As I have shared in previous posts, as the PR & Marketing Manager for Blissliving Home, one of the perks of my job is to accompany Mei Xu, the Creator & CEO of the company, to a broad range of exciting events and social engagements. Most recently Mei and I visited Philadelphia as Mei was invited to join the Entrepreneurship Panel at the Inaugural Wharton Retail Conference. (It was my first time in Philly but I am already planning another trip – just for fun).
The conference was organized by MBA candidates Michelle Taite, Laura De Sole and Lindsey Rhoads under the leadership of four Conference Directors. We were truly intrigued by the key note speakers and panelists that had been enlisted for this conference. Tommy Hilfiger, one of the keynote speakers, offered an intimate insight into the story and strategy of his global enterprise. Allen Questrom, the other keynote speaker, is known in the world of retail as a “turn-around person”. Mr. Questrom shared his views on strategy and effective leadership based on his experiences at retail giants such as JC Penney’s, Neiman Marcus, and Barneys New York (“to be an effective leader, you have to first and foremost able to create a strong team and to bring everyone on board regarding strategy”). He also encouraged attending students to find jobs that inspire them.
The conference concluded with the Entrepreneurship Panel hosted by Professor David Bell. Panelists included Mei Xu, Max Brenner of Max Brenner – Chocolate by the Bald Man; Jay McCarroll, Designer and Winner of Project Runway; Nicole Basabe, founder of Tribal Societe; and Mary Norton, founder of Mary Norton, Inc. As Mei and I had learnt at dinner the night before, almost eighty percent of Wharton MBA students hope to launch their own business one day. It came as no surprise, then, to see the students captivated by Mei’s and her fellow panelists’ stories. Truth be told, we almost missed our train as Mei answered everyone’s questions after the panel ended. All in all, participating in the Wharton Retail Conference was a very inspiring and invigorating experience – and I certainly hope we will be invited to come back for future events. Oh, and one of the most critical take-aways from the conference – next time the Blissliving Home team visits New York City we should certainly plan a dinner at the Max Brenner restaurant at Union Square.