Alumni Spotlight is pleased to announce The Top 50 University Alumni in the Retail Industry of 2022. With each shift in the economy comes a new take on how retail operates. This year’s awardees know the value of experimenting with multiple ways of meeting the evolving needs of customers. They are innovative, proactive, and bold decision makers who fine tune their business practices year after year. While the industry has faced difficult times, this year’s awardees guide their respective companies to maintain competitive positioning and to thrive amid continued uncertainty.

Among this year’s awardees are Christina Hennington, Executive Vice President and Chief Growth Officer of Target, who has spent nearly 20 years with the company leading in various areas including enterprise strategy, insights, and innovation; Brandon Sink, Chief Financial Officer of Lowe's Companies, who is responsible for all of the home improvement company’s financial functions; and Andrew Campion, Chief Operating Officer of Nike, who’s tasked with leading key areas of the organization from global technology and digital transformation to product manufacturing and distribution and logistics.

We applaud these individuals for their continued success and look forward to their future achievements. Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of The Top 50 University Alumni in the Retail Industry of 2022.


1. William White
Chief Marketing Officer, Walmart
Duke University

William White was appointed Chief Marketing Officer of Walmart in May 2020. He is accountable for customer insights, strategy, and full-funnel marketing planning and execution. In his role, William has responsibility for driving demand, building customer loyalty, and strengthening brand equity. William is a consumer centric and innovative marketer who has consistently delivered results by crafting a compelling strategic vision, building capabilities, and driving execution. He is a passionate leader who thrives on building, developing, and nurturing teams.

Before joining Walmart, William spent 7 years with Target where he held various leadership roles of increasing scale in marketing, including SVP. Prior to joining Target in 2013, William held a number of global and domestic leadership positions at The Coca-Cola Company for nearly a decade. He began his career as a media planner for Starcom MediaVest in New York. William holds undergraduate and business degrees from Duke University. He serves on the boards of the Association of National Advertisers, the Mobile Marketing Association, and The Duke University Fuqua School of Business.


3. Christina Hennington
EVP & Chief Growth Officer, Target
Cornell University

Christina Hennington began her professional career 27 years ago. Today, she is an Executive Vice President and Chief Growth Officer of Target. In her roles, Hennington leads all merchandising teams, including Target’s best-in-class product design and global sourcing organizations, as well as enterprise strategy, insights, and innovation. She works across Target’s organization to identify and pursue revenue-generating strategies that deepen the company’s relevancy with current and prospective guests and reinforce its stronghold as a leading U.S. retailer.

Hennington has spent the past 18 years with Target. She first started out as a buyer for toys before moving up to roles including chief merchandising officer and SVP of health and beauty. Hennington graduated from Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management with an MBA in marketing, strategy, and organizational behavior and from Cornell University with an undergraduate degree in economics and Spanish.


4. Brady Brewer
EVP and Chief Marketing Officer, Starbucks
University of Washington

Brady Brewer is an Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Starbucks. He first joined the company in 2001 as marketing manager. Starbucks has become one of the world’s best-known and best-loved companies. Brewer has spent the past 21 years with the company leading in various roles across the world including SVP of the APAC region, COO of Japan, and VP of U.S. marketing.

Previously, Brewer was a group product manager at Avenue A / Aquantive (now Microsoft) and before that, a product manager at Visio Corporation. Earlier in his career he worked with Microsoft as a project manager. Brewer earned a degree in marketing from the University of Washington.


5. Teresa Roseborough
EVP, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, The Home Depot
University of Virginia

Teresa Roseborough began her professional career over 15 years ago. Today, she is an Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary for The Home Depot. The Home Depot is the world’s largest home improvement specialty retailer. They operate over 2,200 retail stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Canada, and Mexico. Roseborough has spent over the past 10 years dedicated to the success of the company.

Roseborough first got her start in 2006 as a senior chief counsel of litigation at MetLife before moving on to become a deputy general counsel for the company. Roseborough graduated from the University of North Carolina School of Law with a JD and from the University of Virginia with an undergraduate degree.


