Setting the Record Straight.

 November 21,2019
Fairmont Hotel MacDonald

What Exactly Is This?

Inspire Students to Pursue Retail
Connect with Industry Leaders
Discover New 
Career Opportunities

It's our first time hosting the Reality of Retail networking event so here's what you need to know. We are on a mission to change the conversation surrounding retail as a career today. We created this event because the truth is, retail is the most dynamic and all-encompassing industry for any student. A career in retail will offer you autonomy, financial success, and personal fulfillment. 


Are you intrigued? Well, you should be! By the end of the night, we guarantee you’ll have a new respect for retail and plenty of genuine connections with some of the top industry leaders in Canada. And if you’re lucky, you might be on your way to Vancouver with a friend for an all-expenses-paid trip courtesy of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts and Flair Airlines! 

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Are You Ready for Vancouver?

You and a really, really good friend could be off on a trip to Vancouver courtesy of Flair Airlines and Fairmont Hotel and Suites! The winner of the dinner game will receive two round-trip tickets to Vancouver, 3 nights accommodation at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel, and $1000 spending money for the trip! If that's not going to convince you to come then nothing will. 




5:30 PM - 6:00 PM


  • This is a great time to go over those networking one-liners you wrote down last night. 

  • Or perhaps you need a quick pep talk in the bathroom mirror to calm the nerves! 

  • Whatever the case, don’t forget to get outside your comfort zone and meet some new faces!

6:00PM - 7:30 PM

Interactive Networking Dinner

  • This isn’t your typical networking dinner! 

  • Choose your dinner from a variety of food stations all over the room!

  • Sit wherever you want in an unconventional dinner format. 

  • Make sure you are able to move around freely for the dinner game!

Dinner Game Rules

  1. Find an industry leader in the room

  2. Ask them a question (one they haven't heard yet)

  3. If you are successful - they will give you a ticket

  4. At the end of the dinner, put your tickets in a draw for the grand prize of the evening! 

7:30 PM - 8:30 PM

Lifestyle Career Panel

  • No question is off the table. Our panel of young industry leaders will show you a side of retail that you never knew existed.

  • We will also break common retail stigmas surrounding lifestyle, money, and growth.


You have to give up all your nights and weekends to work in retail


You can't make six figures working in retail


Retail is a dead stop job with no opportunities to move up

8:30 PM - 9:30 PM

Award Presentation & Keynote Speech

  • Each year we reward one retailer with an award of distinction that recognizes their efforts toward pushing retail beyond its traditional scope and reimagining what is possible within the industry. 

  • A keynote speech on Purpose Based Branding will be given by Rachel Mielke, Founder & CEO of Hillberg & Berk! 

  • Read more about Rachel and the keynote below!

The Lifestyle Panel

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Laura Smythe

Director | Tiffany & CO Edmonton

Laura has worked in retail her entire career holding positions as a Regional Trainer, District Manager and currently is the Director for Tiffany & Co. in Edmonton. She graduated from the Alberta School of Business Commerce program in 2007 and has been a member of the School of Retailing Advisory Board since 2016. Laura is passionate about giving back to the community and presently co-chairs the Silver Bell Soirée as part of the Festival of Trees, supporting the University Hospital Foundation.

Vanessa Julio

Marketing Manager | Londonderry Mall

"Like my fellow panel members, I am also an Alberta School of Business Alumni, currently working as the Marketing Manager of Londonderry Shopping Centre. I absolutely LOVE my job because it’s the most non-redundant, well-rounded position I have ever been in. During my spare time, I do a ton of commission art and graphic design freelance work, but in the summer you’ll find me somewhere in the woods exploring!"

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Eric Slatter

Partner | Omada Commercial

"After graduating from the Alberta School of Business, I did a short stint working for Burton Snowboards.  Thereafter my career took an unexpected turn to Retail Real Estate and I’ve been here ever since (13 years now).  I did not even know this was a career when I went to school, and now I cannot imagine doing anything else. I love the creativity, flexibility, uniqueness, and opportunity that this industry provides.  It has been a very rewarding career and created an amazing lifestyle for me and my family."

Jamie Bay

Chief of Staff | Customer Experience | ATB Financial

Jamie is also an Alberta School of Business Alumni, currently working at ATB where she leads operations, strategy, and communication with over 600 employees. She is also a certified life coach, founder of the Wellness Warrior, and actively involved in several mental health initiatives in the city. She also enjoys running, vino with friends, reading too many wellbeing books, yoga, meditation, snowboarding, and much more! 

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Roman Drohomirecki

COO of Retail | Ivanhoe Cambridge 

Since graduating from the Albertra School of Business, Roman has worked in the commercial real estate industry for more than 30 years, gaining extensive experience in various areas, such as operations, leasing, marketing, sustainability and asset management. He is responsible for all operational and leasing aspects of Ivanhoé Cambridge’s shopping centres Retail Platform in Canada and contributes to the success of redevelopment and expansion of existing centres.

Our Keynote Speaker 

Rachel Mielke

Founder & CEO | Hillberg & Berk

Like many students on a budget, Rachel rarely splurged on something like expensive jewellery. But when she was 23, she began experimenting with making her own jewellery from materials she could afford. When her jewellery got the approval of her savvy girlfriends, she combined her passion for design with her entrepreneurial spirit to form Hillberg & Berk (named after her grandma Hilda Bergman and her dog Berkley). Her business quickly grew from a kitchen table operation to one of Saskatchewan's most beloved jewellery brands with 9 retail locations (soon to be 11) in Western Canada. A large part of Hillberg & Berk's brand is based on Rachel's purpose of empowering and supporting women through design. That's why Rachel is the perfect person to deliver this incredible speech on purpose based branding and how it's impacted her own journey in retail.


Event Sponsors

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About the School of Retailing

Our intention is to bring more awareness to students about the amazing world of retail and to ready them for a career in retailing. We offer students a ton of networking, learning, and employment opportunities within the retail industry. Be sure to check out our website or stop by our office in HUB mall for more info!