Bloom Where You Are Planted

Greetings,

This is week 4 and I am officially half way done with the internship! This past week was a very exciting one for all of the Macy’s Store Management Interns in the North Central Region. We all had the opportunity to go out to Chicago for the Intern Summit. At this 2-day event, we get to meet the other interns, network with senior executives, understand different facets of the analytical side of Macy’s business, explore the city, and volunteer at a local food bank. Hopefully this post will give you all an idea of what we did!

planeview
Let’s go!

Day 1:
Day one was packed with events and we were always on the go. We started the day off with a warm welcome from the CEO of Macy’s, Mr. Terry Lundgren, which was given through a podcast. Mr. Lundgren provided a lot of helpful insights and answered questions that the interns had for him. The biggest takeaway for me was him telling us to, “bloom where you are planted.” Focus where you are at the time and do your job well, and people will notice you. Additionally, be curious and keep asking questions. Let people know where you want to be and what your goals are. This message gave me a lot of inspiration and motivation to finish my last 8 weeks at Macy’s with a different mindset.

welcomepackage

 

Following the podcast, we had a quick lunch courteous of Macy’s to prepare us for our next event. The team invited a few Sales Managers up from the Macy’s State Street store to give us an overview of analyzing Macy’s business through an analytical side. Friends, in retail there are a lot of numbers to look at. Every family of business, department, vendors, etc. are all broken down into numbers by the detail, and it is our job to analyze those numbers and find a solution given what we have. My team and I were assigned to the luggage department in the State Street store. We took a trip over there to analyze the entire department to see if there are any recommendations we can give based off the knowledge we have. Walking through the 9-floor store was an eye opening experience to see the size and scale of this particular store. Coming from a small store based in Cincinnati with just 4 floors of departments, this store in Chicago was a sight to see. You can see the different brands that they offer through the My Macy’s initiative, the different products they carry, and how each floor is merchandised based on the customer. Overall, the assignment and time spent in this store was a tremendous learning opportunity for us!

Macy's State Street store in Chicago
Macy’s State Street store in Chicago

After we were done in the store, all of us got on a bus and we headed to the Chicago Cubs game to enjoy the night in Chicago. It was an eventful day with many exciting opportunities to learn. Many of us were drained as we had to get ready for day two very early the next morning!

Day 2: 

cityview
Rise and shine, Chicago.

Day two was a quick one for us. We started off very early in the morning with some breakfast and a guest speaker, the DVP (District Vice President) of Chicago, Brad Poterack. He shared with us his role in Macy’s and how he got to this position. Overall, he was just a very intelligent guy with a wealth of knowledge to share with us. Thank you, Mr. Poterack!

Afterwards, we had a panel of full-time EDPs (Executive Development Program) come in to share their experiences with us at Macy’s. The EDP is the full-time position that the Store Management Interns could potentially get offered right after college. It is basically a fast-track program with a goal of getting us to the executive levels within the company. You can see all of the interns in the room switching gears and paying full attention at what the EDPs had to say. Given this opportunity, I wanted to ask the EDPs as many questions possible to learn from them, and to see if I can see myself in this position. To say the least, it was an insightful morning filled with information that directly impacts us to see if this is the right path for all of the interns!

We had a quick lunch afterwards, packed our bags, and headed to our last event of the summit. The entire team volunteered at one of Chicago’s largest food banks, the Greater Chicago Food Depository. One reason why I love working at Macy’s is their culture of always giving back to the community. At Macy’s, we strongly believe in the value of giving back to the communities of where we live and work. That is why in 2013, Macy’s Inc. giving exceeded $73 million and 134,000 volunteer hours of community service! That is incredible, and it goes to show that giving back is always in fashion at Macy’s.

At the food bank, our team was assigned to pack apples, carrots, and potatoes. Within 2 hours or so, our team packed a total of 12,488 lbs of apples, carrots, and potatoes. We worked hard, bonded with each other, and had fun while doing it. Definitely a great way to end the 2-day Intern Summit with Macy’s.

chicagofoodbank
The entire North Central Region Interns, Chicago 2015.

Hopefully this post provided some insights on what we did in Chicago! I will end with this quote that was brought up during one of our sessions:

“Learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.”