7. Brandon Sink
EVP & Chief Financial Officer, Lowe's Companies
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

As Chief Financial Officer, Brandon Sink is responsible for all of Lowe’s financial functions and processes. This includes corporate finance and treasury, strategy, retail finance, accounting, tax, internal audit, and risk management. He joined Lowe’s in 2010.

Sink has more than 20 years of finance and accounting experience. Prior to his current role, he served as senior vice president of retail finance, where he oversaw finance for stores, merchandising, supply chain, omni and marketing, providing financial leadership on strategic and operational issues, and partnering with the business to develop strategic direction and drive performance against business goals. He has also served as vice president of merchandising finance, vice president of enterprise strategy, and vice president and corporate controller. Before joining Lowe’s, held finance and accounting leadership roles at Deloitte and Nucor Corporation. Sink earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in accounting from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a certified public accountant licensed in the state of North Carolina and serves on the board of trustees at the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance.


9. Andrew Campion
Chief Operating Officer, Nike
University of California, Los Angeles

Andrew Campion is the Chief Operating Officer of Nike, the world's leading designer, marketer, and distributor of authentic athletic footwear, apparel, equipment, and accessories for a wide variety of sports and fitness activities. As COO, Campion leads global technology and digital transformation, product manufacturing, consumer demand and supply management, distribution & logistics, sustainability, workplace design & connectivity, and procurement. Campion has 26 years of experience. He began his career in 1996.

Before joining Nike, Campion was an SVP of corporate development at The Walt Disney Company. Campion graduated from the University of San Diego School of Law with a JD and an MLL in taxation, from UCLA Anderson School of Management with an MBA, and from the University of California, Los Angeles with an undergraduate degree in economics.


13. Laura Urquiza Gump
President, Kroger
The University of Texas at El Paso

Laura Gump is the President of Kroger. Kroger ranks as one of the world’s largest retailers. There are nearly half a million associates across 2,800 stores in 35 states operating two dozen grocery retail brands and 34 manufacturing and 44 distribution locations, all dedicated to living their purpose: to Feed the Human Spirit™. Together, their teams serve more than 11 million customers daily in stores and online through convenient e-commerce options like pickup, ship and delivery, serving America through food inspiration and uplift.

Before joining Kroger, Gump was a VP of store operations at Lowe's Companies, and before that, a group VP of store operations at HEB. Gump graduated from Our Lady of the Lake University with an MBA in international business and from The University of Texas at El Paso with an undergraduate degree in marketing and management.

View the complete list of awardees.


14. Octavio Tisnado
VP & GM, Gap
University of California, Berkeley

Octavio Tisnado began his professional career 18 years ago. Today, he is a Vice President and General Manager of Gap. Gap is a specialty apparel company offering clothing, accessories, and personal care products for women, men, and children under the Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, and Athleta brands. Tisnado is known for being an ambitious and goal-focused leader with extensive experience in corporate merchandising positions with responsibilities including style development, sourcing, planning, and sales analysis/reporting for both male and female brands.

Tisnado first got his start in 2004 as an assistant merchandiser at Hollister Co. From there, he went on to Abercrombie & Fitch Co., before eventually rising to become a VP of merchandising and kids’ division at Old Navy. Tisnado graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with an undergraduate degree in political science.


16. Alison Francis
Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Costco Wholesale
Georgetown University

Alison Francis serves as the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for Costco. She first joined the company in 1997 at the Issaquah, Washington Costco as a cashier assistant. Costco Wholesale is a multibillion-dollar global retailer with warehouse club operations in 11 countries. They are the recognized leader in their field, dedicated to quality in every area of the business and respected for their outstanding business ethics. Despite their large size and rapid international expansion, Costco continues to provide an atmosphere in which employees thrive and succeed.

