FTG 0012 - Managing Macy’s in Manhattan with Retail Executive Kathy Hilt ‘90

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Guest Bio:

Kathy Hilt ‘90 Bus is a Division Vice President for Macy’s Inc. In New York, New York. She leads multiple locations in the NYC area including the Herald Square Flagship. She has held successively senior leadership roles at Macy’s since 2005, and prior to that the May Department Stores Company since graduation. She earned a BS in marketing with honors from Penn State’s Smeal College of Business in 1990.

Episode Specifics:

In this special bite-sized Thanksgiving week episode, just in time for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, you’ll get insight into:

· Choosing a major that’s the right fit

· Adjusting to University Park from a small town

· The value of joining a Greek letter organization as a Scholar

· The value beyond the degree itself and moving from entry level to leader

· Skills that can be gained from working in and running a retail operation

· The value of failing fast, being innovative, and reflecting on that failure

· How to assemble, motivate, and lead large teams

· The changing retail landscape

· Getting into retail from a variety of majors - and not just the most obvious ones

· Transferring retail skills and experiences to other industries

· Collaboration and strategic planning

· Finding balance in a 24/7 world

· The importance of building a professional network while in college and seeking mentors and guides

Editor’s Note: Kathy recorded from her office in New York City, and you’ll hear emergency response vehicle sirens in the background of Kathy’s insight during the early part of the episode.

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Credits & Notes:

This content is available in text form here.

This show is hosted, produced, and edited by Sean Goheen ‘11 Lib (Schreyer).

The artwork was created by Tom Harrington, the College’s Web Developer.

The sound effect is “Chinese Gong,” accessed via SoundBible used under Creative Commons License.

The theme music is “Conquest” by Geovane Bruno, accessed via Pixabay and used under Creative Commons License.

Greeting scholars and welcome to following the Gong, a podcast of the Shire Honors College at Penn State. Following the gone takes you inside conversations with our scholar alumni to hear their story so you can gain career in life advice and it spanned your professional network. You can hear the true bread of how stollar alumni have gone on to shape the world after they rind the gone and graduated with honors, and learn from their experiences so you can use their insights in your own journey. This show is proudly sponsored by the Scholar Alumni Society, a constituent group of the Penn State Alumni Association. I'm your host, Shawn Doheen, class of two thousand and eleven, and college staff member. If this is your first time joining us, welcome. If you're a regular listener, welcome back. Kathy Hill, class of one nine hundred ninety, is a division vice president from macy's incorporated in New York New York. She leads multiple locations in the NYC area, including the Herald Square flight chip. She's held successively senior leadership roles at macy since two thousand and five and prior to that the May Department Stores Company. Since graduation, she earned BS and marketing with honors from Penn State'smell college business in nine hundred and ninety. In the special bitesize things doving week episode, just in time for the macy Saints Daving Parade, you'll get insight into choose a major that's the right fit, adjusting to university park from a small town, the value of joining a Greek letter organization as a scholar, the value beyond the degree itself and moving from entry level to leader, steals that can be gained from working in and running a retail operation, the value of failing fast, being innovative and reflecting on those failures. How to assemble, motivate and lead large teams, the changing retail and steep getting into retail from a variety of majors and not just the most obvious ones, transferring retail stills and experiences to other industries, collaboration and strategic planning, finding balance in a seven world and the importance of building professional network while in college and seeking mentors and guides. Just a quick editor's note before we begin. Cathy recorded from her office in New York City and you'll hear emergency response vehicle sirens in the background of Cathy's insights during the early part of this episode and with that let's hear Cathy's story following the gone. Cathy, thank you so much for joining me today on the show. I'm really excited to have this conversation. I think there's a lot of stories about retail constantly changing through covid through developments in technology, and I'm really looking forward to sharing with our students a little bit more of an insight into working in retail leadership. But before I give too much away, if you could just share briefly a little bit of an overview in, you know, regular terms, what you do for a living. Sure. Thanks for having me. I'm really excited to be here. My name is Cathy and I'm a leader for macy's department stores company. We are people that I think a lot of times people think that we sell things to people, we help people buy things, but I would tell you that I believe that we help people feel things, for confident or generous or any one of a myriad of things, but we are the people that get to do that. So it's an industry that's filled with with joy and service, but it's also an exciting industry to be on. You said in your lead up that it's always changing. It is always changing. It's not for the faint of heart. You need to be on a littical and you need to be a risk teaker and you have to be a people person all rolled into one package. And sometimes that left brain right brain combination is unique, but when you have it it can be incredibly rewarding. For me, I am currently in the stores Organization for macy's. I am the leader for many locations here in New York City, where I am today. I'm also the leader for macy's Harald Square, our flagship fantastic. So I'm...

