Our nod to the powerful women who have transformed an industry

This month, in Dealerscope Magazine, and through the portals of dealerscope.com and our daily newsletter, Dealerscope Today, we are proud to inaugurate our first annual Powerful Women in Consumer Technology recognition program.

The program is designed to recognize game-changing women in the consumer technology industry who are effective, mentoring, natural leaders among their peers and among those who work with them.

Women in the categories of retailing, manufacturing, and other areas such as service, distribution, and industry organizations are being recognized for their outstanding achievements, exceptional leadership and promotion of innovation in consumer technology.

Their backgrounds, as well as their stories of how they were introduced to the CE world and made the most of their chance to play in it, are diverse. And many have shared their reflections on their career histories and on their perceptions of their roles and responsibilities in the CT industry, as pioneering women.

Their comments offer a view on how each has uniquely staked out her place in what has traditionally been our male-dominated industry arena.

In an interesting and, really, coincidental bit of timing, as this program launches, we are on the brink of one of the most undeniably contentious elections in memory. But, whatever the outcome, and no matter one’s political leanings, the historical significance of a woman vying for what is arguably the most powerful executive position in the world makes for a fitting confluence with this program’s beginnings.

That said, we hope you enjoy our coverage of 2016’s Powerful Women and this nod to their ground-breaking presence and impact on consumer technology and its surrounding disciplines.

—Nancy Klosek, Editor-in-Chief, Dealerscope



Angela Ahrendts
Sr. VP of Retail, Apple

Angela Ahrendts is Apple’s Senior Vice President of Retail. She reports directly to CEO Tim Cook and is responsible for strategy, real estate & development, and operations of Apple’s physical stores, Apple’s online store, and contact centers.

Since joining Apple in 2014, Ahrendts has integrated the company’s physical and digital retail businesses into an omnichannel experience that is seamless for the consumer. Apple employees set the standard for customer service in stores and online, delivering support from highly trained Geniuses and expert advice from Creative Pros to help customers get the most out of their Apple products. The Apple in-store experience is one that has drastically altered the retail experience beyond just the CE market.

Among her recent projects is the conversion of Apple’s physical locations into destination centers in their respective communities. Part of this transition includes dropping the term “store” from the official name.

She joined Apple from Burberry, where she served as CEO and led the company through a period of outstanding global growth. Prior to Burberry, she was Executive Vice President at Liz Claiborne Inc., and before that she served as President of Donna Karan International.

Ahrendts holds a Marketing and Merchandising Degree from Ball State University in Indiana, where she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in 2010. She was also a member of the U.K.’s Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council from 2010 to 2015, was named Honorary Dame Commander of the British Empire, and awarded a Coat of Arms in April 2014.

Shari Ballard
Sr. Executive VP, U.S. Retail, Best Buy Co., Inc.

Ballard is responsible for all U.S. Best Buy stores, Best Buy Mexico and the company’s real estate strategy. Rising through the ranks from store manager to the leadership team, Ballard now focuses her energy on “deepening customer relationships and better utilizing the full range of talent and resources that reside within the company’s stores to drive growth.”

Kathy Vrabeck
Director, GameStop

A member of the GameStop Board of Directors since 2012, Vrabeck is currently a senior client partner in the consumer markets division of Korn Ferry. Her career history includes numerous stops at gaming companies including Electronic Arts, Inc., and Activision. She served as a president at both organizations.

Rosalind Brewer
President and CEO, Sam’s Club

Since joining the Sam’s Club division at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Brewer has implemented a growth strategy focused on technology and innovation, as well as on an expanded footprint, accelerating the growth of new Clubs. She also focuses her efforts on e-commerce growth, giving the Club’s members the opportunity to shop anytime and anywhere.

Eden Goldberg
VP of Marketing & Business Development, InMotion Entertainment

Since 1998, Goldberg has been a trailblazer in the music and consumer electronics spaces. Focused on the travel channel, she became the expert in her space, spotting up-and-coming brands and providing them with a focused home in the travel channel. She has also helped create a brand for InMotion Entertainment as a lead retailer in the travel space.

