One of the greatest decisions I ever made was attending FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) in NYC. Yes, I dreamt about going away to college like everyone else, but as soon as I walked down 27th street I was pretty much hooked. It wasn’t so much the beauty of the school that got me- it was the weight it held throughout the industry. I was definitely focused on being able to get that first job, and I knew FIT would help get me there. Fortunately early submission worked in my favor and my dream came true- I was accepted. And just in case you were wondering- yes, I still have that letter!
My favorite class happened to be during my last semester- it was FM422, Merchandising Strategies, with a professor I will call MJ. It was in that classroom where my passion (the one I talk to you about all the time) really came to light. It’s where I learned how to implement an assortment strategy and present a business plan. It’s where I learned about Les Wexner and the Limited Brands family- and why I became determined to join their organization. It’s a class that made me better at what I do/ love, and for that I am forever grateful.
So why am I telling you all this?
Well this past month MJ retired. And all I wanted to do was get to New York and tell his students how lucky they were. To make sure they soaked in as much information as they possibly could before he left. I didn’t actually get to do that, so I sent a note instead. It’s a thank you. One of many that I should and will write to mentors, like MJ, who helped me get to where I am today. Please take a minute to read it below. I am hoping it will remind you of someone special that contributed to your success. Maybe it will even inspire you to write a quick thank you as well.
And to FIT- know that this dreamer is only on phase two. I still hope to one day be an adjunct professor and walk through those halls again… I want nothing more than to help educate and inspire others, just as your staff did for me.
Happy New Year to you all, and I will see you on the 1st!
Some teachers teach, others IMPACT. MJ, who taught a little class called FM422, did just that. Not only was he there for me as I interviewed with Limited Brands post-graduation, but he has continued to be a source of encouragement and support the last 12 years.
You might say that's his job as a teacher, to go above and beyond for his students, but I disagree. It's quite easy to dismiss an email or say that you are busy- which many of us do from time to time. But not MJ. Yes, he taught me how to create a profitable business strategy, but more importantly he taught me how to be a mentor. Something that means way more than any excel file or power point presentation.
So here is the punch line... Thank you MJ for the last 19 years. I cannot speak for anyone else, but I am pretty sure your impact can be felt throughout the industry. We are all lucky to have walked into your classroom and taken away a tiny portion of your wisdom. Best of luck on your next endeavor, you will definitely be missed.