With over 30 years of apparel and footwear experience, Walter T. Wilhelm is widely recognized as one of the most innovative and “connected” executives in the softgoods industry, and one of the pioneers in creating and implementing technology to streamline the product design and development processes. He has held senior positions in Retailing, Manufacturing and Technology Sales & Development. Walter has extensive experience domestically as well as internationally, having opened six offices in Europe and four in Asia.
Former positions include: Co-founder of Microdynamics; President of Animated Images (Ai); Co-founder of Wilhelm-Leslie Associates; General Manager of Hughes Aircraft Company’s Apparel & Footwear Automation Systems.
Business Unit Leadership
Technology Evaluation and Implementation
A proven leader offering over 25 years of diverse concept to market experience in apparel manufacturing and brand development. Experience includes general management (including P&L responsibility), global sourcing, technology evaluation and system implementations. Former companies include: Vice President, GK Services; Vice President and General Manager, Lion Apparel Group; Corporate Director Product Development Integration, Limited Brands, Inc., Sales Manager Gerber Technology and Microdynamics Inc.; Manager Pre-production and Sample Room, Liz Claiborne.
Supply Chain Excellence
Joan’s background is a blend of both executive and operational experience. She has a 25-year proven track record with broad expertise in retail product development for brick-and-mortar, catalog, and online channels. She places emphasis on optimizing partnerships between design, merchandising, operational and manufacturing functions. Her technical product knowledge spans all fashion categories from women’s to men’s, kids, hardgoods, and softgoods with a focus on quality, performance, and regulatory compliance. Former positions include: Vice President Global Product Quality, lululemon athletica; Sr. Vice President Product Integrity, JCPenney; Vice President International Labor Standards, The Walt Disney Company; Interim President, Vice President Supply Chain, Nordstrom Product Group; Vice President Quality & Sourcing, Lands’ End.
Passionate senior executive with extensive domestic and global experience in
diverse areas of apparel and textile manufacturing, sourcing and engineering. Proven
ability to implement operational initiatives that result in increased efficiency and
profitability. Strong leadership and team development skills that contribute to alignment of
strategic plans with business goals. Former positions include: President, ArtGun Division
of Delta Apparel; VP Internal Manufacturing Mexico/Latin America, VF Corp.; VP
Manufacturing, Carhartt; VP Manufacturing, Engineering and Sourcing, Jockey.
A senior level material and color management expert. Colleen is knowledgeable in fiber, textile and garment design and development. She has been involved and collaborated with key international technology providers in color management and has taught textile development at the university level. Colleen also brings strong experience both with retail and brand development. Former positions include: Materials Manager – Material Development and Innovation, Reebok International; Materials Technical Development Engineer, HanesBrands; Fabric Specialist – weft knits and sweaters, Target; Color Analyst (including color management technology development), JCPenney; Marketing Support Specialist, Archroma Global Services.
Cristina Maria Bertran
A talented full process apparel industry manager with hand-on experience and personality. Exceptional experience in design and product development as well as full product life cycle operations. Strength in creating and executing product concepts to fill identified market needs. Experience with PDM/PLM development and implementation with a strong focus on quality production, cost and on time delivery. Extensive organizational skills and vendor relationships across culturally diverse teams and rapidly evolving environments to drive process from market needs to garment delivery. Bilingual, English and Spanish. Former positions include: Product Development and Client Relationship Manager, Cosabella; Design & Product Development, Chico’s FAS; Merchandiser, Product Development & Sourcing Manager, Coffee Bean/LTC; Co-owner/Designer, Djafari Designs.
A highly accomplished Business Development executive with 30 years of diversified international experience. Stephen effectively leverages business expertise and keen analytical insights to develop and implement market specific strategies. Proven ability to develop synergies across markets and minimize local development costs of marketing and product development. Extensive experience in Latin America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the Caribbean. Fluent in Spanish with working knowledge of Portuguese. Previous positions: VF Corporation, Director of International Business Development, International Licensing. Global Business Development, Founder (clients included Lee Cooper, Gerber Childrenswear).
