The Innovate State Speaker Series brings both emerging and accomplished Spartans back to campus for a fireside chat-style interview. These 60-minute sessions offer the chance for guests to share their perspectives on a wide array of topics like innovation, startup life, investments, and career paths. Students get the opportunity to hear firsthand about the hard knocks of the entrepreneurship & innovation hustle to maintaining work/life balance. These are stories of success, stories of failures, and stories of uncommon will—and you do not want to miss them.
Innovate State kicks-off at 6 p.m. ET and are free to the community. Events will be offered in a hybrid-format, offering attendance options in-person & virtually. Early registration is highly encouraged.
About our Speaker
Rob Smith, CEO & Founder, The Phluid Project / GET Phluid / The Phluid Foundation
Rob Smith, the CEO & Founder of The Phluid Project, has created a brand, combining his retail profession with his passion: a commitment to social justice.
After graduating from Michigan State University, Rob began a long retail career—spanning over 30 years—orchestrating multi-billion dollar businesses through merchandising, e-commerce, marketing, product development, and supply chain management. He worked his way through Macy’s for over two decades, working within four divisions and finishing with his final position as GMM/EVP Macy’s Corporate in product merchandising.
Gaining new experiences, Rob became GMM/EVP at Victoria’s Secret direct. He was the Children’s Global Chief Product Officer for Nike, Levi’s Jordan, Hurley, and Converse with Haddad Brands. Rob mentors numerous fashion brands and designers, leads the CSR committee as a member of Steve Madden Ltd’s Board of Directors and raises critical funds for LGBTQIA+ organizations. He’s the former Board Chair for The Hetrick-Martin Institute, which empowers, educates, and advocates on behalf of LGBTQIA+ youth worldwide and has also served on the board of directors for Athlete Ally, eliminating homophobia and transphobia in sports.
Today, Rob leads and manages The Phluid Project, a leader in gender-free fashion. Phluid, joining a global movement of freedom, authenticity, and self-expression, leads with values, a powerful community, and a fearlessness to challenge the status quo. Phluid thoughtfully expands into new spaces where they can offer insight, education, and impact, including GET Phluid (gender-expansive training) and The Phluid Phoundation, a nonprofit supporting the most at-risk members of the LGBTQIA+ community (trans women of color and homeless queer youth).
Rob lives in NYC with his husband, Rod Grozier, and his dog, Jackson.