I’ve been fortunate to be actively involved in the film, music and electronics industries for my entire career. I’ve always believed that life is about the experiences we have. Our experiences are enhanced by the technologies we embrace, whether it be streaming music through a Bluetooth speaker on vacation, listening to my favorite songs while telecommuting at 30,000 feet or connecting with our family or office while on the road.

As a woman, a mother and an executive in our industry, I am most proud of how I have integrated all these roles while enhancing my own life experiences and those we service through portable technologies.

—Eden Goldberg

Mary Campbell
Executive VP, U.S. Commerce Platforms, QVC, Inc.

In her role since October 2014, Campbell oversees the strategic direction of QVC’s TV, web, mobile, tablet, and social platforms with the mission to drive e-commerce sales through all of those different channels. Campbell has been with QVC since 1991, serving in various leadership capacities.

Emily Cole
Director of E-commerce, World Wide Stereo

In 2007, Cole, who was a temporary receptionist, took over the reins in the design of WorldWide Stereo’s new website. Since then, Cole has been the backbone of the Pennsylvania-based retailer’s ecommerce department, making significant contributions to the ecommerce infrastructure including fulfillment and customer service.

Cole is currently the website’s architect, managing all things online, including World Wide’s third-party marketplaces. Her other job is more as a creative director of much of what goes out to the world in the way of marketing, and she is very much the visual "voice" of World Wide Stereo.

Judith McKenna
COO, Walmart U.S.

McKenna is responsible for Walmart’s U.S. store operations, which includes more than 4,500 retail locations. She is also charged with developing new retailing formats as well as the Walmart Services, U.S. Asset Protection, Walmart Realty, and Store Innovations organizations.

An ambassador for diversity and inclusion, McKenna has served as chair of the President’s Global Council of Women Leaders.

Debbie Schaeffer
Chief Customer Officer, Mrs. G.

Schaeffer represents her family’s third generation at this 81-year-old, N.J.-based home appliance and TV retailer. In 2000, she was recruited by her grandmother, Mrs. G., to run the business.

Schaeffer came to retailing armed with a civil engineering degree and home-building experience. She is an advocate for sharing her experiences with the younger generation as a way to attract women to careers in CT.

Appliances have become an important category in the consumer technology arena. Home appliance retailers must continue to prioritize understanding the technology as the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes more mainstream in kitchens, laundry rooms and outdoor entertaining areas

The mother of twin daughters, age 23, Schaeffer said that sharing her experiences with the younger generation is the best way to encourage and attract women to careers in CT. Schaeffer said she is most proud of her daughters, Leah and Samantha, and of the completion of the new Mrs. G rebrand and state-of-the-art retail showroom.

—Debbie Schaeffer

Janna Potts
Executive VP and Chief Stores Officer, Target

In her 27-year career with Target, Potts has held a number of key leadership positions on her way to becoming the Chief Stores Officer.

In the role, she is responsible for leading more than 300,000 Target team members and operating 1,800-plus stores.



Michelle Fernandez
Head of Home Entertainment Brand Marketing, LG

Michelle Fernandez joined LG from Canon USA, where she held key brand and product marketing positions for 15-plus years, most recently as Marketing Director (since 2007). At Canon, she led award-winning brand, advertising, digital and event marketing campaigns, managing major product launches and multi-platform marketing communications efforts. She is a recently recognized Adweek Brand Genius honoree for a successful management style that effectively addresses today’s increasingly complex marketing challenges.

Bringing her high energy level and creative force to LG, Fernandez is playing a key role in the establishment of OLED as a new TV category, while driving integrated marketing efforts supporting the industry’s strong push into 4K UHD TV. Fernandez’ keen understanding of the ins and outs of market segmentations and targeting luxury consumers are making major contributions to growing the 4K segment for the industry as a whole.

Fernandez has said that collaboration and creativity are at the forefront of her approach, and that she was drawn to the consumer technology industry for that reason. “The beauty of the CT industry is that, at its core, it is constantly innovating and enabling consumers to be more creative, productive and connected,” she said. “As a career, it puts you in the mix of defining what is next and revolutionizing what tomorrow can be.”

Fernandez’s philosophy on women in business is simple: “It’s about perspective - your own perspective.”