...curious. Were you always looking to go into retail? Did you come into Penn state wanting to do this, or was this something that you discovered while you were here? Definitely something I discovered while I was at Penn State. I didn't really know a lot about retail. I went to Penn State thinking that I was going to graduate with a degree in math and I had, coursework headed that direction for the first couple of semesters and then, as your advisors start talking to you about different career paths you can take. I actually didn't didn't seem like I was going to enjoy the things that were presented to me. So I started picking their brains and I started meeting with a lot of people and picking their brains about what my options were. I think I came in not knowing what types of options I had and in meeting a lot of people and getting to know them and then also finding a degree that I thought all of my credits would transfer over too, I ended up graduating with a degree in marketing because it had a pretty general, broad background, so I could apply to do a lot of different things. And then word on the street when I was an Undergrad was that the retail interviews were pretty difficult and I thought it would be really good practice for me to have really tough interviews and then I get good at it. But I got really excited about the job as I kept going through the interview process and I landed in retail and I've been doing it ever since I started right out of school, which was a long time ago. I think that is an immediate piece of brain advice of kind of tackling the challenges early in the in that career search by looking at what are the tough interviews and going down that path. So so, cat, I know in the prep materials that you provided you said your hometown that you grew up in, everybody could fit in your flagship store in Lower Manhattan. So how did you adjudge us to the Penn state environment, which presumably would have been bigger than your small town, and what advice do you have for students who are coming to university park specifically from that type of hometown environment? So it's a great question. Yeah, the the the flagship here and Harold Square actually employs more people than lived in the town I grew up in. So you can imagine that when I, you know, was draft off at school on that very first day, I was super excited to be there. And then when my parents left and I realized I was all by myself for the likely the first time in my in my life, seventeen years old and you know you have I don't know anybody. I'm scared and I thought, Gosh, you know, I'm supposed to be an adult times, I'm supposed to be this adult person having this adult experience and I have this pit in my stomach like that's my first time, a camp maybe, but I think the number one thing you can do is just run headlong into it and introduce yourself to people and try a lot of things. This is your opportunity to figure out who you are, and the person I was that first day is not the person I was the next year or the following year or the year that I graduated or m today. And that all came from trying different things on four size and, you know, reaching out to different groups and joining different organizations and just really immersing yourself and everything pens to it has to offer. It's one of the beauties of going to school there is you get to try so many things so you can figure out what really speaks to you. Can you tell us what some of those opportunity that you were able to take advantage of? One of our tenants in the mission statement is treating opportunities for leadership and civic engagement. So how were you able to achieve that? That mission tenant through some of those clubs? Sure, I tried a variety of different clubs when I was a freshman and I did a lot of like like athletic clubs to like I try to learn a lot of differently sports not and just so you know, I'm terrible at all of them, which it actually made it kind of fun because I had no pressure because I knew I was never going to be good at it. But I met a lot of great people. I participated in Sorority rush when I was a sophomore and joined a sorority and, to be honest with you, my six best...

