Women Of Color Retail Alliance Building A Network Of Support And Change [Interview]


Share post:

Years ago, Kimberly Lee Minor had the idea to bring together women of colour in corporate retail at the director level and above so they could build a network of support.

“Everyone I knew were onlies or firsts, and it was lonely and difficult to navigate. I set a date for market week, reached out to everyone I knew, and waited. Finally, the night of the dinner came, and there were six of us,” says Minor, President of the Women of Color Retail Alliance (WOCRA) and CEO of Bumbershoot. 

“Fast forward to 2020, and the world is turning upside down. And while so much was changing, so much was still the same. It was time to try again. It was time to make a change. So, I reached out to several trusted colleagues who had the same desire to change the trajectory for women of color in retail, many of whom were isolated or stuck in mid-level roles with no resources on how to progress. We also wanted to help retail corporations progress in sustainable ways.

Image: WOC Retail Alliance

“In September 2020, we had our first virtual “We should know each other” networking event – we exceeded capacity. After that, we had several more gatherings and introduced our “My Leadership Journey” lunch and learn series and “Straight No Chaser”, our career development pilot program. 

We are ready to take our cohorts to new levels of career advancement and committed brands to new levels of social responsibility.”

In this video interview, Minor and Liza Amlani, Principal/Founder of the Retail Strategy Group and The Merchant Life and WOCRA board member, discuss the organization and the challenges women of colour still face in the retail sector.

The organization can be reached here: https://www.wocretailalliance.org/

Kimberly Lee Minor Bio

Kimberly Lee Minor is an accomplished executive with an impeccable record of building brands and developing strategies to keep business competitive and nimble. An executive member of leading domestic and international retailers and brand organizations, Minor is currently the President and Chief Commercial Officer at Bandier, the premier retailer destination for luxury athletic and athleisure fashion, where she oversees the direction of design, multi-channel merchandising, marketing, production, sourcing, and human resources.

Kimberly Lee Minor

Minor also serves as the CEO for Bumbershoot, a boutique consulting firm that provides C-suite leadership, cultural and market insights for inclusive, equitable, and diverse representation across brand, content, product, and customer experience. 

A Philadelphia native, Minor attended Temple University for her undergraduate studies. Upon graduating, she embarked on a 25+ year career holding major brand leadership positions at global retail and fashion organizations including Macys, LBrands, Footlocker, and Iconix.

As a fashion and retail thought leader and advocate for advancing women and people of color in the workplace, Minor serves as the founder and president of WOCRA (Women of Color Retail Alliance), supporting the careers of women of color in the retail industry through hard and soft skills training, leadership development and networking opportunities and sits on several board of director committees including BlueConic and Together Digital. 

Empowering as a leader and mentor, Minor is consistently challenging team members to surpass personal career objectives and have a positive impact on organizations.

Kimberly holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, and Executive Certificates in Leadership and Management from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and Inclusive Organizational Excellence from Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Liza Amlani Bio

Liza is a retail industry veteran and the go to expert in retail merchandising, product creation, and accelerating speed to market.

Liza Amlani

Liza Amlani is a 25 year retail industry veteran and works with global retailers, brands and retail tech companies to help them achieve dramatic business growth. Liza has worked with familiar brands including Holt Renfrew, Ralph Lauren Europe and Canada, Club Monaco, Nike, Walmart. 

Liza founded Retail Strategy Group in 2020. Her thought leadership is showcased in our monthly newsletter, The Merchant Life. Founders, VP’s and C-Suite executives subscribe to gain valuable insights and discover best practices. Liza is also a Talkdesk Retail Industry Advisory Board member.Liza is a respected voice on a variety of pertinent topics and is cited in Forbes, RetailWire, Retail Insider, Bloomberg, Chain Store Age, Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Sourcing Journal and Footwear News. 

Liza has been invited to speak at  retail conferences across North America and often guest lectures at top Business schools across the country. She also brings a wealth of global insight to her work given the number of stamps in her passport and countries in which she has resided – Liza has moved 29 times in her life from Canada to the UK to Africa and many places in between. 