In 1998, Francis interned with in its early stages and gained a lot of experience in the ecommerce business. While pursuing her degree at Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama she continued her career with the company serving as a membership assistant. She continued working her way up until being promoted to assistant GM in 2008. After assuming her role as a GM in 2012, Francis became very active with the Journeys organization within Costco. She became the Chair for the Northeast Region Chapter of Journey’s in 2014 and in 2016 she was appointed to the Executive Steering Committee for Journeys overseeing the Northeast Region. Committed to her education, Francis decided to continue her educational pursuits by attending Georgetown University to pursue a master’s degree in HR management with an emphasis in diversity and inclusion, graduating in 2021. The degree in HR with an emphasis in DEI is timely as she is a member of Costco’s Diversity and Inclusion committee. In November of 2020 she was promoted to regional administration manager of the Northeast Region of Costco. In December of 2021 Francis was promoted to AVP, chief diversity officer. Francis is looking forward to relocating back to the NW and expanding Costco’s focus on diversity and inclusion within the organization and the communities that Costco serves.


19. Ken Worzel
Chief Operating Officer, Nordstrom
Yale University

Ken Worzel is the Chief Operating Officer of Nordstrom. He first joined the company in 2010 as an EVP of strategy and development. Nordstorm exists to help their customers feel good and look their best. Worzel is responsible for overseeing and bringing together Nordstrom’s digital and physical assets to create an end-to-end experience for customers across their full-price (Nordstrom & Trunk Club) and off-price (Nordstrom Rack & HauteLook) brands. In this role, he supports all customer-facing channels/teams including full-line and rack stores.

Previously, Worzel was a lead director at Les Schwab Tire Centers and before that a partner at McKinsey & Company. Earlier in his career he worked with MetLife as an associate of quantitative asset management. Worzel earned an MBA in finance and strategy from The Wharton School and an undergraduate degree in economics from Yale University.


20. Juliana Prather
Chief Marketing Officer, EDITED
Stanford University

Juliana Prather is the Chief Marketing Officer of EDITED. She first joined the company in 2021. EDITED is the global leader in retail intelligence. They help retailers increase margins, generate more sales, and drive better outcomes through AI-driven market and enterprise intelligence to fuel automation. By connecting business analytics and external market data, brands like Columbia and Inditex use the EDITED retail intelligence products to make better data-backed decisions, expediting insights into action.

Prather first got her start in 1992 with Nine West Group where she served as an international sales manager before moving on to become the director of brands with Liz Claiborne. From there, she served in several executive roles including vice president, president, and CMO with companies like Jack Rogers USA, Maidenform, Lysse, Marena Group and Grant Juerey. She has years of experience guiding in marketing for a range of top brands and companies, both enterprise and start up. Prather graduated from Stanford University with an undergraduate degree in international relations.


21. Mark Worden
President & Chief Executive Officer, Shoe Carnival
Cornell University

Mark Worden is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Shoe Carnival, the leading family footwear retailer. He first joined the company in 2018 as EVP and chief strategy and marketing officer before moving on to serve as president and chief customer officer. Worden has a passion for turning smart strategy into a winning retail reality. With more than 25 years of leadership experience in the retail and consumer products industries growing revenues, profits, brands and organizations, his expertise is within general management, marketing, strategy, and brand building in the North American and European markets.

Prior to joining Shoe Carnival, Worden held several leadership positions at S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc., Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Kroger, and Hannaford Supermarkets. He graduated from Cornell University with an undergraduate degree in economics and business and from William & Mary with an MBA in marketing.


22. John Klinger
EVP of Finance, The TJX Companies
Northeastern University

John Klinger is the Executive Vice President of Finance of The TJX Companies. He first joined the company in 2015 as an SVP and corporate controller. The TJX Companies, the leading off-price retailer of apparel and home fashions in the U.S. and worldwide, is ranked 85 among Fortune 500 companies. At the end of 2017, the company had over $35 billion in revenues, more than 4,000 stores in 9 countries, 3 e-commerce sites, and approximately 249,000 associates. They operate T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, HomeGoods, Sierra Trading Post, and Homesense, as well as and, in the United States; Winners, HomeSense, and Marshalls in Canada; and T.K. Maxx in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Poland, Austria, the Netherlands, and Australia, as well as Homesense in the U.K. and Ireland and in the U.K.

Previously, Klinger was a VP and divisional CFO at AJ Wright, Division of TJX. Klinger earned an MBA in finance from Northeastern University.


