Erica Infantolino, a 2003 LIM College graduate, serves as Macy’s Inc.’s market vice president of New Jersey/Pennsylvania. After starting her career at Macy’s as a part-time sales associate while still in college, Infantolino quickly rose through the ranks, and now has been with the retailer for the past 17 years.
Infantolino is now responsible for 12 stores in Macy’s third-largest district, with a focus on leveraging talent and collaboration to support store managers and executives as they drive business and develop their own teams. Here, as part of a series of career development profiles in WWD, Infantolino shares insights about her experience in school and throughout her career.
WWD: How did your coursework and your experience at LIM help inform your career decisions?
Erica Infantolino: LIM did an incredible job of bridging the gap between the business of fashion and the social environment surrounding it, which really fueled my career growth. This education was invaluable, as my professors were not only experts in teaching the logistics and the “why” behind the business, but also in sharing their experiences, their own career journeys, and the process of building relationships in such a customer-centric industry.
Taking targeted field trips and attending guest lectures from professionals in the industry was priceless, and I apply that experience to my current role each day. LIM’s internship programs also provided me with the unique opportunity to experience Macy’s from a different perspective during each of my four years of college, which gave me a sound point of reference regarding the direction I wanted to go in.
WWD: If you could go back in time and give career advice to your younger self, what would you say?
E.I.: My advice would be to maximize your opportunities for learning. Take the time to understand what activities are available — beyond what’s required for your degree — to build your resume and open up your career path. Gain perspective from as many angles as possible. Maybe it’s a study abroad semester, interning at Fashion Week, or working retail in December…it’s all about the experience.
WWD: How would you describe your career path? What were some of the challenges you faced?
E.I.: Beginning with my first holiday season as a sales associate, and leading up to my current position as market vice president, I’ve been motivated by the talent I’m surrounded by and the leadership in front of me. For 17 years I’ve been influenced by inspirational leaders who took the time to teach, train and develop my skills to allow me to advance to future opportunities.
WWD: Have you had mentors at LIM or in the industry? If yes, how have they helped you?
E.I.: LIM fosters an environment of mentorship that follows you, from both a faculty and a peer perspective. It’s wonderful to have peers who’ve branched out into different areas of the industry who I can call upon for advice, or approach to explore collaborative ventures. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have had some truly wonderful mentors at LIM and Macy’s. They have helped me see what matters most and have taken the time to help me gain perspective on what I can contribute, how I can adapt, and, most importantly, how to embrace change.
WWD: What advice would you give someone considering a career in the retail and fashion apparel market?
E.I.: Be courageous. This is a fast-paced environment filled with talented and driven leaders. Embrace them — and celebrate that by taking risks and continuing to innovate and focus on the customer.