Apr 15, 2022
NRF Foundation Honors recognizes retail executives, supports next generation of retail leaders

The seventh annual NRF Foundation Honors took place April 13 at the Marriott Marquis Times Square to recognize the exceptional leadership of retail executives and to support the next generation of industry talent. The event raised $3.22 million to fund the NRF Foundation’s programs and resources that connect people to life-changing careers in retail.

National Retail Federation Foundation logo

“Thanks to our generous supporters, the NRF Foundation is well-positioned to continue our important work, and to help even more people do better for themselves, their families and their communities,” Bill Thorne, executive director of the NRF Foundation said. “There are so many inspiring stories that I am humbled to share on behalf of the people who have built extraordinary careers with our programs and resources. I am beyond grateful to our supporters for believing in this industry and in the NRF Foundation.”

The 2022 NRF Foundation Honors was co-hosted by Macy’s Inc. Chairman and CEO and former NRF Foundation Board Chairman Jeff Gennette, and former Qurate Retail, Inc. President and CEO and former NRF Board Chairman Mike George. More than 600 retail executives, including board members from the National Retail Federation and the NRF Foundation, community partners, scholarship participants, educators and more came together for the event, presented by American Express and PwC.

NRF Foundation Honors event 2022
Photo courtesy of NRF

American basketball and business icon Earvin “Magic” Johnson presented NRF’s The Visionary award to Target Board Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brian Cornell. This award is given to an inspiring retail leader with a history of spearheading change in the industry.

In accepting The Visionary award, Cornell expressed gratitude to the Target team, his family and former colleagues, and discussed the outsized impact of the retail industry on our economy and communities.

People Shaping Retail’s Future 2022

The evening also recognized The List of People Shaping Retail’s Future 2022:

  • Joel Anderson, president and CEO, Five Below Inc.
  • Chris Kempczinski, president and CEO, McDonald’s Corporation
  • Neela Montgomery, former Executive Vice President, CVS Health and former president, CVS Pharmacy
  • Sumit Singh, CEO, Chewy Inc.
  • Julie Wainwright, CEO, The RealReal Founder


Richard Widdowson, vice president of global retail and consumer goods solutions at SAS and member of the NRF Foundation Board of Directors, announced Robert Davison Long of Columbia College Chicago as the top recipient in the 2022 NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship. Davison Long received $25,000 and four other finalists received $10,000 each.

Kohl’s Inc. CEO and The Visionary 2020 Michelle Gass announced Haley Shannon, Tooba Athar and K-Lynn Ward from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising as the top team in the 2022 NRF Foundation Student Challenge competition. Each was awarded a $5,000 scholarship in the business competition that tasked students with developing an idea for creating a private label brand for Kohl’s that embodies a more inclusive and equitable community for all.

Phoenix Union High School District’s Trevor G. Browne High School was honored as the 2022 NRF Foundation RISE Up Partner of the Year. The award was presented by Old Navy CEO Nancy Green and celebrates the school for its innovative use of the RISE Up training and credentialing program to make a positive impact on individuals and communities. Instructor John-Martin Rigsby accepted the award on stage and was surprised with $10,000 from the NRF Foundation to take back to his students at Trevor G. Browne to continue to help them prepare for great careers in retail.

Since 2015, the NRF Foundation Honors has been the NRF Foundation’s largest fundraising opportunity and has raised the funds needed for its initiatives, including its RISE Up training and credentials, career preparation programs and undergraduate scholarships.  More information about the NRF Foundation Honors is available at nrffoundation.org/honors.

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