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Closing Keynote: Leading with Kindness

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James Rhee, Executive Chairman & CEO, Ashley Stewart and Founder & President, FirePine Group

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Closing Keynote: Leading with Kindness

  1. 1. Closing Keynote: Leading with Kindness James Rhee, Executive Chairman & CEO, Ashley Stewart and Founder & President, FirePine Group
  2. 2. • FOUNDED IN 1991 – FIRST STORE IN BROOKLYN, NEW YORK • ORIGINAL MISSION: •“PLUS-SIZE” •AFFORDABLE HEAD-TO-TOE FASHION •FOR AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMEN •URBAN NEIGHBORHOODS (DOWNTOWN, STRIP CENTERS) • MARKET SOURCING WITH EMBEDDED DESIGN; WEAR-NOW • NATIONAL FOOTPRINT WITH A “GLOBAL AURA” • HEADQUARTERED IN SECAUCUS, NEW JERSEY
  3. 3. www.ashleystewart.com • Failed business model – decade+ of operating losses • Careening towards 2nd bankruptcy within ~3 years • Lack of corporate credibility – externally and internally – no credit • No Wi-Fi; defunct e-commerce platform; DSL store connectivity • Quantitatively challenged • Mall-store dominated real estate portfolio • Toxic culture - Top down reporting + fear • Nascent but misdirected social media effort 4
  4. 4. 5
  5. 5. • TRANSPARENCY – EXPOSURE OF CORE VALUES • TRANSCENDENCE OF VALUES AND OXYMORONS & DUMBBELLS • SOCIAL COMMERCE, MOBILITY AND VELOCITY • THE GREAT DIVIDE: TIME/SPACE CONTINUUM VS SOUL • LOYALTY & AUTHENTICITY – EMPATHETIC, BEHAVIORAL CRM • MARRIAGE OF MATH AND EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE (AND “TQ” AI?) • SUSTAINABLE INNOVATION AND ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE • REDEFINING ASSETS & LIABILITIES – GOODWILL
  6. 6. • SALES APPROACHING $200MM • DOUBLE-DIGIT PROFITABILITY • E-COMMERCE DEMAND UP 13X+ FROM 2011; 89 STORES IN 22 STATES • E-COMMERCE PENETRATION OF ~40%+ (INDUSTRY LEADING) • BUDDING MEDIA & EVENTS BUSINESS • SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS  ALTERNATIVE MARKETPLACE?? • INDUSTRY-LEADING ASSET PRODUCTIVITY • SUCCESSFUL MONETIZATION EVENT IN JUNE 2016 AND ACCELERATING BRAND MOMENTUM
  7. 7. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we raised $100,000 for the American Cancer Society in 2015.

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