Helping Leaders Act with Empathy, Clarity and Compassion in a Crisis

This year, the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic have been intensified by a national outcry for racial justice and equity. Facing these societal challenges can come with grief and anxiety—all while doing our best to be productive and stay engaged at work.

Target has more than 300,000 team members globally, a vast majority of whom work in our stores and supply chain

Now more than ever, Store Leaders play a critical role in supporting their teams by adapting to uncertain times with clear communication and compassionate guidance. Many are turning to an internal website for Adaptive Leadership, available to store leaders and above, to receive ongoing development and equip themselves with new skills or a fresh way to lean into those they already have.

“With COVID-19, we’re navigating a world that’s rapidly changing, so Adaptive Leadership puts the focus on the things that matter right now—like resilience, inclusion and empathy,” said Layne Greer, Director, Leadership Development. “While these simple and practical tools and resources are an evergreen and permanent part of Target’s professional development portfolio, they’re curated for this moment, and designed to help leaders address their team’s most pressing needs.”

 

 

Users can read, watch or listen based on the time they have to invest, and can choose “micro-learning” modules that take just a few minutes—an especially effective option for time-constrained leaders in store and supply chain roles. And Adaptive Leadership content offers more variety than ever before for leaders at the store level; it lets users explore topics that match their personal needs, as well as what their team needs from them.

The topics strike a balance between personal aspects— physical, mental and emotional health—with the professional aspects of managing both the business and people. The site delivers a personalized, self-service user experience that gives leaders actionable insights and critical support during the pandemic and beyond.

With COVID-19 and the recent events in Minneapolis, Adaptive Leadership helps leaders connect with members of their teams who are emotionally impacted. A consistently evolving platform based on user feedback about what’s valuable and what’s still needed, the Adaptive Leadership site provides guidance for how to show up compassionately, while widening perspectives and helping team members prioritize and balance both work and life.

Mining for Local Tech Talent with an Intern Program that Works for Them

Target recognizes that many of tomorrow’s best and brightest technology professionals are headed for non-traditional engineering education paths including community and commuter colleges–many of which are right in our own back yard. So we set out to design a flexible spring internship program—but this was no typical program.

In order to cast a wider net into tech talent sources we hadn’t previously considered, this internship had to offer part-time schedules and tailored training and onboarding to fit busy lives with competing priorities like jobs and family commitments.

The goal of the internship is to close the experience gap with exposure to a real-world corporate environment while building technical skills and providing the professional development and mentorship that prepares students for positions in Target’s Technology Leadership Program.

In the quest for a pilot partner, Target considered local colleges based on curriculum content, courses of study, student demographics, success rates and faculty interactions. As a result, Metropolitan State University (Metro State) emerged as an ideal choice as our initial partner, with a goal of expanding to additional talent sources in the future.

Half of Metro State’s students are people of color, 62% are from lower income households and 61% are the first generation in their families to attend college. Further, the average Metro State student is 31 years old with a household, a job and other obligations. The school achieves comparable success rates while maintaining academic rigor, and has the lowest-cost bachelor degrees of any university in Minnesota.

 

For more on the program, we sat down with Metro State alum and Campus Champion, Dan, and program sponsor, Kraig, to understand what makes this internship so uniquely promising in a time of unprecedented demand for top tech talent.

How is Target’s internship program with Metro State different from others?

Dan: First, this internship takes place in the spring. Second, we prioritize accommodating students’ time. Since most students are still attending class, we are flexible with hour requirements so students can maintain their studies. We create a set of core days for interns to be on site, and then leave the remaining schedule to them and their manager.

Competition for talent in technology is fierce. Why is Target taking the opportunity to foster home-grown talent?

Dan: This program provided us an opportunity to explore new avenues for untapped talent. Before this partnership, local students may not have immediately thought of Target as a place they could start their career in technology, and Target didn’t realize the caliber of students we already had access to in our local market. Through the program, we’ve unlocked a mutual benefit to both these amazing students and Target. We value the diverse perspectives they bring to Target and the great contributions they make to their teams.