23. Kevin Moffitt
Chief Retail Officer, Office Depot
Northeastern University

Kevin Moffitt is the Chief Retail Officer of Office Depot, a leading provider of office products and services. Office Depot OfficeMax is a resource and a catalyst to help customers work better. They are a single source for everything customers need to be more productive, including the latest technology, core office supplies, print and document services, business services, facilities products, furniture, and school essentials. The company had 2016 annual sales of approximately $11 billion, employed approximately 38,000 associates, and served consumers and businesses in North America and abroad with approximately 1,400 retail stores, award-winning e-commerce sites and a dedicated business-to-business sales organization, with a global network of wholly owned operations, franchisees, licensees, and alliance partners.

Moffitt first got his start in 1997 as a VP of internet marketing and communications at Putnam Investments. From there, he went on to ChildFund International, before eventually moving on to become a director of ecommerce at Dillards. Moffitt graduated from the University of Richmond - Robins School of Business with an MBA in strategic leadership, from Northeastern University with an MA in history and documentary filmmaking, and from Pepperdine University with an undergraduate degree in history.

View the complete list of awardees.


24. Deborah Yeh
Global Chief Purpose Officer, Sephora
Harvard University

Deborah Yeh is the Global Chief Purpose Officer of Sephora. Sephora is not only the leading chain of perfume and cosmetics stores in France, but also a powerful beauty presence in countries around the world. Its excellence, innovation, and entrepreneurial spirit have made them the world’s leading beauty retailer growing twice faster than the market. With their 2 600 stores & corners in 38 markets and their 31 websites, they offer clients a unique retail experience with innovative services and nearly 300 beauty brands including Sephora’s own brand, Sephora Collection. Yeh has 24 years of experience. She began her career in 1998.

Before joining Sephora, Yeh was a VP of marketing at Gap Inc and before that, a group manager of marketing and planning at Target. Earlier in her career she worked with Gartner as an analyst. Yeh graduated from Harvard University with a degree in psychology.


25. Ken Margulies
Senior Vice President, Ross Stores
Emory University

Ken Margulies is the Senior Vice President of Ross Stores. Over the past 40 years, Ross Stores has grown from a six-store chain into an $18.9 billion, Fortune 500 Company. They operate their off-price businesses in a way that keeps costs low so they can pass the savings to their customers. They continue to open new stores and their sales growth has outpaced traditional retailers for the past three years. Margulies has 19 years of experience. He began his career in 2003.

Before joining Ross Stores, Margulies was a manager of planning and distribution at Macy’s. Margulies graduated from Emory University - Goizueta Business School with an MBA in finance and from the University of Pennsylvania with an undergraduate degree in economics.


26. Will Smith
SVP & Chief Marketing Officer, PetSmart
Duke University

Will Smith is a Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of PetSmart. PetSmart is the largest U.S. provider of supplies and services for animals and household pets. It currently operates more than 500 stores in North America and plans to increase this number annually. The stores offer the customary items such as dog and cat food, grooming supplies, and accessories. Smith has 36 years of experience. He began his career in 1986.

Before joining PetSmart, Smith was a CMO at Abercrombie & Fitch and before that a CMO at Caleres, Inc. Earlier in his career he worked with General Foods as an assistant brand manager. Smith graduated from Duke University - The Fuqua School of Business with an MBA in marketing and advertising and from Cornell University with an undergraduate degree in psychology.


28. Michael Lopez
SVP of Environmental, Social and Governance, Abercrombie & Fitch
New York University

Michael Lopez is the Senior Vice President of Environmental, Social and Governance at Abercrombie & Fitch. In this role, he oversees the company's ESG strategy. He leads the Sustainability, Inclusion & Diversity functions, and partners with the Global Giving function to embed ESG in how they operate.

