Three Meredith fashion merchandising and design students attended the 2018 National Retail Federation (NRF) Annual Expo in January. The event was held January 12-15 in New York City.
Allison High, ’18, Patricia Kalevas, ’18, and Marie Johnson, ‘20, participated in “The Student Big Show” as part of the expo. They were accompanied by Assistant Professor of Fashion Merchandising and Design Ali Howell.
“During this event students were able to connect with executives from international retail brands, participate in executive mentoring programs, and attend a career fair,” Howell said.
Kalevas and High were semi-finalists in the Student Challenge and earned a $500 travel scholarship and Johnson was selected for a $1,500 travel scholarship. These travel scholarships supported the students’ attendance.
This was Meredith College’s first time at the NFR event. The students were able to network with retail professionals, attend a resume workshop, and hear a motivational talk from entrepreneur Daymond John of Shark Tank.
Kalevas said the networking opportunities were valuable as she prepares to work in fashion after graduation.
“I was given the opportunity to speak and create relationships with executives that I hope to continue as I begin my initial search into my long-term career goals,” Kalevas said. “This experience challenged me to be my true self, not to say what I think should be said, but instead allow my experiences and my personality to speak for themselves.”
Meeting with retail executives in a one-on-one setting was the highlight for High.
“On the second day there was a mentor workshop where the students were able to have more personal conversations with the mentors,” High said. “I found this especially helpful because not only could you hear the mentor’s story, but you could also ask questions in a smaller group setting.”
Johnson said the expo offered insight into the retail field, helping her identify potential jobs she’d like to pursue in the future. It also emphasized the importance of connecting with industry professionals.
"I was reminded of the importance of networking and maintaining a relationship with your mentor,” Johnson said. “Just about all the mentors and the Intern Queen Lauren Berger kept emphasizing how important it was to network and especially to follow up after meeting someone of interest.”