Senior Director of Merchandising at Alex and Ani
Kim Jackson’s first venture into the world of retail came at the age of 10 when she sold soft pretzels on the sidewalks of downtown Philadelphia. Thirty years later Kim is still selling and having the time of her life innovating in the new mobile, digital, and social media–obsessed retail landscape. Today, Kim is the Senior Director of Merchandising for Alex and Ani. In this role she collaborates cross-functionally with every group at the company to create products that help people build personal connections, gain empowerment, and give back. In fact, community engagement is such a core value; Kim recently journeyed to Honduras with some Alex and Ani colleagues to help build a sustainable clean water solution. Prior to Alex and Ani, Kim earned her veteran career status by working her way up at several retailers — including May Company, Talbots, and PUMA — leading teams who support brick and mortar, e-commerce, and wholesale.Kim’s former experience as a coxswain during her academic years provided her an opportunity to learn about deep teamwork and the value of motivation by positivity. While attending Syracuse University, Kim also studied the science of retail and discovered that her analytical skills and creativity made her a great fit for merchandising. Kim is an early riser whose passion for running and training finds her competing in marathons. She is educating her three children about the merits a healthy lifestyle. She wholeheartedly believes that solutions to many of life’s challenges can be solved during a good run with the help of friends. Kim is passionate about helping early career professionals build confidence and develop their resumes, and to that end is active on the college speaking circuit sharing her lessons learned. Kim lives near the beach on the south shore of Boston.
Head of Merchandising and Lead Floral Designer at Urban Stems
Cameron Hardesty is the Head of Merchandising and the lead floral designer for UrbanStems. She designs UrbanStems’ monthly product collections while managing UrbanStems’ supply chain and working directly with farms to source all of the company’s bouquets. She and her team also curate all the non-floral offerings and gifts. Cameron attended Davidson College, earning a Bachelors of Arts in English. After graduation, she worked in government public affairs, and lived in Madrid, Spain, where she became fluent in Spanish. In 2010, Cameron returned to Washington to work in digital public affairs at Edelman Public Relations, then joined the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy as the Deputy Associate Director for Public Affairs. During her time at The White House, Cameron began a professional transition from a career in public affairs to the start-up world -- and flowers. During the government shutdown of 2013, she used her spare time to gain experience with a D.C. startup, and a few months later, she began volunteering at The White House flower shop, where she met a friend and mentor in the then-Chief White House Florist, Laura Dowling. At the same time, she connected with UrbanStems co-founders Jeff Sheely and Ajay Kori when UrbanStems was just a small team of five, helping them design bouquets and giving them feedback on their nascent brand. Eventually, she took the leap to join UrbanStems full-time the following year in 2015.