Previously, Lopez was a VP and the chief diversity officer at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Prior to joining HPE, he was the head of inclusion and diversity for Diageo North America, where he served as HR director for multiple supply chain facilities. He previously was the head of global inclusion and diversity at Alcoa and Arconic. Before returning to HR and focusing on the inclusion and diversity field of practice, Lopez was the chief of staff to the CEO at Arconic. Earlier in his career, he held multiple positions across corporate, public, government and international affairs at Alcoa, and HR at Jefferies & Company and Goldman Sachs. He is an active member of the Human Rights Campaign and serves on the organization's Business Advisory Council. In 2021 and 2020, Lopez was named one of the top 50 Chief Diversity Officers by the National Diversity Council. He is also a former board of director at the Hetrick-Martin Institute, which is dedicated to providing critical service to at-risk LGBTQ youth. Lopez graduated from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts with a master's degree in international affairs, and magna cum laude from New York University with an undergraduate degree in organizational behavior.


29. Mary Beth Trypus
Chief Revenue Officer, Vera Bradley
Co-Founder, goodMRKT
Co-Host, goodMRKT Live! Podcast
Pennsylvania State University

Mary Beth Trypus is the Chief Revenue Officer of the iconic American handbag and luggage lifestyle brand Vera Bradley, Co-Founder of purpose-driven retail brand goodMRKT, and Co-Host of the brand’s companion podcast, goodMRKT Live! As Chief Revenue Officer, Mary Beth leads all of Vera Bradley’s omnichannel revenue streams, customer-facing operations, and a team of more than 2,000 associates. With a relentless focus on the customer, she is responsible for delivering outstanding service and an exceptional brand experience in more than 130 full-line and factory stores, on the ecommerce platform, through multiple digital marketplaces and marketing initiatives, and in partnership with more than 1,200 department and specialty retailers.

Vera Bradley has consistently earned top CES, NPS and employee engagement scores under Mary Beth’s leadership. In 2022, the company was ranked #1 by Forbes on its list of America’s Best Midsize Employers and #11 on its Best Employers for Diversity list. Together with Co-Founder and Creative Director Harry Cunningham, in 2021 Mary Beth launched the retail and ecommerce brand goodMRKT in Fort Wayne, Indiana. goodMRKT is a collective of brands encouraged by cause and dedicated to doing good, where good people, great products, and exceptional causes come together to make the world better. Mary Beth has held various retail leadership roles in apparel and accessories since earning an undergraduate degree in marketing from The Pennsylvania State University.


33. Shekar Natarajan
EVP, CSCO & CEO, American Eagle Outfitters
Georgia Institute of Technology

Shekar Natarajan is the Executive Vice President, CSCO and Chief Executive Officer of American Eagle Outfitters. American Eagle is a leading global specialty retailer offering high-quality, on-trend clothing, accessories, and personal care products at affordable prices under its American Eagle and Aerie brands. The American Eagle Outfitters brand is built on more than 40 years of customer focus, dedication, and innovation. Starting with one store in 1977, their brands have grown to more than 1,000 stores in the United States, Canada, Mexico, China, and Hong Kong, and ship to over 80 countries worldwide through their websites and mobile applications. Natarajan has over 23 years of experience. He began his career in 1999.

Before joining American Eagle Outfitters, Natarajan was an SVP at Target, and before that, a VP at Walmart. Earlier in his career he worked with Lucas TVS as an inventory specialist. Natarajan graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with an MS in industrial and systems engineering and from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University with an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering.


35. Aimee Park
VP of Transformation, Tapestry
New York University

Aimee Park began her professional career 24 years ago. Today, she is the Vice President of Transformation of Tapestry. Tapestry is a house of modern luxury accessories and lifestyle brands. The company operates through three segments including Coach, Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman.

Park first got her start in 1998 as an analyst in commercial real estate at GE Capital. From there, she went on to Goldman Sachs before eventually rising to become a VP of sales and planning in accessories at Michael Kors, her most recent position prior to joining Tapestry. Park earned an undergraduate degree in finance and international business from NYU Stern School of Business.

View the complete list of awardees.


38. Rocky Robins
EVP, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, Big Lots Stores
Duke University

Rocky Robins is the Executive Vice President, Chief Legal and Governance Officer, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary of Big Lots Stores. He first joined the company in 2015. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Big Lots is a discount retailer operating approximately 1,400 stores in 47 states with product assortments in the merchandise categories of furniture, seasonal, soft home, food, consumables, hard home, and electronics, toys, and accessories. Their mission is to help people “Live BIG and Save Lots.”

