Alumni of the Week: Jess Vaccaro ’12

jvaccaro-aow-photoI started the retail management program at Whitman knowing exactly where I wanted to be after graduation. I had always had an interest in retail and fashion and wanted to pursue a career as a buyer. At the end of my junior year, I secured a summer internship with a major retailer but two weeks into my internship I knew it was absolutely not what I wanted to do. I was feeling a little lost at the beginning of my senior year when I got a call from Professor Nicholson. She asked if I would be interested in attending a dinner with Syracuse alumni who were in town for a retail summit.

I was seated next to the then general manager of Bloomingdale’s flagship store in New York; I now know that Professor Nicholson had acted with intention. With a gentle push in the right direction, she wanted me to learn more about the opportunities that were possible in the store-line sector of retail. I learned that I could combine my love for retail and fashion with my desire for client facing interaction and the ability to build relationships. I decided I was going to pursue the opportunity and be a part of Bloomingdale’s store management training program.

After almost three years with Bloomingdale’s in various management roles, I was given the opportunity to enter the luxury sector of retail as an assistant in the Harry Winston flagship salon. Although it was a step back from management, I welcomed the experience knowing it would allow me to gain a more elevated knowledge of selling and operating a business. My manager empowered me to participate in identifying and interviewing candidates to work alongside me as assistants. I enjoyed being a part of the process, as I was responsible for on-boarding candidates and would watch them acclimate to the business.

If you have ever worked retail, you can understand how easy it is to become consumed by your job; working weekends and holidays made time move at lightning speed. Relationships with friends and family were suffering. I knew I wanted to continue working with people, and I was motivated by helping others succeed, which lead me to recruiting.

I began interviewing with all types of companies, but no one seemed to understand how my experience in retail could translate into a recruiting role…until I found 24Seven. Coming on board as a corporate recruiter, I am able to give candidates the opportunity to make a career change and leverage their previous experience in roles as business development managers and account managers. As a staffing firm that works with companies in the fashion, beauty, retail and marketing/creative industries, we look for candidates to join our team who have firsthand experience in the industries we staff. We have seen that candidates with those backgrounds prove to be most successful because they truly understand the needs of our clients. As the firm continues to expand, we are always looking for new talent in any of our 11 offices across the country (we also have two abroad)! Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions about coming to work for us, or if you have any staffing needs at your current company!

Jess Vaccaro
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