My freshman year at Syracuse University, Pete Nordstrom, co-president of Nordstrom, Inc., visited the campus as part of the Genet Lecture Series. Professor Amanda Nicholson selected me and nine other students in the retail management program to be a part of a roundtable discussion with Mr. Nordstrom. His lecture and our personal dialogue during the roundtable inspired me, and I knew I would work for his company in the future.
During our interaction, I asked Mr. Nordstrom how I could have a career with Nordstrom, and he replied, “Start working in the stores now, and get to know our customers and our culture.” I did just that! While home for holiday break, I was a seasonal salesperson at Nordstrom in my hometown of Troy, Mich. At the end of the holiday season, the store manager offered me to be one of five students to participate in the first year of Nordstrom’s internship program. I accepted and was one of the first interns in the history of Nordstrom.
Since meeting Pete Nordstrom, every six months, I would email him to stay in touch. This networking proved incredibly successful. When I was finally ready to join the company, he welcomed me with open arms.
I began my Nordstrom career as a salesperson, but I had so much support and encouragement from everyone. I learned so much and quickly moved down the Nordstrom pyramid (customers are on top).
When I opened the first Nordstrom in Cincinnati, Ohio, Mr. Nordstrom visited the store and spent time catching up with me on the sales floor. We met up again when I joined the buying team in Seattle. Ever since our first meeting at SU in September 2003, Pete Nordstrom has been a very supportive, encouraging mentor to me. We touch based regularly, discussing my career path, ways to improve the customer experience in the stores and how to be most successful in every role I have held. I would never have had the opportunity to work for, let alone meet, Pete Nordstrom without Professor Amanda Nicholson and Syracuse University. My years at Syracuse University have proved invaluable to my success both in my personal life and career.