What do you find most exciting or rewarding about seeing the first class of Metro State interns grow at Target?

Dan: I am excited that we’re recognizing the talent coming out of this school. The student body is very motivated and ready to jump in and contribute. I look forward to growing this partnership.

Kraig: I have loved seeing the passion this group of interns brought to Target. They all jumped into their experience on day one just like they were full-time team members and never looked back. I believe we are at the start of a very good relationship here.

 

For the intern point of view, we chatted with Polly and Jack – two engineers who participated in the Metro State internship and are now members of our Technology Leadership Program.

What has surprised you most about this unique internship program?

Polly: The amount of support I received during my internship was phenomenal. I was surprised by how easily I was able to network with members of my team, as well as upper management and senior leaders. And I felt encouraged to take on challenging problems and improve my confidence as a young professional.

Jack: The focus and emphasis on learning and professional growth over productivity was most surprising. There were no expectations of me other than to learn and demonstrate growth in the topics I chose. I also had a say in the technologies I wanted to focus on.

Why was the structure of this program particularly beneficial or rewarding to you?

Jack: Taking time to focus on a specific area of the business, gaining hands-on development and operations experience, and deepening my understanding of Target’s infrastructure was incredibly rewarding. In my first few weeks in the Technology Leadership Program, I was already making connections and using tools that I had learned about during my internship. This program has done a lot to prepare me to be an even more successful engineer than I otherwise would have been.

Polly: Working by day and attending classes by night, I found that what I was learning during my internship was directly applicable to my school projects. This parallel correlation of events allowed for an easier transition from student life to being a full-time engineer.

What opportunities did Target provide for learning, growth and development?

Polly: Participating in groups like Target Women in Science and Technology (TWIST) and attending events such as Demo Day and begINNER Con have been great learning opportunities. It is inspiring to meet other engineers or product owners who are passionate about their work, and they offer a great way to network with others in technology at Target.

Jack: Even as an intern, I had access to the same learning resources as regular team members (Safari Books and Pluralsight) and as many internal talks and conferences as possible. From begINNER Con to the Lunch ‘n Learn events, there are a ton of avenues for developing your skills.

How have you developed your skills as a result of your internship experience?

Polly: I’ve become better at organizing my time and managing my projects. I have also improved my communication skills to ensure team expectations and objectives are met.

Jack: In the 15 years leading up to my new career at Target, I worked as a hairstylist with no background in tech aside from my undergrad and summer internship. I was indeed a novice. Right away, I challenged myself to ask a lot of questions. Even when I struggled to find the right one to ask, I still put my lack of knowledge out there and allowed myself to be vulnerable. I branched out and learned new languages like C#, Python and PowerShell. I became more familiar with Git and CI/CD, and conquered my fear of unit testing thanks to the amazing efforts of my team.

What was the highlight of the internship program experience for you?

Jack: The team I worked with and learned from. I was placed in a role that balanced learning both the development and operations-side of the business. Creating automation to support our operations and minimize downtime on POS systems in stores was quite fun, largely thanks to my team. My manager was also incredibly supportive throughout the process; giving me space and freedom to work on what interested me while also checking in often to make sure things were going well. And in the end I even walked away with some new friends that I’ve been able to hang out with outside of work.

How would you describe the culture at target?

Jack: Laid back. It’s one thing to tell your employees to bring their authentic selves to work. It’s another thing to actually mean it. I feel like I can be myself at work and ultimately, I’m judged on my performance and ability to grow in my role. Additionally, I feel like the growth mindset and “better every day” mentality is thoroughly embraced. You’re not expected to know everything, but you are expected to see those gaps as opportunities and show some willingness to learn.

