As footwear executives brace for continued economic uncertainty and retail instability, the event on Oct. 14 will focus on the topic “Leadership Success in Tough Times.”
“It’s extremely relevant right now,” said Jim Salzano, president of The Clarks Cos. N.A., who will moderate the discussion. “Both sides of the industry — suppliers and retailers — need to be thinking about how they are going to lead their organizations through this.”
The forum will kick off with keynote speaker Scott Savitz, former CEO of Shoebuy.com. Then a panel discussion will feature Brown Shoe Co. Chairman Ron Fromm; Foot Locker Inc. CEO Ken Hicks; Earth Inc. President Gary Champion; and Anna Bakst, president of footwear and accessories at Michael Kors.
“The [speakers] are all great examples of businesses that require slightly different leadership models, so there is a good diversity of leaders lined up to talk,” said Salzano.
And while Savitz has been retired from his post at Shoebuy since June, the Internet exec said he is still “comfortable” discussing the site he founded 12 years ago.
“The company was having a good year when I decided to step aside, and it’s still something I’m passionate about,” said Savitz. “If anything, you have a clearer perspective being able to look from the outside in on what works and what didn’t work.”
Possible discussion topics at the forum may include building culture in hard times and finding opportunities in an economic crisis, said Patti Cohen, SVP of marketing and community at Two Ten.
“We’re getting CEOs to think in ways they might not have before because young people are giving them ideas, and visa versa,” said Cohen.
The event will be held at the Museum of Art & Design in New York and is supported by the Ron and Cheri Fromm Leadership Fund of Two Ten.