For Cheya Thousand, a talent supply chain engagement senior coordinator at Amazon, the invaluable mentorship and her education at LIM College is what set the foundation for a successful career in human resources.
After graduating from LIM College in 2009, Thousand discovered her passion for driving sales and developing teams, beginning her career with the Macy’s executive development program in store management. She went on to make an impact in the storefronts of Macy’s, Victoria’s Secret, Nike and Gap Inc. before segueing into human resources.
In her current role, Thousand serves as the first point of contact for candidates, while serving the high-volume hiring initiatives at Amazon for the Jacksonville, Fla., area. Here, Thousand takes a turn to answer questions about her career path and development.
WWD: How did your coursework and your experience at LIM College help inform your career decisions?
Cheya Thousand: LIM prepared me to make great career decisions. When I graduated I felt ready for the next chapter in my life — which was in the Macy’s Executive Development Program for Store Management. In that role, I was a quick learner and I attribute that to LIM and all the resources they provided to prepare me for life after college. At LIM, I learned how to be a leader and also how to be great in a supporting role when necessary. Those are both invaluable in the workplace.
WWD: If you could go back in time and give career advice to your younger self, what would you say?
C.T.: I would tell my younger self: “Take your time! Trust your gut and God. You will get it, everyone was a beginner once. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You are on the right path, and it leads to amazing things! Be open to the adventure of self-discovery.”
WWD: How would you describe your career path? What were some of the challenges you faced?
C.T.: My career path has been very ambitious. At Macy’s, I was promoted three times in three years. I also had the pleasure of running the first Macy’s pop-up shop for the Bar III launch. It was an amazing experience. I’d like to believe the success of that store has helped Bar III be what it is today.
Going on to recruit for the executive development program I graduated from at Macy’s was also a big deal. My time at Macy’s provided the solid foundation I needed to continue to achieve success throughout my career. After transitioning out of Macy’s, I was able to get my “dream job” as a store manager for Pink by Victoria’s Secret. This role had many challenges, as it was my first time as a store manager. One of those challenges was reorganizing my team to operate in their areas of strength. This took time because I needed to observe and not just come in and make changes. Once that was done, we needed to create a system and build team morale. But once we took care of that, we ran like a well-oiled machine. This led to success in all areas of the business — and us becoming the number-one store in the country.
WWD: Have you had mentors at LIM or in the industry? If yes, how have they helped you?
C.T.: I had an amazing mentor while I was at LIM College, and she’s continued to be there throughout my career. She has had a huge impact on my career and has helped me stay on track by not just going after positions that “look good” on a résumé, but that allow me to put myself in roles where I can add value to the business.
WWD: What advice would you give someone considering a career in the retail and fashion apparel market?
C.T.: Know what interests you. Ask yourself what you would do for free — then pursue that, because you will love it, and it won’t feel like work. Also, take advantage of internships and every other opportunity to gain exposure to areas you might be interested in. Internships are a great way to try on a job to see if it is a good fit. And, no matter what, always do your best. Your reputation can take you far in this industry.