Polly: Driven. Whether it be an individual or a team, it is clear that every employee is driven to define their own meaning of success and how to achieve their personal goals. I also love the work-life balance!

What would you tell someone considering a career in technology at Target?

Polly: Technology at Target is innovative, creative and progressive with a strong learning culture. As an employee within Target Technology Services (TTS), you will be able to develop your hard and soft skills while contributing to projects that support the company’s business ventures.

Jack: What are you waiting for? Target is such a large company, there is something here for everyone. You could spend an entire career here and never run out of things to learn.

 

Interested in learning, developing and contributing to our tech team? Learn more about our Software Engineering Internship – Spring Program, or explore all Technology & Data Sciences roles and apply today.

 

 

How Target is Propelling More Women into the Ranks of Engineering Leadership

The Engineering Management Immersion Program (eMIP) is a development program launched in 2017 that helps to prepare engineers for leadership roles. This program is aligned with Target’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Wonder what it’s like to be an engineering professional in the eMIP program? Here’s your chance to learn more! They’re making things happen in Target Technology, and we spent some time asking them what the program is all about…

Describe your background prior to eMIP.

Millie: I studied computer science, art, and language in college. After college I had the opportunity to teach English in Spain and work for a Non-Governmental Organization in Switzerland. After a year, I came back to the Twin Cities and began looking for a job in the tech industry. I started working at Code42 as a server-side Java Engineer. I then moved to Prime Digital Academy as a Software Development Instructor, where I taught adults about full stack software development, led projects, and coached them as they entered the tech industry. I came to Target to be part of this program in November.

Joana: I have been a dedicated software engineer for 20+ years. Delivering results and rallying teams for outcomes where I am deeply involved motivates me. At Target, I have established domestic and global teams in Guest POS domains, led engineering transformation and product modernization development efforts in Supply Chain, and currently part of Enterprise Guest Services team. In addition, I am the Target Women in Science & Technology (TWIST) External Partnerships & Community Leader focusing on K-12 volunteerism and philanthropy efforts.

Sowjanya: I started my professional career working at Sun Microsystems on Solaris Cluster, a clustering solution where my interest in distributed systems began. To further pursue my interest in this field, I completed my Masters in Computer Science at University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. After graduating, I joined Microsoft on the Dynamics AX team, an Enterprise Resource Planning product. Just prior to Target, I worked at Oracle for 5 years on Oracle Hierarchical Storage Manager, an archiving and data management software. I worked as a developer and primarily in product-based companies throughout my career and I ensured to take up new technology domains at each of my roles, be it Storage, ERP or High availability and with Target, retail industry is a whole new space for me and a challenge that I look forward to.

How did you hear about eMIP initially and what inspired you to apply?

Sowjanya: A Target recruiter reached out to me through LinkedIn about eMIP. I have been contacted by recruiters previously regarding job openings, but never have I come across a position/program that is specifically geared towards your personal career development at a leadership level through a formal process. And also, since Target is based in Minneapolis, the opportunities for exploration and growth within the company are immense. These reasons were enough for me to make the decision to leap forward in spite of being seven months pregnant at the time and not let the opportunity pass by.

Joana: I heard about eMIP from a few members of TWIST, who attended an open house at Target. I then attended an online open house to get more information about the program. It took me several days to internalize if this program was for me, as I hadn’t considered management as my career path. To help me with my decision, I consulted a few leaders and co-lead engineers, researched further about women in leadership, and reconnected all inputs to my goals. As a result, knowing that the new management expectation is to maintain our technical skills, I decided that this was the right program to help bridge the gap for me. And I am glad that I applied!

What has surprised you most about the program?

Millie: I have learned so much. The days are jam packed with a mix of technical challenges, formal manager trainings, and on the job shadowing opportunities. I’m getting a lot of practice prioritizing and balancing this mixed work load. As a Senior Engineering Manager at Target, you do both people management and contribute to the tech. Finding this good balance can be hard for new leaders, so having this time to practice before being formally in the role is very helpful.

