with industry news and editorial direction to serve brands, wholesalers, and retailers. In this role, Jessica gives insight to industry and consumer trends, as well as direction for future development and merchandising strategies.
John Dick, CivicScience
John Dick is the Founder and CEO of CivicScience, a technology and market intelligence company based in Pittsburgh. He is a serial entrepreneur with extensive experience in new business formation, business development, and marketing. John is also a frequent speaker at the Carnegie Mellon University Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, an accomplished writer with regular contributions to AdAge, Microsoft News, and Forbes and has appeared on Good Morning America, Yahoo! Finance, Cheddar, and as a speaker at numerous business and media conferences.
Kathy Sheehan, Cassandra
Kathy leads the Cassandra team within ENGINE Agency, which is focused on helping clients build culturally relevant brands through leveraging insights from trendsetting young consumers. Kathy has spent her career identifying cultural trends to drive successful innovation opportunities for her clients. Most recently, Kathy was Executive Vice President and General Manager of GfK Consumer Life, and prior to that was at Ogilvy & Mather.
Kathy serves on the Advisory Board of the Rutgers University Customer Experience program as well as the FIT Home Products Advisory Board. Kathy speaks frequently at various trade events and has been quoted widely in various media, including CNBC Business Center, BrandWeek, Ad Age, and The New York Times. She is also a contributing author to “Sustainability: How the Cosmetics Industry is Greening Up” (Wiley, 2014).
Marc Beckman, DMA United
Marc Beckman is the Co-Founder of Truesy, the eco-friendly, curated luxury NFT platform.
Marc founded the award-winning agency, DMA United, with a modern vision: combining commercially oriented principles with branding and advertising. Today, DMA United boasts the lead position at the center of superior Style & Design. A sampling of Marc's clients include NBA, Karl Lagerfeld, MoMA, LVMH, Warner Brothers Entertainment, Sony Music, and Nelson Mandela. In recent years, Beckman has structured several high-profile deals and partnerships resulting in the exchange of millions of dollars, such as Russell Westbrook x Barneys New York, Nelson Mandela x KITH, Pepsi x Puma, and Gucci x Azede Jean-Pierre.
Beckman was admitted to the State Bar Association of New York, New Jersey, and Washington DC after graduating with a JD from Hofstra University School of Law, and a Bachelor of Liberal Arts from Boston University. Beckman is an Adjunct Professor with NYU Stern’s MBA Program and is Co- Chairman of NYU Stern’s Luxury & Fashion Council.
Beckman lives in Manhattan with his wife Alice and their children, Jude and Damaris.
Marshal Cohen, NPD Group
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 NPD and as the head of leading fashion and apparel manufacturers as well as major retailers. As part of his work at NPD, Marshal 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. Marshal 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 NPD, Marshal is a member of several boards of directors and has most recently been 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. Marshal 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.
Marshal 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. Recently, Marshal was the only industry expert who appeared in the documentary, “God Save my Shoes,” (godsavemyshoes.com) produced by Caid Productions.
Since joining NPD in 1999, Marshal has held a variety of positions analyzing and interpreting NPD’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.
Michael Corti, Cassandra
Michael Corti has over 14 years of experience in account management and business development, having cultivated long-term relationships with a number of companies across a broad range of sectors, including: AB InBev, Red Bull, Mars Inc., Adidas, The Walt Disney Company, Sony Corporation of America, Time Warner Cable, Pfizer, Lockheed Martin, The New York Times Company, LVMH, Vans, and Nike. As Senior Director, Business Development at Cassandra, Mike identifies the challenges that clients are facing in understanding the behaviors of youth in order to position the appropriate products and services that will best help them address the evolving consumer marketplace and, ultimately, enable clients to improve their engagement with young people.
Michael Pappachristou, CFP
Mike is responsible for building client relationships, analyzing their financial pictures, and providing recommendations to help them achieve their financial and legacy planning goals. He joined RegentAtlantic in 2016 and has been an active member of the Firm’s Financial Planning Committee, providing thought leadership across a range of financial planning topics. Mike is a host of The Family Bonds podcast, where he and two colleagues – through personal stories and professional interviews – explore the impacts that financial decisions can have on family dynamics. He appreciates working with families across multiple generations and keeping their goals and values in mind at all times.
