Werk It: Speaking Up & Making Things Happen

That position or that deal can’t happen if you don’t speak up. Gain tips to leverage your work relationships–in-person and online–at this panel.

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Melanie Kwong
Social Media Manager
Saks Fifth Avenue
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Melanie is an entrepreneurial and dynamic Social Media, Marketing and Branding professional with an impressive track record of leveraging relationships and new media to build brand awareness. With more than seven years of experience in old and new media, she has proficiency in strategy, market trends, and implementation strategy. She has a passion for merging commerce and emerging technology to create meaningful and integrated experiences between people and brands.

billie whitehouse
Bille Whitehouse

Co-Founder and Designer
Wearable Experiments
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Billie Whitehouse is the designer of Fundawear. Fundawear was the catalyst to Billie founding the company WE:EX [Wearable Experiments]. As director and designer, Billie is invigorating the fashion industry and transforming it into a business focused on improving the quality of our lives. Billie was brought up in the design industry, working from the early age of 16 at Australia’s leading tertiary design school, Whitehouse Institute of Design, Australia. Billie has been recognised for her work on Fundawear, with the campaign receiving a Silver Lion at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Billie is an aesthetic specialist with a naturally inquisitive nature towards technology and innovation. As a garment engineer, she strongly believes people should not have to look like the technology that they have grown to love and depend on. Billie’s designs are sharp, experimental, naturally confident and subtly feminine in appearance integrating the latest technology. Design principals of colour, line, shape, proportion, tone, silhouette and texture are being brought to the wearable technology industry by Billie Whitehouse.

Christopher Wong
Christopher Wong

Director of Merchandising, Asia Pacific
Ralph Lauren
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Christopher Wong is a retail innovator with a strong understanding of today’s global luxury consumer. He has broad experience establishing and growing luxury fashion businesses both domestically and internationally, ecommerce and stores. Mr. Wong is currently the Director of Men’s Merchandising at Ralph Lauren for Asia Pacific where he oversees the buying team for owned and licensed stores in over seven countries. He has led an explosive double-digit growth of Ralph Lauren’s luxury labels in new Asian markets and the opening of 10+ freestanding stores in the last two years, including Ralph Lauren’s first men’s-only luxury flagship store in Hong Kong.

Prior to Ralph Lauren, Mr. Wong was the 20th employee of Gilt Groupe (the pioneering members-only, flash-sale site), where he co-launched the men’s division in April 2008. In a short three years period, Mr. Wong was able to build the business from $0-$100 million in revenue, assemble a men’s team of over 20 employees, establish partnerships with over 400 designers and brands, and create the men’s online shopping phenomenon with over three million male members logged in daily. In 2011, Mr. Wong started ‘Park & Bond’, the men’s only full-price e-commerce site from Gilt Groupe. In this capacity, he was in charge of creative direction, building a merchandising team, assorting all products, financial plans and budgets, and working cross-functionally with tech and operations on creating systems and processes. He was recognized by Details magazine as one of 2010’s Mavericks for the success of Gilt. Before Gilt Groupe, Mr. Wong worked as a Buyer of Women’s Designer ready-to-wear at Saks Fifth Avenue and began his retail career as a Sales Associate at Barneys New York. He received his BA in Art History from Tufts University.

Ariana Finlayson
Ariana Finlayson

Senior Community Manager
Marina Maher Communications
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Ariana has worked at Marina Maher Communications, handling the multi-platform social media strategy for COVERGIRL, for over a year and a half. Before branching into social media, she spent five years working in editorial at Hearst Digital Media (RealBeauty.com) and Wenner Media (UsMagazine.com). Outside the office, you can find her at Equinox, running in Central Park, or volunteering with Ed2010.com. Ariana graduated in 2008 from Hofstra University where she majored in print journalism.