Sowjanya: Early on in the program was a constant learning period for me – the culture, resources, product, technology stack, developing leadership skills, and so on – which was both overwhelming and exciting at the same time. I was pleasantly surprised at how thoughtful and well-structured the program was right from the start. I am also appreciative of how invested everyone is in bringing the right experiences and exposure to the cohort members – from the advisory board and trainers to the hosting team, leaders, sponsors and mentors.

How have the different parts of the curriculum (formal learning sessions, on-the-job experiences, mentoring) helped to develop your leadership skills?

Millie: The formal curriculum sessions have been great pillars for management learning. These sessions have focused on a variety of topics from communication, like storytelling and assertiveness, to more tactical strategies like Target Interview Training. In between these pillars we have the opportunity to practice the skills we learn on the job. We also have shorter follow up sessions to share out how we are implementing these learnings on the job. These follow up sessions have been very useful to hear how others are applying their learnings and get new ideas to take back to our teams.

Sowjanya: The formal trainings provide a wealth of resources. And on-the-job experience has enabled me to put those learnings into practice and develop my soft skills. I also consciously apply those techniques to communicate effectively and gain credibility. The leader, sponsor and mentor relationships provide an opportunity to brainstorm and get insight and guidance on various topics. These interactions have helped me get a better understanding of what it takes to become an effective leader and be prepared for any challenges that may lay ahead.

How would you describe the culture of the cohort? Or how has having a cohort helped you?

Millie: The current cohort is all women, but we are all very different. We have different backgrounds and experiences. Being able to pull from the group’s wider experiences or rely on them for advice when facing something new is helpful. The flip side of this is that we all have different needs and perspectives. We don’t always agree and sometimes it can be a challenge to get to consensus. But this isn’t unlike how our experiences will be as we prepare for a Senior Engineering Manager role, so it is excellent practice in helping guide teams of driven, smart, and passionate individuals to common destinations.

Joana: I think the best part of the program is being bonded with strong and talented women. Having a group that you know you can trust, supporting you while you are vulnerable, and helping and lifting up each other to be successful is what I genuinely appreciate most on this journey.

How has eMIP changed you?

Joana: More than the role, it is about growing and improving myself. eMIP has opened several opportunities for me as a woman in leadership in an accelerated time frame while retaining my authentic self.

Sowjanya: In just a few short months, eMIP has already made a positive impact on me. In addition to learnings and leadership, it also gave me a chance to reflect upon myself, focus and develop on my strengths. This brought in a lot more confidence in myself and prepared me with a better approach to challenges as a leader.

Millie: I can feel that I am changing and growing by being exposed to so many new opportunities. I expect to look back on my experience in the program far into the future and recognize it as a period that changed the direction and accelerated the growth of my career.

Interested in expanding both your leadership and technical skills in engineering? Learn more about opportunities in the Target Engineering Management Immersion Program and apply today.

Meet our Target team leaders

Team leaders lead a business that has one purpose: to help guests discover the joy in everyday life. They lead a team that is obsessed with the guest and creates an experience that makes them say “I love Target!” to their friends and family. They bring an expertise in sales, service and merchandising and have a deep understanding of the impact they and their departments have on sales growth and total store profitability—all while building a team that truly cares about each other and the guest. From coaching, training and developing talent on their specialized teams, to inspiring and delighting guests at every touchpoint—no two days as a Target team leader are the same.

So what’s it like to be a Target team leader? We recently sat down with a few team leaders to get the inside scoop.

 

What do you enjoy most about your role?

Christian, Closing Team Leader: My favorite thing about being a Target team leader is working with a diverse group of leaders and learning from them. I also enjoy inspiring and engaging my team members so that they can deliver the best Target experience to our guests. I spend most of my time developing and working with team members, and connecting with them on a deeper level to see what drives them. You really get to work with some amazing people every day.

