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Department ofManagement & Entrepreneurship

Strickland, Theresa

Theresa Strickland

Adjunct Lecturer

Theresa Strickland is a key-industry merchandising and marketing strategist who’s proven 25-year track record in senior executive roles demonstrates her ability to translate financial objectives into realistic strategies and plans for leading national retailers and companies in all fields of expertise.

For Macy's, Pottery Barn, Cost Plus World Market, Sears, Kmart, Land’s End, and Chief Home Design, Strickland has conducted company-wide vertical integrations and is an experienced CEO & CMO.  She is an expert in Digital Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Data Analytics, Content, and Marketing mix. She has led teams in design, trend, product development, merchandising, supply chain, and an international sourcing organization that has all resulted in substantial volume growth.  She has also directly supervised company activities including being a company spokesperson for  Wall Street, responsibilities for full profit and loss, development of supply chain systems, operating plans, sales plans, execution of approved strategic plans and objectives. She is an active, engaged director, who stays current on industry and digital marketing trends.

Theresa presently serves as an independent director on four boards:  Lucidity Lights, Inc – since 2020,  A manufacturer and distributor of trend and wellness lighting products. (Committees: Consumer, Interior & Brand);  Converge Consulting Ruffalo Noel Levitz – since 2017,  Higher Education Enrollment, Student Success, and Fundraising (Committees: SEO Marketing);  Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University – since 2009, Silicon Valley’s business school ranked #22 in the country,  (Committees: Digital Marketing and Communications);  My Own Business Institute (MOBI), Santa Clara University – since 2017, My Own Business Institute (MOBI) is the world's leading provider of free online education for entrepreneurs. (Committees: Digital Marketing and Communications); Founder and Director of Women Corporate Board Readiness Program at the Silicon Valley Executive Center, Santa Clara University since 2018.  Ruby Ribbon Advisory Board – since 2011, Direct sales Shapewear, Ruby Ribbon, a direct sales company, is sold exclusively through a network of Independent Stylists. (Committees: Product design, development, sourcing, marketing);   Past public board service includes: National Board Member Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) – since 2011 – 2017, WIPP is a national nonpartisan organization advocating on behalf of women entrepreneurs—strengthening their impact on our nation’s public policy, creating economic opportunities, and forging alliances with other business organizations.  (Committees: Marketing, Finance); Steering Committee for Executive Women for ‘Hillary for America’ – since 2014-2016.  (Committees: Marketing and Communication)


Her passion for today’s digital transformation leveraging OMNI channels within companies in areas of marketing, merchandising, product design, supply chain & leveraging AI and business intelligence started with Pottery Barn where she vertically integrated the company’s growth from $271 million dollars to $4 billion dollars. She applied that experience to scalable growth opportunities with Cost Plus World Market, Sears Holding Company, and Chief Home Design. 


During her 25 years of management experience, Ms. Strickland has excelled in leading a variety of merchandising initiatives:

Macy’s West spent 10 years through the ranks to become the Vice President of Tabletop and Housewares. While there she founded and developed Tools of The Trade private label.  Became Division President of Pottery Barn where she helped to develop the retailer into one of the most successful multi-channel, branded retailers in the nation. Served as Executive Vice President of Merchandising, Marketing, Design, and Planning at Cost Plus World Market (CPWM) where she was awarded special recognition as a key executive for Women in Leadership in the Boardroom and in Executive offices.  At CPWM she gained recognition on Wall Street as Chief Home Design Strategy and Branding Officer.  Strickland is a regular consultant on Wall Street in the Retail and Marketing Space.

She was responsible for Sears, Kmart, and Land’s End’s Home store strategies, as well as branding and design execution of all home merchandise.  Successfully replaced the Martha Stewart brand with a comprehensive brand strategy 'of highly recognized national brands. Founded the startup ‘Chief Home Design’ direct sales and fashion consulting firm in 2011.  Raised several rounds of funding for the company before exiting the business.


Strickland is highly proficient in identifying and forecasting trends that can then be developed into strategies for implementation within branded programs.  The objective is always to maximize the impact these trends have on fashion and consumer behavior.  She is a skilled negotiator within domestic and foreign markets, and her proven analytical acumen has made her a significant source for Wall Street analysts, leading educational institutions, and national news agencies.


Theresa has a  passion for paying it forward and contributes in the following areas; Keynote speaker at women’s events around the country,  Whenever possible, Theresa is an executive professor of “Introduction to Business” and “Leadership” courses at Santa Clara University,  Founder and Faculty Director to the ‘Women Corporate Board and Readiness Program’ at the Silicon Valley Executive Center.



Contemporary Business Issues (BUSN 70)