<p>The pandemic decimated women's position in the workforce. How do we bring them back and retain them?</p>
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Director Talent Development
Chief Human Resources Officer and Executive Vice President of Culture
Sarah Alter — named president and CEO of NEW in June 2017 — has wide-ranging experience in the retail, financial services and technology markets. As vice president of Discover Financial Services, Sarah led the product strategy for all credit card features, benefits and services.
As vice president for digital sales and marketing at Quill.com, she helped transform the business, increasing its digital sales. In her last job — chief marketing officer for General Growth Properties — Sarah developed and executed marketing strategies for 200 shopping mall properties and their top retailers. Sarah has served on a number of non-profit boards and is an accomplished fundraiser. She is an organizer of Chicago’s annual JDRF Gala, which has raised millions of dollars for Type 1 diabetes. She is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a Harvard MBA.
Panel: Pursuing Power - You Don't Get if You Don't Ask
9:50 AM - 10:35 AM
<p>How do we overcome imposter syndrome and ask for what we want and deserve?</p>
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President & General Manager of Emery Jensen Distribution
Ace Hardware Corporation has promoted Alison Dowell to the role of president and general manager of Emery Jensen Distribution. Emery Jensen is a division of Ace Wholesale Holdings LLC, with Dowell previously serving as vice president of operations.
While leading Emery Jensen, Dowell will be responsible for overseeing strategies and operational plans to grow the wholesale business, Ace Hardware said. Dowell will also focus on broadening distribution and furthering Emery Jensen Distribution’s geographic expansion.
Dowell will report to Ace Hardware’s chief merchandising and sales officer, John Surane.
“Alison is an innovative leader with a wealth of experience and expansive background that encompasses both B2B and B2C operations, merchandising, global sourcing and wholesale distribution,” Surane said. “Alison’s strategic insights, passion for supporting independent retailers, and commitment to delivering a competitive advantage for Emery Jensen customers will ensure continued growth of our wholesale business.”
Dowell joined Emery Jensen Distribution in 2017 as vice president of operations. In that role, she was responsible for building the business operations and processes that support sales, customer experience, merchandising, supply chain and back-office activities, Ace said.
Prior to Emery Jensen, Dowell led merchandising for The Home Depot Pro distribution business. Dowell began her retail career on the receiving dock of a home improvement store. Since then, she has held several leadership roles in both stores and store support centers of The Home Depot and Target Corporation.
Based in Oak Brook, Ill., Ace Hardware has more than 5,300 locally owned and operated hardware stores in nearly 70 countries.
President and CEO
U.S. Lumber Inc.
Lita Abele is President and CEO of U.S. Lumber Inc. In 2017 Lita Abele was awarded as one of the Most Influential Filipina Women Globally by Filipina Women Network.
Her other awards include:
Women of Excellence Inspirational Award by South Jersey Magazine , US Pan Asian Chambers of Commerce Top 10 Asian American Business Awards in East Region
Senior Vice President of Marketing & Communications
As Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Jean Niemi is responsible for the brand’s
marketing and advertising efforts as well as the development of digital and e-commerce strategies,
employee and retailer communications, brand PR, executive engagements, media relations, events and
Niemi joined the company in 2014 from Kraft Foods Group where she was head of Corporate Affairs with
responsibilities for external and internal communications as well as community involvement. Prior to that,
she was at The Home Depot for almost nine years guiding strategic communications and corporate
positioning initiatives including brand, executive and industry communications. She also worked across
business units to develop integrated traditional, digital and social media campaigns.
Niemi holds a bachelor’s degree from St. Bonaventure University. She is affiliated with the Arthur W.
Page Society and the Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Vanessa Melacon Pierce
Melaco Sisters Hardware & Supplies
Thursday, November 11, 2021
Panel: Mentorship: Who Helped You, and How to Return the Favor
10:35 AM - 11:20 AM
<p>Moderator: Jean Fahy, Division Manager, Do It Best Corp</p>
Manager of Building Materials
Do It Best
Senior Vice President, Global Merchandising
As senior vice president, global merchandising, Sarah Dodd is responsible for quality assurance, global sourcing, international merchandising and product development for Lowe’s private brands. She joined Lowe’s in 2004.
Sarah has more than 16 years of experience in merchandising, pricing and promotions. Prior to her current role, she served as merchandising vice president, kitchens and bath. She has also served as vice president, merchandising operations. Throughout her Lowe’s career, she has led several merchandising categories and also served in market strategy and development roles, such as senior director of new business development.
Sarah earned a bachelor’s degree from the Kenan Flagler Business School at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MBA in marketing from the University of Tennessee. She serves on the board of directors of the Charlotte Mecklenburg County Library Foundation.
VP of Install Business
Evionne Silver’s career path brought her to BMC in 2004, and she has since risen to the position of VP of Install Business for the newly merged Builders FirstSource.