When overcoming career challenges and obstacles she cautions not to approach them with gender in mind but rather, advises approaching the challenge with determination, persistence and confidence in one’s talent as a person. Co-workers past and present note that her vision, dedication and infectious enthusiasm inspire all who work with her. It is a major reason she is one of the most impactful marketing executives in the consumer electronics industry today.

Alanna Cotton
VP, Marketing, Samsung Electronics America

In her 20-year career, Cotton has been a sales leader and brand-builder. At Procter and Gamble and PepsiCo, her leadership delivered stellar performance.

In 2014, she brought these skills to Samsung, and has in this short period left a mark, with her involvement in the launch of more than 20 high-profile products, as well as being a key spokesperson and presenter at Samsung’s CES 2016 press conference.

Alanna is an accomplished speaker having been the first African American woman on stage announcing products with a major technology company. A Catalyst Award recipient, she has served on the Board of the Positive Coaching Alliance, the Advisory Boards for the Women of Color Alliance and iMedia’s Brand Summits.

—Edward Michael Yeager, Samsung Electronics America

In my two years with Samsung, I’ve seen technology grow more intuitive and personal. Wearables, for instance, are revolutionizing our daily routines and overall health. It’s just one example of how consumer technology can make an immediate and meaningful impact on people’s lives.

I subscribe to the philosophy of, ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world.’ For me, that means encouraging more young women and minorities to seek STEM degrees, and opening up the hiring pipeline to more diverse candidates. The more diversity in tech, the more innovation we’ll see—and the bigger impact we’ll have on society as a whole.

—Alanna Cotton

Stacey Kerek
VP, Operations, Bowers & Wilkins

Kerek’s career in CE has included top positions at prominent audio companies Lenbrook America and Tivoli Audio, and has led her to her current post, which she has held since 2015.

While Kerek’s “intersection with tech” was first driven by her employment, she notes its impact on how her career has evolved, just as technology has “propelled our economy and our lives and is constantly changing.”

The intersection with tech was first driven by employment, but as my career developed, the impact that technology has had on our lives became evident and the digital revolution created innovative CE products with technologies that have propelled our economy and lives and is constantly changing.

I have been mentored by many, but would be remiss not to mention Women in CE. I have been deeply influenced and guided by this organization.

My family life is rich, raising three children and pursuing my creative hobby of photography.

—Stacey Kerek

Gretchen Gilbertson
CEO & Co-Founder, Séura

Gilbertson and her husband formed Séura in 2003, designing a handmade prototype of a TV behind a bathroom mirror.

In “bringing elegance to consumer technology,” she has expanded the realm of possibilities for builders, renovators, designers and end users who want the function of video in spaces where a traditional, externally mounted black-rectangle television is unacceptable.

Gretchen pioneered products that bridge the gap between technology and design, allowing others to follow her vision for more beautiful technology. Being a woman business owner in a field traditionally dominated by men presents a host of challenges, and Gretchen is inspirational in that she overcomes these challenges with her unique combination of innovation, eye for design and customer-centric approach to business.

—Emily Harger, Séura

When my husband and I formed Séura in 2003 — in our garage — we started with a single hand-made prototype and a vision of bringing elegance to consumer technology. Since that first vanity TV mirror we have grown to a company that offers a full, and constantly evolving, portfolio of mirror and screen solutions.

At Séura, we believe that superior performance of technology is not an end goal, but a starting point. We create all of our products knowing that their success, and our customers’ satisfaction, ultimately rests on how seamlessly our products are integrated into designed spaces.

This intersection of design and technology is why I was inspired to enter this industry and also why our business continues to thrive today. So often, young women are asked to choose between the path of science or the path of creativity. At Séura, we believe that one is a natural extension of the other.

—Gretchen Gilbertson

Denise Morales
Executive VP Global Sales, Beats by Dre

Morales, who was a buyer at Luria’s in Florida in the early ’90s and moved to Monster Cable Products in the latter part of that decade where.

As vice president of sales and channel marketing, she was an integral member of the team involved with the launch of Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, which was acquired by Apple in 2014.

Jessy Crabb
GM, Metra Home Theater Group

Crabb started at Metra in 2001 as part of the company’s foray into Home Theater.

