Fashionable Opportunities – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Fashionable Opportunities

Polo Ralph Lauren, Bloomingdale's and Herbert Mines Associates (HMA) were all key stops in New York City during spring break for 11 students who were looking for some solid career advice.

On Tuesday, March 18, HWS students met in Manhattan for a day of gathering information about the world of fashion sponsored by the Salisbury Center for Career Services. The group of primarily first-years and sophomores were exposed to many opportunities and options available in the fashion industry.

“I love fashion- 'America's Next Model,' 'Project Runway,' etc.,” says Sarah Olsen '11. “But that is such a select part of the fashion industry. Discovering the other aspects was intriguing and useful.”

Students met at 8:30 a.m. with Kristin Dennehy '90, managing director of HMA, one of the world's largest executive search firms, serving the fashion and retail industry.

At Polo Ralph Lauren on Fifth Avenue, students heard from Evelino Ruibal, account executive, and Frederic Dursunian, shop manager. They discussed how the Ralph Lauren company was built and what a career path in the company entails.

Next, students visited the DFS Group, the world's largest private travel retailer and heard from Senior Vice President of Merchandise Planning and Distribution Dan Binder, who discussed among other things, how to be considered for the DFS college graduate training program.

At Bloomingdale's, students met Jerry Wu, manager of central education. Wu is a key human resource executive who plays an integral role in running the college recruitment efforts for the company. He spoke about getting into Bloomingdale's training program and, once accepted, what a career path might look like.

Lunch featured discussions with a number of young alums in the industry including Laura Clark '07, research assistant at HMA; Kristina Nangle '07, design assistant for Eliza J., working under Julia Workman '99; Eliza Spear '07, merchandising assistant at DKNY; and Marian Spurrier '07, program coordinator for people and culture at Eileen Fisher.

After lunch, students met with Matthew Ryan '88, sales executive for Richloom Fabrics. Ryan spoke about his career in sales for iconic brands in the industry such as Polo Ralph Lauren and Diesel, and how he transitioned into the fabric side of the business. He spends six months in the U.S. and six months in Shanghai, and is currently working with Bed, Bath & Beyond on a line of products due out in spring 2009 that are made of either organic or recycled materials. He gave students a sneak peek into the advertisement, marketing and actual product designs of the line.

Kevin Fuller '90, director of recruitment and training in Manhattan, and general area director for The Container Store based in Boston, spoke about his carer and what branding, or brand management, means at The Container Store. Fuller began his career in the Hobart Admissions Office as Assistant Director of Admissions. He then spent a year in admissions at Vassar College before being recruited to The Container Store as a sales leader working directly with customers and managing sales. In 2006, he was promoted to his current role and relocated to New York City to help support the company's growth in the Northeast. In early 2008, Fuller took on additional responsibility as general area director for the Company's Boston stores.

Workman, fashion designer of women's apparel at Eliza J., discussed how she broke into the industry as well as walked through the process of how a garment is brought from the design stage on the written page, through production, to being merchandised in a store.

“I got a lot out of it,” says Olsen, “I learned about the marketing, and the buying and selling aspects. Overall it was an eye opening experience to future career paths.”

Dennehy concluded the day by taking questions and offering advice to the students.

“We'd like thank Kristin Dennehy very much for her generosity and help,” says Brandi Ferrara, associate director of the Salisbury Center for Career Services.