The NRF Student Association is making sure to keep the best and the brightest students. A member of the ”Aspire 2 Retail” Intercollegiate Challenge team, Florida State University‘s Tamara Smith is focused on her next goal — a career in retail. Read more to learn about Tamara’s experience and her dream job.
Retail allows me the opportunity to learn and serve in an ever-changing, always relevant industry. This industry provides what is needed to make every part of our lives what we imagine, and I think that is powerful.
What has you most excited about this industry?
I am excited about seeing more and more retailers place greater importance on the well-being of our communities. I think supporting education, bringing awareness to various causes, and on a global level, thinking about the well-being of workers on different parts of the supply chain, shows a commitment to excellence and benefits both customers and businesses alike.
Can you share what retail experience you have so far?
My retail experience spans my entire life as my mother worked for (Burdines) Macy’s for most of my life! Whether it was choosing a birthday gift, participating in the coolest ”Take your daughter to work day,” or getting my first retail job as a sales associate at Macy*s in Tallahassee, Fl, I enjoyed being a part of a bigger picture that seemed so special. I have also worked for Pepper Flower, a small, local boutique, and with Fashion Designer’s Expo, a company committed to promoting small businesses and up-and-coming designers through fashion shows and other events, while raising funds and awareness for various charitable organizations.
What were you most looking forward to at NRF’s BIG Show, and your visit to New York City?
As a Floridian, it might actually be “fun” to possibly see snow for the third time in life! I hope I have a chance to see a few sites while braving the cold weather. I look forward to making new connections with people I that hope I can continue to learn from while I’m a member of the retail community. I’m also looking forward to meeting my fellow teammates as a part of the winning ”Aspire 2 Retail” Challenge team. After hours of working together via phone and internet, we will finally meet in person!
What’s your dream retail job?
I’m not sure what my dream job would be, but I know what I want it to entail. I want to work with an environment committed to quality, excellence, and enriching lives every chance they are given. Whether it’s presenting in front of an audience, running my own business, or working with a major company, I want to help make lives the best that they can be.
Please share something else about your background, your experience, your achievements that we wouldn’t know.
I had the pleasure of being born and raised in Miami, a beautiful place full of many cultures including my own Jamaican/Cuban heritage. I moved to Tallahassee, to attend Florida State University, only to now call Tallahassee my home.
Retail became my paralleled interest as a career while earning my bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education as an undergraduate student. Children are some of my favorite people, and it was my students and colleagues that inspired me to pursue my dreams.
After gaining invaluable experience and making wonderful memories during 5 years of teaching at Kate Sullivan Elementary, I decided to make an investment in my enthusiasm for the retail industry, and pursue my Master’s degree in Global Merchandising and Product Development at FSU.
I am a part of the winning “Aspire 2 Retail” Collegiate Challenge team that will be presenting at this year’s BIG show, and I proudly represent FSU.
I have been able to focus on my educational and career goals with full support from my friends, my family, my younger sister who is also a Seminole, and my husband, Orrane who has made all of this possible.