I was 16 years old looking for a summer job when I saw a “help wanted” sign in my neighborhood Thom McAnn shoe store in Hollywood, Fla. It was the perfect job for a girl who was passionate about shoes (and still is). I was around shoes all day and, what’s more, I was eligible for a free pair every six months if I met my sales goals.


Working in a small store was excellent business training in multitasking. I had to do a little bit of everything — from merchandising the displays and stocking the shelves to vacuuming and dusting. The job had its challenges, too. Thursdays were physically demanding because new shipments arrived and we had to lug boxes up and down stairs what felt like hundreds of times. Then there was the “Rubik’s Cube” puzzle of shelf stocking with all the new styles. That was a crash course in the value of planning and organization.

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