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Professional Resources

IDDBA Leadership Certificate Program

Program Update: This program is now available in a safe, online format.

Earn your certificate from the Wisconsin School of Business Center for Professional & Executive Development!

uw school of business center for professional & executive development

The Pandemic crisis of 2020 has disrupted entire industries across the globe, but more importantly, it has created winners and losers in all facets of business. Perhaps none has been more dramatic than the overnight changes in the retail, restaurant, food service, and related sectors.
Leading an organization was already a challenge, but capitalizing on new opportunities, managing all facets of risk, and pivoting quickly to profitable models is more essential than ever. To take on the challenge and harvest the possibilities, today’s leader needs to move beyond management to a keen understanding of high performing leadership behaviors, their own strengths and areas for growth, and the business context where their own organization can meet the passions of the customer.

Join a cross section of industry peers who also want to develop elite leadership skills in an exciting, engaging, and interactive journey with top ranked faculty, industry experts, and peers who will help you explore: 
  • The proven, researched leadership behaviors that create personal and organization success.
  • What today’s customers want and expect from a business that feeds their passions for food, health, and sustainability.
  • Your awareness of organization context and culture, which allows you to respond more thoughtfully to rapid changes in business circumstances.
  • How to gain deep consumer insight using trend analysis and the latest social media methods.
  • Methods to analyze performance impact and efficiencies in product sales and inventory.
  • Best practices of product placement and atmospherics in stores.
  • The why and the how of leading Inclusively in today’s diverse employment and consumer marketplace.
  • End-to-end supply chain and purchasing excellence.
  • The strategic pricing process.
  • Leading for change in your organization and your industry.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison, with over 43,000 students, is one of the nation’s top six research universities with over $1 billion in research expenditures and has produced the most Fortune 500 CEO’s of any university, as well as over 360 start-up businesses. As the 15th ranked public university in the US, it has over 15,000 graduates who are managers and executives. The University houses many top ranked Colleges and Research Institutes including: the Wisconsin School of Business, the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, the Dairy Research Center, The Kohl’s Retail Center, The Food Research Institute, the Industrial Refrigeration Consortium, and much more. Program faculty are drawn from several of these organizations.

2021 Agenda

Online Session One: Tuesday, July 13th; 9:00am – 10:30am

Program Welcome and Orientation, Introductions, and Discussion: When the world turned upside down and the ceiling became the floor – where do we go from here?!
Jerry O’Brien, Executive Director of the Wisconsin School of Human Ecology’s Kohl’s Center for Retailing will facilitate the program and participant introductions and provide focus on disruption, agility, and leading in the new retail environment.

Online Session Two: Thursday, July 15th; 9:00am – 12:00pm

A Strong Management Foundation – Managing People, Teams and Key Processes
A strong management foundation is critical for leadership success. This session from author and instructor Steve King will ensure participants have the critical skills and tools they need for themselves and managers who report to them for leading direct reports and teams to high engagement, satisfaction, and performance. This session requires up to 90 minutes of pre-reading. As a result of this session, you will gain:
  • Mastery over the 6 conversations every employee needs to have in order to create top performance.
  • The key elements to enable high performing teams.
  • Insights for identifying and leading others in the key processes essential for your units’ success.

Online Session Three: Tuesday, July 20th; 9:00am – 12:00pm

From Manager to Leader
In this session series, you will take a leadership assessment to identify your strengths and development opportunities in creating a high performing organization, culture, and team. You will understand how to apply principles and practices of:
  • Foundational Leadership: leveraging your self-assessment data.
  • Situational Leadership: adapting your leadership to the context.

Online Session Four: Thursday, July 22nd; 9:00am – 12:00pm

From Manager to Leader Part 2
In todays’ complex, multigenerational, and now often remote workplace, the skills in managing collaboration and change are more essential than ever. This session will provide tools and insights for:
  • Managing Collaboration: leveraging the power of others, and the power of an inclusive workplace.
  • Managing Change: creating resiliency while helping others adapt to and maximize results from change.

Online Session Five: Tuesday, July 27th; 9:00am – 12:00pm

Understanding and leveraging Retail Finance
Dr. Nancy Murray, Academic Director for Kohl's Center for Retailing Excellence, Faculty Associate & Teaching Professor, Consumer Science will enhance your business acumen as you deepen your understanding of retail finance, inventory, and forecasting. In this session, you will gain insight on:
  • Product Sales/Inventory – Methods used to analyze, evaluate and impact performance and efficiencies of product sales and inventory.
  • Essential Finance – Understand and evaluate profit and loss statements of retailers and manufacturers.
  • Forecast Accuracy – Define and calculate the components of a retailer’s merchandise financial plan and forecast based upon market influences.
  • Best Practices – Product placement and atmospherics in stores.

