Cheryl Oswald, 36, works in Menomonee Falls, WI, as event project manager at Kohl’s Department Store. As a 2018 40 Under 40 honoree, Oswald discusses her passion for the events industry.
What I do: I am solely responsible for planning and executing corporate events for over 150,000 associates who work at Kohl’s.
How I got here: My background has always been in retail, so it was only natural that I found my way to Kohl’s corporate. After spending the first year and a half with Kohl’s in another role, I found an opportunity on the events team. Nine years later, I am still on the events team and elevated the role into the events project manager position I hold today.
Greatest career accomplishment: In a matter of weeks after Hurricane Harvey, we were able to gather donation items from associates across 1,157 stores. These items were then shipped to Houston, where I planned an event for 750 associates and their families affected by the hurricane. Associates were able to come to the event and pick up necessary items and have the support of over 200 Kohl’s volunteers.
Also, when Hurricane Irma affected our Orlando event, it ultimately led us to cancel our 750-person program for the first time in Kohl’s history. In a matter of days, I worked with vendors to cancel the program with little to no financial impact; canceled and rebooked travel for our attendees; and set up live streaming for those not traveling to our corporate office for the newly rescheduled event.
Specific improvement I’ve made: I implemented a strategic meetings management program. This has been a work in progress for many years, and recently we have been able to accurately report on our meeting spend, cost savings and ROI.
What I’m working on: I’m excited about our annual conference in September! After nine years in Orlando, we are holding it in a new city: Nashville. It’s inspired me to think out of the box and try new things we have never done before.