An exceptional creative consultant specializing in branding, marketing, and PR. A graduate from UCLA Film School, Robert’s early career included working as a professional writer for MTV, Fox, Paramount, and many others in the entertainment industry. Robert has worked with high profile brands, Nike, Converse, Puma, and Merrell generating PR and press on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Bill Maher, Fox News, ABC News, CBS News, and NPR with written press in USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Reuters, Bloomberg Businessweek, Nice Kicks, Cosmopolitan, Playboy, New York Post, Los Angeles Times, and the Chicago Tribune. Robert has many outstanding references. A musician in his free time (which is little), Corbett plays guitar, bass, piano, and drums, and has performed with such legendary New Orleans funk bands as Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk and Big Sam’s Funky Nation.
Gretchen Dudon has 11+ years of experience in business development across an array of industries. For the last half of her career, Gretchen focused on strategic sustainability consulting and business development. She is recognized for her communication skills and her ability to manage relationships effectively. Gretchen created the Dudonova Group after identifying the need for clear representation of sustainability and energy management service companies to the retail industry.
A very experienced senior IT executive who drives business performance by restructuring and optimizing processes, and implementing technology solutions with rapid ROI. Experience includes managing multiple global and domestic products in apparel manufacturing, retail, ecommerce and mail-order. Expertise includes ERP, supply chain management, distribution and warehouse management, POS, inventory, sales, transportation, data warehousing, IPO enablement, space and floor planning and team leadership. Industry positions include CIO at Chrome Hearts, SVP Operations/ CIO at Nautica, CIO at Guess?, CIO at Dawon Consumer Products, VP MIS at General Nutrition Co.
Amy Grable has seven years of leadership experience at Gap Inc. with proven expertise in driving strategies that increase productivity, enhance quality, increase speed and improve cost effectiveness. Amy’s strengths lie in strategic & operational planning, implementation, process re-engineering, change management, and process & technology project management. Former positions include: Sr. Director of Product Integrity at Gap Inc.; Director of Product Research & Assessment at Gap Inc., Sr. Manager of Textile Mill Relations at Gap Inc., and Manager of Textile Inspection at Gap Inc.
Danielle Jin has 15+ years of experience in all phases of the apparel industry from design and merchandising through to international sourcing and production. She has “done it all” and has strengths in product development, technical design and sourcing. Former positions include Product Development Manager, Production Manager, and Technical Designer for Oxford Industries, Kellwood, Fredrick Atkins, Animated Images (Ai) and others. She was also one of the first Associates helping to develop the concept for services in WWA.
Heike M. Kluemper-Hilgart
Expert understanding of apparel and accessory design and production. Strong garment background in design, product development, sourcing and regional buying office management with major international companies. Employment history includes key management roles in Europe, Mexico and Central America. Previous positions include: Global Leader of Garment Design and Development, W.L. Gore Associates GmbH; Category Manager of Softlines, Hanes Brands, Mexico City and Central America; Betty Barclay GmbH, Sample Maker. Currently Founder/Managing Director of HMK Consulting – Europe.
Kilara (Little) Le
An innovative and creative designer and artist who possesses broad knowledge of textile design and apparel processes. Skilled in linking customer needs to design and technical solutions. Background in textile technology, design, and retail. Ms. Little has consulted for and implemented software technologies at many companies ranging from design focused organizations to large retailers. Kilara worked for Gerber Technology before joining WWA and has worked on projects including process improvement, speed to market, software development, support and implementation.
Jill has twenty years of experience in the apparel industry and consulting. Her expertise is in project management, business operations and systems selection/design/implementation. She has a diversified systems background with a proven ability to effectively analyze business processes and systems requirements. Previous employment includes: Director Business Processes, Quiksilver (SAP Implementation); Director for Michael Stars (including NGC ERP implementation); Project Manager for Warnaco’s SAP evaluation and implementation; Project Manager for Guess? for IT business system and QRS (EDI), Practice Manager with Kurt Salmon Associates Technology Group; Systems Consulting Manager for Stonefield Josephson; and Assistant to the President for Deena-Lucie Ann (intimates company wherein Jill was responsible for implementing the Wal-Mart Retail Link).
