Execs from Aerie, Coach, Forever 21 to Demystify Gen Z at NYC Event

Group of Gen Z consumers

Gen Z had $360 billion in disposable income in 2021 and this demographic’s spending power is always growing. To capitalize on this new market opportunity, brands and retailers must understand what Gen Z consumers want and expect from the brand experience.  
The Retail Influencer Network, an exclusive group of senior business leaders and influential investors and analysts founded by Berns Communications Group, will gather in New York City Sept. 12, 2022, for the Retail Influencer CEO Forum Featuring The Z Suite. Designed to provide C-suite retail and brand leaders with a deep understanding of Gen Z’s values, priorities and shopping behaviors, the invitation-only, half-day summit will dissect some of retail’s most pressing trends, from sustainability to the metaverse. Executives can request an invitation here.  

“Gen Z is set to become the biggest U.S. consumer group over the next decade and they’ll wield enormous spending power, but retailers and brands are struggling to understand how their strong values are affecting their shopping behavior,” said Stacy Berns, President and Founder of Berns Communications Group in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Our summit is designed to bridge that knowledge gap and give C-suite executives the opportunity to learn directly from the leaders who have built some of Gen Z’s favorite brands as well as from Gen Z founders, CEOs and influencers themselves.”   
Featuring Joanna Coles, author, executive producer and former Chief Content Officer for Hearst Magazines, as the event emcee, the event will feature a series of brand executives as they discuss their goals, challenges and successes in engaging Gen Z. Candid conversations will be augmented by insights from The Z Suite, an exclusive network of Gen Z thought leaders and emerging professionals selected from universities and colleges across the U.S. For example, executives from WorkJam and Trove will host private Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions as a way for attendees to get Gen Z consumers’ thoughts on topics like frontline workforce empowerment and resale.
Confirmed speakers include: 

  • Ziad Ahmed, Gen Z CEO, JUV Consulting 
  • Amanda Baldwin, CEO, Supergoop! 
  • Stacey Bendet, CEO and Creative Director, alice + olivia 
  • MaryLeigh Bliss, Chief Content Officer, YPulse 
  • Craig Brommers, CMO, American Eagle 
  • Emma Butler, Gen Z CEO and Founder, Liberare 
  • Sandra Campos, Board Member, Big Lots 
  • Ken Downing, Creative Director, Halston 
  • Shai Eisenman, CEO and Founder, Bubble 
  • Ariana Ferwerda, Gen Z Co-Founder and CEO, Halfdays 
  • Jennifer Gootman, Head of Sustainability and Social Impact, Williams-Sonoma 
  • Renee Klein, VP, Global Digital Experience and Consumer Marketing, Coach 
  • Matt Maher, Futurist and Founder, M7 Innovations 
  • Lual Mayen, Founder, Junub Games 
  • Stacey McCormick, Senior Vice President, Aerie Marketing 
  • Winnie Park, CEO, Forever 21 
  • Maya Penn, Gen Z Founder and CEO, Maya’s Ideas 
  • Aly Raisman, Advocate and Olympic Gold Medal Gymnast 
  • Theresa Watts, SVP, Human Resources, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, True Religion 
  • Ellie Zeiler, Actress, Activist and Digital Creator 

“In the retail and fashion worlds, brands have always led the consumer in the past, but Gen Zers are digital natives who have lived the majority of their lives with a smartphone in their hand, so the script has been flipped,” Berns explained. “Today, retailers and brands have to understand this new generation’s priorities and values to be able to meet them wherever they are, especially online.” 

Retail TouchPoints will be attending and moderating a session during the event, so be on the lookout for more detailed coverage!


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