2020 Vision: Retail and Luxury in the Next Decade

16th Annual Conference

Retail & Luxury Goods Club, a student club at Harvard Business School

Panelist Bios

CONSUMER INSIGHTS

SARON TESFALUL

PRINCIPAL, BAIN CAPITAL

Saron Tesfalul joined Bain Capital Private Equity in 2012.  She is a Principal in the Consumer, Retail and Dining Vertical and is a member of the North American Private Equity team. In addition to investment and portfolio work, she currently serves as a member of the firm’s training program and the recruiting team. Prior to joining Bain Capital Private Equity, Saron was a consultant with Bain & Company where she consulted in the consumer retail, healthcare, technology and telecom industries. Saron received her MBA from Stanford University.  She graduated cum laude with an AB in Economics and minor in African Studies from Harvard University.

BRIAN THORNE

PARTNER, SILAS CAPITAL

Brian Thorne has over 15 years of experience as an advisor, investor and operator in the consumer
sector. He is a Partner at Silas Capital, a venture and growth equity firm accelerating growth for the next generation of consumer brands. Brian currently sits on the board of directors of ILIA Beauty, Herbivore Botanicals and HATCH Collection. Prior to joining Silas, he was at private equity firms Tengram Capital Partners as Principal (NEST Fragrances, Laura Geller, DevaCurl, Algenist), and Catterton Partners as Senior Associate (Frédéric Fekkai, Brach’s Confections, Van’s International Foods and Naya Water), as well as Lazard as an analyst in the Consumer/Retail Investment Banking group. Brian holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA in Economics and Psychology with Distinction from the University of Virginia.

CAITLIN STRANDBERG

PRINCIPAL, LERER HIPPEAU

Caitlin Strandberg is a Principal on Lerer Hippeau's investment team. She joined from FirstMark, an early-stage venture firm based in NYC, where she was a Vice President. She previously worked on the investment team at Flybridge Capital partners and at two startups, LearnVest (acquired by Northwestern Mutual) and Behance (acquired by Adobe). Caitlin is a graduate of Cornell University, where she majored in History. She holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.

COLIN S.A. WELCH

PARTNER & MANAGING DIRECTOR, TSG CONSUMER PARTNERS

Colin Welch has over 25 years of experience in the retail & consumer sectors both domestically and globally. He is currently a Partner and Managing Director of TSG Consumer Partners ($9 billion AUM), where he focuses on transactions in the consumer and retail sectors. Representative past and present partner companies include vitaminwater, thinkThin, popchips, Yard House, Stumptown, Pabst, Planet Fitness, REVOLVE Clothing, and Smashbox Cosmetics, among others. Prior to joining TSG Consumer Partners, Colin served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Financo, a leading independent financial advisory boutique specializing in the global consumer and retail sectors, and Chief Executive Officer of the firm’s London-based European operation. He was also a founding member of J.P. Morgan's dedicated retail sector coverage effort, and Managing Director and Head of Retail Investment Banking at both Lehman Brothers and Credit Suisse. Colin received his MBA from Harvard Business School and his BBA, with distinction, from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

JOAN PAYSON (MODERATOR)

CONSUMER INVESTMENT ANALYST

Joan was most recently at hedge fund Lone Pine Capital through end of 2019, for nearly four years covering Global Consumer Discretionary stocks. Prior to that, she was a Senior Analyst at Barclays for five years covering US Brands and Retailers. She also worked at Macquarie Investment Banking for two years, following graduation from Yale University in 2009 where she was an Applied Mathematics major. 

INNOVATING FOR TODAY'S CONSUMER

NELL DIAMOND

CEO & FOUNDER, HILL HOUSE HOME

Nell Diamond is the Founder and CEO of Hill House Home, a New York based direct-to-consumer lifestyle and home business. Since launching in 2016, Hill House Home has been featured in The New York Times, VOGUE, Architectural Digest, The Wall Street Journal and more, shipping to customers in over 30 countries. Nell developed the concept for Hill House Home as part of Yale’s Start-Up Founder Practicum, an incubator for companies conceived by students of the School of Management from which she graduated in 2015. Nell graduated with a BA in English Literature from Princeton University in 2011.

