Navigating the Transformation of Retail, Together
The Center for Retail Transformation team aims to be the foremost academic institution driving transformation in retail.
The Center's leadership, advisory council, and affiliate faculty are working together to develop educational programs for current and future retailers, to generate impactful research addressing critical issues in retail, and to foster partnerships and collaborations with the retail industry, trade associations, and other governmental actors.
Leadership and Staff
Center leadership, consisting of the Center director and associate director, are responsible for the management of the Center. Working with the advisory council and affiliate faculty, the Center’s leadership guides the education, research, and industry outreach activities of the Center to achieve our vision of addressing emerging challenges caused by the transformation of retail.
Assistant Professor, Marketing
Additional Roles: Associate Director, Center for Retail TransformationMariniki (Niki) Vlastara is an assistant professor within the Marketing Area in the School of Business at George Mason University.
The Center for Retail Transformation Advisory Council, consisting of senior leadership from traditional and new retailers, retail solution providers, and industry experts, was established to support the Center’s mission and activities designed to help businesses navigate the transformation of retail.
CEO and Co-Founder, FINDMINEMichelle is CEO and Co-Founder of FINDMINE, an award winning software platform that uses machine learning to scale product curation for the world's top retailers.
Partner Marketing, MicrosoftRicardo Belmar helps retail organizations realize business value from technology investments by optimizing infrastructure from store systems to unified commerce and beyond to deliver omnichannel customer experiences and drive digital revenue.
CEO and Founder, NewmineNavjit is a visionary expert in strategy, technology, operations, and change management. As a veteran entrepreneur and an active angel investor, he has worked in hands-on roles for several global retailers and consumer brands.
Senior VP, RappaportSteve is the Senior VP at Rappaport and provides direct oversight and management of the team responsible for leasing Rappaport’s portfolio of approximately 50 shopping centers located throughout D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
Senior Director, Marketing, UnderArmorChristiana is an innovative and award-winning Retail Marketing Executive with 20+ years of high-impact marketing strategy, execution and leadership.
Co-Founder and CMO, LePrixEmily is Co-Founder and CMO of LePrix, the leading wholesale resale platform. Emily leads marketing and branding efforts of the company. Emily has over 15 years of retail strategy experience.
Former VP of Strategy Transformation, Bed Bath and BeyondAlex is the former VP of Strategy Transformation at Bed Bath and Beyond where he focused on transformation. Prior to joining BBY, he was the VP of Global Supply Chain at Target and before that Senior Director of Global Analytics Test and Learn Team at Walmart.
Leasing Manager – DCA and IAD Airports, MarketPlace DevelopmentHugo Gilbert led Cushman & Wakefield’s Washington, DC retail platform, providing brokerage services for some of the region’s most prominent retail opportunities and tenants throughout the Washington and Baltimore market.
Chief of Stores, Blains Farm & FleetMark Hastings is Chief of Stores at Blains Farm & Fleet. His background includes a portfolio of experiences across several enterprise and field operational leadership roles.
The affiliate faculty, consisting of faculty with expertise across the many domains of retail, assist the Center in achieving its goals of providing transformational educational opportunities and producing cutting-edge research.
Associate Professor, Information Systems and Operations Management
Additional Roles: Academic Director, Master's in Business AnalyticsMehmet Altug is an associate professor within the Information Systems and Operations Management Area in the School of Business at George Mason University.
Masters of Business Administration (MBA) Program Director
Additional Roles: Associate Professor, Information Systems and Operations Management; Dean's ScholarIoannis Bellos is the MBA program director and an associate professor within the Information Systems and Operations Management Area in the School of Business at George Mason University.
Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Research
Additional Roles: Associate Professor, Information Systems and Operations ManagementCheryl Druehl is the senior associate dean for faculty affairs and research and an associate professor within the information systems and operations management area in the School of Business at George Mason University.
Area Chair, Marketing
Additional Roles: Associate Professor, Marketing; Dean's ScholarJessica Hoppner is the area chair and an associate professor within the marketing area in the School of Business at George Mason University.
Associate Professor, Management
Additional Roles: Academic Director, Executive Development Chief Risk Officer programMahesh Joshi is an associate professor within the Management Area in the School of Business at George Mason University. He is also the president of Joshi International, Inc., a consulting firm that provides strategic and entrepreneurial advice to clients.
Professor, Information Systems and Operations ManagementNirup Menon is a professor within the Information Systems and Operations Management Area in the School of Business at George Mason University.