Tyler, Style Team Leader: I think my favorite thing is working with my entire team on a daily basis. Being in the team environment and just getting to know all the people I work with and taking the right steps to accomplish all of our goals together. Since I’ve moved into the style position, I’ve enjoyed teaching my team solid routines and watching us become more successful.

Craig, Service & Engagement Team Leader: What I really love about my role is just developing others and the connection I make with the community. Being able to connect with my staff members or enabling them to carry on with their duties and roles without me being present is rewarding. So being in service and engagement, not only do I get the opportunity to really be the first and last impression of the store, I also get to make sure my team understands what that means, and make sure that we really impact Target’s mission and that each guest enjoys the experience.

 

How have you been able to bring your own unique approach to your role?

Tyler: My team does these fit sessions. Every time we transition into a new set or season, I’ll have my team build outfits and then try them on, so that way they can speak to guests about what goes well together or how certain things fit. It really helps the whole team from a creative standpoint. I think it gives the team a better understanding of what we sell versus just putting stuff out on the floor and trying to remember where everything is.

 

How have you grown with the support of your leaders and peers?

Christian: I hone my skills through day to day interactions with my peers in collaboration to complete tasks. Plus, Target offers a wide variety of growth opportunities. My leadership team provides me with a feedback-rich environment and the tools to succeed.  They’ve supported my development by constantly challenging me and pushing me to be my best self.

Maria, Human Resources Team Leader: One of the things I have learned from Target is leadership skills—how to develop relationships with the team and to get the best out of everybody by teaching them. I think everybody has potential, and by us investing in them, we can get the best out of everybody.

 

How would you describe the culture at Target?

Abdi, Service & Engagement Team Leader: When I’m in the store, it feels like home, and it’s beautiful. Everybody loves everybody in our store, and it is amazing. We work together side by side, and we help each other to get the job done—we are all family.

Vanessa, Human Resources Process Team Leader: That togetherness, the family feeling, the one team, one dream kind of atmosphere—because everybody’s there for our guests but if one succeeds, we all succeed. So what I love most about working in my store is the people, because there’s always jobs—but when you work with people that you really like, that you’re comfortable with, that you know have your best interest at heart, it makes the job a whole lot easier.

 

What would you tell a new team leader just starting out?

Maria: One of the things that makes a team leader successful is working hard. Proving yourself and learning every single day, being open to change, absorbing information, and providing that feedback to team members. One of the things that I’m a firm believer in is that you have to teach and model what you expect. So when you work hard, your team members are going to work hard for you because they want to make sure that you get those results.

Karla: What I do tell new team members is that it’s a new opportunity. Target is looking for people to grow, and they’re going to help you. Dig into yourself and see what you have inside, like your strengths, even if you don’t think that you have those types of strengths. The company is willing to help you both improve on your weaknesses and help you with those strengths.

Abdi: I would tell a new team leader to expect a great and welcoming environment, a lot of opportunities, great leaders of course, and great benefits.

 

Interested in a role as a Target team leader? Learn more and explore opportunities at jobs.target.com/teamleader.

 

Meet our Data Sciences Team

EDABI team converses.

Target’s Data Sciences team employs a uniquely capable and brilliant team of engineers, data scientists and analysts. They’re responsible for creating the tools and data products that enable business partners to make sound, data-based decisions, and they help develop the technology that personalizes the guest experience—from product recommendations to relevant ad content.

The Pulse team sat down with three Data Sciences pros to find out what’s interesting and exciting about working with data at Target. Hear from Brindha, Senior Manager, Business Intelligence Engineering, Janet, Director, Data Sciences and Kristina, Principal Data Scientist on what it’s like to work on Target’s Data Sciences team.

What’s the most exciting or innovative project you’ve worked on recently? 

