Nordstrom Director of Talent Amelia Ransom asked the students sitting in the board room, “What do you want to know the most today?” One student was curious about retail math, another interested in advertising and how companies like Nordstrom predict fashion trends months ahead of the season.
The high point for the students was when they were each paired up with a Nordstrom customer service specialist. The students listened as the specialists took calls and solved customers’ problems: their packages were taking longer to arrive, the shoes were too big, the beauty products were confusing to apply. It was a fine balance between helping customers efficiently while making them feel at ease.
Anja L., one of the Lindbergh 9th graders, reluctantly took off her headphones and looked away from the computer screen as chaperones gestured students to leave the building and head back to the bus.
“If I could, I would stay here all day,” Anja said.
Before lunchtime, students toured some of the departments at Nordstrom. In one room they learned how a fabric made its way from a small piece taped on a board to an item of clothing on the racks of all Nordstrom stores across the country. In another, they were tested on their ability to tell similar shades of colors apart, which is crucial in the industry.
After looking at colors and fabric for a while, Lindbergh High School students saw different sides of the company when they sat down on a panel with employees who support the company in different ways. They listened to stories of a Nordstrom software engineer, a finance analyst and designers.
Ransom has spent most of her career at Nordstrom, holding positions such as salesperson and store manager before she switched over to the corporate side of the company. Ransom gave students a valuable tip that would help them succeed in companies like Nordstrom: be open for collaboration, because that is how you become a good problem solver.
Though some students did have an idea of what they might want to do after graduating high school and some didn’t, they agreed that the trip and the panel in particular helped them realize that many things could change in the next few years for them.
Dmytro H. said he was interested in becoming a lawyer. But one thing he learned from the visit to Nordstrom and DiscoverU week activities was to not limit himself to one thing.
“[The panelists] said college is a good experience to keep your options open,” said Dmytro.