Women to Watch
PrintWomen to Watch
By Mike Troy
Retail Leader's annual look at top industry executives from the retailer, supplier and service provider worlds.  

The retail industry is not where it should be when it comes to diversity. No research reports or statistics are needed to make that claim. The lack of diversity is apparent from a glance around hotel ballrooms or convention centers where senior executives gather for industry events.

While there is no disputing that further progress is needed, especially when it comes to the C-suite, it is also important to recognize that there are many remarkable female executives having a tremendous impact on business results. That is why Retail Leader decided to highlight a select group of women, some well-known but others less so, who are making a difference at their respective organizations and throughout the industry.

As we developed our list of Women to Watch we also felt it was important to think broadly about what it means to be part of the "retail industry." From our perspective, the retail industry is comprised of three main segments. There are retailers, obviously, but also consumer goods companies and service providers who support retailers and suppliers in a wide range of ways.

In the pages that follow, 10 executives from each of those segments are featured for their leadership journey and accomplishments, but also for the future contributions they are expected to make.

Laura Ipsen, SVP and General Manager, Oracle Marketing Cloud

Oracle turned to Laura Ipsen last August when it needed a top flight executive to lead its growing digital marketing platform relied on by retailers and suppliers. As head of the Oracle Marketing Cloud Ipsen is responsible for sales, account management, marketing, and customer support and services for an industry leading solution companies use to connect data, orchestrate experiences, and optimize interactions for individual customers. Prior to her current role, Ipsen was SVP of Oracle's industry solutions group, leading a team of industry and technology experts that built and enabled solutions across Oracle's top growth industries. Prior to Oracle Ipsen, served as corporate vice president of Microsoft's worldwide public sector organization. Prior to Microsoft, Ipsen was SVP and general manager of connected energy networks at Cisco.

Jill Standish, Senior Managing Director, Accenture

When it comes to business strategy and transformative efforts, Jill Standish is the person to see at Accenture. Last April, Standish was called on to head Accenture's Retail practice and focus on the business strategy and ongoing development and execution of retail industry strategy for clients. As a recognized leader in the industry, Standish oversees Accenture's extensive capabilities to guide growth and capability development as well as manage the retail industry client portfolio, with a focus on driving business transformation for clients. Before joining Accenture, one of the leading professional services companies, Standish served as SVP and General Manager for the retail business unit at Oracle and prior to that was global leader for IBM's Global Business Services retail consulting practice. The consistent theme throughout her career has been to help top global retailers with digital and store transformation projects.

Julie Gerdes, Vice President of Product Management, Quotient

Digital is the hottest sector of the marketing world and Quotient is one of the hottest companies in the space thanks to the efforts of Julie Gerdes. As Vice President of Product Management at Quotient, formerly Coupons.com, she's been instrumental in planning and executing product strategy for Quotient's product portfolio, including its consumer, retail and data products such as the consumer savings destination and app, Coupons.com. Quotient works with more than 700 CPG companies and retailers to provide digital coupons and media solutions informed by mobile, online data and combined with in-store purchase data. Gerdes has also played a key role in the development and rollout of Quotient Retailer iQ, which powers the loyalty programs for many leading retailers across the country. It often connects into a retailer's point-of-sale system allowing access to real-time purchase data to inform marketers' decisions and effectively target consumers with custom promotions.

Barb Renner, Vice Chairman and U.S. Consumer Products Leader, Deloitte

Tasked to lead Deloitte's U.S. Consumer practice two years ago, Barb Renner oversees an organization of more than 3,600 professionals that serves more than 90 percent of Fortune 500 consumer products companies. Her role entails driving key sector initiatives that include research and strategies to help clients advance innovation, talent development and global operations. She also serves as an adviser to senior management of Deloitte's leading clients, which makes sense considering she has nearly three decades of experience serving large multinational clients in a variety of leadership roles. That experience comes in handy as Renner is helping Deloitte's CPG clients navigate new market complexities such as an influx of competition and shifting consumer preferences to develop strategies for profitable growth. She works directly with consumer, retail and industrial product clients on regulatory, supply chain, technology and processing issues.