She has a passion for product development, and her current role is key in that regard, with responsibility for products manufactured by Metra Home. She most recently worked side by side with engineering to develop the award-winning M3B video distribution system and HDM GA-1 video accelerator.

Jessy had the opportunity to manage purchasing for Metra Home Theater Group earlier in her career, but she declined the opportunity because she was passionate about product development. By recognizing and staying true to her passion and never controlling the spotlight (even when it is deserved) she has shown one can find success and co-worker loyalty.

—Stephanie Casimiro, Metra Home Theater Group

The opportunity presented to me by Metra to a part of their launch into home theater is what attracted me to the industry. The always-evolving technology and working to stay ahead keeps my job challenging. The connectivity issues that will arise with the increasing availability of HDR products and content is the next big change we are currently working on.

I enjoy these industry challenges but by far the biggest challenge is being a woman in this industry. One of the benefits of my position is being able to support other women and eventually, this will lead to more women joining the CE world. Helping support other women in this industry and solving HDR connectivity issues will both be big accomplishments professionally.

—Jessy Crabb

Michelle Mao
President, TCL USA

Mao has devoted the last 17 years of her career working to build TCL’s brand in China and, most recently, as president in North America. She has spent her tenure at TCL in leveraging the company’s broad manufacturing experience and technology innovation to help the brand in its accelerated growth as a U.S. market presence, and as one of the top three TV brands globally.

I have spent the past 17 years of my career working to build TCL’s brand, both in China and most recently as President of TCL North America. Brand, marketing and sales support are of utmost importance in the CE industry, and I have enjoyed leveraging TCL’s broad manufacturing experience and technology innovation to help TCL become the fastest-growing TV brand in the U.S. and one of the top three TV brands globally.

One of my proudest accomplishments is to have received TCL’s ‘Excellent Manager’ award, which goes to the top one percent of leaders, every year since its inception. Creating strong teams, building a supportive culture and enabling people to excel every day professionally and personally is such an important part of being a leader, and it’s something in which I take great pride in overseeing the TCL North America headquarters.

—Michelle Mao

Sherry Fox
Founder, Managing Director, BioCare Systems

Fox, a self-described “serial entrepreneur,” has founded and co-founded multiple companies, including medical device company BioCare in 1999. Offering consumers “the opportunity to choose a more holistic and integrative approach” to health and fitness were what attracted Fox to the CT industry. She is involved in all aspects of the company, whose focus is on improving consumers’ quality of life.

The most inspiring thing to me about Sherry is that she has never given up. She started LumiWave in the early 2000s with her then husband, Joe Pecukonis, who died shortly before receiving the patent for the technology that fuels LumiWave today. Sherry did NOT give up--she kept the company going, and after more than a decade of research, development, blood, sweat and tears, has brought to market one of the coolest wearables on the market and a top pick at CES last year.

—Molly Phillips, GreenRoom

I have been a serial entrepreneur and business owner for 40 years. Currently, I am the Founder and Managing Director of BioCare Systems, Inc., a medical device company focused on improving quality of life for those who wants to maintain an active and pain-free lifestyle.

The opportunity to make a difference and assist people in making pill-free choices regarding the way they approach health and fitness, and offering them the opportunity to choose a more holistic and integrative approach, were the drivers that attracted me to the Consumer Technology industry. I’ve also always gravitated toward a path outside the norm. I am most proud of my patent portfolio, the quality of our products, and my ability to stay the course in a difficult environment.

Outside of my career, I am especially proud of my three amazing and accomplished adult children.

—Sherry Fox


Alexandra Harding
Director, Consumer Technology Solutions, Ingram Micro

As director for Ingram Micro’s Consumer Technology Solutions business unit, Alexandra Harding provides strategic direction for consumer technology and mobility vendor management teams based across three campuses, as well as ensuring profitability and managing critical vendor relationships.

A 24-year veteran of the consumer electronics industry, Harding accepted her current role in 2012. She joined Ingram Micro in 2009, and before that, worked as a buyer for DBL Distributing, Radio Shack and CompUSA. Prior to that, she held positions with audio/video specialty retailers Tweeter Home Entertainment Group and Sound Advice.