ZAMEER KASSAM

CEO & FOUNDER, ZK FINE JEWELRY

Zameer is the Founder and CEO of Zameer Kassam Fine Jewelry, where each design tells a unique and personal love story. Zameer has guest lectured at Harvard Business School—where he endowed a Fellowship for Entrepreneurship—Stanford Graduate School of Management, Parsons the New School and others. Zameer has been featured in the New York Times, VOGUE, CNBC, Forbes, INC, Entreprenuer, CNN, New York Post, among others. He is a Friend of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, was profiled on The Secret Lives of the Super Rich, and is currently working on a Netflix special.

SHILPA SHAH

CO-FOUNDER, CUYANA

Shilpa was drawn to Cuyana for the opportunity to create products rich in meaning, quality, and story. Beginning her career in Interaction Design, Shilpa has over 15 years of experience designing web and mobile interfaces for Fortune 500 companies including Disney, AT&T, and Sun Microsystems. In 2012, she graduated with her MBA from UC Berkeley Haas School of Business. Shilpa is passionate about celebrating the multifaceted spirit of modern women through creating a culture of empowerment.

NEHA SINGH

CEO & CO-FOUNDER, OBSESS

Neha Singh is the Founder & CEO of Obsess, an experiential e-commerce platform enabling brands to create visual, immersive, branded online shopping experiences. She was previously the Head of Product at Vogue, where she was responsible for the product strategy and technology execution of Vogue’s digital business including content products, ad products and distribution platforms. Prior to that, Neha was VP of Product and Engineering at AHAlife, an e-commerce startup for luxury lifestyle products. Neha began her career at Google, where she was a Software Engineer and Tech Lead for 5 years and worked on AdWords and News. She holds an undergraduate Computer Science degree from The University of Texas at Austin and a graduate Computer Science degree from MIT.

HENRIETTA ELLICE-FLINT (MODERATOR) 

HBS 2021 MBA CANDIDATE

Henrietta Ellice-Flint is an MBA Candidate at Harvard Business School (Class of 2021). 

REHABILITATING THE BRICK & MORTAR MODEL

JOSÉ CHAN

VP OF PLANNING & OMNICHANNEL, LORO PIANA (LVMH GROUP)

José P. Chan is the VP of Planning and Omnichannel, and a member of the senior leadership team for LVMH brand Loro Piana in North America. José has worked in the retail and apparel sector over 20+ years with LVMH, Richemont and Roberto Cavalli. He is also a Founding Team Member and was VP Business Development and Advisory Board Member of Celect, an award winning retail technology firm that leverages machine learning in order to optimize inventory. The firm was founded at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology when he was a graduate student there. It raised series A, B and C funding rounds in Silicon Valley and New York, until acquired by Nike, Inc. in 2019. José has held senior management positions reporting to CEOs and has extensive international management experience in buying, marketing, merchandising, planning, predictive analytics and has run retail store networks with P&L responsibility. He is an MIT Sloan Fellow.

CLARA CHAPPEZ

CHIEF GROWTH OFFICER, VESTIAIRE COLLECTIVE

Clara joined Vestiaire Collective as Chief Growth Officer in 2019, leading customer acquisition and retention for the leading global resale site for premium and luxury pre-owned fashion. She transitioned from her role as VP of International for Lyst, the LVMH-backed fashion search engine based out of London, where she successfully launched the website in 7 countries around the world. Before that she worked as a consultant at BCG in New York City, advising global fashion brands on their strategy, and as Director of Marketplace and SVP Marketing at ZALORA, the first fashion ecommerce platform in Southeast Asia. Clara completed her MBA at Harvard Business School, where she focused on entrepreneurship. She has an MSc in Business Administration & Management from the ESSEC Business School in Paris.