Online Session Six: Thursday, July 29th; 9:00am – 12:00pm

Consumer and Social Media Trends
Instructor Katie Kreuger from the highly rated Wisconsin School of Business Marketing program will immerse you in the latest research and trends in consumer behavior and how best in class marketers are leveraging social media and online shopping. Key focus includes:
  • Consumer behavior – The nature of the digital consumer in the age of mobile devices, constant connectivity, and the COVID-19 acceleration towards ecommerce.
  • Social media strategy – How to use social media to connect with consumers and drive brand recognition, online sales, and overall customer loyalty.
  • Consumer Insights – How to use social media as a tool to gain insights into consumers’ behavior, preferences, and sentiment toward your brand.
  • Going Viral – How to leverage user generated content and influencer marketing to spread awareness of your brand.

Online Session Seven: Tuesday, August 3rd; 9:00am – 12:00pm

Retail Operations and Performance
Tim Buhl, Adjunct Faculty in the Grainger Center for Supply Chain Management provides practical strategies gained from his corporate roles for measuring and improving efficiency in supply and pricing. This session covers:
  • Purchasing Excellence – How to gain improvement in indirect spending (including capital-expenditure projects) as well as sourcing strategies, such as supplier and partnership selections.
  • End-to-End Supply Chain – Demand planning and inventory management in order to manage multichannel order-fulfillment costs while ensuring profitability.
  • Promotion and Pricing Management – Identifying and driving value in the eyes of the customer. Understanding the strategic pricing process.
  • Key Performance Indicators – Creating metrics that represent and complement your business objectives while allowing for appropriate monitoring and improvement opportunity identification.

Online Session Eight: Thursday, August 5th; 9:00am – 12:00pm

Disruption in Retail, Leading to Meet Changing Customer Expectations
The pandemic has put a new emphasis on contactless customer engagement, virtual shopping, and home delivery, but with a predominant consumer focus on health, wellness, and safety. National retail expert Jerry O’Brien brings present and likely future trends together to help you and your organization make sense of it all and ensure you shift to a successful future. This session will focus on:
  • How to meet the customer where they are: physically, emotionally, intellectually.
  • Harmonized Retail: the winning customer experience strategy.
  • Leveraging deep customer insight across digital and physical channels.
  • Your role as a leader in shifting your organization’s focus.

Online Session Nine: Tuesday, August 10th; 9:00am – 12:00pm

Creating or Maintaining an Agile Strategy: The Business Model Canvas
Michelle, Director of the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will provide an agile strategy tool, the Business Model Canvas, so that participants have a proven tool to diagnose their business and ensure that they develop a clear vision of success, are adapting to the latest market changes and business conditions, and can help align colleagues and associates to a clear strategy. You will walk through this simple yet sophisticated tool so you can immediately apply it to your own business opportunities and challenges.

Online Session Ten: Thursday, August 12th; 9:00am – 12:00pm

Your Keys to Executive Leadership
Whether you are currently an executive or aspire to that role, this session will give you the knowledge, frameworks and tools you need to know to be an effective executive, now or in the future. Key focus areas include:
  • Aligning the Organization: utilizing strategy, culture, process, resources, and other key drivers of performance effectively.
  • Designing the Organization for Optimal Performance Based on its Strategy: How you design a department or organization outweighs even superior leadership in impacting performance.
  • Purposeful Leadership. Creating a deliberative approach that maximizes your strengths and passions while achieving organizational goals.

60-day Post Program Support and Follow-up: October 12th; 9:00am – 11:00am

To help ensure you can apply what you learned in the program, faculty member Steve King will facilitate a 90-minute online discussion regarding the goals and application activities you developed during the online sessions. In this session, you will share your progress and obstacles and get input, feedback, and additional ideas on how to increase yours and your organization’s effectiveness.

As a result of your complete attendance in the program, you will receive a Professional Certificate in Retail Leadership from the Center for Professional and Executive Development, an affiliate of the Wisconsin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
  • Tuition for members: $3,075 per person.
  • Tuition for non-members: $4,075 per person.
  • So you may receive the most benefit:
    • The minimum class size is 15 participants, and
    • Class size is limited to 20 participants.
  • Anyone after the 20th registered and paid participant may choose to be placed on a waitlist.
  • Cancellation and refunds after May 28 are determined based on ability to fill the seat.

For more details, email Jessica,