Her interest in and relationship with our dynamic industry began early on in her life. “My mother started working for a consumer technology company in the mid-’70s, so naturally, I went to work for them and quickly realized that I loved the products that were sold and the high-energy environment of that market.” Harding continues, “While women were, and sometimes still are, scarce in the consumer technology market, I’ve never found that as limiting to my career. I have a passion for what I do. Mentoring and leading a team is the most rewarding part of my role today.

“The opportunity to coach someone on driving their career forward while also getting feedback that allows me to see many different perspectives and learn and grow as well is rare in today’s business world, and I consider myself lucky to have found a home with a great company that is dedicated to my professional and personal development, and empowers me to support my team in the same way.”

Deena Ghazarian
Senior Partner, TargetPath

Ghazarian is a global sales executive with a 20-year record of achievement, driving multi-million-dollar sales growth while providing award-winning sales leadership. From her start as the executive training program at Macy’s, to her executive tenure at Monster Products, Inc., to her role at TargetPath, LLC, she has shown the passion to bring fashion and technology together in exciting new ways.

Deena consistently unites people on a business and personal level, bolsters women's careers in the business and forges new business opportunities along the way.

—Eden Goldberg, InMotion Entertainment Group, LLC

Deena is an industry icon as a leading executive and advocate for women in the consumer electronics industry. Her energy, passion and friendship is well known throughout the CE industry. She is a mother, wife, and CE leader that has been able to balance and succeed in all three roles.

—Scott Hix, TargetPath

Tabatha O’Connor

O’Connor began her tenure at CEDIA 14 years ago, and cites association management as her true passion - and at CEDIA, she has been given the opportunity for that passion to flourish, as this technologist organization’s Chief Operating Officer. O’Connor says one of her mandates in this post is to “encourage diversity in our industry, not just for women, but across the board.”

I feel fortunate to work in consumer technology, as it is endlessly fascinating and innovative - but my true passion is association management. Working together to build the industry and provide members the tools they need to grow is what drives me. When I started at CEDIA 14 years ago, I was amazed at how our members rally around the common cause of making things better not only for themselves but for the overall good of the channel; the sense of community is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced, and is inspiring.

At CEDIA, I am surrounded by talented and knowledgeable women. Women are creating the education, planning the events, managing membership and marketing our programs, but I recognize that CEDIA is an exception. As an association, we want to encourage diversity in our industry, not just for women, but across the board. We have been intentional about helping women interact and learn from peers and we are supportive of early STEM education to introduce girls and minorities into technical and engineering fields.

The same spirit of inclusion that I love about the industry will continue to help us grow our ranks.

—Tabatha O’Connor

Amy Jo Smith
President, DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group

Smith heads up a trade group for the home entertainment industry representing the world’s largest media and entertainment companies, CE manufacturers, online retailers and software firms. Since 1997, she has led efforts to promote home entertainment in its evolution from videocassettes to DVDs, Blu-ray Discs and today’s digital age.

Since 2005, Smith has been included every year on the annual Video Business’ Women Elite list. Aside from being an influential leader in her space and highly respected among her peers, Smith serves on the Alumni Advisory Board of the Annenberg School at Penn, the Board of the Penn SCRAB and Tom Sherak MS Hope Foundation Board. She manages to actively participate both in her industry and community and lives happily in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.

—Alexandra McKenna, DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group

I see two things that will continue to develop that are creating continuous disruption in our space: the first is the constant improvement and evolution of technology. While making the consumer experience better, these improvements are also a challenge in educating the marketplace. Additionally, we see an environment with more content available on various platforms in the digital space, also making for an improved consumer experience.

I’ve always believed you shouldn’t choose a specific career so much as you should find something you’re passionate about… follow your interests and the rest will work itself out.

—Amy Jo Smith

Tina Fisher
Executive Director, Category Management, Consumer Products, D&H

Fisher, at D&H nearly 25 years, is key in building strategic vendor relationships, and in helping to launch new categories in both the retail and SMB markets. She took on her latest position this year, focusing on growing consumer, housewares, and sporting goods businesses. Other focuses include category management, buying, strategy, and long-term planning for D&H’s consumer business.