Until next time,
Justin

 

Seeing How Others Perform

Hello all,

Week 3 at Macy’s went by fast! I am slowly grasping how the business operates day-to-day and understanding more about the retail world. You know how people say the retail world is “fast-paced”? I am finding that out firsthand. There is so much to learn at first, and it may seem hard to keep up with all of the information. Everyone learns differently, but for me, I learn the most efficiently by seeing and experiencing it, as well as learning from others. That is why I was so glad to find out that Macy’s incorporated a weekly Talking SHOP (Seeing How Others Perform) with various people within the company. This activity requires me to network with other employees from sales associates to district executives. It is quite simple actually. You take time out of your day to sit down with them, talk with them, ask them questions, listen to their experiences, ask for feedback and advice, and then shadow them if time permitted. It is amazing how much you can actually learn from one individual. These are people who have been working at Macy’s for awhile now, and have been very successful every step of the way. I had to seize the opportunity to pick their brains and apply them throughout my internship. This week I had the opportunity to do a Talking SHOP with my sales associates, the district director of human resources, and also the store manager. The feedback and advice that they provided is invaluable and it gave me a sense of motivation to go above and beyond.

I encourage all of you to constantly do a Talking SHOP wherever you are. Even if your company doesn’t give you a platform to do this, like Macy’s does, go out and do it yourself! You will have the opportunity to meet so many successful individuals in your every day life and in your work place. Grasp the opportunity to learn and see how they perform, what they are doing right, and apply all of that into your daily tasks and routines. You will be amazed at how much you can learn.

Other than that, I am preparing for next week here at Macy’s! It is going to be a big week as all of the interns in the North Central Region will be traveling to Chicago for an intern summit. I am stoked for this opportunity, so stay tuned next week for more updates!

All the best,
Justin

Week 2 – Fun Day and Project Time

Hello again,

They say the retail industry is fast-paced, and I can definitely attest to that because week one flew by fast. Two main things happened this week for me: A King’s Island fun day and getting assigned my project. 

  1. King’s Island Fun Day
    I cannot stress the importance of getting to know your leadership team and the people you work with.  This was one of my goals this week, and it came at the perfect time because my entire leadership team and I went to King’s Island for a fun day! It was a great opportunity to connect with people in a non-professional setting, and to learn more about each other on a personal level.
    kingsislandAsk a few simple questions and let the conversation take itself from there. Here are a few simple questions that I personally like asking:- How long have you been working at ______?
    – How did you get into the ______ industry?
    – What is your greatest piece of advice that you can give to someone new to this industry/company?

    And make sure to share about your passions and experiences as well! You will be surprised at how willingly people are towards listening to you. This has made for some great conversations for me, and it has allowed me to feel more a part of the family at Macy’s.

  2. Project Time
    This week I also got assigned my biggest project for the summer. I will be working on a benefit program that Macy’s offers and give a final presentation at the end of my internship to the district executives, my VPSM (Vice President Store Manager), and my mentor. The goal of this project is to establish an action plan that will drive participation towards the use of this program which then should translate into sales. In order to achieve this goal, I will have to get my team on board with the plan and mentor them through coaching strategies. My conversations with my team of sales associates is going to be crucial in driving this initiative.Macy’s is all about people working for people. And this idea is engrained through coaching and mentoring at Macy’s. You never coach through numbers, but instead, you coach through behaviors. One thing that I have learned is inspiration comes from example. Here are a few helpful tips that I have learned when placed in a position to lead and inspire people:
    – Have a clear goal and a reasonable approach to achieve it
    – Recognize contribution
    – Begin with what is working, then build on it
    – Focus on the strengths of each person instead of weaknesses
    – Clear hurdles that are in your team’s way
    – Roll up your sleeves, show your team that you can contribute
    – Recognize your team every week
    – Inspire your team by keeping your commitments to them
    – Show and communicate your progress towards your goal
    – MAKE IT FUN.

Hope this week’s post provided some good insights for you guys! I look forward to sharing more of my experiences for next week. I will end on this quote that I saw earlier this week which spoke to me:

“You gotta skate to where the puck is going to be, not where the puck is now.”

Until next week, enjoy and take care!

– Justin

 

Life at Macy’s – Week 1

Hello friends,

Wow, I can not believe I have finished a whole week at Macy’s already! This has been one of the most hectic weeks yet. Last week I was wrapping up my trip in Taiwan, which looked somewhat like this:

One of my favorite pictures that I took in Taiwan, a view of Taipei 101 from the top of a mountain.
One of my favorite pictures that I took in Taiwan, a view of Taipei 101 from the top of a mountain.

And this week, I am placed into a manager role at a Macy’s store through the internship program, going through the on boarding process and preparing for our biggest one day sale of the season. Talk about a change in lifestyle.

