A Ketner Q&A with Anne Marie Stephen, CEO + Founder of KWOLIA
What technology trend do you see most impacting the field?
Mobile will continue to evolve and dominate. It is the gateway to the key technologies that are continuing to grow and evolve. I believe we will see social move into a new growth phase becoming a significant commerce channel and media platform.
How do you most like to stay up to date on trends?
I stay very busy – very active. It’s not a single thing, I use many sources. I read, attend all kinds of events, conferences both large and small. Most importantly, I talk to everyone! I talk to uber drivers, sales associates, students, innovators – pretty much everyone who crosses my path.
What’s the best piece of personal or professional advice you’ve been given?
People don’t remember what you did, they remember how you made them feel
What do you think is the biggest change occurring in the retail industry?
Aligning the internal lines of business fast enough and fluidly enough to drive business as the same pace as consumers are moving.
How did you get involved in the industry?
I am proud to say I started in retail and had a whole career from working in stores and on the wholesale side from sales to managing teams across the country. I then was recruited into retail technology just before the big innovation waves happened. So, I have grown up with all the innovation and changes. My time with innovation now exceeds my time in retail, but my time in retail has been instrumental in creating a solid foundation and informs all that I do today.
What do you do for fun?
I enjoy running and water skiing. I have completed five marathons, several half-marathons. I just enjoy those so I don’t count how many I have completed. I am lucky enough to get out on a friend’s lake a few times over the summer to water ski. Not often enough! Getting a good ski in is good for the spirit. I love being out on the water.
About Anne Marie Stephen
Anne Marie Stephen is the CEO + Founder of KWOLIA, innovation intelligence and strategic advisory firm for emerging technologies connecting the physical and digital worlds. As a global customer-focused product and service developer, customer experience guru and trends forecaster she has worked with leading companies including: Panasonic, Hershey’s, Disney and Ralph Lauren to integrate innovative solutions for over a decade. She is also a frequent speaker on future of retail, innovation and marketing at high profile events including SXSW and Shop.org. Anne Marie is also contributor for Chain Store Age, Geomarketing, Retailing Today, Street Fight, SharpHeels and FierceRetail. Additionally, She is Founder of Smart Women in Retail Leadership (SWIRL). Anne Marie is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
To learn more about Anne Marie, watch this video interview.