After 27 years in store operations and recruiting Jerry O’Brien has taken on the challenge of setting up and running the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Retailing Excellence. Now as Center's Executive Director, O’Brien is eager to promote retail careers to UW-Madison students. He has found that even students majoring in retailing sometimes fail to realize the full potential that retail careers can offer. “What’s always been particularly exciting for me is that the retail industry offers the opportunity to try new things,” O’Brien noted. “I know finance majors who are now directors of human resources and economics majors who now coordinate business liaisons with India. Design majors may get to work with world-class names in the design field. Retail majors may fill jobs they never dreamed of but now love,” he said. “I can’t think of an industry that allows more opportunity to change and grow during your career. Or one that promotes your own entrepreneurship more directly.”
Nancy Wong is an Associate Professor in the Department of Consumer Science and the Faculty Director of the Center for Retailing Excellence. She is also a faculty affiliate in the Marketing Department, School of Business. She received her Ph.D. in Business Administration and a M.A. in Social Psychology at the University of Michigan. She also received her M.B.A. from the University of California-Los Angeles and her B.B.A. from York University, Canada. Her research has focused on the influence of culture in consumption decisions, affective responses, and consumption values such as materialism. In addition to exploring methodological issues in cross-cultural research, she also conducts research on the societal implications of marketing activities in healthcare and sustainability.
Angie Badura is an alumni of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a decade of experience in the retail industry. She has worked in retail management for brands that include The Limited Brands, Target, and Coach. She returned to the UW as the Outreach Specialist for the Kohl's Center for Retailing Excellence in February of 2009. Her position allows her to work with students of all majors and educate them on the many different careers retailers offer, help them explore different companies and fits, and gives her the ability to work with corporate representatives on strategies to increase their presence on campus.
Mary Braucht graduated from UW-Madison and the School of Human Ecology in 1985 with her Master's degree in Textiles & Clothing. Previously, she taught at Palatine HS in Illinois following graduation in Home Economics Education from Iowa State University in 1980. From 1985-2001, Mary worked for Lands' End in Dodgeville, WI as Product/Training Manager in the
Customer Services Division. From 2003-2007, she was a sales representative with Top Promotions working with school programs and business-to-business corporate programs utilizing clothing and promotional products to meets customers needs. In Spring of 2008, she returned to the School of Human Ecology to work with students in the Retailing program plus the Textile & Apparel Design program as an Advisor and Internship Coordinator.