press release -
International Housewares Association

Contact: Deborah A. Teschke
Senior Manager, Public Relations & Communications
Email Debbie Teschke


Sessions Address Employee Recruitment, Influencer Marketing, Retail Outlook, Consumer Demographics

ROSEMONT, Ill.  (Aug. 12, 2019)—As housewares suppliers continue to grapple with disruption in the retail marketplace and the ever-changing housewares consumer, they also must plan for the future, including attracting younger employees and exploring new markets to pursue as current channels mature. These issues and more will be explored during “Building for the Future...New Leaders, New Markets,” the 2019 Chief Housewares Executive SuperSession (CHESS), Sept. 24-25 in Oak Brook, Ill.         

Sharing their expertise with attendees will be communications consultant Mark Jeffries, Marshal Cohen of The NPD Group, Greg Parsons of Kroger and Michael Dart of AT Kearney, along with popular retail analysts Dana Telsey and Joe Feldman, and several next generation housewares CEOs. Joining these retail and housewares experts will be influencer marketing specialists Laiza Cors and Anne Sage of Embello, David DeLong of Smart Workforce Strategies and David French of the National Retail Federation.

CHESS is the strategic and networking event for industry leaders. It is designed for chief officers of all IHA member companies and their top decision-makers and features sessions on critical issues affecting housewares, including tariffs and global trade, shifting consumer demographics, employee recruitment, influencer marketing, retail trends and more. This year’s event moves to The Hyatt Lodge at McDonald’s Campus in Oak Brook, Ill., located next to the renowned Hamburger University.

Opening the program on Sept. 24 will be the annual Housewares Hot Seat panel, focusing on “Recruiting the Next Generation of Housewares Leaders” and examining how to attract, inspire and engage young professionals equipped with perspectives, passion and skills to set the stage for future success. Peter Gianetti, editor-in-chief of HomeWorld Business magazine, will moderate the panel of Scott Felsenthal, executive vice president, Whitmor, Inc.; Lauren Greenwood, president and co-founder, YouCopia; and Daniel Seehoff, CEO and co-founder, Sophistiplate, LLC. These new generation housewares executives will explain how to make the industry appealing for the next generation of business talent.

Following this session will be the Day 1 keynote, “The Art of Business Influence” by Mark Jeffries. A former Merrill Lynch stockbroker, Jeffries is now a trusted advisor and communications consultant whose message is a simple, yet vital one – communication excellence leads to increased connections, trust and success. He will offer instantly useable techniques, ideas and methods designed to give executives a smart, proven, communication-based approach to the challenges and opportunities they face every day.

Other first day sessions include:

  • “Driving Through the Retail Collision”— Disruptions in the retail landscape have set the stage for a full-on retail collision. Marshal Cohen, chief industry advisor, retail, at The NPD Group, will explore the dynamics driving this pending collision of retailers, brands, consumers and technology and offer an unprecedented perspective from across the 20 industries NPD tracks.
  • “Retail’s Seismic Shift: Understanding the Forces Changing Housewares Consumers”—Michael Dart, a partner in the consumer/retail practice at A.T. Kearney, will provide a comprehensive overview of the forces driving dramatic changes in both the retail and wholesale landscapes, showing how three critical long-range trends will drive the consumer transformation: the Supply / Demand Imbalance; the Great Consumer Fragmentation; and the Technology Catalyst.

Day 2: Retail Trends, Influencer Marketing, Talent Management, Regulatory Update, Grocery Channel

Dana Telsey and Joe Feldman, principals of the Telsey Advisory Group (TAG), lead off Day 2 of CHESS with their annual exploration of the retail landscape. With the consumers’ need for speed and the growth of the “gig” economy, in their session, “Reinvention for Relevancy: The Changing Consumer and Retail Landscape,” the pair will explore key retail trends including the use of technology and branding to drive top-line and bottom-line performance.

Influencer marketing is powerful tool to engage consumers and promote a brand. In the session, “Influencer Marketing: How to Find, Use and Measure Effectiveness,” Anne Sage, talent relations strategist, and Laiza Cors, co-founder and CEO, at Embello, will provide an overview of how influencer marketing has impacted the consumer landscape and offer actionable items to help housewares suppliers succeed in the space, including how to implement a goal-driven strategy, set a budget based on campaign deliverables, manage the campaign work-flow process, identify and recruit influencers who can make an impact on your business, and measure for effective ROI.

Other Day 2 sessions include:

  • “Closing the ‘Skills Gap:’ Innovative Talent Management Solutions for a Changing Workforce”— Top executives can no longer be complacent when it comes to recruiting, developing and retaining high potential employees and future leaders. David DeLong, president of David DeLong & Associates and Smart Workforce Strategies, will show how to prioritize talent-related risks, identify the seven talent problems that kill profit and explain how to accelerate knowledge transfer in the multigenerational workplace.
  • “Regulatory Update: The Latest on U.S. International Trade Policy”—David French, senior vice president, Government Relations, and executive director of the National Retail Federation, will present the most recent developments on international trade policy, including an update on the China tariffs.

Closing CHESS 2019 will be “Connections: How Kroger Uses Housewares to Inspire Customers” with Greg Parsons, senior director, home and home product development at Kroger. Housewares is an important component for the Kroger grocery chain and Parsons will explain how the retailer uses the category to connect its customers with food and the cooking experience, inspiring “the foodie in all of us” and fueled by innovation and design. He will highlight Kroger’s housewares brands – Dip, Dash of That and Everyday Living – and how each one connects with the customer, as well as Kroger’s efforts to engage the customer in the way she is choosing to shop today—in store, pickup, delivery—and the importance of connecting.

Time will be provided after each session for Q&A with the speakers. Networking breaks, luncheons and a cocktail reception and dinner also provide time for attendees to network and meet informally with speakers, industry service providers and their colleagues—the most valuable part of the program according to past participants.

To register for CHESS or for information on sessions and speakers, visit the CHESS website at or contact Ginny Costello of IHA at


IHA is the 81-year-old voice of the housewares industry, which accounted for (US)$364.2 billion at retail worldwide in 2017 ($91.6 billion at retail in the U.S.). The not-for-profit, full-service association sponsors the world's premier exposition of products for the home, the International Home + Housewares Show, and offers its 1,700 member companies a wide range of services, including industry and government advocacy, export assistance, State-of-the-Industry reports, point-of-sale and consumer panel data through Housewares MarketWatch, executive management peer groups, group buying discounts on business solutions services and direct-to-consumer engagement through