...friends and in my entire world I met on at Penn State and they're still my best friends to this day. And through the Sorority I actually was pan holotic delegate, so I got to try my you know, kind of social, political strategic skills as an Undergrad. And then, you know, different organizations within the scholars program itself there were different groups you could be a part of, different interests. Some just being in Atherton Hall, you know, you could walk around the just the area outside of Atherton Hall and there's a million different conversations going on and what's great is just wandering over and saying I couldn't help the here everybody was so welcoming and saying, oh my gosh, come join sit and talk with us. You know, growing up where I did, I often felt sometimes that I didn't quite fit in, and the beauty of the scholars program at Penn State is you find your people, whatever those people are. I would be curious to know what advice specifically you might have for a scholar who is considering joining the Greek community, joining a fraternity or sorority. Obviously there's a lot of heavy demands of being in one of those organizations and there's a lot of demands academically for being a scholar. So how did you balance that and what it what did you learn that you could share with the student considering those opportunities? Yeah, you know, I think you have to do what's right for you and going to campus, like I thought I was going to be that person who was never in a Greek organization. I think I secretly touched them before I went there and it was the one of the best experiences I ever had, and I think the advice I would give is that gives you the opportunity to practice balance between those social demands and those academic demands and having oftentimes different groups of people who want different things from you at the same time. So you had to be incredibly planful and very strategic about how you're going to spend your time. You had to learn when to say yes and when to say not yet, or or you know later, or I can't today, but could you, you know, do it next week. And those are skills that you take with you for life, because that those are skills that is going to make you successful in no matter what career path you pursue. One hundred percent I would agree with that. And obviously one of the demands that you had as part of that experience was writing a thesis, and I'd love to know do you recall your thesis and how that impacted, especially your early career, the experience of doing research and, you know, putting out an original product as an undergraduate? For sure I'll never forget it. It's a life changer and, you know, just thinking about approaching the thesis, I'll be honest, I was a little intimidated at the beginning because it seems like a lot and and and, honestly, not even writing it so much, but figuring out what I was going to write about intimidated me more than anything, because I wanted it to be meaningful and I wanted it to have impact. And then I actually wrote my thesis with a partner, my friend Kelly and I wrote our thesis together and at the time that had never been done before. It was unheard of. We didn't do that. You did an independent thesis. So we had to go and present a pitch, if you will, to the Scholars Committee on why US writing a joint thesis would be not just beneficial to us but to them and to the university because of the topic that we wrote it on. It was actually marketing, the performing arts on campus. It was treatis on services marketing versus product marketing, and we did it as a benefit to the organization on campus. But we, you know, our pitch pretty much was you're not going to get double the output, we're going to give you like triple to quad the output, which is why, at this point, like one plus one is going to equal three or four. Not just to to win the argument. To write our thesis together was victory in and of itself and I think it gave us a little bit of courage to go head first into that thesis. But doing the research, you know, pulling that all together, putting that project together and delivering something that we were really proud of. That is an experience you take with you forever because it doesn't just give...

