EMPOWER HOUR

Virtual Women in Retail Leadership Panel

Empowering the Next Generation of Female Leaders

Exploring the Unique Challenges & Opportunities of Women in Leadership

Virtual Panel | Thursday, April 8th | Watch Recording

Flex Technology Group is proud to have hosted this Women in Leadership Panel.

The discussion brings together five inspiring leaders from the retail space to share their experiences and provide advice to the next generation of leaders.

Meet the Speakers | Meet the Moderators

Join us as we dive further into the stories behind these incredible women and examine the impact that leadership roles can have on the people who hold them.

Key Discussion Topics:

  • Leadership
  • Mentorship
  • Career Trajectory & Pivoting
  • Overcoming Adversity & Job Loss
  • Work-Life Harmony & Family Balance

Watch Webinar Recording

Recorded Thursday, April 8th

Unfortunately, the date has passed for the live event. Please click here to watch the recording and register your interest in future panels.

MEET THE PANEL

Incredible Women in Leadership

Kara Cutino

Kara Cutino

Ascena Retail Group, Inc.

VP, Store Development, Asset Protection, Store Purchasing & Facilities Services

View Bio

Joanne Heyob

Joanne Heyob

WD Partners

SVP, Operations Strategy & Design

View Bio

Lauren Kahn

Lauren Kahn

Whole Foods Market

Senior Indirect Procurement – Program Manager

View Bio

Tracey Motley

Tracey Motley

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc.

Senior Director, Vendor Contracts & IT Purchasing

View Bio

Crystal Osunde

Crystal Osunde

Weis Markets, Inc.

Director, Enterprise Services

View Bio

Women in Leadership Live Panel – Cara Babachicos – South Shore Health

Kara Cutino

Ascena Retail Group, Inc.

VP, Store Development, Asset Protection, Store Purchasing & Facilities Services

Kara Cutino, a Store Development, Asset Protection & Facilities Services professional currently at Ascena, has over two and half decades of experience in leading operational teams. Ascena, which is a national specialty retailer offering apparel, shoes and accessories for women through these collective brands—Ann Taylor, LOFT, Lou & Grey, Lane Bryant and Cacique – serves women across generations, identities, affiliations and body types.

In 2017, Kara was given the opportunity to create a Store Development Collective that managed over 4000 retail stores supporting 8 Brands with a small team of professionals located across the US.

She specializes in building highly motivated teams that focus obsessively on the client by providing unparalleled customer service. Her management style is driven by the relationships she builds with her teams and the needs of their clients; whether that be cross-functional business partners or the clients that shop Ascena’s brands. Deep down inside, she is a data nerd that leans on analytics to guide fiscally responsible business decisions in support of creative solutions to problem-solving

As an avid international traveler, Kara loves architectural photography and has spent the past COVID year shooting photos of her dog. All Year. Just the dog. Lots of dog pics…. And she is ready to get back out there exploring as soon as the world opens its door again.

Women in Leadership Live Panel – Cara Babachicos – South Shore Health

Joanne Heyob

WD Partners

SVP, Operations Strategy & Design

As SVP, Operations Strategy & Design at WD Partners, Joanne brings 20 years of experience rooted in retail and store operations. With a proven track record of driving innovative growth strategies for retail brands, she leads WD’s operations team, which is a key component and differentiator in our end-to-end offering.

She serves as a client partner and strategic team leader, overseeing all project work while ensuring it meets customer expectations as well as the brand and operational needs of the business. Her team develops new concepts for front of house and back of house operations across all industries in addition to operations assessments, labor recommendations and logistical mapping. As an active liaison with our strategy & insights, brand & design and architecture teams, she brings a unique perspective on the industry that enables us to bring innovation to life through operations-right executions.

Joanne was most recently at Express leading their store operations and has held key leadership roles at Frontgate, The Limited and Victoria’s Secret, where she spent 14 years in management and store operations.

Women in Leadership Live Panel – Dara Munson – Family Focus

Lauren Kahn

Whole Foods Market

Senior Indirect Procurement – Program Manager 

Lauren Kahn has been with Whole Foods Market since 2018 and currently serves as a Senior Indirect Procurement – Program Manager. Her areas of strategic sourcing for Whole Foods Market cover IT and Professional Services. She focuses on driving cost optimization and program efficiencies with the support of cross-functional team engagement. In addition, she manages the temporary labor program in conjunction with team member services. Prior to her career in procurement, she worked in SMB software sales for a variety of industries.

Lauren is a mom to a 3-year-old daughter and when she finds the time, loves to hike, bike, run, and network.

