By Griffin Moores
One of the perks of Kacee's internship was that dogs were allowed at her offices. More students are looking at company culture as a selling point for accepting a job as the number of opportunities they can pursue begin to grow.
Kacee Fiddes had to make a tough call after she graduated from the College of Business. Accept a safe, full-time job, or pursue her passion and make a gamble to travel 1,700 miles across the country – on her own dime – for an internship working in fashion.
“It was a really difficult decision for me,” said Kacee, “but I knew I needed that experience to be happy in a full-time position afterwards.”
So she went for it, packing her car and driving to Philadelphia where she began working as a global trade compliance intern at Urban Outfitters’ headquarters, putting her supply chain concentration to use.
The impact of company culture
With grass-covered chairs on their rooftop patio, the option to bring your dog to work, and fitness opportunities on their campus, the company has a unique culture that was a draw to Kacee.
“It’s one of the most desirable retail companies to work for just because of how creative and free-thinking it is,” she said, describing the nurturing and supportive atmosphere at the lifestyle retailer.
But within the cheerful work environment, Kacee was doing some serious work, helping to make sure that the company’s supply chain was socially responsible.
Photos from Kacee show a sliver of Urban Outfitters' supply chain, which distributes clothes to the company's roughly 400 stores and contributes to its $3.5 trillion in annual revenue.
Many fashion and retail companies have been dogged by problems stemming from a lack oversight of their vendors, which has led to issues of child labor exploitation, poor working conditions, and unfair wages.
“I like the concept of being on the leading edge,” Kacee said, “ahead of the industry, and making sure none of that stuff is happening within your supply chain.”
Making a difference
Working on one large project during her time with the lifestyle retailer was an incredible experience for Kacee, and provided valuable insights into what type of career and position she wanted to pursue.
“It makes me feel like I’m doing something very tangible,” said Kacee, who also missed the hands-on approach that can be hard to find in an office position.
“You’re able to change your mind a little bit easier when you're in a part-time position,” she said, “It was extremely valuable to test out this industry and see how I feel about it before committing to something that would have been a lot more demanding and long term.”
The power of choice
Ultimately, Kacee’s gamble at the beginning of the summer was well worth it when she accepted a full-time management position at Amazon working as an operations lead in a Milwaukee fulfilment center.
“I grew up in Wisconsin so it’s kind of coming full circle for me,” she said.
The ability to have so many career choices in front of her isn’t something that Kacee takes lightly, and she understands it isn’t an option that’s available to everyone.
“I’m going into a field that has openings for me so I feel I have some leverage to find what’s right,” Kacee said. “I searched for jobs with companies I wanted to work for instead of just searching for job titles.
“We want to work for companies that align with our values,” said Kacee. “We could go in so many directions then it becomes a personal choice.”