the best gift you can get

Retail in Q4 is an exciting, thrilling, and exhilarating whirlwind of an experience. Even if you’re not in a business that is traditionally sensitive to the holidays (think electronics and toys), every area in Target is still impacted by the sheer amount of traffic that comes barreling through our doors from Thanksgiving to New Year’s.

During this busy time, a lot of our focus as a company is on gifting and helping our guest find the perfect little (or big) something for the special people in their lives. While I’ve had the opportunity to give and receive some great little and big “somethings” at Target over the past few weeks leading up to the holidays, I’ve actually already received one of the best gifts of all from Target itself.

My gift from Target didn’t come in a box, and it didn’t come wrapped in shiny paper. It didn’t even actually come from the Target store, actually. My gift showed up in a pink J.Crew skirt and a cute white top in late August—and her name is Tia.

Tia is my mentee, and she started as a business analyst in-training (BAIT) on the ice cream desk in late August. At Target, every new business analyst is given a mentor to learn from for the extent of their training. Mentors are experienced business analysts, and they are given the opportunity to help develop and support the new team member in learning the ropes of both the job itself and Target’s culture.

Over the past few months, Tia and I have worked together every day, and she has slowly been taking over more and more responsibility in aiding in running the ice cream desk. And while I’m primarily the one teaching and mentoring, it’s amazing and humbling to be a mentor and realize how much you can learn from your mentee as well. Teaching Tia has reaffirmed my knowledge base on certain things, but it has also created the realization that there are also still some things (over a year into the job!) that I don’t know.

Being a mentor, and being mentored, is a gift. Target values mentorship, and they provide multiple opportunities in every position you will have at this company to both be a mentor and be mentored. I have developed into a much stronger business analyst since having Tia join our team, and it makes my heart burst with pride when I think about how far she’s come in just a few months.

While Tia will eventually be placed full-time in another role sometime in the near future, I am so grateful and thankful that I work for a company that gives me an opportunity to bust out my inner-Sheryl Sandburg and dive headfirst into a mentoring relationship. Tia will eventually move on to a new role, and she will one day be a mentor as well. That’s the beauty of mentorship—it’s a beautiful gift that just keeps on giving.

Interested in a career in buying, planning and brand management? Search and apply for jobs here.

2 Replies to “the best gift you can get”

  1. Great story, Alaina. I think you’ve inspired me to put together my own post on my mentor-mentee relationship at Target on my blog. It really is rewarding to see how you can impact someone elses experience when they’re new to the company.


  2. What a great story Alaina. It truly is a gift to have a great mentor as well as being a mentor yourself. As a manager for Johnson and Johnson, the best feeling in the world is helping your direct reports achieve their career goals even if that means they get promoted outside of your department and need to move on.

    As a business analyst and being from Minnesota, I have to ask, how do you think the Target Express store concept will work out when it opens near the University of Minnesota this July. From an outsider perspective I think the main competition to a store like this will be Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid’s, etc. What is your opinion? (Btw, I love the concept and would definitely shop at a Target Express if one opened up near me).

    Best Regards,

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