The Hegi Career Center held the event “Mustangs Wear Prada: Careers in Retail Panel” on February 3 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg East Ballroom. The panel allowed students to learn more about the retail industry and network with four industry professionals. Only two guys could be seen amidst the nearly all-female audience of approximately 25 students.
The panel consisted of four local women working in the retail industry in various positions. Laura Avilia works in the Corporate Social Responsibility department for the Fossil Group; Ali Finney is the Online Managing Editor at “D Magazine.” Caitlin H. Forrest works in management for Macy’s. Finally Summer Mohn is the Manager of College Relations for The Neiman Marcus Group.
All the women shared insights and personal stories about how to develop careers in retail. They made the point that people don’t necessarily have to know fashion, such as knowing the hottest trends and designers, to have a career in the retail industry, because there are so many types of careers in fashion. Sophomore, Tessa Nemec has unique retail goals and shared them by saying, “I am a business major and fashion media minor, so I am looking to get into the business side of the fashion industry.”
One of the tools the women shared in order to have a successful career in retail was the importance of networking. Networking allows for more references, and that helps put your foot in the door and grow your career. Avila addressed the importance of having influential references stating, “ References that hit home to the company is definitely a bonus.” The women also discussed why internships are crucial, especially in the magazine industry according to Finney. Internships provide great opportunities for networking by allowing more connections to be made.
You have to have passion to be successful. All of the women on the panel encouraged students to look at every opportunity available. If rejection happens, they urged the students to keep trying. Through the personal career stories the women shared, students could easily identify the passion these women have for their professions.
The panel members wrapped up by sharing their best advice. Forrest advised, “Bloom where you are planted,” meaning be the best at your current position and take advantage of all that it has to offer, instead of only focusing on the future. Having passion and taking advantage of opportunities will guide anyone in finding a successful career in retail.