Tina’s enthusiasm for the industry and how technology changes people’s lives are only two of the admirable qualities apparent in her work with the vendor community, and with the D&H team as a whole. Her rapid and consistent rise in the company, and her longevity at D&H of close to 25 years, is evidence of her single-minded dedication to her positions and to the marketplace.

—Suzanne Mattaboni, SMC

As a 25-year co-owner and executive director of category management, consumer products at D&H Distributing, I’m proud to have been witness to an ongoing evolution of the market that has impacted how all of us live and work. The multitude of outstanding manufacturers in consumer technology is invigorating. I’ve always been fascinated by both the capabilities that the technology offers and the rapid pace of the industry as a whole.

"My advice for women in CE is to follow the very illuminating female-oriented forums and blogs available on social media and make connections on LinkedIn with other thought leaders of our gender. In an industry that changes at breakneck speed, it’s never too late to enhance your education. Also, hold strong to your opinions. A woman in a male-dominant industry always has challenges to face, but those who maintain their confidence, drive and focus will thrive."

—Tina Fisher

Julie Coughlin
Sr. Director, Product Management, New Age Electronics

Coughlin manages teams that provide consumers access to ground-breaking technology and products. Next-generation gaming, high-tech toys and robots, drones, and VR/AR are a few of the sub-categories that she drives change within. She is credited with an ability to maintain a broad view of technology, and for helping to shape the tech industry’s future in interactive entertainment.

Julie's steadfast motivation and her ability to maintain a broad view of the technology horizon inspire me daily. It is because of her that consumers can say that they have access to the latest and greatest in Consumer Technology.

—David Galipp, SYNNEX Corp.

Having a career in Consumer Technology is both personally and professionally rewarding. By working in an industry that is largely driven by the purchasing decisions of female consumers, I feel well equipped to help shape the industry and its future.

Through my work as Senior Director of Product Management for New Age Electronics, I have continued to expand my responsibilities into diversified product categories including video gaming and high-tech entertainment, smart household appliances and home automation, fitness and healthcare devices, and STEM/STEAM products. It’s this diversification within the industry that has immediate, tangible impacts that I find to be most fulfilling.

Consumers today are utilizing their devices - smartphones, tablets and computers - at home, in the office and on the go, and they are demanding the latest technology, instant access and consistency in their experiences. Coupled with the omni-channel presence of Consumer Technology products, it’s evident that technology impacts us every day and continues to change the way we live our lives. This is a very exciting time to be part of such a rapidly changing industry, and I look forward to continuing to make contributions to push the industry forward.

—Julie Coughlin

Wendy Griffiths
Executive Director, CEDIA EMEA

Griffiths, whose professional background before CEDIA included event-organizing, was the first employee of CEDIA EMEA, which is U.K.-based and was founded 16 years ago to serve industry professionals outside the U.S. She has been key to CEDIA’s growth beyond this sphere, and her work includes driving education and qualifications among the young, new entrants into the industry.

Wendy inspires every day, but it's her work driving education and qualifications into the young, new entrants into the industry that really sets her apart.

—Kris Hogg, Konnectiv

I have always had a keen interest in the smart home sector. From working in publishing within the pro-audio industry, to becoming an events organizer for the National Music Show at Wembley [in the U.K.], my career has always leant towards technology.

There is definitely a need for more women in the industry, as we provide a different viewpoint and reach out to a different audience. I would encourage women who have an interest and drive to succeed to join the industry. Not only is it one of the largest-growing markets internationally, but it is a fun and diverse industry, and the opportunities are limitless. We are beginning to see an increase of women working in the industry. From installers to business owners, it definitely is not just a man’s world anymore.

Alongside the industry-recognized CEDIA Awards, my best accomplishment would have to be managing the National Music Event at Wembley, as at that time, I had very little experience of events management. To this day, I still look back at that time with fond memories.

—Wendy Griffiths

Karen Chupka
Sr. VP, CES & Corp. Business Strategy, Consumer Technology Association

Chupka joined the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) 27 years ago, and among her responsibilities, oversees the sales, marketing, production and management of CTA’s events and conferences, including its annual tradeshow, CES, which every January, typically fills two million net square feet of exhibit space and attracts more than 3,500 exhibitors and more than 150,000 attendees.

