NRF Foundation Honors celebrates scholarship recipients and retail leaders

The NRF Foundation Honors on January 15 in NYC awarded undergraduate scholarships and recognized retail professionals
By Michael Cooper
Published Jan 27, 2023

The 2023 NRF Foundation Honors, presented by American Express and PwC, was held January 15 in New York City and featured the announcements of the NRF Foundation’s scholarship recipients, celebration of a community partner and recognition of retail leaders making a difference.

Lowe’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Marvin Ellison was named The Visionary 2023, which honors an individual who has served the retail industry with distinction throughout their career.

In addition to celebrating The Visionary, the evening recognized The List of People Shaping Retail’s Future:

  • Ministry of Supply Co-Founder & CEO Aman Advani
  • The Home Depot Senior Director of Workforce Programs Erin Izen
  • Gap Inc. Head of Customer and Community Belonging & Enablement Bahja Johnson
  • Walmart Inc. Global CTO and CDO Suresh Kumar
  • Steve Madden Founder, Design & Creative Chief Steve Madden

The List was presented onstage by PwC Vice Chair of Consumer Markets Barbra Bukovac and American Express President of U.S. Merchant Services Colleen Taylor.

The evening celebrated a community partner making an impact with the NRF Foundation’s retail skills training program with its RISE Up Partner of the Year. The award was presented by Old Navy CEO Horacio Barbeito to the School District of Philadelphia. Instructor Denise Magasich accepted the award onstage and was surprised with $10,000 from the NRF Foundation so the district can continue to expand the program.

Watch highlights of the 2023 NRF Foundation Honors in the video below: 

The NRF Foundation also presented thousands of dollars in scholarships to undergraduate students, who worked for months on their projects. The 2023 NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship included a case study for Nordstrom, while the team business competition tasked students with creating a three-year growth plan for Public Lands, a new outdoor specialty retail concept from DICK’S Sporting Goods.

Richard Widdowson, vice president of global retail and consumer goods solutions at SAS and member of the NRF Foundation Board of Directors, announced Megan Marr of LIM College as the top recipient in the 2023 NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship. Marr received $25,000 and four other finalists received $10,000 each.

Kohl’s Inc. Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Michelle A. Banks announced Delaney Hanson, Grace Long, Alison MacCloud and Gustavo Rubio from Florida State University as the top team in the 2023 NRF Foundation Student Challenge competition. Each was awarded a $7,000 scholarship in the business competition.

The NRF Foundation Honors is the NRF Foundation’s biggest stage for telling the story of how retail builds extraordinary careers and largest fundraiser. The event – co-hosted by Bloomingdale’s Chairman and CEO Tony Spring and Walmart U.S. President and CEO John Furner – drew more than 700 attendees to the Marriott Marquis Times Square and raised $3 million for the NRF Foundation’s programs and resources.

“In every community across the country, retail provides limitless ways for people of all backgrounds to pursue their passions and achieve success,” NRF Foundation Executive Director Bill Thorne says. “We are honored to celebrate retail’s future leaders and are thankful for the countless supporters who share in our belief that our industry is unmatched in offering opportunities for individuals, families and communities large and small.” 

Learn more about programs and resources from the NRF Foundation – including its industry-recognized RISE Up training and credentials – that help people of all backgrounds build life-changing careers.

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