Linda Johansen-James is The Billion Dollar Brand Maker.
As the Founder and CEO of International Retail Group, LLC, a boutique retail management and consulting firm, Linda works with such noted brands as Flip Flop Shops, ABC Mouse and Barbell, to name just a few.
IRG is truly a “One Stop Shop” for any company looking to launch in retail or simply “test” their concept. International Retail specializes in the following: brand and new product launches, in-store experiential design, executive and frontline sales training, site selection, franchising and onsite store management and staffing.
Before creating IRG, Linda led American Kiosk Management to amass over 600 staffed locations, 1800 employees and 1000 automated stores throughout North America, Australia and New Zealand.
Under her leadership as AKMs CEO and partner, Linda created a unique hands-on training program that resulted in front-line sales of over 5 million loyal customers worldwide and $1.7 billion in revenue.
Since 2017, Linda launched International Retail Group, LLC. Whether you are looking for real estate and site location services, staffing and management, pop-ups, carts, kiosks or automated retail, IRG does it all. Linda has a track record of delivering sales and strong bottom-line performance in retail activations over 22+ years in the industry, and the main reason IRG is frequently sought out by national brands who want to make a big impact to their bottom line.
Linda is an active member and frequent keynote speaker for industry Associations ICSC and Spree and holds the distinction of Certified Leasing Specialist CLS and Certified Retail Executive CRX. Linda was the Co-Chair of the 2014 and 2015 SPREE-RECON convention.
Linda is a philanthropist and supports multiple charities including the Steve Young Foundation, Alice Cooper’s Rock Teen Center and has been involved with St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital for 20 years. Linda is currently in her 12th year of service as a member of the CEO Advisory Board for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Linda believes that “To whom much is given, much is expected”.
Currently helping digitally native and small retailers expand their physical retail presence, Shannon has spent her entire 25+ year career in the business of shopping centers and retail. Her extensive shopping center experience encompasses most asset types – from community centers to regional malls to boutique luxury projects – in both developed and developing markets. Having grown up in the business, she brings unique and instinctive insight in her approach to any project.
Throughout her career, Shannon has worked on both client and advisor side on projects as diverse as Jantzen Beach SuperCenter in Portland, Oregon (where she built a specialty leasing program from scratch); 2 Rodeo in Beverly Hills, California; Vremena Goda in Moscow, Russia and Istanbul Cevahir in Istanbul, Turkey. Additionally, she acted as Development Director for a major Russian fashion retailer, thus, gaining perspective from the merchant point of view.
She understands the importance of clear communication between owner/management and retailer and champions a partnership approach – understanding that the success of each is dependent on the success of all.
A fervent believer in the power of positive and dynamic customer experience to build loyalty, drive traffic and increase sales and value, Shannon has conceived and implemented programs incorporating strategic design, staff training and innovative marketing that enhance customer journey and the quality of customer communication. The result? An increase in dwell time, visits and, ultimately, revenue.
An active and long-time member of International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and Middle East Council of Shopping and Retail MECS+R, she is a founding member of the Russian Liaison Committee and can often be found teaching on a variety of subjects for RICS, MECS+R and ICSC’s Schools for Professional Development.
Shannon is also the editor of our flagship publication International Retail Magazine.
In his role as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the International Retail Group (IRG) of companies, Tony is responsible for the overall financial management and accounting of the business.
He has worked with the founder of IRG, Linda Johansen-James, for more than 15 years in a variety of positions and accepted his current position in 2017.
Tony is married to Cindy and has two grown children and two grandchildren.
Gina started out her retail career with American Kiosk Management and held a variety of positions throughout her career with the company.
Gina was instrumental in the logistics around new store openings and product launches, coordinating inventory with JIT (Just In Time), strategies, dealing with supply chain nightmares and ongoing inventory control once the stores were up and operational.
She eventually moved on to store operations, managing one of the highest volume store locations in AKM’s portfolio for many years.
After taking a short leave of absence, Gina is now Linda Johansen-James’ administrative assistant and assists her with operations of all of IRGs clients.
Brad Szollose’s (pronounced zol-us), is a serial entrepreneur, former C-Level Executive and internationally published author. One of his companies—K2 Design—turned Brad into a web pioneer and a dot com executive. As a result, Brad was thrust into the limelight, and has been featured in Forbes and Inc. Magazines, Advertising Age, and appeared on international television shows, podcasts and other media outlets.
Brad is also the award-winning author of Liquid Leadership: From Woodstock to Wikipedia—Multigenerational Management Ideas That Are Changing The Way We Run Things, now in paperback for its 10th Anniversary.
Throughout his 40+ year career, Brad has launched hundreds of brands in the pharmaceutical industry, OTC, automobile manufacturers, as well as multiple consumer products.
Brad is also the host of the podcast Awakened Nation, a podcast dedicated to deeper conversations with today’s outliers and cutting edge entrepreneurs.
He has interviewed Brian Smith, founder of UGGs, NY Times Bestselling Authors Stephen MR Covey, Panache Desai, and the Peaceful Warrior himself, Dan Millman.