FALGUNI DESAI

BRAND DIRECTOR & CEO, ART OF SHAVING (PROCTER & GAMBLE)

Falguni Desai is an experienced marketing leader at Procter & Gamble who leads the North America Grooming DTC business and also serves as the CEO & Managing Director for The Art of Shaving. She has spent 16 years working across iconic brands from upstream innovation roles to managing P&Ls across established businesses and start-up models, during which she has won awards for her business acumen and her talent development skills. Falguni is a champion of organizational efforts and serves as a sponsor for the P&G Boston Women’s Network, Harvard Recruiting, and is active within the Asian-Pacific American (APA) Network. After immigrating to the US from India, she grew up in the Midwest and earned her B.S. in Biology from Indiana University–Bloomington along with a Liberal Arts & Management Program (LAMP) certificate and Political Science & Economics minors. 

TED GALPERIN

PARTNER, MYTHOLOGY

Ted Galperin is a Partner and Director of the Retail practice at Mythology (formerly Partners & Spade). Mythology is a New York-based full-service studio focusing on branding, advertising and retail. Since joining the agency in 2013, they have built the Retail Design business giving many successful online businesses like Warby Parker, Sonos, Allbirds, and Away, a bricks and mortar presence. Ted graduated from Carnegie Mellon University, School of Design BFA ’08.

ELIZABETH TYLER HARRIS 

ENGAGEMENT MANAGER, MCKINSEY & COMPANY MODERN RETAIL COLLECTIVE

Tyler is an Engagement Manager in McKinsey’s retail practice. Her work centers around retail operations with a deep focus on technology enabled store operations and cross-channel customer experience. She is a leader of McKinsey’s Modern Retail Collective – a live retail test store in Mall of America – and the firm’s perspective on Future Stores addressing how next-gen technology and innovations can radically improve store performance and customer experience. Tyler is a Graduate Gemologist (GIA, GG) and earned her degree from the Gemological Institute of America. Prior to McKinsey, Tyler led Strategic Planning at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Tyler holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.S./B.A. from the University of Virginia in Commerce and Arts Administration & Curatorial Studies, where she was a Jefferson and Echols Scholar. 

BARUCH SHEMTOV (MODERATOR) 

HBS 2020 MBA CANDIDATE, FORMER ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER (GOOD DAY NEW YORK)

Baruch Shemtov is a 2nd year MBA candidate at Harvard Business School. He is the former Entertainment Anchor on Good Day New York on FOX 5, and has spent years interviewing some of the world’s most inspiring and influential leaders spanning the worlds of entertainment, politics, business, and fashion. His one-on-one conversations have featured Senator John McCain, Kristen Stewart, President Pervez Musharraf, President Alvaro Uribe, Secretary Madeleine Albright, Yo-Yo Ma, Donald Trump, Sarah Jessica Parker, and many others. Baruch has also been passionate about the worlds of design and fashion and launched his boys’ tie collection and a coordinating father-son necktie range at Bergdorf Goodman. Baruch holds a BA from Harvard College. 

WINNING WITH VALUES

SEAN BARRON

CEO & CO-FOUNDER, RE/DONE

Sean Barron is a 20+ year veteran in the fashion industry. He has launched and sold wildly successful brands such as KATAYONE ADELI and JOIE, both of which were pioneers in the contemporary fashion space. Seeing that the customer had become uninspired by traditional retail stores and were searching for something more curated and personal, Sean felt it was time to launch a brand that is exclusive, scarce, and has great storytelling - hence, RE/DONE was born. With his extensive garment manufacturing background, Sean built a production level tailor factory that produces the RE/DONE jeans exclusively. Since the initial launch, RE/DONE has become a favorite brand to many of today’s top influencers and the fashion crowd. Still staying close to his sustainable roots, Sean is keeping RE/DONE on a responsible path while staying relevant.