I am official!
I am official!

 

But overall, my first week has been great. I have been a sponge soaking in new information every single day. The first couple of days I got to meet and know my leadership team, who all gave me a warm welcome into the Macy’s family:

Learning from a group of individuals who all have a wealth of knowledge about Macy's and the retail industry.
Learning from a group of individuals who all have a wealth of knowledge about Macy’s and the retail industry.

Additionally, I went through the training process to prepare for my role at Macy’s. Macy’s prepares its employees well with valuable training through CBT (Computer Based Training) and on floor training to fully understand Macy’s and how their business operates. What I truly love about Macy’s is how goal oriented and results driven they are. Everything is about sales and numbers here, and Macy’s breaks it down into the finest and most important details. This is a big reason why I believe they are one of the largest and most successful retailers in the nation.

Now let’s talk about my specific role here at Macy’s. I am in a manager position where I get to manage a whole department floor alongside with my mentor. On the first day, my Store Manager informed me that I would be working in women’s ready to wear, sportswear, and petites for the next 8 weeks. You should of saw my face when I heard that. “Ohhh.. really? Awesome..!” I probably said something along those lines. Personally, I have no clue on anything related to women’s fashion, clothing, or anything in between. But I was ready to take on the challenge and learn as much as I can. Once I got all of that figured out, I began walking the floors with my mentor in our department over the next few days to understand how everything works and operates. I also got to meet my entire team of sales associates, who are all awesome and hardworking people! Additionally, we began rearranging merchandise on the floor to prepare for Macy’s One Day Sale event this weekend, which accounts for a huge percent of our sales for just this month! I guess I came in to the right place at the right time. So far, all of this accounts for Monday – Thursday. Friday began our One Day Sale event, which really is two days because it goes on until Saturday.

Friday, Macy’s One Day Sale Event!
I was informed on Thursday that I would be managing my department all by myself without my mentor from 8:00am – 1:30pm on one of our biggest sales events. I was more than excited for this challenge, because it finally gave me an opportunity to take all that I have learned into play. At the start of the day, I got in early to touch base with my entire team of sales associates to make sure they know our expectations for the day. I wanted to engage with them as much as possible before customers started rolling in. We went over goals, strategies, and expectations. The next 5 hours were so rewarding and I was able to learn so much. I interacted with customers, rotated around each station to make sure everything was running smoothly, and just assisted my team with anything needed. This experience allowed me to see how each individual on my team was different, which gave me an idea on utilizing talent to create the most value out of everyone. For me personally, it was about figuring how I can better assist them, motivate them, and create a positive environment for them. We had a manager meeting in the afternoon to look at numbers. I was so happy to hear that my department was driving results and meeting our goals. My mentor even wrote me a Macy’s MAGIC Maker card which rewards its employees on the hard work performed:

Hard work and good work should be rewarded, and that's what Macy's is all about.
Hard work and good work should be rewarded, and that’s what Macy’s is all about.

To sum it all up, Macy’s has been great to me and I love this company. I know these next 7 weeks are going to fly by, so I am ready to make the most of every opportunity I get!

Biggest Takeaway From Week 1:
Get to know your team first before anything else. Ask them how they are doing, how long they have been working here, etc. Be friends with them! It is important to build that trust and relationship first, then translate that into business and loyalty.

I hope this blog post gave everyone a better understanding on what Macy’s and retail is like. See you here next week for my second week updates at Macy’s! Enjoy and take care.

– Justin

I’m Not in Columbus Anymore

I am officially moved in at Xavier University’s apartments in Cincinnati for the next two months for my internship at Luxottica Retail, (I don’t start until Monday, but I wanted to give myself time to move in and figure out a new city) and I already can’t believe how different Cincinnati is from good ole’ Columbus Town.  I also have made a couple discoveries.

Day one mistake:  trying to jog on Xavier Campus; Cincinnati is so hilly! It definitely made my run more difficult than I’m used to and had me looking up gym memberships so I can find a treadmill to run on a relatively flat surface to save my legs from dying every time I run.

Day  one discovery:  Xavier University is small, especially compared to the wonderful Ohio Sate campus I know and love.  At first I thought I was just missing part of campus when I kept jogging by the same buildings but a look at the campus directory told me that I had actually seen the campus in its entirety.  It was definitely a weird feeling considering how big our campus is, and I realized I prefer the big campus feel we have at Ohio State.

Well, three days until I officially start work, not that I’m counting down or anything.

#MyFisherInternship #ExploringCincy