I joined what is now the Consumer Technology Association 27 years ago as a registration coordinator for CES. Since then I have witnessed firsthand the growth of the industry and how technology is solving some of our world’s biggest problems. Technologies like driverless cars, 3D printing, robotics, Augmented Reality and AI will help us see and interact with the world in different ways and keep us productive as we age.

CES is the platform that brings all of these industries and great minds together for a full technology immersion, and every year I get to sit in the front seat and watch it all happen.

I love that the start-up world is enabling more and more women to become tech entrepreneurs. Our Innovate! and Celebrate event in September showcased 50 start-ups, and 50 percent of those companies were founded by women! It’s inspiring. I’m lucky to be working in the technology field and grateful for all of the men and women who are creating the unimaginable.

—Karen Chupka

Laura McNew
VP, Merchandising, Petra Industries

McNew joined Petra as a Buyer in 1999, and achieved her current position in 2012. Her role has included a focus on developing accessories and categories that help customers improve their bottom lines, and in her tenure, the SKU count has more than doubled to over 25,000. She cites as key “developing relationships with vendors, building a great merchandising team, and adapting to change.”

Laura casts her vision for a skilled and resourceful merchandising team and mentors team members to bring out their best. Her keen eye for the most important details and her deep understanding of key metrics that drive success for our business as well as the success for customers and vendors, make Laura an indispensable member of the Petra team.

—Tate Morgan, Petra Industries

I’m very fortunate to be with a company that encourages professional growth and extends opportunities. ... Our focus as a buying team has been to develop accessories and categories that help our customers improve their bottom line.

During my tenure at Petra, we’ve more than doubled our SKU count, which is now more than 25,000 items. We’ve also experienced an ecommerce explosion and strive to maintain a balance of serving independent brick-and-mortar retail and a growing drop-ship business with the world’s largest e-tailers.

I believe the key to my success has been developing relationships with vendors, building a great merchandising team and always adapting to change. Close relationships with our vendors has been one of the most rewarding parts of my job. Without our vendor partners, we would not be who we are today. I appreciate their support and their friendship.

—Laura McNew
Nancy Klosek
Editor-in-Chief, Dealerscope

Of all of the nominees we received for this inaugural edition of the Powerful Women in Consumer Technology program, none received more individual nominations than our very own Nancy Klosek.

Klosek, who serves as the anchor of the editorial coverage here at Dealerscope, has been a staple of both the Dealerscope brand and NAPCO Media for more than two decades, paralleling the debut of the CD in 1982. In that time she has profiled pioneers in the CE marketing, retailing, and tech arenas. “They have buoyed me, providing friendship, humor, advice and often, some really good quotes, and I am grateful every day for the privilege and the pleasure of knowing them - and for learning and being able to tell their stories.”

Klosek’s in-depth coverage of the industry hasn’t gone unrecognized by her peers either. If there’s a press conference, trade show, or some other industry event taking place, you’re likely to find Nancy—Sony camera in hand—making her way around the room to snap photos and get quotes from some of the best and brightest minds in the industry.

“I’m consistently inspired by Nancy’s dedication to excellence but, one of her most beautiful qualities is her kindness to everyone she meets,” Eric Schwartz, Managing Director of CT Lab, said of Klosek. “Her friendship is my good fortune.” To slightly modify that latter part of Schwartz’s quote—like only we editors can—it should read, “Klosek’s friendship is the good fortune of everyone in the Consumer Technology industry.”

As a publication, we wouldn’t be where we are today without the continued hard work and dedication that Nancy shows on a daily basis. Even as she covers the industry tucked away in an otherwise-modest street in the heart of New York City, her presence is felt. She inspires us to bring to the office the same level of energy and commitment that is apparent through her own writings, and we’re all lucky to be able to call her our colleague and friend.

So here’s to Nancy, and to all of the Powerful Women who’ve been recognized this year. Here's to inspiring us. Here's to your achievements. Here's to your family and friends, both at home and at work. Here's to inspring all of us to make a real difference in the consumer technology industry.

Rob Stott, Editor, Dealerscope