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The NRF Foundation shapes retail’s future by building awareness of the industry through statistics and stories; developing talent through education, experiences and scholarships; and fostering career growth among people who work in retail.

The NRF Foundation shapes retail’s future by building awareness of the industry through statistics and stories; developing talent through education, experiences and scholarships; and fostering career growth among people who work in retail.

Dream BIG Class of 2014

Dawn Justen

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Dawn Justen

Dawn Justen, senior analyst at HSN, is pursuing an MBA from University of Phoenix.

A big data love affair

Whether you know it or not, there’s a science to retail. Financial analysis of promotions, merchandise mix, customer viewing metrics and customer purchase behavior are just a few of the responsibilities Dawn Justen handles as a senior analyst. Her big dreams involve data. “I believe a retailer needs to understand their customers’ responses and is obliged to communicate in a manner that resonates with shoppers,” she explains.

In the constantly evolving industry of retail, Dawn is asked to make smart, strategic and insightful recommendations to help retailers understand what to say and why their customers are or are not listening. She believes an MBA, thanks to a Dream BIG scholarship from University of Phoenix and the NRF Foundation, will help her continue to strengthen her analytical and leadership skills.

Each interaction with a customer provides opportunities to learn and develop new skills.
Dawn Justen

But behind the data, there is dedication. Trying to understand what makes a shopper tick is no easy task. It’s more than data mining and analysis. Dawn believes you have to go beyond the numbers and also focus on social interactions, both personally and professionally. “Each interaction with a customer provides opportunities to learn and develop new skills,” she says.

One of Dawn’s favorite aspects of retail is constantly examining, evaluating and learning about the driving forces behind consumer demand. The challenge is then finding ways to deliver value and experiences that exceed customer expectations, as well as benefit the communities around them. “The personal connection between retailer and customer drives my curiosity,” explains Dawn. “To shape and mold interactions takes more than data. It takes leadership.”

It’s no surprise Dawn has what it takes to be a leader. She had a mother who led by example. From the sacrifices she made for Dawn and her brother to the commitment she had to her husband and continuing her education, Dawn’s mother serves as her main source of inspiration. “Her actions inspired me to pursue my MBA, to be a better daughter, wife, mother and all-around great employee.”


The National Retail Federation collaborates with University of Phoenix to offer the Dream BIG Scholarship to people who work in retail. This year, 20 recipients received full-tuition scholarships to help them pursue their big dreams. Meet the Class of 2014 and learn more about the Dream BIG Scholarship.