Previously, Robins was a partner at Vorys, Sater, Seymour, and Pease LLP, and before that, an SVP, general counsel, and chief compliance officer at Abercrombie & Fitch Co. Earlier in his career he worked with Honorable Milton Pollack as a judicial clerk. Robins earned a JD from Harvard Law School and an undergraduate degree in history from Duke University.


39. Karen Riley-Grant
Chief Marketing Officer, Levi Strauss
Vanderbilt University

Karen Riley-Grant is the Chief Marketing Officer of Levi Strauss. Levi Strauss is one of the world's largest apparel companies and a global leader in jeans. They have more than 500 stores worldwide, and their products are available in more than 100 countries. Riley-Grant is known for being a global marketer with over 25 years of experience in marketing strategy, planning, operations, and communication development for iconic American brands. She focuses on developing the ultimate consumer experience through innovative marketing mixes that drive demand and create brand advocates.

Before joining Levi Strauss, Riley-Grant was a senior director of global marketing at Converse, and before that a marketing manager at IGN Entertainment. Earlier in her career she worked with Gap Inc. as an assistant marketing manager. Riley-Grant graduated from Vanderbilt University with an undergraduate degree in human and organizational development.


40. Jenny Wolski
SVP of Omnichannel Experience, Petco
University of Florida

Jenny Wolski is the Senior Vice President of Omnichannel Experience for Petco. She first joined the company in 2010 as marketing manager. Petco is a category-defining health and wellness company focused on improving the lives of pets, pet parents, and their own Petco partners. Since their founding in 1965, they’ve been trailblazing new standards in pet care, delivering comprehensive wellness solutions through their products and services, and creating communities that deepen the pet-pet parent bond. They operate more than 1,500 Petco locations across the U.S., Mexico, and Puerto Rico, including a growing network of more than 100 in-store veterinary hospitals.

Previously, Wolski was a director of development at the City of San Diego and before that a development coordinator at Scripps Health. Wolski earned an undergraduate degree in business administration from the University of Florida.


41. Geoffroy van Raemdonck
Chief Executive Officer, Neiman Marcus Group
University of Chicago

As the visionary leader in Neiman Marcus Group’s (NMG) integrated luxury retail transformation, Geoffroy van Raemdonck is enabling strategic and performance-driven business decisions at NMG, encouraging and fostering innovative thinking, and leading NMG’s growth strategy, Revolutionizing Luxury Experiences across stores, e-Commerce, and remote selling. Geoffroy was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Neiman Marcus Group in February 2018. During his tenure, he has turned the business trajectory positive, built a leadership team committed to digital excellence, and enhanced NMG’s unique ability to serve customers while Leading with Love at the highest levels to drive new, global growth. He has prioritized Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) standards throughout the organization and fostered an inclusive NMG|Way culture powered by the concept of Belonging and making life extraordinary. Early in his role at NMG, Geoffroy oversaw the management of MyTheresa, doubling its revenues which led to its successful initial public offering. In 2020, he led the company through a successful restructuring and debt-reduction plan, enabling investments in the company’s digitally-enabled future.

Geoffroy has built a career driving performance improvements and digital growth platforms at several prominent luxury brands in Europe and the United States and is deeply passionate about the art and beauty of luxury fashion. Prior to NMG, Geoffroy served in leadership roles at Ralph Lauren and Louis Vuitton and was Chief Executive Officer of St. John Knits. Earlier in his career, he advised consumer and brand-driven companies at The Boston Consulting Group in the New York, Chicago, Paris, and Brussels offices and served in senior roles of increasing responsibility at L Brands. A native of Brussels, Geoffroy graduated summa cum laude from the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium with a master’s in business and sciences. He later obtained an MBA from the University of Chicago in 1998. He currently resides in Dallas, TX with his husband and two children. He serves on the board of the Dallas Symphony Association and American Composers Orchestra Boards as well as a member of the Fact Company Impact Council.


45. Jody Putnam
Chief Retail Officer, Mattress Firm
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Jody Putnam began his professional career 24 years ago. Today, he is the Chief Retail Officer of Mattress Firm. Mattress Firm has been in the sleep industry for nearly 90 years. During that time, they have learned what it takes to become America's most trusted authority on sleep.