Janet: For the last year, we’ve been moving into computer vision, which is algorithms to understand images. Why is that important? We use it to algorithmically understand the images of our products, which in turn allows us to help guest find visually similar or complementary items as they shop. A lot of our products are very style based and since a picture is a worth a thousand words, if we understand what style a guest is interested in, we can create a far more customized, intuitive and relevant experience for them.

Brindha: Closed-loop reporting tells us about impressions and how much our ads are driving sales. We provide Marketing with the data points that help the company make sure their campaigns are planned properly, and which platforms to launch to reach the most number of guests. We help close the loop to report on campaign effectiveness to inform future campaigns. It’s pretty exciting and I can see an immediate impact on the business.

Kristina: We are working on our internal A/B testing tool. I’m giving UX feedback, taking what I do on a day-to-day basis, and turning it into a user interface. It’s almost three years in the making. We used to use a third party, and then we built our own tool which integrates with Target.com and apps. It’s exciting because when we started, we’d only use vendors for something this complex. With our own, custom-built tool we can run more tests and be more effective.          

What has surprised you most about your career with Target? 

Kristina: I’ve spent most of my career at Target, and the most surprising thing is the scope of the role, the opportunities and the different teams to support. During the first ten years, I was supporting two or three teams with different functions, never really doing the same thing twice, solving tons of different problems—and holistic problems versus an online only company. From Marketing, Merchandising to Finance, there are big financial decisions to make, and there are lots of areas where data plays an important role.

Brindha: I’m a data enthusiast, so the one thing that’s amazed me is the scale of the data that we’re working with—and it comes with an equally big responsibility. I want to build optimized products. Making sure that my team has a high-performing solution—this is part of the responsibility. We are a very fast paced retailer so we need to build high-performing optimal solutions for our business teams.

Janet: The importance of company culture and how that can fuel success. The culture of support, collaboration and team work has been a strong influence through my time at Target, and I’ve learned so much from it. While I’ve gained technical skills, I’ve also become a better team player. People really work together.

Speaking of culture, what do you enjoy most about the culture within data and technology teams at Target?

Brindha: The people are the best thing about Target. It feels very much like a family. We are very focused on our work, but we make our everyday life as fun as possible. For new projects, we always try to understand through the eyes of a guest: What do we want to see? What do we want to be served? Culture is especially important to me as a leader, and it’s so important to me at Target. We always work as a team, not in silos. We are one team at Target. That’s our mantra.

Janet: There is a real culture of curiosity and exploration so when you pair that with collaboration you have it going both ways—learning and teaching—and I think that’s really powerful. People are encouraged to explore and innovate. You’re encouraged to try stuff and to take smart risks. You’re not expected to necessarily do the same thing the same way over and over again.

Kristina: Generally, the culture is one where everyone wants to move fast. It’s a whole bunch of people interested in getting things done, but it’s not super hierarchical in terms of who responds to what—there’s always someone monitoring when you’ve got a question. It’s a lot of people who are excited about their work and what they bring to the table, and they openly share it rather than withholding. They’re driven to get the answers to the business teams faster. We’re moving fast in a good way. It’s about agility.

How does Target motivate and retain team members in your space?

Kristina: First of all, it’s just exciting work. We are invited to use creativity and build our skill set. For a lot of people, that’s important—you want to feel like you’re gaining skills rather than working repetitively. Target really does care about data and analytics as crucial to our success and believes that it’s an important investment in the company.

Janet: One big way we retain talent is the breadth of problems that team members get to work on. When a team member comes in, there are many different problems and projects to work on. After a team member has been here for a while, they can switch tracks and dig in on something else. There’s a lot of variety and opportunity to solve big problems. There are also opportunities for learning and new growth in terms of hopping onto new projects, but team members are also encouraged to learn and develop their skills.

Interested in a career in data and technology with Target? Explore opportunities at target.com/careers and apply today.

