On Rotation: Diaries From a Recent Grad

Armed with a fashion design degree, minimal marketing experience, and a stubborn determination to learn, I managed to secure a 2018 Rotational Program position at GALE earlier this summer. Come October, I will have been at GALE for 4 months. In celebration of my inaugural rotation coming to a close, I wanted to share some reflections on what I’ve learned so far.

My path to GALE was less than linear. My eclectic resume included stints of fetching scripts, extras, and coffee on a television show set, steaming thousands of garments at a wholesale clothing agency, and traveling abroad for internships. After graduating university, I found myself at a crossroads of wanting meaningful, challenging work and feeling disenfranchised with the offerings my fashion degree presented me with. Following graduation, I was anxious and found myself constantly concerned that I wouldn’t be able to find a solution that fit me, until a friend told me about the Graduate Development program at GALE.

Graduate development programs are traditionally offered in the business and finance sector, where candidates are sent to different provinces, branches or departments to experience a variety of roles within a company. Forbes (2016) endeavored to call graduate development programs the solution to retaining millennials; a generation that is becoming notorious for constant job-hopping and rejecting the traditional career ladder, but I don’t buy it, and I don’t think many other millennials do either. Personally, I believe it shows that a company is willing to invest in its people. These types of programs acknowledge that young professionals today don’t just want to work; they want to learn, try different things, and know they have opportunities to grow and transform within their role. GALE embraces the Graduate Development Program and champions diverse backgrounds as an asset, not a detraction. Although I do not have an MBA like some of my other Program Associate peers, I have been constantly reminded that from the beginning, everybody matters and I am a part of the team; I am valued.

My first rotation was in the Communications domain. While I expected to enjoy social media management, content creation, and copywriting, what I didn’t expect to enjoy was the research I was given to do on prospective clients and business development. The research was exciting because I got to combine my academic skills from school while gaining a better understanding of the industry. I worked with a great team that encouraged me to tackle projects I was interested in, and helped to bring my ideas to life. In this rotation, I learned that proactivity goes a long way – spare time could quickly be filled by coming up with a plethora of ventures, like content creation, storyboarding articles or organizing administrative resources. I am confident that these lessons will prove to be useful in the ensuing rotations.

The Graduate Development Program at GALE has been a great experience so far. Some days are more challenging than others, but the most enjoyable part of this program is that no day is the same. Beyond the work, I love that there is always a dog to pet in the office and breakfast in the morning, courtesy of our Office Mom, Fauzya. In the last three months, I’ve learned so much about the marketing industry and the many moving parts within it. All in all, I am most looking forward to the potential to be surprised by new skills, new relationships, and new experiences in this program.

Ava Downey

Marketing Consultant, Rotational Program

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