Recent Grad is Merchandise Coordinator at Boot Barn
Born in Dubai to American and British parents, Leia Holford moved to Australia, where she was raised, at age four. “I have always had a passion for fashion and business and wanted to combine the two when studying,” she said. “I knew I wanted to attend a college in the U.S., as there are so many great opportunities over here.” After looking at various colleges, FIDM stood out to Leia, who went on to receive an Associates of Arts degree in Merchandising & Marketing and a Bachelor of Science in Business Management. “I thoroughly enjoyed my degrees and they have helped me achieve my goals,” said the June 2020 graduate, who studied at both the Orange County and Los Angeles campuses, and recently became the Merchandise Coordinator at Boot Barn.
How was it being an International Student at FIDM? I had a very pleasurable experience being an International Student. The staff and faculty were very helpful throughout my time at FIDM. It was awesome to meet so many new people and be offered a wide range of extra activities to be part of. I got my first retail job after the job fair at the orientation. That was awesome and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the amazing support from the FIDM faculty and teachers.
What were some of the key lessons you learned in your FIDM degree programs? Some of the key lessons I learned in my FIDM degree programs included communication skills through presenting. Through having to present topics in class, I feel I am more confident when public speaking. Another key lesson is that hard work pays off. I always wanted to put my best foot forward with whatever I was completing. Going that extra mile and getting the extra feedback was important and I know that has set me up for success. Lastly, time management is something that both my FIDM degree programs taught me. All of these key lessons are now transferring into work life outside of college.
What did it feel like when the pandemic hit and classes moved online? At first I was really nervous as I enjoy being in the classroom environment and feel that's how I learn the most effectively. However, it didn’t take long to adjust to online learning. Staying organized and on top of when everything was due was essential. Discussion forums were helpful as this allowed open discussion of the topics we were learning.
Tell us about your new position: I was recently offered a Merchandise Coordinator position at Boot Barn. I am very excited about this position as I’m going to be applying many things I learned at FIDM into work situations. I will be working alongside buyers in a specific department and be responsible for maintaining data entry, purchase orders, communicating with vendors, assisting with inquiries in regards to pricing, product information, shipments, and orders, while also assisting with any issues that may arise with purchase orders.
Did FIDM help place you in this job? Yes, Lynne Stroner, the Career Advisor at FIDM OC has assisted me through the whole process. I can’t thank her enough. Ensuring my resume was up to date was the first step in the process and then she helped me through the job search. I also made sure to ask for advice for my interview to make sure I was fully prepared.
What are you most looking forward to in regards to your new position? I am most looking forward to the responsibility that I am going to have. I am excited to learn more about the retail industry and understand it on another level.
What are your ultimate career goals? To be happy and fulfilled in a position where I am constantly learning and being challenged. It would be awesome to build my way up in a company. Another goal would be to have my own online boutique one day. This would be a dream come true as I would love to put everything I have learned from FIDM and my past work experience into action. I am excited about my future and what is to come.