April 2014

Unusual "Hack-a-thon" Puts Retail Execs to Work Creating the Ideal Retail Course

“HACK-OUR-CURRICULUM” event aims to enlist top retail leaders to build the perfect course for next-generation skills

SANTA CLARA, Calif., April 11, 2014— An unusual “hack-a-thon,” designed to create the ideal university-level course for next-generation retail leaders, will be taking place at Santa Clara University on April 16.

On hand will be CEOs and other executive-level leaders from Macy’s, Williams Sonoma, CostPlus World Markets, Gap and Google. Faculty and retail-management students from Santa Clara University will also be participating. 

Like traditional hack-a-thons, the participants will be given an in-the-moment assignment to work on during the event. Specifically, they will be asked to identify the skills and talents that are vital in retail employees, but which are most often lacking in new hires, especially in the areas of technology and social media. They will translate those skills into new building blocks of knowledge. 

The group will then be split up into teams to create an ideal academic course to ensure that the most-vital skills are imparted to the next generation of retail leaders. The ideas will include a proof-of-concept curriculum, and industry experts who can lend knowledge and expertise. 

“We are extremely excited to bring together some of the top minds in retail for a creative, Silicon-Valley-style, hacker approach to bringing retail education to the top echelons needed today,” said Kirthi Kalyanam, director of the Retail Management Institute at Santa Clara University, and the organizer of the day’s event. 

The private event will be from 12:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. A report on the outcome will be shared publicly after the event. Media interviews with organizers and participants can also be scheduled with advance notice. 

 The executives who will be participating include: 

Kent Anderson (President, Macys.com)
Pat Connolly (CMO, Williams Sonoma)
Barry Feld (CEO, Cost Plus World Markets)
Jason Marshall (Cost Plus World Markets)
April Anderson (Google)
Jeff Montgomery (Google)
Paul Chapman (CIO, Gap Inc)
Ed Gawronski (SVP, Mattel)
Jeff Booth, (Founder, CEO, Build Direct)
Michael Klein (Adobe)
Jen Wong (CBO, PopSugar)
Scott Thompson (CEO, Shoprunner)
Chris Reidy (Twitter)
Sridhar Narayanan (Marketing Faculty, Stanford GSB)
Savannah Shi (Marketing Faculty, Santa Clara University) 

More about the Retail Management Institute, which was formed in 1980 to provide unique educational and career-development opportunities for students and retail professionals, can be found at: www.scu.edu/business/rmi/

Media Contact
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Relations | dlohse@scu.edu | 408-554-5121
Retail Management Institute,hack-a-thon