...you the competency, it gives you the courage and it gives you a little bit of experience for what it feels like to put your name on something and to put a stake in the ground on something and really own it when it's not just something academic, it's actually something practical. Were you able to use that as you transitioned into your full time career after graduation? You know, I when I graduated from Penn State from the scholars program you know, at first I thought like here I am, I'm a kid with the degree and I have some sort of academic learning, and what I realized was I actually left with the ability to continue to learn and I learned how to solve problems and to think and to contribute. I learned resilience on the campus. You know, it's a big place and you have to find your way, social skills, I learned how to forge a path and leave an impact. So that took me from a kid with a degree to somebody WHO's a doer. And then you get to move from a doer to contributor and a contributor to a strategist and the developer of other people, and that thesis is what started at all, because it gives you a little bit of practical experience to put you on the right path so much more quickly than a lot of other people that you're going to be out there competing against. I think that is spot on and I really like the kind of the run down that you just gave there of those different roles. So I'm wondering if you can tell us trying to, you know, summarize your career trajectory from kind of entry level to the senior executive role that you are currently in and kind of how you got from, you know, ground floor to see suite. Yeah, sure, I I started out in an executive development program which was great at you know, super competitive and they put you through your pieces and not everybody makes it up program. I look at my class picture now and I think like, Oh Gosh, there's two of US left out of thirty people. And what you end up doing is your your a trainee and then in retail you are an assistant buyer and back in that time there were individual company offices, so you flipped back and forth between the centralized office, the corporate side on the store side. Nowadays that's more unlikely because most things are national based, and certainly that's the case for my organization. But then that's what you did. So I moved, you know, up the ladder rather quickly and became a buyer. Then I went and worked in our store side of the organization and then you kind of have to figure out what you love to do, and I love not being in an office and while I loved being a buyer and loved that side of it, I love being able to take those math skills and those analytical skills and wrap my hands right around that business, right on the front line and the people that drive it. So I became a store manager. I ran a variety of different stores, starting with small going up to very large, and then I became a division leader where you have multiple stores. I then held a corporate role here in New York City and then when this division opened up with the flagship and the stores you're in New York, I couldn't wait to get back over to that store side and seep all the learnings I had on the corporate side and apply them again to this position. So you're leading the stores in New York City, the flagship for a national brand that were hopefully all familiar with. When did you start in the role of you're in currently? I've been in the role I'm in currently for four years now. Okay, so about two of those years have been anything but normal, but could you told us what it was like before covid in those first two years of normal? Yeah, absolutely, I've never seen anything like this building and this store and it was a little overwhelming. Like, if you can imagine, this building sees over twenty million footsteps and customer traffic a year and a normal circumstance, just having that velocity of the business is is overwhelming physically, you know, with what you can see. But think...

...about the amount of volume that we do and while I'm certainly not able to share that volume, you can just imagine that it's very large. So if you start thinking about the amount of dollars that are you know in your hands that you're leading for not just the company but for our investors, because we're a publicly traded company, and for the thousands of people who who count on this place as a way to make living. You have a lot of responsibility on your shoulders. So you said you have over twenty million footsteps tracking into your store every year pre covid and obviously that is probably a massive undertaking, and you talked about being a buyer and their supply chain issues. You have a facility that you manage. So can you talk about some of the different skills that you've had to develop in order to run such a mammoth organization within a mammoth organization? Yeah, happily. You know, I think that you have to have the ability to be a strategic leader. There's always going to be a push full, no matter what career you go into, between the urgent and the important, and the urgent sometimes feels very important and you have to be able to discern the difference between the two. So I think you know coming into such a large operation and discerning between what is what feels urgent and then what is actually important in the running of the business. The other thing you have to realize is what your unique role is. I have four store managers here in this building. I have lots of senior director partners that own different support functions of the building. You have to trust your team to do their job and that allows you to do your job. And then you have to make sure you're not trying to do their job for them, and that applies any role you're in, no matter what it is like. What is the role you own that you have the singular ability to contribute and you have to do that really, really well. The other thing you have to do is have exceptional communication skills. When you have the size of an organization and the scope of responsibility and team, you have to make sure that not just you are communicating, but the people around you are constantly sharing information, both directions, and then reflecting back on what works and what doesn't work and being really honest about that. I think we're an organization that is not afraid of failure, but we like to fail fast, and as long as we don't repeat that failure, we're great. But if you're afraid to try new things or try something different, you're going to die because you're never ever going to break out of common and you're certainly going to get caught up in yesterday or last year, and that isn't good for any industry. You have to be able to grow involve so being able to reflect back the side quickly what worked and didn't work, and then not be afraid to take a risk moving forward. Those are really, I think, the recipes for success, not just for this place but for any career a scholar would choose external to their time in underground. Sounds like you have a very large team that you wiver see and obviously our scholars are going on to leadership roles like yourself. So how do you go about maybe channel the avengers here, but how do you assemble that team? What do you look for? How do you motivate them? Yeah, I think the first thing that you know I would do joining any team is to observe kind of what you see in what to hear, and to get to know your team as people. You know, people work for people and I think you have to get to know people on that personal level so you understand what person is about, what the team is about, what your role is, how you fit in, because you can't help them if you haven't earned their trust, and trust is something you earn over time and if you don't have it, people will do what you ask them to do for the short term, but it is not a long term winning strategy. So getting to know them, earning their trust and then being vulnerable in front of your team is important to sharing your objectives and your vision and asking for input on that and, you know, incorporating as much as you can from the team's input into what you have to offer is certainly a great way to drive the team and then finding out what their ambitions are. You know, one of the things that people always asks me are you know, what are you most proud of or what are your greatest success stories? My greatest successes are the people that I've helped achieve their dreams. Like that's my legacy.