Putnam has spent the past 20 years with Mattress Firm starting as an assistant operations manager. Over the years he served in various positions including store manager, district manager, SVP of HR, talent and integration officer, and EVP of sales and service. Putnam graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with an undergraduate degree in biology.


46. Kristen Han
VP & Deputy General Counsel, Five Below
Boston College

Kristen Han began her professional career 22 years ago. Today, she is the Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of Five Below. Five Below is a leading high-growth value retailer offering trend-right, high-quality products loved by tweens, teens and beyond. Founded in 2002 and headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Five Below today has nearly 1,200 stores in 40 states.

Han first got her start in 2000 as a corporate associate at Holland & Knight. From there, she went on to Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg, before eventually rising to become a VP, general counsel, and corporate secretary at Destination Maternity Corporation, her most recent position prior to joining Five Below. Han graduated from Boston College Law School with a JD and from the University of Pennsylvania with an undergraduate degree in international relations, economics, and political science.


47. Michael Strauss
Vice President, MIA Shoes
University of Richmond

Michael Strauss began his professional career 7 years ago. Today, he is the Vice President and a Partner at MIA Shoes and in 2020 launched Strauss and Ramm, a new up and coming mens shoe brand. MIA, one of the industry’s most successful women’s and kids lines in fashion footwear is headquartered in Miami where much of the local flavor inspires designers. A New York showroom, east and west coast distribution, social media coverage, and a fun and interactive website keep MIA connected to its customers at both the retail and wholesale levels. Manufacturing in China, Sweden, Brazil, and India, MIA focuses its efforts in bringing quality, style, and comfort to its customers. With a collection of flats, heels, wedges, sandals, and boots, MIA is a versatile footwear house for today’s fashion conscious woman of every age.

Strauss comes from a family dedicated to the fashion industry. His sister and mother started the clothing brand Just Bee Queen three years ago and are now one of the hottest new brands in fashion selling at Revolve, Bloomingdales, Intermix, and Shopbop to name a few. Strauss began his studies playing football at the University of Virginia but then graduating from the University of Richmond with an undergraduate degree in marketing.

View the complete list of awardees.


48. Raymond Kayal
Principal, President & CEO, NewsLink Group
University of Miami

Raymond J. Kayal, Jr. has been a senior level executive in the airport retail business for over 25 years and is the third generation of his family in the industry dating back to 1959. Mr. Kayal is currently the President & CEO of the NewsLink group of companies, which is a privately-owned, dynamic and innovative airport concessionaire employing a talented and dedicated team of over 400 employees, operating over 45 concession locations in five major U.S. Airports. NewsLink is recognized for its hands-on approach and unmatched customer service in designing and operating a wide-variety of concessions including convenience, specialty retail and food & beverage concepts.

Before joining the airport retail industry, Mr. Kayal was a practicing attorney in the Miami office of the international law firm of White & Case LLP. Mr. Kayal is a proud graduate of the University of Miami School of Law with a JD and the Wharton School of Business with an undergraduate degree in economics with concentrations in finance and management.


49. Harrison Lewis
SVP & CIO, Grocery Outlet
Georgia Institute of Technology

Harrison Lewis is a recognized information technology visionary with expertise ranging from cloud adoption and machine learning to internet security and business continuance planning. Known for quickly identifying business technology opportunities and applications, Harrison champions both feasible and viable tech-based solutions for complex issues. He currently serves as a Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Grocery Outlet, the leading extreme value retailer in the United States, serving bargain seeking customers since 1946. Publicly held, Grocery Outlet employs 1000 people across the U.S. Headquartered in Emeryville, California, they have been family operated for almost 70 years and have a rich history of putting customers and employees first.

Over the course of 24 years, Harrison has held senior leadership roles with Haggen, Inc., The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, H. E. Butt Grocery Company, and the Kroger Company. He has also served as a board member for corporate, education, and community nonprofit organizations, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Harrison holds an undergraduate degree in computer engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology.

View the complete list of awardees.