Prior to joining RegentAtlantic, Mike worked at a fee-only investment management firm in the Baltimore area where he focused on constructing and maintaining portfolios. Mike is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and graduated cum laude from Loyola University Maryland in 2013 with a BBA in Finance. He grew up on the north shore of Long Island and currently resides in the Upper East Side. Mike enjoys spending his free time exploring New York City’s neighborhoods, going to concerts of all genres, and traveling to new places.
Rachael Grochowski, RHG Architecture + Design
Rachael Grochowski is a seeker of truth in all things – especially in herself. She is an architect, a designer and the founder of the Montclair, NJ-based firm, RHG Architecture + Design. Her award-winning team's work spans from full build outs to interior design work for both residential and commercial properties. Rachael's personal and professional mission is to collaborate with people to help them create spaces that are authentically theirs. For Rachael, design is a journey and she guides people towards spaces that make them feel grounded in their histories and inspired to grow into their futures.
Randi Zuckerberg, Zuckerberg Media
Randi Zuckerberg likes to call herself “a professional mom to entrepreneurs” because nothing gives her greater joy than working closely with startups and founders. Randi currently works with 30+ early and mid stage companies as an investor and advisor and she sits on the board of directors for The Motley Fool and Life360.
Randi is passionate about helping families navigate our digital world. Through her company, Zuckerberg Media, she has created award-winning content and experiences that educate families and bring to light issues around digital literacy and safety. She is the best selling author of four books, producer of multiple television shows and theater productions, and hosts a weekly radio show on SiriusXM. Randi has been recognized with an Emmy nomination, two Tony awards, a Drama Desk Award, and a Kidscreen Award. Prior to founding her own company, Randi was an early employee at Facebook, where she is best known for creating Facebook Live, now used by more than two billion people around the globe.
When she's not Facebooking or actual written-word booking, she can be found at the theater, on the golf course, traveling the world to speak at conferences and meet entrepreneurs, or doing her best to unplug at home with her husband and three children.
Melissa Carter, I Am The Carter Projekt.
Melissa Carter is a style icon and avid vintage collector. She is originally from Highland Park, IL and matriculated through School District 112. After graduating from Highland Park High school, she attended a HBCU, Clark Atlanta University, here she achieved a degree in Journalism. Upon graduation, she re-located to New York in her red 2-door Honda Civic bringing only her clothes and hunger for fashion.
Pre-Covid, Melissa spent a span of 16 years in New York, leading luxury retailers by inspiring innovative recruiting methods aimed at building diversity. She partnered with nonprofit brands like United Way, hosting in-store fundraising events that supported READNYC - a signature program that helps children achieve grade-level reading, while fortifying families, schools and communities simultaneously to achieve success. She has hosted styling events for clients at the legendary Saks Fifth Avenue NY, Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors, Massimo Dutti, RH, Diesel NY and eventually Coach Inc.
At the height of the pandemic, Melissa was relived from her duties as Coach’s District Recruiter, she immediately pivoted and established her own creative brand - I am the Carter Projekt LLC. COVID forced Melissa to re-think her life. This new consciousness made her focus on what she is most passionate about: diversity, inclusivity and style.
In September, Melissa made a cross country road trip to Illinois to visit her parents in Highland Park. Her and her son sourced incredible fashions along her route, she couldn’t help but notice all the vacant properties throughout the North Shore. Melissa immediately saw an opportunity to introduce her brand to the Midwest. With her mother’s support, Hilde Carter, a long-time real estate agent and broker at Coldwell Banker Winnetka, she aligned herself with DeAnne Nicolas, the Managing Broker, to innovate a POP-UP SHOP in Coldwell Banker’s store front space. Melissa and the I Am The Carter Projekt brand was a breath of fresh air for the Winnetka community. The Kameo Vintage showroom was so well received by the residents, that DeAnne Nicolas invited her to come back in March.