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Facebook Global Marketer RMI Advisory Board

Facebook Global Marketer Shares Gen Z Insights
by Kaila Richardson ’17

Facebook RSSA Fall Dinner 2016

Today, it seems Facebook has become its own entity. No longer just an easily defined social media platform, Facebook has become an all-encompassing resource to connect with new friends and find old friends, stay informed with the latest global news and trends, discover new hobbies, keep track of birthdays, and plan events.

Through Facebook, I stay connected with my 16-year-old cousin in Florida as well as my 85-year-old great grandmother in Minnesota. Facebook attracts an incredibly broad market and eliminates the barriers of communication throughout time and space.

Therefore, I was very surprised to learn that Facebook understands the opportunities and potential obstacles in trying to stay relevant in the minds of the newest generation that marketers are interested in: Generation Z.

At the Retail Studies Student Association’s Fall Quarter dinner, the Retail Management Institute hosted Natalie Pokvitis from Facebook’s Global Business Marketing group. Pokvitis explained how Gen Z is an entirely new phenomenon challenging marketers to think outside the box, and in many cases is forcing Facebook to reposition its business.

 “How Facebook could create a “hip factor” with Gen Z as they age and make use of their future buying power.” 

~Natalie Pokvitis - Facebook’s Global Business Marketing group

Gen Z kids were raised with technology and are not easily amused or interested by small advances in products. They possess an incredibly short attention span of only 8 seconds, process information quicker than any previous generation, and expect technology to be extensions of their thoughts. Similar to Millennials, Gen Z is active on social media. However, they prefer YouTube and Twitter over Facebook and Instagram.

Pokvitis led a discussion on how Facebook could create a “hip factor” with Gen Z as they age and make use of their future buying power. Being that we are about to enter the job market, it was very interesting to brainstorm with Pokvitis, since these are the same business challenges we will be faced with no matter what retailer we work for.

Thank you to RMI for hosting a guest speaker who provided such a stimulating discussion and insights about a future market we will be catering to. Thanks also to Natalie Pokvitis, for sharing her perspective and the excitement around her company and her role at Facebook.



GC: Advisory Board Luminaries Connect with Students
by Ryan Quakenbush ’17

Advisory Board

Before attending the Advisory Board reception on October 18, I was nervous. It was my first time attending this event, hosted by the Retail Management Institute that connects students to the board members overseeing the program in the minor. I’d never met so many retail CEOs, presidents, and directors.

What would they be like, I wondered. As I walked onto the Lucas Terrace, I immediately ran into RMI alum Chantel Waterbury. I was a little starstruck, and before I knew it, I said, “Hi, I’m Ryan. You created Chloe + Isabel!”

Despite the hasty introduction, I soon learned that Waterbury— like all of the board members— was incredibly friendly and easy to talk to. I was interested to learn how Waterbury founded her company, and what it was like being a CEO. In turn, she wanted to know more about my internship experience and my plans after graduation.

As the sun set slowly over the terrace, many students had the chance to connect with RMI alums and industry leaders in group conversations. “I felt lucky to be a part of RMI,” said junior Ariana Frankel. “It was so inspiring to hear stories of how alumni had worked their way up, from being right where I was standing to being successful retail executives.”

Students were able to talk to:

  • Mark Brashear (RMI ’83), President and CEO - John Varvatos Enterprises
  • Lisa Bougie (RMI ’91), Chief Merchandising Officer - Stitch Fix • Mike Osario (RMI ’84), Regional President - Americas, Pacific Islands, Japan - DFS Group Limited
  • Barry Gilbert, Managing Director - WineVIP
  • Tom Fanoe (SCU ’68), Former President of Levi’s USA - Thomas Fanoe Consulting
  • John Strain (RMI ’90), EVP, Chief Digital and Technology Officer - Williams-Sonoma, Inc.
  • Chantel Waterbury (RMI ’97), CEO & Founder - Chloe+Isabel

Board members shared not only their career paths, but also gave advice for graduating seniors. Barry Gilbert encouraged us to align our work with our passions, because we shouldn’t make money, but hate our jobs. Passion is what has kept Gilbert in the retail industry for more than 25 years. John Strain said we should hire and surround ourselves with people who have different skills, to combine our unique strengths. It was a lesson he learned during his summer internship as an RMI student that he still uses today as an executive vice president of Williams-Sonoma, Inc.

The Advisory Board reception was a truly rewarding experience for students, and we give great thanks to the Retail Management Institute for helping us to connect with professionals in our chosen field of study.

About the RMI Advisory Board - RMI brings together industry innovators and luminaries who represent influential Silicon Valley and San Francisco Bay Area retail companies. The Advisory Board meets twice a year to provide insights and perspective to ensure SCU remains a top destination for retail business and digital retail innovation