When I look back, I want to see this. You know, myriad of people who said, you know, you know, she was a great coach to me and she was a great partner to me. That comes no matter whether your entry level or at the height or pinnacle of your career. The contribution you make to the team that you're on, in the organization you're a part of, that is a legacy that you leave. So being conscious of that from the beginning, I think, is really important and it's a great way to really solidify your place in the team, whether you're on it or leading it. So obviously, you know, you graduate a little bit back and things have changed different there are different pieces in the retail equation. Obviously, ECOMMERCE or etail is a big part of the world going forward, especially post covid but there's still certainly a really strong place for in person retail. So how can students who are interested in getting into retail start doing that? And kind of the flip side is, what are some skills or majors that are really helpful for you as a division leader that those majors may not think of retail as a career path. Sure, son, at you were very delicate and darling at looking at that question, but I graduated thirty years and it's changed dramatically sense then, all of it. To This Day, I'm ashamed to tell you that I print things out like don't tell I know you're all rolling your eyes right now and thinking just like my mother, but I still print things out. But retail has changed so much and being an Omni channel retailer, I think, is what it's all about. So customers don't shop in one track or one channel. They occasionally shop online, the occasionally shop in store. You know, sometimes they're going to want to shop online and pick it up in store, sometimes they want to come in store and have a full experience. Our role as the ommutant channel retailer of now and of the future is to just meet that customer wherever they are. So we have to offer them a variety of options so that they are able to pursue whatever track or channel they want to pursue. So you know, what I really love about macie's as an organization is we're very nimble and we are not afraid to take the necessary actions to stay current in an ever changing retail dynamic. What that does for someone with a degree is allows you to have a variety of degrees and still have a place in the retail industry. So my degree is in marketing. I have many partners on my hallway here who have degrees in political science, criminal justice, history art. Social Skills help you if you're going to be on the people side of retail, but I will tell you they also help you no matter where you go, because ultimately you work with people. But the other degrees that we have a lot of people here looking at is think about all the technology behind all of our ECOMMERCE websites. Think about the logistics of trucking goods across the country and from all over the globe. Think about the processes in place needed to make you know, expenses lower and profits higher and make sure that we're spending our money really wisely. Think about the finance that goes into an industry that is a multibillion dollar organization. There's buyers who, you know, oftentimes either have a degree in fashion or economics. It runs the gamut. So we are a microcosm of any type of large organization and there's a variety of skill sets that could be applicable here. I think that's great for students to hear because obviously you're going to think of your kind of most obvious ones, like supply chain, account finance, like you said, but that's great to hear that there's a place for you said, history and art and of these other majors that you might not think of but or actually really valuable to your team. So I would encourage you, if you're a scholar in a liberal arts major in the College of Arts and Architecture, to consider, you know, think broader and what you can do with your degree, especially if you have that with...

