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Congratulations to our HBCU Leadership Challenge finalists!

Jessica Tarver and LaKesha Brown

Nailah Davis

Madisen Suell

Kenthia Roberts

Madison Pleas

Watch the video below to hear Target announce our first and second-place HBCU Leadership Challenge Winners!

what is the HBCU future leaders in retail challenge?

The HBCU Future Leaders in Retail Challenge is a case study competition to develop comprehensive leadership plans that will provide students with exposure to the scope of responsibilities and dynamic challenges that Target Leaders tackle on a day-to-day basis while further developing their own leadership skills, professional acuity and retail acumen.

Submissions for the HBCU Leadership Challenge have now closed.

what are the benefits of participating?

sharpen your skills as a future leader and business owner  

Think like a future leader of people and business owner!  As a leader in one of our retail locations, you are tasked as a business owner to take care of your team and them accountable to the following: delivering on business goals, providing a joyful guest experience, and keeping your guests safe. You'll have an opportunity to demonstrate your leadership skills and your ability to think critically and creatively to achieve exceptional outcomes.   

engage with Target's leaders and recruiters  

After you submit your entry, you will have the opportunity to connect with Target leaders by joining a webinar. These dynamic individuals will share useful insights about their experiences as Black professionals and leaders at Target. Ask them questions, and take advantage of this exclusive opportunity to learn more from accomplished Black leaders.

what you need to know:

  • You may participate in the HBCU Tech Challenge, the HBCU Leadership Challenge, and the HBCU Design Challenge if you choose, but you can only be selected as a finalist in one Challenge.
  • You may tackle this challenge individually or in teams of two (2). 
  • You must register – confirming your intent to participate – no later than 11:59 P.M. on March 22, 2021. (The registration period has now closed.)
  • You must submit your final entry by no later than 11:59 P.M. CST on April 2, 2021. 

challenge preview:

Scenario: Announced Group Vice President Visit 

Imagine this... 

After you graduated from your HBCU, you began your Executive Team Leader (ETL) role at your local store. After six years of leading multiple teams within your location, you have been promoted to Store Director! You are now a new Store Director (SD) that has been in role for 3 months at your store.  

Your boss, the District Stores Director (DSD – District Manager), sent you an email letting you know that since you have hit your 90-day mark, you will host a visit with the Group Vice President (GVP) in 2 weeks. The GVP is responsible for leading the teams in 6-8 Districts, totaling 60-80 stores, and 6,000-8,000 team members. The GVP’s scope of leadership is typically across 2-3 states. To help you prepare for this visit, your DSD has asked you to present a PowerPoint presentation in one week to highlight the stores wins, what you are currently focused on in store, and be able to present how you carry the store to the ideal state in the next 90 days.

Full challenge details will be sent via email after your register to participate. (The registration period has now closed.)

preparing your entry:

    1. Review the challenge details, associated resources, challenge rules and program FAQs for additional context to inform your proposed solution.   
    2. Develop a solution to address the proposed challenge.   
    3. Submit your entry via the online submission form – this should be a PowerPoint or PDF – voiceover/video within to help narrate your proposal is permitted.  (Note: By submitting your entry, you are confirming your acknowledgement of all terms & conditions as listed on the contest rules & restrictions page. Please review prior to submitting.)
    4. You may also submit a maximum 1-page note giving additional context for presentation if you elect not to do voiceover/video. This is optional.   
    5. Entries will be reviewed and evaluated by a cross-functional team based on the judging criteria below.   

