University of Arkansas

Walton College

The Sam M. Walton College of Business

Retailing Thought Leadership Conference

Retailing Thought Leadership Conference

Conference Theme:

What’s Next for Retail - Research Opportunities and Challenges’ Academic and Practitioner Perspectives’

Retail is a dynamic and vibrant sector of the U.S. economy. National Retail Federation estimates that retail directly and indirectly supports 42 million jobs and provides $1.6 trillion in labor income and contributes $2.6 trillion (about 16%) annually to U.S. GDP. In the State of Arkansas, retail sector is the largest employer of its residents.

Program Venue Lodging and Travel Registration Contact

2019 Conference Highlights

The Retailing Thought Leadership Conference served as a forum for retail industry practitioners and retail focused academics to get together in different teams and brainstorm research issues and strategies concerning several key topic areas. The end objective of this collaborative effort was to generate fresh research ideas for publication in a special issue of the Journal of Retailing.

Dates and Location

October 11 and 12, 2019

Conference Venue:
Donald W. Reynolds Center for Enterprise Development
Sam M. Walton College of Business
University of Arkansas at Fayetteville

Conference Sponsors:

Keynote Speeches from Retail Leaders

  • Cecilia Wu, Vice President, Customer Science
  • Erin Campbell, Senior Vice President at Saatchi & Saatchi X
  • Andres Mejia, Vice President, Sam’s Club Team Lead at the Coca-Cola Company 
  • John Karsberg, Head of Tests and Insights at H&M
  • Suzanne Jervis, Director, Product Insights and Decision Sciences at Sam’s Club
  • Rida Moustafa, Distinguished Data Scientist at Walmart
  • Jonathan Novallo, Director of International Real Estate at Walmart
  • Rand Waddoups, Senior Director, Omnichannel at Walmart
  • Renee Brandon, Field Agent, Vice President, Research & Data
  • Tom Duncan, Associate Brand Director at Proctor & Gamble

Breakout Topic Areas

  • Private Label Revolution
  • Retail Formats of the Future
  • How Technology is Changing Retail
  • Artificial Intelligence in Retail
  • CRM: Firms, Brands, Customer Relationships
  • Challenges and Opportunities of Fashion and/or Luxury Retailing
  • Communicating and Promoting Offers in Today's World of Retailing
  • Sustainability in the Supply Chain


University of Arkansas

Participating Companies

Participating Colleges and Universities



The program began Friday, October 11, with breakfast and introduction at 8:00 am in Donald W. Reynolds Center at Walton College.
(view map).

Day One: October 11, 2019 (Friday)
Main Program (For All Guests)
7:00am-8:00am Conference Registration & Breakfast
8:00am-8:30am Introduction (by Provost Jim Coleman & Dean Matt Waller)
8:30am-10:00am Keynote Speeches - Trends in Retail
10:30am-1:00pm Presentations by Industry Leaders on Select Topics
1:00pm-2:00pm Lunch
By Invitation Only (following program is by invitation only)
2:00pm-5:00pm Breakout Sessions
6:00pm-8:00pm Dinner (Place TBD)
Day Two: October 12, 2019 (Saturday)
8:00am-9:00am Breakfast
9:00am-10:00am Breakout Sessions ctd.
10:30am-12:30pm Breakout Group Presentation
12:30pm-1:30pm Lunch
1:30pm-5:00pm Walmart Distribution Center and Walmart Store Visit



Experience Fayetteville

Fayetteville continues to be recognized by national business magazines and quality of life publications for its extremely healthy economy. Northwest Arkansas is bustling, with three of Arkansas' top five employers—Wal-Mart, Tyson Foods and J.B. Hunt—headquartered less than a half-hour drive from Fayetteville. Learn More.


Sam M. Walton College of Business

The Business Building is the central hub of all things Walton College. All academic departments are located in the Business Building along with the Dean's Office, Accounting Center, Technology Center and associate deans. Learn More.

walker hall 

Reynolds Center

The 41,000-square-foot Reynolds Center, funded by a grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation in 1996, offers cutting edge technology in its meeting spaces and 300-seat auditorium. Home to the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame, it is ideal for conferences, workshops, board meetings, executive retreats, guest speakers and special events. Learn More.



Transportation Services

View transportation options located within the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA)

The totals listed are the fees for shuttle service to and from the airport. There are also the phone numbers listed in case any transportation is needed while visiting Fayetteville.



If you have any questions or comments regarding the Retailing Thought Leadership Conference, please contact Prof. Dinesh Gauri at or (479) 575-3903.

For registration questions, contact Shannon Bullock at University of Arkansas Conferencing Services: or (479) 575-7328.

For lodging questions, contact Gail Williams at Staybridge Suites: (479) 856-6803.