Name: Taylor Peck
Hometown: Fairfield, Connecticut
Post-graduation plans: Peck accepted a position as a Professional Clothier at Tom James in New York City. In her position, Peck will design and sell custom suits. She will be responsible for the entire process of creating a suit: from gaining clientele, collecting measurements of clients, guiding them in terms of design, and following up and making minor adjustments to their garments once it has arrived.
How HPU helped you get there: “In my Sales in Dynamic Environments, we were required to attend a sales career fair. In class, we had been preparing a ‘two minute drill’ in which we answered the dreaded question that every single employer will be guaranteed to ask you ‘tell me a little about yourself.’ My two minute drill was all about how I have always been very passionate about design, but also had a love for solving problems and working with the back end of a business. When I found out we had to go to a career fair where every position was in sales, I felt discouraged. How was I supposed to sell myself to a company when I didn’t want to be in sales? That was not part of my two minute drill. I went to professor Quinn to tell him my qualms about attending the career fair, and read him my two minute drill. His face went blank and I thought he was going to tell me I was out of luck. He said the complete opposite, he told me he knew I would be a perfect match for Tom James, and promise to personally introduce me to the recruiter who would be representing the company at the fair. That was the start of my journey with Tom James.
Leading up to my follow day at Tom James, I was extremely nervous. I really wanted the job, and a two day interview that involved flying to New York and staying in a hotel was very overwhelming to me. I went to Bridget Holcombe in Career and Professional Development, and she completely put me at ease. We went through every interview question I could think of, and went back and forth tossing ideas about what my responses would be. This meeting helped me become so much more confident going into the office on the morning of my first follow day, which the company noticed and praised me on.”
Most impactful mentor at HPU: “Professors Randy Moser and Larry Quinn have both been extremely inspirational and interesting to listen to in and outside of class. They both have helped me prepare for my interviews and encouraged me that I would do great. However; if I had to pick one person who was most impactful, I would say it would be Bridget Holcombe. She came into my Sales in Dynamic Environments classes to administer a strengths finder assessment. I thought it was just going to be another presentation given in class, but when I received my results I knew that was not true. Mrs. Holcombe was so enthusiastic about how important her strengths are to her, and how they help her be more aware of how she needs to act as a professional. My strengths were almost identical to hers, and really reflected how I think of myself and my personality. After feeling this connection with her, I remembered her name when it came to the days leading up to my interview, so I made an appointment with her. Without that appointment I would have been much more nervous and unable to be myself when it came down to my interviews with the professionals at Tom James.”
Most impactful moment at HPU: “My most impactful moment at HPU would be when I first shook Duncan Hines’ hand at the career fair. I immediately started babbling about how I loved the fabric that he was showing, and he looked confused. I could tell I was losing his interest and he didn’t notice my potential in selling. I could have just given up and accepted myself not being the right fit for the company, but there was something about him and the company that drove me to prove myself. I pulled myself together and used what I had learned in my sales class to tell him about my ability to think strategically into the future, which is what had lead me to be successful in life. I saw interest spark in his eyes, and we started having a conversation about what it takes to be successful at Tom James. That is when I knew I wanted to work for them, and that is why I have never stopped being so excited about getting to make it my career.”
Advice for underclassmen: “Never silence that intrinsic voice we all have. Every single one of us has a dream; we have a vision of what our lives will be like when we graduate. Whether it’s a specific job or purpose, or a more general urge to be successful and happy, we all need to listen to the voice in the deepest pits of our bellies. That voice is what makes us, us. It is what will keep you going when you feel like you can’t go on anymore. It is what I have turned to again and again when I feel I don’t know which choice to make. I think back to senior year of high school me, not knowing where to go for college. I think about how I almost ignored that voice when making the decision to come here, and could have gone somewhere closer to home. I think about how I was about to silence that voice when I found out I had to go to the sales career fair, instead of going to professor Quinn about my issue. Listen to that voice; it knows you better than anyone else.”
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It may be early in the semester, but Commencement will be here before we know it. Many High Point University seniors are preparing to commence prestigious career paths around the world at Fortune 500 companies, international service programs, public school systems, top-tier law, medical and graduate school programs, and many other esteemed organizations thanks to their journey at HPU. View more extraordinary seniors from the Class of 2017 here.