Nagler’s 2017 Exec-in-Residence Recap

Lorna Nagler with Students

SoHE alumna Lorna Nagler (Retailing ’78) served as fall 2017’s Alumni Executive in Residence for the Kohl’s Center for Retailing. Throughout the semester, Nagler traveled back-and-forth from her Florida home to UW-Madison to share her industry expertise and work individually with Retailing and Consumer Behavior (RCB) students.

“My one-on-one time with the students was so incredible,” states Lorna. “Their approach to case studies and the innovative thinking was well beyond my expectations. The future of retailing is bright!”

Students in enrolled in SoHE’s Consumer Behavior, Intro to Retailing, and Global Consumer courses spent time with the retail and apparel industry veteran. “Having the opportunity to meet with Lorna Nagler was hands down one of my favorite moments in college thus far,” notes Leah Kate Levy, a RCB student on track to graduate in 2020. “I walked into my meeting hoping to learn about her—to pick her brain on every triumph and mistake she has made and how I could potentially become half as successful as she is. Instead, I walked away learning more about myself.”

In addition to student mentoring, Lorna’s residency included presentations at the Retail Leadership Symposium, the Women in Leadership panel, and brown bag “lunch and learn” sessions centered on trends and other consumer topics.

Lorna’s dedication to her 2017 residency is based on her experience as an undergraduate at UW-Madison. “One of the most impactful classes I had when I was a retailing student was when a former student came to speak to class about her experiences in the real world,” she explains. “It was inspiring to me and I hope that with my presence back on campus I might give that same spark that fueled me in my 38-year career.”

Click to read the student blog.

More about Lorna Nagler

From buyer to CEO, Lorna possesses an extensive resume in her chosen field. Her career highlights include positions at Montgomery Wards and Kids R Us, a division of Toys R Us, SVP/General Merchandise Manager at K-Mart, and President of Catherine’s Stores, a leading plus-sized retailer. As President, Lorna led Catherine’s launch of a highly successful ecommerce division as well as the re-launch of their private label brand program.

Lorna served as President of Lane Bryant within the Charming Shoppes portfolio. While there, she stabilized the culture within and led the rebuilding of Lane Bryant into a dynamic work environment focused on brand, growth and creativity. Under her tutelage, a new Brand Blueprint for the chain was born and implemented. Included in the undertaking was the launch of the Cacique intimate apparel store; the development of a “new fit system” for plus sizes; the addition of the company’s first-ever outside brands to its merchandise mix; the launching of ecommerce and the roll out of a Vendor Managed Inventory System which significantly increased profitability.

Lorna also served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Christopher and Banks from August 2007 to October 2010, and was responsible for the vision and direction for both the Christopher & Banks and C.J. Banks brands. From January 2011 to February 2016 she served as President of Bealls Department Stores bringing her wealth of knowledge of the retail and fashion industry and a bright new outlook for a store that’s all about the Florida Lifestyle. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for ULTA Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance, Inc.

Lorna is a SoHE 100 Women honoree. She loves animals, supports children’s charities and the arts, and is a devoted Badger fan. She met her husband, Bill, at the University of Wisconsin, and they reside on Siesta Key, Florida.


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