Women in Leadership Live Panel – Judi Flournoy – Kelley Drye & Warren (1)

Tracey Motley

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. 

Senior Director, Vendor Contracts & IT Purchasing

Tracey brings 20 years of experience in commercial contracting / procurement expertise and has spent much of her career primarily in retail and hi-tech industries, like HP and Tyco International (formerly AT&T submarine systems/SubCom). Currently, she sits as a Senior Director of Vendor Contracts and IT Purchasing under a Bed Bath & Beyond Procurement CoE. An enthusiastic leader, Tracey manages a team who is responsible for providing the contractual and commercial business guidance in the acquisition of the Goods or Services Not for Resale (“GNFR”) for Bed Bath & Beyond and each of its subsidiaries.

With a focus on quality, transparency, and shared vision, she has a proven track record of driving positive vendor behaviors, creating key stakeholder partnerships across the organization, and owning the 3rd party relationship throughout its lifecycle. She is respected and admired for her ability to both influence win-win outcomes and lead the flawless execution of key business acquisitions on behalf of the Bed Bath & Beyond brand.

Women in Leadership Live Panel – Cara Babachicos – South Shore Health

Crystal Osunde 

Weis Markets, Inc.

Director, Enterprise Services

Crystal Osunde has over 20 years of retail experience with a career that began as a retail pharmacist and includes driving sales of over $2billion dollars in her time managing over 600 pharmacy locations for Target and Weis Markets, Inc. In her current role as Director of Enterprise Services, Osunde leans on her retail operation experiences and relationships to oversee the teams responsible for implementing new technology across Weis Markets. In her move from Pharmacy to Information Technology, she is driven by her passion for leadership and talent development. Crystal also serves her community as a member of the Board of Directors for the Donald Heiter Community Center.

Meet the Moderators

Women in Leadership Live Panel – Cara Babachicos – South Shore Health

Sharmila Patel – Moderator

Connecting Point Marketing Group

Vice President, Sales

Sharmila is currently the Vice President of Sales for Connecting Point Marketing Group, which hosts Executive Events in the Retail, Healthcare and Hospitality industries. If she could see any historical figure, living or dead, give a TED Talk, it would be his Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama on how we can all be kind and compassionate leaders.

Women in Leadership Live Panel – Cara Babachicos – South Shore Health

Lori A. Allen – Moderator

Connecting Point Marketing Group

Director, Executive Accounts 

Lori is the Director of Executive Accounts at Connecting Point Marketing Group. She is inspired by connecting Retail Leaders who are interested in driving innovation in an everchanging dynamic Retail landscape. Lori is passionate about Retail and the relationships she has developed within the industry. She is a Boston native and loves all that New England has to offer including great beaches, mountains and sports teams!

Watch Webinar Recording

Advice to Your Younger Self

“Be brave enough to walk completely in your purpose – be unapologetic and intentional in everything you do!”

Tracey Motley

Senior Director, Vendor Contracts & IT Purchasing, Bed Bath & Beyond Inc.

“Believe in yourself and take care of yourself, because when you’re at your best, you’ll do your best and be your best. You’re capable of more than what you’ll ever think that you are.

It’s really when you push your limits that you reach your goals and make achievements that you never imagined possible. When you do that, you’ll also help show others that they can do the same and inspire others to push as well.”

Crystal Osunde

Director, Enterprise Services, Weis Markets, Inc.

“You can’t do it yourself. You have to rely on others. The most rewarding thing you’ll find is when you see others take it to the next level and get promoted. You’ll find joy in them helping them with their career and getting them to that next step.

The more I trust, the more I enable, and the more I let others come into their own to fail and fail fast. It only makes it more rewarding and easier for me to do my job as a leader.”

Joanne Heyob

SVP, Operations Strategy & Design, WD Partners

“Always know your worth and ask for what you want. Don’t be afraid. Rejection is a part of the pathway. We’re talking about successes, but we also have to face rejection and bounce forward from that.

Make sure that the company you work for aligns with your core values and culture. If it doesn’t, look for the next opportunity.”

Lauren Kahn

Senior Indirect Procurement – Program Manager , Whole Foods Market

“No one is ever going to tell you that you did a good job by yourself, because that’s not leading, that’s an individual contribution.

The best leaders have the best teams. I have a team of 4 really strong leaders and I take more pride in the fact that they’re known by our presidents and our field leadership than I do anything else that I’ve accomplished at this company.”

Kara Cutino

VP, Store Development, Asset Protection, Store Purchasing & Facilities Services, Ascena Retail Group, Inc.

Sign Up for Updates on Upcoming Webinars