    After submission of your entry, you can add the HBCU Future Leaders in Retail Challenge to your resume using the following language: "Competed in Target's inaugural HBCU Future Leaders in Retail  Challenge to propose innovative solutions to improve guest experience and team climate through the perspective of a Store Director."  

    judging criteria:

    Entries submitted will be judged by Store Leaders and Recruiters. Leaders at Target are expected to model and exhibit Target’s Core Behaviors, and judges will be looking for the same in your presented solutions. The decisions of the judges are final. We will be looking for solutions that exhibit the following four behaviors:  

    • Be Accountable: Individual/Team understood the problem and created a data-driven action plan to solve the issue. Individual/Team shows good understanding and consideration of current four priorities (i.e., Safety and Sales; Team; Guests; Operations Management). 
    • Be Bold: Individual/Team acted fearlessly in their presentation, taking calculated risks to solve the challenge. Individual/Team considered the following: How do you communicate what you’re prioritizing and why? How are you executing strategies to achieve business goals? Do you understand how your strategies impact broader enterprise goals? 
    • Be Curious: Individual/Team presented a creative, original solution that may challenge the status quo.
    • Be One Team:  Individual/Team considered how to leverage partners (i.e., Human Resources Business Partners) to understand your team’s needs in order to motivate them and enable them to drive meaningful results. 

    Questions? Please reach out to

    what you win:

    First Place Prize Winner(s) - one individual or a team of up to 2: Total Value up to $3,780:

    Note: If you choose to work in a team of two (2), the cash prize will be split evenly between the two team members.  All other listed prizes will be awarded individually.

    • $2,000 Cash prize 
    • MacBook ($1,500 value)   
    • One-Year Master Class Subscription ($180 value)   
    • Shipt Membership ($99 value)   
    • And more! 

    Second Place Prize Winner(s) - one individual or a team of up to 2 - Total Value up to $2,765:

    Note: If you choose to work in a team of two (2), the cash prize will be split evenly between the two team members.  All other listed prizes will be awarded individually.

    • $1,000  Cash prize 
    • Apple iPad ($600 value)   
    • One-Year Master Class Subscription ($180 value) 
    • Shipt Membership ($99 value)
    • And more!

    Runners-Up - one individual or a team of up to 2 - Total Value up to $700: 

    Note: If you choose to work in a team of two (2), the cash prize will be split evenly between the two team members.  All other listed prizes will be awarded individually. 

    • $500 Target Gift Card 
    • One-Year Master Class Subscription ($180) 
    • Shipt Membership ($99 value) 

    All Participants Receive:  

    • An invitation to join an exclusive leadership development workshop led by Target leaders
    • The opportunity to add the HBCU Future Leaders in Retail Challenge as a line item on their resume 

    Winner Selection & Notification:

    • Contest Finalists will be notified by email by approximately April 9, 2021. 
    • Finalist presentations will take place on April 16, 2021. 
    • First Place and Runner-up prize winners will be notified by email on approximately April 23, 2021. 
    • Prizes will be awarded by approximately May 7, 2021.

    more about leading one of our retail locations

    As part of our collaborative and guest-focused team, you help us create an experience that makes guests say “I love Target!” You’re working alongside a dedicated team that brings their passion and pride to all that they do. You make shopping at Target inviting, frictionless and rewarding – leaving guests excited to come back.  

    You run a profitable growth business that has one purpose: to help all families discover the joy of everyday life. You lead a sales force of experts, advocates and consultants that discover guests’ needs and offer solutions to earn their loyalty.   

    You lead teams that are passionate about making sure guests get what they came into Target for (plus a little more) every time they shop at their local store. You develop leaders who care about their team members, and team members who care about their guests and each other.  

    For more on what it's like to work at Target, hear from a few of our current team members, leaders, and recruiters! 

    Legal Disclaimer

    By submitting your entry you are confirming that you have read and agree to the contest RULES. 

    Participation in the HBCU Future Leaders in Retail Challenge is entirely voluntary and does not create an employment relationship with Target. Individuals who do choose to participate will not be compensated for the time spent on their submission or for their submitted artwork. 

    By participating in this Contest, Participants are confirming that you understand that submitted concepts may or may not be part of Target’s previous, current or future business endeavors. By uploading a submission you agree to give Target a royalty free, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, license for incidental use of your submission in any form, media or technology now known or later developed, only for historical, promotional or marketing purposes.

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