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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

Leigh Deal

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Leigh Deal

Leigh Deal, store manager of training at The Container Store, is pursuing a master's degree in education from University of Phoenix.

Training her associates for passion and continued success

Much of what Leigh Deal learned about retail, she learned from her mother. A flight attendant for some 35 years, Leigh’s mom met hundreds of different passengers every flight, five days a week. As Leigh says, her mother had to “learn how to communicate with many personalities, make them feel welcome and safe, manage and entertain them and carry herself in such a way that everyone wanted to fly with her again.” In short, she had to learn how to become an effective salesperson.

Leigh believes that everything matters, and she brings an enviable awareness of the customer experience and what it takes to drive the business to her current role.
Fanchon Henneberger, The Container Store

Inspired by her mom and the mantra “no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care,” Leigh has built a stellar career at The Container Store and currently facilitates training initiatives at the corporate level while leading various training teams at new store openings across the country.

She loves retail because it allows her to foster genuine connections with her customers, and it challenges her every day with new problems to solve, new personalities to meet and new conversations to start. In the words of her manager Fanchon Henneberger, “Leigh believes that everything matters, and she brings an enviable awareness of the customer experience and what it takes to drive the business to her current role.”

With her Dream BIG scholarship at University of Phoenix, Leigh will pursue a master’s degree in education. Paired with her considerable expertise in retail coaching, the degree will empower her to “significantly impact adults in their work environments so they can learn more, make better decisions and create amazing customer service experiences.”

When she is not mentoring peers or managing her 50-person sales team, Leigh participates in many of The Container Store’s community outreach opportunities. Some of her past projects include initiatives with the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas and the Make-a-Wish Foundation.


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.