...honors from the Shire Honors College attached to it. You've probably worked with a lot of people over your career and some of them, I'm sure, still may see Ason have been lifers, but I'm sure others, whether colleagues or direct reports, have moved on to other roles. Do you know of any kind of industries that they may have gone on to? Post retail. Every industry that you can imagine, people have gone onto post retail. So, if you think about what we just discussed with the variety of degrees, retail gives you the opportunity to a learn how to run a business, talk to bottom, but you really get an education in how to assess and solve problems. Doesn't matter if you're applying it to retail or any other industry. You have the ability to have a great deal of responsibility, particularly at a very young age, and you are able to manage and handle that type of responsibility and pressure to be honest, and apply that to any industry that you go in. The social skills that you develop very important and enable you to kind of distinguish yourself across any other industry. And while I have stayed in retail for many years, I want to take a minute to tell you why. At the beginning of our time here, we talked about the variety of different jobs I've had and they have run the gamut from all of it. I feel like I've done so many different jobs because they're all available in this organization and in this industry, and it may see, in particular, we believe in lattice assignments, so you just add tools to your tool belt. So every two or three years I'm in a new role, so I don't have to leave my company to do that. And we pay for performance, so, you know, as I keep getting the opportunity to learn and grow and I keep having the ability to achieve and to contribute at a higher level. Gosh, that's just such a recipe for a happy worker and somebody who loves what they do and is proud of the organization that they're with. The other thing that I would offer to the group is may se's us, an organization is heavily invested in diversity, equity and inclusion, and you know, it's one thing to work for an organization who gives you such a broad background and the opportunity to contribute and to feel great about your contribution, and we certainly do that. But we are a company that I'm really, really proud of and I'm proud to represent us and and I know our senior leadership well and the people that we are surrounded with your believe heavily, with all of their hearts and their heads, in the ability that everybody has the opportunity to grow here and to contribute and having, you know, inclusion in our company is really important. That is you know, it runs the gamut across anything you can think of, and that includes majors. To you know, every voice matters and having that different opinion or idea offered at the table is important to us and it's what makes us strong. That is great to hear and kind of another word that comes to mind when you hear inclusion and you might not think of in the retail space is collaboration, and I would be curious for your take on how you collaborate both internally within macy's and are there opportunities to collaborate with even, say, competitors? Absolutely, I think collaboration is a win for any organization and a certain certainly something that we are very prideful about at macie's. We have multiple avenues for cross functional partnership and we actually teach our leaders to look for opportunities to invite different points of view or different opinions into meetings to make the meeting not just more engaging and interesting, but to make a solution that is far more robust than anyone would have created on their own. I can give you just an example of this week we have a we had a meeting thinking through some operational aspects and I invited my visual partner to the meeting because she has a point of view and and a way of thinking that is so different than the other people in the room that she adds, you know, innumerable contributions that no one else would have would have created. We teach our leaders to seek those of oportunities out to add those voices.

