All workshops will be led by industry professionals and experienced FIT faculty.
Jeanette Nostra, president of G-III
Apparel Group, Ltd., is the program’s industry
liaison. Drawing on more than 30 years of experience in
the fashion business, she brings to her role strong
expertise in operations, merchandising, marketing,
strategic planning, and brand management. Ms. Nostra
will serve as a mentor to students, reviewing the
curriculum, mining her extensive connections for guest
speakers, and hosting program events.
Ms. Nostra is a creative, high-energy senior executive with a demonstrated ability to evaluate business plans, identify opportunities and obstacles, and develop and deploy new business strategies in challenging environments. At G-III, Ms. Nostra now focuses primarily on strategic development of the business in Europe. Most recently, she has expanded Andrew Marc, a G-III subsidiary, into a full lifestyle brand with 10 product categories and eight license partners. Previously, she was responsible for sales, marketing, merchandising, and product development resulting in over $300 million in annual wholesale sales. Her extensive experience includes structuring licensing agreements with such companies as Kenneth Cole, Nine West, Jones Apparel, and Cole Haan.
Mary Beth Budd
Mary Beth Budd is the owner of MBA Productions, Inc.,
a dancewear business whose Trienawear line has sold in more
than 500 retail stores and mail-order catalogues, and
online through Amazon and the company’s own site. A
frequent consultant to start-up apparel companies, she
also teaches Marketing to Boutiques, a course offered
through FIT’s Enterprise Center.
As a professional ballerina, Ms. Budd performed for over 22 years, touring throughout the U.S. before settling in New York City as a member of the Metropolitan Opera Ballet. During that time, she launched Trienawear, starting with $15 worth of fabric remnants bought in the Garment District. The company is known in the dance community for its print designs, feminine details, and exacting fit and quality standards.
Ms. Budd studied fashion design, marketing, and business management at FIT, Parsons The New School for Design, the American Women’s Economic Development Corp., and New York University. She earned a BS in chemistry at the University of Notre Dame and an MS in analytical chemistry from the University of Florida.
David Linwood Colby
David Linwood Colby, Esq., is an Attorney at Law and Managing Director at Colby Law Office, P.C. a New York City based law firm specializing in representing entrepreneurs and start-up business. Mr. Colby’s areas of practice include contracts and agreements, business formation and organization, trademark and copyright, licensing, business planning, government relations, and compliance.
As a life-long business entrepreneur, David brings a unique perspective top his legal counseling. Hi experience includes founding, operating, and selling several business ventures, working in a London law firm and in Washington DC as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the U.S. Small Business Administration
Mr. Colby teaches Legal Basics for Business Start-ups, Negotiation Strategies, and Business Planning Strategy at FIT’s Enterprise Center. He is also an adjunct professor at Parsons The New School for Design, a member of Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, and a frequent lecturer on entrepreneurship and social goals for business. He holds a JD from the University of New Hampshire School of Law.
Bill D’Arienzo is the founder and CEO of Wm.
D’Arienzo Associates, Inc., offering training seminars
and consulting to help clients achieve their
brand-strategy and business goals. He is also CEO of
ApparelAnalytics, an online consumer research service.
He is an adjunct professor at Rider University in New
Jersey, and runs the Brand Management Experience Program
in FIT’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies.
With 25 years as a consultant, Mr. D’Arienzo has run seminars and lectured widely on marketing and branding strategies. He has made presentations to the retail and wholesale sectors of the apparel and related industries, executives from China and Japan, and audiences in countries including India and Spain.
Mr. D’Arienzo’s career includes experience as a divisional president, senior marketing executive, and business school lecturer. He has been featured and quoted in publications such as WWD, the Los Angeles Times, U.S. News & World Report, and The New York Times. He holds a BA from Ohio State University, an MA from the City University of New York, and a PhD from The New School for Social Research. He has been a Ford Foundation Fellow at Vanderbilt University and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow at Princeton University. His book, By George! Lessons in Leadership from George Washington, CEO, was published in 2010.
Melissa Hall has more than 12 years of experience in marketing and fashion. She worked in account management at Draftfcb and Leo Burnett, working on brands such as Kraft, Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, and KFC before moving to New York to start her career in fashion. She teaches in FIT’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies, and manages the social media for Design Entrepreneurs NYC. For the past three years, she has produced Social Media Week in New York and has worked with companies such as Women's Wear Daily, Swarovski, and InStyle on a variety of projects. With more than eight years of retail sales on both the consumer and business-to-business end, as well as styling and writing experience, Ms. Hall provides clients and brand partners with a 360 view of the fashion industry.
In 2012, to help designers combine their design talent with the business of fashion, she started The Emerging Designer, a network for up-and-coming creative professionals that offers editorial exposure, marketing advice, educational meetup opportunities, and consulting services.
A Chicago native, Ms. Hall holds a BS in advertising from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and earned a second degree, in Fashion Design, at Parsons The New School of Design.
Sandra Holtzman, an award-winning creative director
and marketing strategist with over 20 years experience,
is the president and founder of Holtzman Communications.
Her areas of expertise include business-to-business,
international, and consumer marketing, building
management teams, licensing, and business development.
Ms. Holtzman has worked with Fortune 500 companies and start-ups on products and services as varied as the Honda Acura and Benadryl decongestant, for which she helped create one of the most successful pharma ads ever run.
