Whitney Wilkening

As a graduate from the Retailing and Consumer Sciences Major, at the University of Arizona, I am exceptionally grateful for the career opportunity I have, which was only possible through the mentorship of my professors, and incredible knowledge gained in the Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing, both in the classroom, as well as extra-curricular activities offered by the Center. In the classroom, and during professors' office hours, excitement was instilled in me that I could start a company, and I was given the proper tools and knowledge on how to do it, from the branding aspects, to having the proper presentation and aesthetic, so that I could compete with the best in the world. I will never forget one during my senior year, in the Fall of 2007, when I was walking with my cardboard box of new jewels through the mall to the Student Union. I ran into Professor Kramer, and he said 'Whitney, you should put your jewelry in an attache, as it would be a nicer presentation than the cardboard box.' I purchased a small black attache a few days later, and quickly improved my presentation. Seven years from the initial cardboard box, I now have the privilege of going into Bloomingdale's and seeing my brand name in the glass case, an attache that I could have imagined only in my dreams. I have been fortunate to visit campus after graduation, and have held jewelry trunk shows to benefit the Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing Future Retail Leader Scholarship Fund. As an student, I was able to partake in the planning of meetings for Retailing executives, through the Student Advisory Broad, which was an incredible learning opportunity. It was a fantastic preparation for the career world after graduation. Living in New York City is like walking through an open retail book. I have an appreciation for the finest retail presentations in the world because of the way my eye was trained in the classroom. I use what I learned in the classroom everyday in my career.