The Terry J. Lundgren Center (TJLC) recently caught up with Retailing and Consumer Sciences alumna, Lauren Richardson (Wicke). Lauren, who attended the University of Arizona as an out of state student from McKinney, Texas, currently lives in Hoboken, New Jersey. She is currently the Assortment Director for Textiles for Macy's, where she manages the assortment architecture of the Home Textiles world, balancing the core of the assortment with trends and locational strategies. Lauren has also been in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade eight years and counting – which we think might be one of the most exciting professional accomplishments on her growing resume!
Lauren has been with Macy’s for eight years, which is a relatively short time in one’s career, however she has already witnessed so much change in retail. She shared that, “Even in my eight years with Macy's, I think back to not being an omni-channel company and buying differently for our digital business versus stores. Now, we are not only a full omni-channel retailer, but we are also serving the customer in completely new ways such as Buy Online Pick-Up In Store as well as same day delivery with DoorDash.” And she reports that change is happening now, faster than ever due to retail’s reaction to COVID-19. “I am excited to see what the future of the store experience will be and how the customer will continue to evolve coming out of the pandemic.”
Lauren’s experience with change does not only stem from her experience in retail, but also from her personal interest in growing in general. Lauren shared that some of her professional interests include seeking out continued personal and professional growth opportunities. She told us, “I even joined an online conference earlier this year! It’s always an incredible reset for me both personally and professionally.” Lauren’s growth mindset allows her to continue to be competitive in her career and in the industry in general. In addition to conferences, Lauren has sought out mentoring and networking opportunities, both within and outside of Macy’s, as well as in other industries. “It allows me to see how I can apply what is happening from a global perspective.”
When we asked Lauren what advice she would share with current college students, she said she would encourage them to get out of their comfort zone. “Take the opportunity to work in groups with peers outside of your friend group! When you get into your full-time job you are going to have to work with different people who come from all walks of life for the same purpose.” She also encourages current students to start practicing professional skills now. “Network, network, network! Go to every information session, career fair, networking session you can and get to know the recruiters and employees and make sure you follow up with them personally to get career advice. You never know who could be your future boss or mentor!” These tactics will not only serve you in the professional world, but also when you are a student as well!
Lauren shared with the TJLC what she misses most about Tucson and the University of Arizona and the answer was apparent, “The professors and the weather! The professors at the University of Arizona, specifically the retail professors, are some of the best in the country.” And we could not agree more. Before concluding our conversation, Lauren shared with us something we have heard from many alumni to the Retailing and Consumer Sciences program and Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing, “I feel incredibly fortunate to have been taught, encouraged, and mentored by such an incredibly talented and knowledgeable group. I honestly don't think I would be where I am today if it hadn't been for them.”
Are you a Retailing and Consumer Sciences Alumni who would be willing to share your experiences with current UArizona students? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.