How does one make the skills and assets you acquire in your career impact the most salient parts of your life? This is a question I asked myself at least once each financial quarter. Does what I do matter? Am I truly making a positive impact on the world? Am I actually ‘paying it forward’? As a diverse team member, am I leveraging my unique perspective to make sure Target hears the voice of guests like me?
Up until recently, I did not have a tangible answer to the questions above. Of course, we are all here to make sure the millions of people who enter Target stores across the nation can find the items they need to be the most creative, unique, effective, and fulfilled individuals. Most of us never get to see the joy these guests feel beyond a quirky Fall National Meeting video or a few posts on social media, but we still take pride in our ability to support the guest in ventures that stretch beyond our imaginations or social media networks.
Earlier this month, I experienced the first moment in my career when I truly felt like I could say yes to all the questions I asked myself repeatedly. The moment came as I watched person after person file into TPC for the Black Owned Business Fair organized by the African American Business Council. A year ago I would not have imagined Target Plaza Commons filled with over 400 team members sampling, supporting, and experiencing a multitude of Minnesota-based Black Owned businesses. As a member of the planning committee, the event was like seeing a very personal dream coming to fruition.
Reflecting on the Black Owned Business Fair, I feel proud to work for a company that provided a platform for local Minnesota businesses to show their diversity and value. What makes me even happier is seeing the progress in Target, as team members from Analysts to SVPs strive to embrace the changing demographics of our guest, and the need to diversify our product offerings in stores. Given the highly polarized world we live in today, providing an inclusive space to give exposure for both Black owned businesses as well as Target team members served as moment of symbiotic education between two groups who will need each other to flourish in this ever changing world.
We are all encouraged at a young age to find what we love, and do that thing for the rest of our lives. For many of us, we either never find out what truly fulfills us, or we find the thing that makes us tick half way through our careers. Some of us, like Renay Dossman of Fat Chance Sandwich Shop and James Jones of Spark DJ, are able to use the amazing skills we glean from our time at Target to go forward and continuing fueling our guest through our own private ventures. Others leverage our internal cross functional teams and Target’s mission to be an inclusive company to speak to the guest in unique merchandising moments like Black History Month and Pride. For me, I was able to find a special moment of fulfillment by bringing together two of Minnesota’s most vibrant and vital communities in a space where the most salient parts of me got to meet. Here’s to many more of these moments as Target continues its journey of embracing diversity and inclusion!