The Retailing and Consumer Science major continues to grow and expand- organically, the fantastic team of professors does too. The Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences introduced two amazing industry professionals to the RCSC team - Lance Erickson and Cory Quailes. These individuals share many things in common, through traveling, working for industry leaders, and having a passion for retail- the drive to educate students and see them succeed.
Lance Erickson began his career soon after graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and a minor in Psychology. Lance shared that he selected Marketing as his degree choice because of his curiosity about consumer behavior. His journey began in advertising, working for Grey Advertising in New York for six years. As an account executive, Lance served as the liaison between the client (Hasbro Toys) and the creative teams at the agency. Though passionate about this role, he felt he needed to do more and go a step further. Lance had a goal of becoming a Brand Manager to oversee all aspects of marketing for a product/service. This led him to go back to school and to receive a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) to achieve his goals. Although he had a pre-established plan, Lance enrolled in a course that changed his plans completely. He became a consumer researcher, which led him to receive a Ph.D. in Marketing. In 2002, he was recruited as an Assistant Professor in the Marketing Department at Eller. Lance went on to pursue his career further in New York City for a few years but has since returned to Arizona and is very happy to engage with students and teach various courses in the Retailing and Consumer Sciences major.
When asked how he sees the retail industry evolving, Lance said, “ultimately, I think retailers will emerge in a better position than pre-pandemic. The challenge for the near future will be in understanding changing patterns of consumer behavior." The pandemic created curiosity for Lance to discover what consumer behaviors were temporary and what may have changed permanently.
We asked Lance to share advice with students that remain relevant in his life today, and he stated, "this may seem basic but, be on time, and be prepared. It's good advice for a student, and it remains good advice when you are in your career. Everyone's time is valuable, so being late or unproductive means you are not adding value to your organization. If you're on time and prepared, you develop a reputation for reliability." Lance encourages students to enjoy the time they have left as students and to establish a good balance between work and personal life. "I worked hard at my courses as an undergrad, but I also met the people who became lifelong best friends. Both are important!"
Cory Quailes is a generalist and passionate about many things, specifically the creative and global culture. "Whether in fashion, food, furniture, or art, creativity is central to what motivates me." Though a new resident of Arizona, he expressed he has always been fascinated with the Southwest and the desert. He shared his favorite artist growing up was Georgia O'Keeffe. He expressed his admiration for her paintings of the New Mexican southwest landscape; "it brought me a sense of peace." Traveling and exploring play a considerable part in Cory's life and development- he has traveled to several countries on five continents and visited countless cities. He expressed that new cultures inspire and have molded him into a better, more well-rounded person.
Cory wanted to use his career, experience, and knowledge to make a more significant difference than only growing sales for a company. His approach to education has evolved. Intending to help students improve their lives, he sees teaching as a multi-level interaction. He finds as much value in learning from his students as they get learning from him.
Cory believes the industry can use its power, force, and size to impact the negative trend affecting our environment today. "I am confident that by partnering with the industry, we can improve people's lives while creating beautiful, value-added products." Cory hopes to see the retail industry more environmentally compatible in the future, eventually leading other initiatives to promote inclusivity, global unity, and environmental conservation.
"Keep an open mind and always keep learning. Be hungry and question everything. Go deeper than what is on the surface." Cory recognizes that there is still growth to endure, even when you think you have reached a limit.
We are incredibly fortunate to have such remarkable people educating future industry leaders. Though new to the major, Cory and Lance have undeniable expertise and experience. This experience will help move the industry forward and teach our students principles that will carry them far through their careers.
Are you a Retailing and Consumer Science alumni who would be willing to share your experiences with current UArizona students? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Author credits: Paulette Estrada, Senior in the Retailing and Consumer Sciences Major