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Vanessa Castagna

BS 1971, Psychology and Speech Communication
Board of Directors
 of Levi Strauss & CoCarter’s Inc and SpeedFC, Inc

Vanessa J. Castagna is a well known and respected retail leader and executive for 36 years, working for blue chip Fortune 50 retail companies, and is a key retail consultant and advisor to private investors and equity managers.

She is the former Chairwoman of Mervyn’s Department Stores, and former CEO and Chairwoman of JCPenney Stores, Catalogue and Internet.  She was instrumental in leading JCPenney into their turnaround with their new centralized business format as President and COO.  Vanessa has held senior level merchandising positions with Wal-Mart and Target stores, and began her career with Federated Department Stores.
She also has been a member of Cerberus Capital Management operations team.

Currently, Vanessa serves on the Board of Levi Strauss and Company, SpeedFC, and the Purdue University Band Advisory Board.  Her former affiliations include the advisory board of the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University, the National Minority Supplier Development Council, and as chair of the Women’s leadership Council of the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas.  She is actively involved with her alma mater, Purdue University and was keynote speaker at Purdue; “Women in Academia: Institutional Change to Enhance Success” conference and participates in Purdue’s Old Masters program.  Vanessa spoke @ Harvard’s Women in Business Undergraduate Conference, about “Lessons for Success”.

Passionate about creating value, building teams and making a positive difference in the companies she works with, Vanessa is also dedicated to volunteer work with organizations that impact children’s lives for the better.  Fundraising activities include: the Children’s Miracle Network, NYU Medical Center’s Rusk Institute, Boys and Girls Clubs of America “Afterschool” Program, American Cancer Society, American Red Cross, March of Dimes and The United Way.

Vanessa has been honored many times within the retail and apparel manufacturing  industry, most recently as an industry leader by the Young Menswear Association (YMA) as the AMY award recipient in recognition of her outstanding support of educational opportunities for young individuals studying for careers in the apparel industry.  She has been listed as Fortune Magazine’s “The 50 Most Powerful Women in Business” for four consecutive years, as well as two years on Forbes Magazine’s “The 100 Most Powerful Women” list.