I will also tell you that I have five very dear friends here in the city and they are the leaders of our five chief competitors here in the city. The pandemic has given us an opportunity to not just be peers but to be collaborators and to be partners and to be neighbors and now to be friends. And you know, it's a really great opportunity to constantly look for those ways to join organizations about things that you're interested in so that you build those collaborative networks either in your industry or in adjacent industries or tangential industries. I think that's a word that we are sorely lacking in a lot of the discourse right now is neighbors. You know, how can we work with folks that we think might be a competitor? So that's great to hear that you're working with those faults and probably sharing best practices, because this is uncharted turf that we are in, regardless of industry. So finding out what works and obviously there's some proprietary things that you probably can't share, but there's ways to help each other out and high tides lift all boats. I'd be curious also a kind of the last retail specific question I have for you, in hopefully this is also something that can be applied to a lot of other industries as well for students listening, is retails a fairly seasonal element to it and there's a lot of planning involved. So how do you balance the ups and downs throughout the year and plan for the non own waves in the cycle? We are incredibly strategic around planning and my team here on the ground is planning how we will execute holiday now, but we've had the strategy for holiday for quite some time and we're also beginning to think about what we're going to do to surprise and to light our customers in in twenty two and twenty three at this point. So I you know, we've got both that long range strategic vision and then short term view of what's going to happen. You said it yourself. It's uncharted territory. The other thing that I think we do really well is we leave that room for flexibility in the plan because while we're going to get a lot of things right, there are some things that we're not going to foresee correctly. So we just have to be agile enough to see it in the moment and then to adapt the strategy around it. Going back to a comment you made earlier in the conversation, just being able to fail and fill fast and embracing that, because we all make mistakes. You know, there's going to be the hot product that you think is going to be hot and it's not, or vice versa. Something comes out of nowhere and it is the thing and you know, how do you have how do you work with your suppliers to get that on shelves and into customers hands? So last May see specific question your your company has probably one of the more unique marketing avenues in all of Corporate America, which, of course, is the things giving parade. Do you have any connection to that program or any favorite memories that you can share in connection to an American tradition? Yeah, I would love to be. Parade and Brandon Entertainment Group here in the company is just an amazing group of talented, creative individuals and and please know we are so proud that that is our gift to the country and to the nation and certainly we are help facilitate that. We are good collaborators and partners with them on all of those types of events. But I'm the business side and there I would never even pretend to be as creative as that wonderful team is. But I will tell you that my family participates in the parade every year. My boys have been on floats and this year my oldest will be a clown and it's just something that we all love giving to not just the city but to the country as our gift because honestly, you know, our customers and our communities are everything to us and anything that we can do to bring that joy to them. And just as a thank you for being a part of it as wonderful. Yeah, absolutely, I think the parade is just a great...

...thing and you know, it's cool to here that you know how the operational in the business side, the retail side, is supporting that and collaborating internally. But you mentioned that you have some you have sons and obviously you're a senior executive at this premier brand. So how do you at least try to achieve any semblance of work life balance throughout your career? Has it ebbed and flowed? Is it better now? Is it you know, what advice do you have for students who've grown up in this era where that's a term that we use on the regular? Balance is hard and anybody who says that it's easy, I think is either maybe not being honest with themselves or maybe they're just not very good at it. But balance is tricky and it certainly has peaks of valleys and there are times I'm better at it than others. I think being planful is incredibly important and you have to plan not just your work life but your personal life, and you have to get those vacations in and get those things that are important to you in on that calendar and you're going to work that work schedule around it. You know, we work twenty seven now, so you know there's there's really not down time, and I think that's true in any industry. But trying to get on the calendars one thing. The other thing that I would offer is whatever you're doing, be present. Don't try to do one thing and then multitask and do another, and I know that's really easy to do and I'm guilty myself for sure, but try to be present. So when I'm at work, I'm working, when I'm with my children, I'm with my children and if I like, I'm going on vacation and if I know I'm going to do work while I'm on vacation, and not because I'm asked to, because I wish to, but I will carve out time to do that and then I will put it away and I will be present for the rest of the time. And I I think I'd had to. It was hard for me to learn that lesson, but I think it's a really good one to do and as long as you can compartmentalize it down that much, it's great. And the other thing is you have people around you that can help you. Ask for that help and let them help you and be prepared to give it back, you know, and and build that that collective that can work together to make sure that everybody gets to achieve that WORKLIF balance. Yes, I think it definitely is a bit of a team effort at times and give and take right. You know, if you're going on vacation, you need to trust the store to your team and if one of them is taking vacation, somebody else steps up to help those things that have to keep going, and so I think that is really, really good advice for our students to think ahead, plan ahead and, you know, manage the exceptions when they come up. Right. That's right, that's right. Is there anything that I haven't asked about that you think would be really helpful for student listening to integrate into their experience? Yeah, you know, the only thing that I could think of that might be helpful is a lot of times people ask me what the biggest mistake was I ever made, and you know, my flip response to that is always like today or yesterday, hair this week, like I make a bazillion mistakes every day of my life and I used to be ashamed by that and it took me a little while to realize that mistakes me and you're learning and trying and growing new things, and when I look back, the only regrets that I have are the things I didn't do, not the things I did, and the biggest mistakes I've ever made are the best stories I have to share there. Those stories are so awful they're amazing and they're the ones that offer great advice and I don't regret any of them. They're actually a badge of honor. So, you know, I think the best advice I would give is, you know, I tell my team all the time, be a hero or go down in a blaze glory, but, for God's take, stand for something, what a steak in the ground, you know, just try something, anything, and don't be afraid to take that calculated risk. Those are the only things I regret are the time where I should have taken that risk or should have raised my hand and didn't. So, you know, if all of the Shire students are alumni still could, you know, find that courage that sometimes I didn't have. That would make me feel really happy. So you've had, you know, an amazing career. You had a...

