Annie Szotkowski, Gonzaga University Senior
This January, Gonzaga’s Career Center is planning with Nordstrom to host a fashion show and workshop with stylists at Seattle’s Women’s Leadership Symposium as part of the Seattle Trek, Jan. 10th & 11th.
The Women’s Leadership Symposium is a networking event where Gonzaga alumna speak with and meet current Gonzaga female students, parents and successful Gonzaga graduates in their perspective fields. Topics discuss career trends, professional opportunities, etiquette, job hunting strategies and interviewing tips.
University Regent and former parent, Mary Herche and Gonzaga alumna Brooke Sullivan ‘03 thought of the idea to welcome Nordstrom’s into the Leadership Symposium and successfully submitted a proposal which Nordstroms accepted and will bring industry insight into appropriate attire for female dress.
I posed some questions for Ms. Sullivan in light of the fashion mogul’s participation with the symposium and the benefits projected to help female students in the job search.
Szotkowski: As an active participant in the Seattle GU alumni chapter, what have you noticed or heard most from GU female students’ concerns about preparing for the job market?
Sullivan: We had noticed that female students were concerned about the image they were putting out there when going on interviews or to job fairs. It seemed to be that they wanted to find a balance between being professional and staying true to their personality and style.
Szotkowski: How did that inspire you and Mary Herche to reach out to Nordstrom?
Sullivan: Nordstrom has a number of partnerships in the community in which they provide these events. Nordstrom is a brand that is known for quality and style and we felt they could share some of the “secrets of their success: with the Gonzaga community.
Szotkowski: How does the women’s symposium impact a better understanding of a young female student’s brand?
Sullivan: We hope that by attending and actively participating in the women’s symposium, students will start to think about the brand they want to be putting out there. Difference industries have different “styles” both in fashion and communication. This is a great opportunity to hear from alums who have experience in these industries. They will also share some of their “oopsie” moments!
Szotkowski: How does the symposium help female students market themselves as a leader?
Sullivan: It is a safe place to learn about networking and learn from other female leaders in the area. It will be a time to think about what kind of leader you are looking to be and then try to learn some of the skills you will want to hone to become that leader.
Szotkowski: How do those lessons translate to how a young female professional presents herself?
Sullivan: Being a young, female professional is not nearly as challenging as it once was, thanks to generations that have paved the way before us, but there are still things that we can focus on as women to continue to be successful. Confidence will take you far as long as you can back it up with some proficiency as well.
Szotkowski: Why Nordstrom, specifically?
Sullivan: Nordstrom is the cream of the crop as far as style and fashion, but also, they are a brand that people associate with quality and service. These are great skills that any professional woman should learn in order to be very successful. If you provide quality work and excellent service you will be rewarded.
Szotkowski: Will Nordstrom strive to tailor a young female professional’s work style with one that tailors to the brand she is applying for? Or to emphasize her own personal brand?
Sullivan: The stylists from Nordstrom are going to present some different looks that will go along with different industries. I am sure there will be some jobs that are not covered in detail, but there will be a Q&A and time at the end to show you around the store if you would like!
Szotkowski: When interviewing for a job, the general advice is to dress conservatively. Does conservative dress mean “cookie-cutter?”
Sullivan: NO!! You should always feel comfortable and show your personal style. My advice to young women as they start the interviewing process to make sure your clothes don’t speak louder than your words. You are a smart woman and you want the interviewer to remember you for what you said and what you will add to the company, not how great or trendy or revealing your clothes are. Remember…many of the people conducting the interview could be your mom and dad’s age…what would they think?
Szotkowski: What different career fields will Nordstrom stylists cover as far as dressing for that certain field?
Sullivan: Definitely technology, finance, law [and] we are working on other ideas and would love to hear if you have any specific ideas! We are also going to include panelists from non-profit, marketing, and sales in the presentation.
On Friday, Jan. 11th from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., the Women’s Forum will be hosted in the John W. Nordstrom room at Nordstrom’s flagship store. This forum will bring the women attending the Gonzaga University Trek together with the community of women alumni and parent professionals. Nordstrom stylists will present on professional on professional attire for different fields. Topics will include building your brand, best networking practices and perspectives on workplace cultures.
The Portland Trek, which will be held January 3rd includes a Women’s Symposium as well, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 am in the Sellwood Room of The DoubleTree by Hilton- Lloyd Center.
Parents in the Portland and Puget Sound are encouraged to attend these and other Trek events, such as the Networking Social and Dinner. The following links lead to detailed TREK even listings and parent, alumni and friend registrations for these events.