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Honorees

Melissa Gonzalez, Founder of Lion’esque Group

Melissa Gonzalez founded the Lion’esque Group in 2009. For the past decade, the firm of award-winning retail strategists and pop-up architects, have strategized and produced more than 150 retail experiences across the U.S. In 2017, she also launched Clark, an interactive RFID tracking platform for physical retail spaces that give brands real-time transparency into their store performance. Her clients include major brands such as Amazon, COTY, Estée Lauder, Nordstrom, Stella & Dot, The RealReal, and YUM, as well as property groups such as Brookfield and Steiner & Associates.

She reflected on her work in her book, The Pop-Up Paradigm: How Brands Can Build Human Connections in a Digital Age and has been a regular contributor on ABC LA Radio, Cheddar TV, and Advertising Week 360. She has received such honors as “40 under 40” and “Top 10 Retail Design Influencers of the Year” by design:retail magazine, and was named to The Wall Street Journal’s “Top 20 Most Inspiring People” in NYC. In 2019, Lion’esque was selected for the pop-up recreation of the nostalgic Carnegie Deli in New York for the TV series, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.