...great time as a scholar. Are there any folks from Newr Penn State University scholar days that you would like to give any kind of shout out to? Well, as we said earlier, I graduated thirty years ago and it comes really fast. I don't feel like it was thirty years ago. Like inside I don't feel as old as I am. But the the woman that I wrote my thesis with, Kelly Kreiser, is an amazing human being, an amazing leader and she's still in the education industry and she is just a tremendous person. So, Kelly, if you're listening, you know, thanks for being a tremendous partner and a role model inspiration for intellectual women all over the globe. Is there a final piece of advice that you would like to leave our Shire scholars off with today? I wish that I would have spent more time bill holding a network around me, and I didn't learn to do that until I was more developed in my career. I was so busy doing and leading my team and trying to learn and grow that I forgot to take a breath and kind of reach out to my peers and to reach out to somebody who maybe could have could have mentored me or helped me along the way and I take such pride in being a mentor two dozens of people now. It's one of my favorite things that I get to do. If I could go back and do it over again, I would have raised my hand and asked somebody to be a mentor to me or to be a guide or or give me advice. So I think that is the one piece of advice I would leave the team with, is find those people that you think could help you along the way and give them a chance to do just that. You could not have tied me up any better, because that is amazing advice. And if a student wanted to reach out to you, as a follow up to this conversation, dig a little bit deeper potentially see if you might mentor them, even just one conversation. How can they reach out and connect with you? Sure I'm on Linkedin. It's happy hilt on Linkedin and I would happily help anybody who needs it and even if I don't know exactly how to help you, I would always listen or I would find you somebody that could. So please don't hesitate to reach out. Perfect. That is fantastic. Thank you, Cathy. And as a tradition here. The final question. If you were a flavor of Berkie creamery ice cream, which would you be? And most importantly, as a stroller alum, why that flavor? Well, when I looked at the flavors of what I would most be, I think I would be death by chocolate. Got To tell you. Like it's super intense, right, but you know you love it all while you enjoyance. Obviously very popular flavor, but that's a really good answer and a great way to wrap up our conversation here today. Cathy, thank you so much for your time, your insight on retail and all of your advice for our Shuire schollars. We really appreciate it. Thanks so much, so proud to be a member. Thank you, scholars, for listening and learning with us today. We hope you will take something with you that will contribute to how you shape the world. This show probably supports the Shure Honors College Emergency Fund Benefiting Scholars experiencing unexpected financial hardship. You can make a difference at rays dot PSU DOT edu, forward slash shreire. Please be sure to hit the relevant subscribe, like or follow button on whichever platform you are engaging with us on today. You can follow the college on Facebook, twitter, instagram and Linkedin to say uptodate on news, events and deadlines. If you have questions about the show or a scholar alum who'd like to join us as a guest here on following the gone, please connect with me at scholar alumni at PSU DOT ETU. Until next time, please stay well and we are.

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