By Alison Embrey Medina, Executive Editor
January 08, 2013
When is the last time you saw an ad posting for a job, submitted your resume, nailed the interview and got hired on the spot? Circumstances like these seem to be happening fewer and farther between in today’s socially connected world. Often, it appears your reputation and your advocacy among former and current colleagues and industry associates can be just as important as the jobs you have held. In fact, I’ve talked to no less than three people in the past month who said their current position happened because someone came across their profile on Linked-In—sifting through profiles of a friend of a friend of a friend.
In a niche industry like retail design, sometimes “who you know” can make all the difference. How many people have landed at a firm because one of their old bosses (or subordinates) recommended them for the job? How many of you have called an old colleague or client and asked the age-old question: “Who was that company we sourced for that European job back in the late ’90s?” Who you know in this industry sometimes means the difference in who you source, who you hire and where you land next.
Coming off an incredible market week in New York this past December, I was reminded of the importance of connections in our little retail world. Granted, I was suffering from a bout of bronchitis that would soon become laryngitis, so I was quite aware of the number of casual conversations that were held over a six-day week, attending event after event, meeting and reconnecting with person after person, as my strained vocal chords hung on for dear life. From DDI’s CitySCENE event to the PAVE Gala to the vendor parties to all the showroom visits in between, it was a full week of making connections that help us all become a better voice for what we do. (Apologies if I shook your hand over the course of the week—even though I was told I wasn’t contagious, I promise I used plenty of hand sanitizer!)
Let me tell you what connections have done for us in this issue. I have had the fortune to travel to unknown lands far and wide over the last three years, visiting countries and marketplaces I had never before had contact with (I finally hit Platinum status on Delta, so I can now officially tell my grandkids I accomplished something in life!). For the “International Perspectives” article on page 34, you will hear first-person takes on the retail world from all corners of the globe. These are friends I have made in my travels, colleagues I have worked with on stories, and friends of industry friends who have gladly offered their insights to our magazine. As Americans, we often are guilty of assuming we understand the inner workings of a country or culture as an outsider, but these international ambassadors are sharing their perspectives from the inside out. I hope you gain as much from their teachings as I have.
Two of our features in this issue also came out of casual conversations among industry connections. We love hearing about undiscovered stores that are not on the international map, so feel free to send them my way anytime. Maybe come to one of our CitySCENE events and meet a few people who like and do exactly what you do. And why not join our DDI Magazine group on LinkedIn or Twitter (@DDItweets), while you’re at it? We’re always on the lookout for a few more friends.