Two Ten: Board of Directors Sound Off

Blake Krueger
Chairman, president, CEO, Wolverine World Wide Inc.

“Two Ten’s the Switzerland of the industry. It’s a place leaders can get together and forget about the competitive nature of the business. They work together for a higher cause. Neal Newman and his team have brought a fresh perspective and commitment to the organization and the industry. They’ve expanded the reach of WIFI and YP [as well as] the numbers of individuals and scholars being served. Around four years ago, I led the strategic planning process focused on Two Ten’s plans for the next five years. It set forth a new road map and future goals that includes expanded relief efforts for [those in need].”

Diane Sullivan
Chairman, president, CEO, Brown Shoe Co.

“I’ve been involved with Two Ten for 15 years, hosting the [annual] dinner and [participating in] WIFI. Brown Shoe has also been very supportive of Two Ten. We feel it’s our responsibility to not only help our company, but also help our industry. Everyone’s had challenges in their life coming when you least expect it. It’s fantastic there’s an organization that helps people when they don’t have another place to go. The scholarships are a wonderful aspect as well. Credit [for this work] goes to the amazing Two Ten team, whether it was Peggy Meill, who brought a great emotional connection between Two Ten and the industry, or Neal Newman and his team, who are [moving to] grow WIFI and YP. It’s important to continue to increase the awareness of what Two Ten does and increase industry involvement.”

Steve Hill
VP of merchandising, Zappos.com

“I’ve been a member of Two Ten for 10 years and on the board three. Sonny Shar, who’s been a mentor and instrumental in my career, is a big part of the reason I got involved. [Seeing] how passionate he is about Two Ten, I thought it was something I needed to be involved in. [Living] on the West Coast, I’ve tried to help extend the awareness of Two Ten here. I’ve been on the [organization’s] dinner committee for the last few years and also worked on Zappos’ Halloween charity golf tournament, held [annually] to raise money for Two Ten. Neal Newman’s great leadership is now taking it into the future.”

Danny Schwartz
CEO, Schwartz & Benjamin

“Being involved in Two Ten has been a way to give back to an industry that’s been very good to me and my family. It has helped those who’ve come across hard times, from Hurricane Sandy to personal tragedies. Several years ago, I was chairing the solicitations committee. I was proud of the amount of monies we raised. Over the last few years, I’ve been involved in running the operations committee for the [annual] dinner. A few years ago, Two Ten honored me with the A.A. Bloom award. [Today], Neal Newman and his team are taking Two Ten to another level. There’s lots of room to grow. However, you can’t grow the number of people you help if you don’t have the money.”

Chris Quinn
EVP North America, New Balance

“Two Ten’s a group of companies that normally would be competing, but [are working together] in their love and commitment to serve others. An important initiative has been the Footwear Warriors Scholarship Fund, where we try to help those who’ve dedicated their lives to our country. We’ve rallied to identify how we can develop and more effectively source new funds to help [veterans]. I’ve also worked on a five-year strategy plan with Blake Krueger. We all came in from various parts of the country and created a strategic plan [regarding] where we wanted to take Two Ten. An [important initiative] is helping people in the industry outside the U.S. We’ve made progress, but can make even more in serving the global footwear community.”

Anna Bakst
Group president of footwear and accessories, Michael Kors

“I feel camaraderie with [Two Ten members]. You’re coming together with your peers, not about business, but to give back to this wonderful community. When people are in need, we can do something quickly. Footwear Cares is also a way for [members] to support each other. The [Michael Kors] team had a great opportunity to participate in the ‘God’s Love We Deliver’ food program. Here, everybody wins — those that benefit from the organization and the team participating. I’m also involved with WIFI, where we can engage up-and-coming professionals within the industry, as well as establish the mentoring program.”

Susan Itzkowitz
President, Marc Fisher Footwear

“I’m a member of the social services committee that ferrets through requests from people [in need]. It’s heartbreaking, but at the same time, we have the ability to help. We not only help them, but we give them hope. So many people come back and say, ‘When I’m back on my feet, I’m going to help others.’ In an emergency, people think of the Red Cross or government. Two Ten’s an organization many people don’t know about. There are always opportunities to help more people through scholarship and mentoring programs. Through board meetings and retreats, I’ve met some incredible executives. I’ve always been impressed by their passion, intelligence and dedication.”

Danny Muskat
National sales manager, Deer Stags/No Sox

“I’m new to the board and proud to be made chair of the YP committee. As chairman, I hope to help broaden Two Ten’s reach on the West Coast and [connect with] emerging leaders in the business. [Closer to home], Deer Stags held a small Two Ten potluck lunch earlier this year, where contributions were made by attendees. We invited our employees to contribute a small amount. Over half the company participated. One employee suggested an additional contribution of some change when [having a beverage] provided free-of-charge by Deer Stags. The initiatives, coupled with a match from Deer Stags’ management, will total over $4,000 for the year.”

Katie Butler
Longtime industry executive

“This year, Joe Ouaknine and I are on the solicitations committee for the December dinner and gala, the main fundraiser for the year. Being a part of WIFI has also been fun; I’ve [even] had the chance to speak at one of the [events]. Both WIFI and YP are important programs that are in their infancy. We hope through outreach and marketing, they’ll expand nationally. Reaching out to [industry members] in Los Angeles is [also important]. Next: How do we engage [footwear] people all over the globe?”

Wendy Madden
Director of operations, Steven Madden Ltd.

“When Steve and I chaired the dinner committee, we chose a Beatles theme of ‘Come Together.’ After the cocktail party, we segued to the dinner with dancers performing to the song. It exemplifies what Two Ten’s all about. While we can compete fiercely in the marketplace, we can also come together to support shoe people in need. I’ve seen the impact Two Ten’s causes have had on associates at Steve Madden. It’s provided counseling services, financial assistance, scholarship money, smiles on so many faces, and put hearts at ease. As part of the auction committee, it was a thrill to experience the record-setting fundraising that took place. Once, I bid on a vacation home without knowing my competition was a longtime business associate and friend.”

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