Ajit is a highly seasoned and experienced Chief Technology Officer with a global view of supply chain strategies and their supporting infrastructures. He has held the positions of Senior Vice President & Chief Information Officer and is the recipient of industry awards for his excellence and vision in these roles. Ajit’s diverse management and business background is bolstered by his many accomplishments in the apparel and specialty retail industry as well as in the wholesale and manufacturing sectors. He is experienced with ERP, including SAP evaluations, negotiations and implementations. Ajit was honored by Executive Technology magazine as a ‘Top 10 Retail Industry CIO’, and was a recipient of CIO Magazine’s ‘Top 100 Most Agile IS Organization Award’ during his tenure at Chico’s. Former positions include: CIO, Chico’s; CIO, BCBG; CIO, Warnaco Swim Group.
Cara Schmidt has outstanding credentials and experience in pattern design and development from prototype to production. She has owned and operated a pattern and marking service bureau for small and medium sized companies in Southern California for 20 years. She has strong process knowledge and good ‘best practice’ instincts that are bolstered by her talent in pattern drafting, fit and testing. Cara has worked with numerous segments of the apparel industry and has pattern and product development skills in many product areas.
Shaun Tomson founded, managed, and sold 2 apparel brands in the -0 million sales range – Instinct in the ‘80’s and Solitude in the 90’s. He has held positions with both Patagonia and O’Neill and is a current board member of Surfrider Foundation, the world’s largest surfing environmental group. He is a best selling author (Surfers Code), an award winning filmmaker (Bustin’ down the Door) and a World Professional Surfing Champion. He is an inspirational speaker on positive values and overcoming challenges and his clients include General Motors, Price Waterhouse, Cisco, Disney and Toys R Us. He is a business finance and administration graduate from the University of Natal in his hometown of Durban, South Africa. He lives in Montecito, California with his wife Carla and son Luke and still finds time to chase the perfect wave.
Mr. Walter is a talented senior executive with experience in both Apparel and Home industries. Over a career spanning 25 years, Larry has led Sales and Marketing teams, Manufacturing and Production, as well as strategic planning and global business strategies. He is a quick learner with high energy and excellent communication skills who understands organizational dynamics. Larry has the ability to anticipate needs and wear many hats in order to get the job done. Former positions include: President/Owner, Regatta Gear; President/Owner, BW Sales Apparel Group; President/Partner, J Michelle of California; Vice President Sales, Chego International Apparel; Director USA Operations, Hutschenreuther/Rosenthal AG; National Sales Manager, Vera; Buyer, Dayton Hudson.
A seasoned senior executive in branded apparel manufacturing and retail operations. Experienced in strategic positioning and organizational restructuring. Max has vast domestic and international experience with full P&L responsibilities. He is talented in all phases of operations and has a bottom line orientation. Former positions include: Chief Operating Officer, Eagle Industries; Executive Vice President, Operations, St. John Knits; Corporate Senior Vice President Global Operations, Calvin Klein; Senior Vice President Operations, Leslie Fay Dress Group; President and Chief Operating Officer, Bridal Originals and others.
Janet C. Ydavoy
A retail executive with a record of P&L responsibilities driving growth and earnings. A visionary leader with highly developed technical skills in textiles, apparel, footwear, accessories and home goods. Janet’s sourcing background combined with an extensive knowledge of international trade (licensed Customs broker) provides a unique skill set to apply end-to-end supply chain strategies. Ability to optimize efficiencies from worldwide origins while applying risk management methodologies to compliance and corporate social responsibility. Former positions include: Vice President International Operations and Customs Compliance, Jones Group; Division Vice President Private Brands Product Development, Sourcing and Imports, Beall’s; Vice President Global Sourcing & Compliance Corporate Brand Retail Stores, Chico’s; Director Western Hemisphere Sourcing & Production, Mast Industries.