Liza has recently been named one of RETHINK Retail’s Top Influencer of 2022 and you can find her on all social platforms under @themerchantlife.

The Video Interview Series by Retail Insider is available on YouTube.

Connect with Mario Toneguzzi, a veteran of the media industry for more than 40 years and named in 2021 a Top Ten Business Journalist in the world and the only Canadian – to learn how you can tell your story, share your message and amplify it to a wide audience. He is Senior News Editor with Retail Insider and owner of Mario Toneguzzi Communications Inc. and can be reached at mdtoneguzzi@gmail.com.

Like, Share and Subscribe to Mario Toneguzzi on YouTube!

Follow Mario:

Also check out the other series offered by Retail Insider, including The Weekly podcast and The Interview Series, which are both available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Podcasts, or through our dedicated RSS feed for Simplecast and other podcast players.

Follow Retail Insider:

Share your thoughts!

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More From The Author



Subscribe to the Newsletter

Related articles

The New Grocery Code of Conduct Should Benefit Both Canadians and the Food Industry [Op-Ed]

An industry expert provides an overview of what the new code should improve and supply chain management practices as consumers grapple with rapid food inflation.

Columbus Café Expands Rapidly in Canada, Opening 10th Location in Montreal and Announcing First Toronto Location [Interview]

The Parisian chain is looking to grow its presence in Canada significantly with a goal for a significant number of locations, according to its broker.

Swarovski Opens Unique One-of-a-Kind Canadian Concept Store on Bloor Street in Toronto [Photos]

Toronto is one of only a handful of cities globally to feature Swarovski’s new Instant Wonder concept store design. 

Healthy Planet Expands in Southern Ontario with 4 New Locations and Innovative Healthy Planet Kitchen [Interview]

One of Canada's fastest growing health and wellness retail chains is growing its brick-and-mortar presence while launching a new concept, says its GM.

Canadian Restaurants Facing Impending Bankruptcies as CEBA Loan Repayment Deadline Looms [Survey]

Research is showing an increase in bankruptcies with a loan repayment deadline at the end of the year potentially throwing the industry into chaos.

Louis Vuitton Opens Canada’s 2nd Men’s Ready-to-Wear Concession at Holt Renfrew Ogilvy in Montreal [Photos]

The luxury superbrand is growing its ready-to-wear presence in Canada in the country’s second-largest city, which will see even more clothing when a flagship Vuitton opens at Royalmount next year.

The Body Shop North America Appoints New General Manager to Expand Business: Interview with Jordan Searle

Searle discusses plans to upgrade stores with The Body Shop's new Workshop concept as the brand continues to see consumer growth amid competition.

Canadian Consumers will Abandon Checkouts if Preferred Payment Methods Unavailable [Study/Interview]

A new report examines consumer behaviour in Canada, indicating that retailers need to invest in tech to gain shopper loyalty.

Rack Attack Continues Expansion in Canada, Adding Three New Stores and Acquiring Calgary Locations [Interview]

The retailer of car racks, bike racks, rooftop tents, overlanding, and other outdoor gear is growing its operations in Canada with plans for more locations amid consumer demand.

Pilgrim CEO Robert Hayes Discusses the Jeweller’s Expansion Plans in Canada: Video Interview

The discussion includes how Hayes brought the brand into the market, what makes it so popular, wholesale expansion, and what's in store for new locations in Canada including one at CF Toronto Eaton Centre opening in late June.

Fitness Concept elleTO Growing Business with Female-Focus [Interview]

Founder Michelle Epstein discusses the rebrand and location moves which are proving successful for the 12-year old women's gym.

Montreal-Based Gourmet Salad Brand Mandy’s Sets Ambitious Expansion Plans, Eyeing National and International Growth [Interview]

The popular salad restaurant chain is looking at opening a substantial number of locations, given success after a recent expansion.