GABRIELA HEARST

FOUNDER & DESIGNER, GABRIELA HEARST​

Gabriela Hearst is a luxury ready-to-wear and accessories collection, built on the principles of timelessness, uncompromising quality and sustainability. Born in Uruguay, Gabriela grew up on her family’s 17,000-acre ranch in Paysandu. After 10+ years in design in New York, Gabriela honored her family’s heritage through the launch of her eponymous label in 2015, as well as taking over the operations of her father’s ranch in Uruguay. Gabriela is the winner of the 2016/17 International Woolmark Prize for Womenswear and the 2018 recipient of the Pratt Institute Fashion Visionary Award. She was nominated for the CFDA Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent in 2017, and the CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year in 2018. In 2018, she was appointed to the board of trustees of Save the Children. In early 2019, LVMH Luxury Ventures took a minority stake in Gabriela Hearst, making it the only American brand other than Marc Jacobs in LVMH's portfolio.

HELEN LO

FOUNDER & BOARD CHAIR, LO & SONS

Helen Lo is the founder and CEO of Lo & Sons, a designer and online retailer of premium travel bags and accessories. She started the company with her two sons after becoming frustrated in her search for a lightweight, stylish and functional carry-on. Born in southern Mainland China and brought up in Macau, Helen earned a B.A. in psychology from the University of Massachusetts, and a PhD in Social Welfare Administration from Brandeis University. While raising her sons, and moving frequently with her husband, the noted astronomer Fred Lo, Helen pursued a career as a community health administrator, consultant and activist until she retired and began accompanying her husband on his travels. Her futile quest for a fashionable yet practical carry-on bag prompted her son Jan, a product design researcher, to suggest she create one of her own. Helen eventually recruited both sons to join her at Lo & Sons, which she self-funded and launched in 2010 at the age of 65.

JANE HU

MARKETING MANAGER, CLOVER FOOD LABS

Jane Hu is the Marketing Manager of Clover Food Lab, a cult-favorite fast food chain with 13 locations in the Boston Metro Area. Jane is responsible for leading all aspects of Clover’s marketing, including customer relationship management; the Clover Food Lab App; and management of multi-channel marketing campaigns that bring thousands of customers to Clover restaurants each day. Jane holds an Sc.B in Neuroscience from Brown University, where she gained an interest in food and sustainability. After graduating from Brown, Jane worked as a marketing coordinator for Hult International Business School, working between Boston, San Francisco, and London. In 2016, Jane took a big leap in deciding to follow her passion for food and took a pay cut and lifestyle change to work as a Store Communications Lead, a hands-on role stationed at the Clover restaurant in Boston’s Downtown Crossing. She now reports directly to Clover Founder/CEO Ayr Muir.

JENN VOLK 

DIRECTOR OF PRODUCT MANAGEMENT, thredUP

Jenn Volk is Director of Product at thredUP, the largest online fashion resale marketplace. Previously, she worked in Strategy and Operations at Wildfire, which was acquired by Google. She was then a Product Lead for Google's Small and Medium Business Ads group. Jenn started her career as an Investment Banking Analyst at Barclays. Jenn has a BA in Economics-Finance from Claremont McKenna College and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She is a Bay Area native and is passionate about empowering women in the workplace.

ERWAN RAMBOURG (MODERATOR) 

MANAGING DIRECTOR / CO-HEAD OF CONSUMER & RETAIL RESEARCH, HSBC

Erwan Rambourg is the author of The Bling Dynasty, Why The Reign of Chinese Luxury Shoppers Has Only Just Begun and is currently writing his second book on luxury. He is a top-ranked equity analyst, covering the consumer and retail sector. Rambourg also worked for eight years as a marketing manager in the luxury industry, notably for LVMH and Richemont. He is regularly featured in the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times and appears on CNBC and Bloomberg. He has talked on the future of luxury as a guest lecturer at Universities including Columbia, INSEAD and Hong Kong UST. Rambourg grew up in New York and has lived and worked in Paris, London and Hong Kong. In 2016, he moved from Hong Kong back to New York.