Ms. Holtzman is chair of the New York Chapter of the Licensing Executives Society. She advises companies developing business plans for funding and is a certified Kauffman Institute Fast Trac facilitator. She teaches licensing at FIT’s Enterprise Center.
Donald McMichael, a finance and strategy
professional, is the founder of the McMichael Group LLC,
a consultancy that helps entertainment, fashion, and
technology businesses develop strategic visions and turn
them into tangible business initiatives. His work with
entrepreneurial concerns and Fortune 500 companies like
AlliedSignal and Viacom – where he was Showtime
Networks’ vice president for financial strategy – has
resulted in service launches, acquisitions, and
strategic partnerships generating more than $500
A member of FIT’s adjunct faculty, Mr. McMichael teaches entrepreneurship at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. He has also taught at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and the Metropolitan College of New York. He holds an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and a BS in electrical engineering from the University of Virginia.
Susan Power has been providing sourcing information
to apparel industry professionals since 1988. She is the
creator and former co-publisher of the T.I.P.
Resource Guide (originally The Designer's Fabric
and Trim Resource Guide), By The Yard Fabric and
Trim Sourcing Guide, and Sourcing News.
Among Ms. Power’s current publications is The Designer's Guide, a comprehensive guide for large and small manufacturers who need to buy fabric and trim, updated quarterly. Textile Sources Who's Who highlights American and Canadian mills, converters, textile importers, and agents. By The Yard Resource Guide lists wholesale resources for fabric and trim, and The Contractors provides resources for pre-production services and includes cut-and-sew contractors, knitters, and finishing specialists, including printers. Her newest title, The Sourcer's Guide, is a compilation of information included in the other guides plus additional resources for fabrics, trims, yarns, fiber producers, and service providers, including trade organizations and associations.
In addition to publishing in print and online, Ms. Power is a fashion and textile industry consultant and a producer of industry seminars and conferences.
Andy Ward is a third-generation apparel executive
with more than 25 years of fashion industry experience
in sales, product development, branding, retailing,
technology development, and education. He began his
career as a merchandiser in Hong Kong for Evan Picone
Ladies and Gant Shirts before starting UBA, Inc., a
private-label manufacturer that has provided products to
every major department store in the country.
Mr. Ward is the acting executive director of the Garment Industry Development Corporation (GIDC), a nonprofit providing sales, branding, sourcing, and marketing consultations to over 300 businesses annually. He is responsible for GIDC’s Showroom New York, a showroom and incubator for emerging talent that provides a “home in the marketplace” for ten women’s apparel and accessories designers each season. He also serves on the board of the CFDA’s Fashion Incubator, working with individual designers as a business consultant.
Mr. Ward teaches in FIT’s Fashion Merchandising Management Department and developed the Enterprise Center’s noncredit Tools of the Trade for Fashion Design series.
Yolanda Wardowski has more than 15 years of mergers
and acquisitions, corporate finance, and advisory
experience. As a vice president in J.P. Morgan's merger
and acquisition/corporate finance group, she completed
divestitures, acquisitions, and private placements for
clients in the consumer products, apparel, and retail
sectors. She led execution teams on public and
cross-border deals and advisory and private placement
assignments for clients including Rubbermaid, Perrigo
Company, Gillette, Anheuser Busch, Johnson & Johnson,
Clorox, Sergio Tacchini, and The Limited. She also
advised J.P. Morgan's corporate office and board of
directors on potential mergers, acquisitions, and equity
capital investments in foreign banks.
Previously, Ms. Wardowski held senior positions at Ernst & Young Capital Advisors and 94th Street Capital. There, she focused primarily on the small- to middle-market segment, completing sell sides, divestitures, joint ventures, private equity placements, and capital restructurings, as well as strategic and valuation assignments, for companies such as Liz Lange Maternity, Dawn Food Products, Rocking Horse Media, R.J. Reynolds, and Slim-Fast.
Ms. Wardowski is an advisory board member for FIT’s Global Fashion Management Master of Professional Studies program, and Plum Perfect, a beauty and fashion consumer technology company. She is also a business advisor to the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Fashion Incubator program, FashInvest, Astia, and Springboard Enterprises. She holds a BA in finance and economics from Wilfrid Laurier University, in Ontario.
Gary Wassner, co-CEO of Hilldun Corporation, has
provided financing and factoring for many of America's
iconic labels, including Derek Lam, Peter Som, Jason Wu,
Maria Cornejo, Yeohlee, Alexander Wang, Nanette Lepore,
Twinkle, Zang Toi, Vivienne Westwood, Thom Browne,
Betsey Johnson, Marc Jacobs, and Alexis Bittar.
Recently named one of Fashionista’s “50 Most Influential People in New York Fashion,” Mr. Wassner is a member of the CFDA’s advisory board and mentor for its Fashion Incubator program, an advisory board member of Fordham Law School’s Fashion Law Institute, and a member of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s Fashion Industry Working Group. He is an ardent supporter of the “Save the Garment Center” movement and other causes that promote and aid New York City’s fashion industry.
Mr. Wassner holds a master’s degree in philosophy and is the author of titles including the Gemquest sci-fi/fantasy series and The Mystery of the Jubilee Emerald, a children’s book.