Anant Ahuja is the Head of Organizational Development (OD) at Shahi Exports, India’s largest apparel manufacturer employing over 100,000 people. Started by his grandmother in 1974, Shahi has always placed the employment and advancement of women at the core of its business. Since 2012 Anant has been leading positive change across the business through innovation and strategy to align the company’s growth with the development of people, communities, and the environment. Anant currently serves on Shahi’s committees for Corporate Social Responsibility, Compliance, and Environmental Sustainability. With a keen interest in driving innovation in sustainable, responsibly-sourced apparel, Anant led Shahi’s investment in Project DXM, an end-to-end software platform that enables brands, retailers, and creators to personalize, co-create or test product and optimize inventory. His belief that the private sector is a critical lever for development and sustainability led him to start Good Business Lab (GBL), a not-for-profit labor innovation company that conducts research to find common ground between worker wellbeing and business interests. Anant graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania.
Marsha Dickson is President and Co-Founder of Better Buying Institute. She is also Irma Ayers Professor Emerita at the University of Delaware (UD). Dr. Dickson began Better BuyingTM while on the faculty in the Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies at UD. She is an award-winning scholar who, during her academic career, gained wide recognition as a global academic leader for her research, teaching, and practical engagement with global suppliers, retailers/brands, and sustainability groups. She has conducted research on social responsibility in numerous countries around the world. Together with colleagues at UD and from colleges and universities around the world, Dr. Dickson led innovative initiatives to enhance student learning about sustainability, co-founding in 1999 Educators for Socially Responsible Apparel Practice, which brought sustainability topics to the forefront of fashion education, and in 2007 launching UD’s innovative, online graduate certificate in Socially Responsible and Sustainable Apparel Business. During 14 years on the board of directors of the Fair Labor Association, Dr. Dickson worked with a cross-sector network of brand, manufacturer, and civil society stakeholders to develop policies and practices that support decent work in factories and on farms around the world. Through sustained engagement, Dr. Dickson has built thoughtful working relationships with leaders in corporate social responsibility and sustainability, buying groups, suppliers, industry associations, civil society organizations, and foundations.
Michael Gilson is an international retail executive with over 30 years in the fashion, apparel, and home industry. Mr. Gilson is the Chief Executive Officer at Cormac Advisory Services LLC, and Chief Financial Officer of the Portmeirion Group North America. CAS offers a full range of consulting services to retail, e-commerce, and wholesale businesses, including end-to-end product development capabilities. Prior to founding CAS, he served as Vice President of Private Brands, Strategy, and Global Sourcing Operations for Hudson’s Bay Company (parent of Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Galeria Kaufhof). At HBC, he was responsible for corporate social responsibility and spearheaded several joint initiatives with manufacturers focusing on women’s rights, safety, and health issues. Under Mr. Gilson’s direction, his team collaborated with garment factories in Guangdong, China, and the Health Enables Return, HERproject, to help improve the lives and wellbeing of female factory workers abroad. Mr. Gilson served as the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer for Smart Apparel US, a men’s design and wholesale company, where he oversaw corporate offices as well as design, product development, logistics, corporate social responsibility, and manufacturing operations in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the United States. Mr. Gilson worked for over 20 years at May Merchandising Company and May Department Stores International, where he ultimately advanced to Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. His resume includes stints at Deloitte and Berdon LLP as a senior audit manager. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Adelphi University in New York, where he graduated Cum Laude. In addition, he is an accredited Certified Public Accountant. Additionally, Mr. Gilson serves on several boards, including Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production, an independent, objective, non-profit team of global social compliance experts; LIM College, a school devoted to the business of fashion; World Affairs Council and the Gerson Lehrman Group. Mr. Gilson lived in St. Louis, Mo., Hong Kong, and now resides in New York.
Tom Rausch believes in technology’s promise to improve the human condition. He leads a global innovation unit at BASF that leverages emerging digital solutions to reimagine business operations and achieve sustainability targets. Tom previously co-founded Good World Solutions where he developed and scaled the LaborLink platform and Amader Kotha hotline. He holds degrees from the London School of Economics and University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Nina Smith is the founding Chief Executive Officer of GoodWeave International, the leading NGO working to stop child labor in global supply chains by bringing visibility to workers; restoring childhoods; and providing assurance to companies and consumers that select products with the GoodWeave® certification label are produced free from child labor. Under Nina’s leadership, GoodWeave has pioneered a system that has led to the rescue of nearly 10,000 children from exploitation. The organization has also provided rehabilitation, education and other critical support to rescued children and tens of thousands of other children in producer communities in South Asia. A longtime advocate for children’s rights and an expert on addressing labor violations in manufacturing supply chains, Nina has spoken on these issues at the Skoll World Forum, the World Economic Forum, Harvard University, Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, the American Bar Association, among others. She is winner of the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, the Schwab Foundation Award for Social Entrepreneurs, the Tufts University Alumni Award for Active Citizenship and Public Service, and the Center for Nonprofit Advancement’s EXCEL Award for excellence in chief executive leadership. Nina also sits on the board of the Fair Labor Association.