Sorry for the late update! I got back from my trip to Chicago for the Shop.org Annual Summit on Wednesday the 2nd. I had such a great time! I met so many people, networked, heard great speakers, made some great friends from my university, and just overall really enjoyed myself.
This is a picture of the McCormick Convention Center. I stayed at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place Hotel. It was really nice and convenient since it is connected to the convention center. And yes, those are fireworks coming from a nearby stadium (I am guessing the US Cellular Field?).
The pictures above are just a few pictures from the Chicago area. I did most of my exploring on Sunday. I visited the Willis Tower, Navy Pier (best thing was the Chicago-style hot dog), Michigan Avenue, Cloud Gate in Millennium Park, and had Chicago-style pizza at Pizza Due (refer to above picture of Mr. Last eating a large salad). I had so much fun exploring! Chicago is a beautiful city.
The conference was busy with speeches from keynote speakers, breakout sessions, and networking in the Expo Hall.
The first day, Monday, consisted of a student program for the selected NRFSA members that were able to attend. Scot Wingo, CEO of ChannelAdvisor, and Vicki Cantrell, SVP and Executive Director of Shop.org, talked about retail and the future. We, the students, then got to hear from people with “cool retail jobs” varying from a Social Media Manager for Anthropologie to an Analytics and Email Operations Executive from Estée Lauder. The best part of the student program was hearing from the executives! Bob Myers (President and CEO of Sheplers Western Wear), Mindy Grossman (CEO of HSN), Sona Chawla (President of E-Commerce at Walgreen Co.), David Bolotsky (Founder and CEO of Uncommon Goods, LLC), and Matthew Siegel (EVP of E-Commerce at ANN Inc.). I had SUCH a great time hearing from all of the speakers at the student session.
For dinner on Monday night, we went to Chinatown and I tried very interesting dishes. I had jellyfish, sizzling salted fish and eggplant, a longan bubble tea, and I tried a bite of my friend’s red bean dessert. I really enjoyed it!
Tuesday consisted of great keynote speakers like Miki Berardelli (CMO of Tory Burch), Matt Marcotte (SVP, Global Stores of Tory Burch), and Jonah Berger (Author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On). I actually got the book signed by Jonah Berger and took a picture with him!
During our breaks we explored and networked in the Expo Hall. It was great! And we had a little bit of fun… like trying out the oxygen bar, winning Skullcandy Headphones, and getting tons of free stuff!
Tuesday night was the networking and reception at The Field Museum. They had delicious hors d’oeuvres (mini sandwiches, little squares of unique pizzas, etc.). What was also cool is that we could explore the exhibits for free!
I really enjoyed Chicago and hope I get to visit again soon. I really enjoyed the Shop.org 2013 Summit as well. I would LOVE to attend next year! It was a great learning experience and a great opportunity for a young student perusing a career in Digital Retailing.