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5011 44th Street Northwest
Washington, DC, 20016
United States


Cathy Hotka & Associates connects leaders in retail to share knowledge and advance the industry.

The [IN]sider

December 2016 Issue


Premium cocktails, nonstop networking, and the top IT leaders in retail. It's the ultimate CIO afterparty! 

Sunday, January 15, 2016, 9:00 - 11:30pm


The Retail Insiders Party @NRF is the must-attend event at the NRF show, and now there are Insiders gatherings at two other must-attend conferences. The value in the Party is networking, and bringing people together for mutual benefit over premium cocktails and finger food. Now there are two new venues where important people are gathering. 

The RSA Show is the most important security gathering in the world. It's an ideal place to bring together data assurance professionals and IT leaders who protect key data assets at retail companies. Join us for conversation, premium cocktails, a conversation about how to protect critical assets, and a lot of fun at a unique San Francisco location.

Shoptalk is the most exciting meeting in retail, and now it gets its own Retail Insiders Party! Insiders in IT, strategy, digital and ecommerce will gather for two and a half hours of premium cocktails and networking as the show begins.  


I'd love for you to take a moment and weigh in on the kinds of networking events you find valuable. What kinds of events would you like to see this year? Do you want a dinner event in your city? What topics are of most interest? Who would you like to meet?

I'm putting together a new series of Destination Dinner Discussion events and want them to serve you. Your input is most welcome! Weigh in here. Thanks!


Jeff Balagna, formerly Sears' executive vice president, left the company Wednesday, "in order to focus on his other business interests and pursue other career opportunities," Sears said in an SEC filing dated November 23.

Tough times for mall-based apparel retail. Limited Stores LLC has notified the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services that it may lay off as many as all 248 employees, including its entire headquarters staff, and close down that Columbus, OH-area office as it struggles with plummeting sales, Columbus Business First reports.

Mike Hazel has announced his departure as CIO of Academy Sports and Outdoors.

Read CIO Mike Carper's very interesting take on the transformation at Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores here

Have retail people news? 


Alan Conway is Senior Director IT - ECommerce & Omnichannel,  responsible for development, enhancements, upgrades and production support of The Limited's desktop and mobile websites. He also oversees design, development, testing and implementation for The Limited's Omnichannel initiative called Buy Anywhere Get Anywhere.  Alan was also Director of IT, Stores, Marketing and Distribution Systems at Big Lots. You can reach him at

Jo Selbe is a director of IT at The Limited, a recipient of 20+ PACE (Positive Action Creates Excellence) Awards during time within the organization. She provides comprehensive leadership for team that supports the company's merchandise, financial, logistics, allocation
and planning systems: Island Pacific, JDA Arthur Allocation and an in house planning system. You can reach her at

Todd Swenson is Director - IT Technical Services (Infrastructure, Operations, & Security) at The Limited, He is current leader of the IT infrastructure, operations, and security teams for the Limited stores brand. The scope of his position includes corporate strategy, strategic infrastructure and store and corporate IT support. You can reach him at

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what's happening

The Retail Orphan Initiative SuperSaturday event on Saturday January 14. Retail's top IT analysts and retail panelists gather to share fearless predictions and observations about retail in 2017 and beyond. This is an outstanding opportunity to hear insightful commentary so you can bring great ideas home to your office. Meet colleagues and hear from a host of top analysts. Retailers attend free. Sponsor revenue benefits the Retail Orphan Initiative. Reserve your seat at You must be pre-registered to be admitted.

Dinner at celebrity Chef Geoffrey Zakarian's The National on Saturday, January 14. Join Tata Consultancy Services and me for a discussion about omnichannel commerce. What would you like to be able to do? Did you know that, today, you can have full omnichannel capability in stores?

Breakfast with Infor. We're meeting on Sunday, January 15 for breakfast at the W Hotel, and a conversation about the Retail Revolution. You'll also hear from a special customer who will share a success story -- Rory Hudson, VP of IT at Zumiez.

Dinner with Microsoft at celebrity chef Charlie Palmer's Aureole. Microsoft is doing amazing things and would like to get your thoughts on the future of retail. You won't soon forget this amazing restaurant, too.