COMPETING WITH DATA & TECHNOLOGY

MEGHANA DHAR

LEAD OF STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS FOR SHOPPING, INSTAGRAM

Meghana has spent her career in Retail & eCommerce. Before Instagram, Meghana worked for the CEO of eBay, focused on the company’s restructuring & the spinoff of PayPal. She has previously led teams at b8ta and One Kings Lane building and executing on strategies for omnichannel retail growth. At Instagram, Meghana leads Strategic Partnerships for Fashion and Beauty and is responsible for partner-driven growth for IG’s new product, IG Shopping. Meghana graduated from Harvard Business School and was named to Forbes’ 30 under 30 list.

RAHEEL KHAN

VP OF CORPORATE CATEGORY STRATEGY & INNOVATION, THE ESTÉE LAUDER COMPANIES​

Raheel Khan currently serves as the Vice President of Corporate Category & Innovation Strategy at Estee Lauder Companies. Raheel leads a team that leverages data science, strategy, and consumer insights to act as a strategic advisor supporting brands and the Executive Leadership Team to drive subcategory share gains through deploying in-house strategic insights, analytics, and trends. When he’s not in the office, Raheel can be found trying to understand (and copy) viral TikTok dance routines with his wife and kids.

ANNA MATVEY

DIRECTOR OF PR & PARTNERSHIPS, DAGNE DOVER

Anna is the director of PR and Partnerships for handbag and accessories brand Dagne Dover. Dagne Dover creates product for fast-paced lifestyles, utilizing data to ensure an optimal brand experience through product assortment, marketing and customer service. Anna oversees all media, VIP and partnership relations, playing an integral role in making Dagne one of New York’s buzziest brands, both online and in the wild. Since Anna joined the team in 2017, exposure has grown to almost 1,000 press hits, Dagne has partnered with brands and organizations including The United Nations, The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Wimbledon, Good American and The New York Public Library, and has been seen on numerous celebrities and athletes. Anna also leads Dagne’s product placement efforts, with recent features in Hustlers, Modern Family and Grownish. Prior to Dagne Dover, she was in PR at Apple for 5 years working on App Store, iTunes and Apple Music.

RHONDA TEXTOR

DIRECTOR OF DATA SCIENCE, TRUE FIT

Rhonda Textor is the Head of Data Science at True Fit, where she and her team leverage cutting edge machine learning and modeling on the world’s largest retail dataset to help shoppers find clothes and shoes they love and keep.  Her research interests include machine learning, recommender systems, computer vision, and ethics and fairness of machine learning algorithms.  Before working at True Fit, Rhonda applied machine learning and data science to problems in remote sensing such as land cover classification of satellite images and problems in national security, such as detecting threats in imagery. She earned her Ph.D. in Computer Science from Virginia Tech, has over 40 refereed publications, and has a fabulous shoe collection.

JONATHAN YAFFE 

CEO & CO-FOUNDER, ANYROAD

Jonathan Yaffe is the CEO and Co-Founder of AnyRoad, a data and analytics platform that powers the data behind many of the Fortune 2000’s offline experiences, including Absolut, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, Michaels Arts & Crafts, Honda, Diageo, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, the Oakland Raiders, and the Golden State Warriors. Jonathan began his career in experiential marketing at Red Bull, and holds a degree in Cognitive Science from the University of California Berkeley.

YAEL GRUSHKA-COCKAYNE (MODERATOR) 

VISITING ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL

Yael Grushka-Cockayne's research and teaching activities focus on data science, forecasting, project management, and behavioral decision-making. Her research is published in numerous academic and professional journals, and she is a regular speaker at international conferences in the areas of decision analysis, analytics, project management and management science. She is also an award-winning teacher, winning the Darden Morton Leadership Faculty Award in 2011, the University of Virginia's Mead-Colley Award in 2012, the Darden Outstanding Faculty Award in 2013, and the Faculty Diversity Award in 2013 and 2018. In 2015 Yael won the University of Virginia All University Teaching award and has been voted MBA faculty marshal in 2016, 2017 and 2018. In 2014, Yael was named one of "21 Thought-Leader Professors" in Data Science.

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