Get to know Laura, Store Leadership Team

What is the best thing about being a leader at Target?
I enjoy the ability to mold great leaders. Target embraces inclusivity and diversity which makes it incredibly rewarding to be able to help guide people in their career. Target has created a culture of strong values and delivers a great experience for the team and most importantly the guest. I love being a part of this.

What was the most exciting thing that happened this month?
Right now, I oversee the Specialty Department and have a some incredible direct reports. It has been very exciting to see how they have grown and the level of talent that we have created. I have a Visual Merchandise Team Member who has been taking initiative and heading the training of our new Team Members. It is a rewarding sight when the Visual Merchandiser can not only create buy in, but be able to implement true leadership in the department.

What should every leader be reading right now?
I have always been passionate about putting people first. One of my favorite inspirational websites is InspireYourPeople.com as it goes through important soft skills that you have to possess to create followers as a leader. The 212 has a message that can relay to any team. It is about putting in that extra effort into everything you do. Whether it be people development, task completion or even something as simple as creating a schedule, that extra effort can make a big difference.

What’s your greatest accomplishment in your career at Target so far?
The biggest accomplishment I have a achieved at Target was being able to influence and give feedback to our corporate partners about a new operating model. The company truly values feedback and encourages ideas.

What is your favorite thing about working at Target?
I came from a retail company that valued a people first mentality. It was a culture that kept me engaged and challenged for nearly 14 years. I wanted to ensure that the next journey in my career embraced this practice. I was very selective about where I wanted to invest my time and talent and was able to find a home in Target as it aligned with the culture that I value.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a teacher and a fashion designer. Throughout my career, I have always been in a position of teaching and training. I believe this comes from my core values as a child and of course my keen sense of fashion. 😉

What is the hardest thing about being a leader?
I think the hardest thing about any leadership role is ensuring that you have provided all the necessary resources and provided consistent feedback to guide your team to success. Your success as a team depends on it. Training and teaching should always come first- it is a hard balance when there are deadlines and tasks so we must remember that the investment we make in our people will pay off in the end.

Best career advice that you’ve received?
When I was a District Manager, I had to ensure that I was creating stores and teams that could operate at the highest possible level. At times, it may be difficult to understand that progress is actually a win and to not expect perfection all the time. My Regional Director would always challenge me to ensure that I recognize progress and not expect perfection because it is progress that will get us to where we need to be. I carry that with me in all aspects of my life and career.

Dogs or cats?
Dogs! I have 2 incredible rescues who love my kids and are the sweetest animals you would ever meet.

What is your superpower/unicorn flavor?
If I had a superpower it would be to read people’s minds. But my current superpower is people development. 🙂

Think you have what it takes to become a leadership team member? Explore opportunities at jobs.target.com/teamleader and apply today.

Get to know Danny, Store Leadership Team

What is the best thing about being a leader at Target?
This is such an amazing company to work for! For me, the company’s appreciation for the team was evident even during the interview process. I don’t know about everyone else, but when it comes to me, going to interview for a role you really want can be extremely scary. However, while I was going through Target’s process, before I was even hired, I was overwhelmed by the warm welcoming environment, inclusivity, and positivity from the team. Being able to bring this feeling alive for our current team and potential team members is the best thing about a Target Leader.

What was the most exciting thing that happened this month/year?
This month, being able to be 100% staffed with leaders and team members going into the holiday season AKA the busiest time of the year. We’re staffed with a pretty amazing team too! This year, 9/1/2018 was an extremely exciting life changing day – I asked my best friend to marry me!

What should every leader be reading or following right now?
Your dreams! Dare to dream and always follow your dreams. On top of your dreams, you should follow the advice of your mom or mother figure. Your mom will always have your back and your best intentions as their top priority. Hate to say, but as an adult I realized it’s true, moms are always right. My mom has always been my biggest supporter and one of my best friends. She has always been the one encouraging me to follow my dreams and ensuring those dreams were BIG.

What’s your greatest accomplishment in your career at Target so far?
Umm, this! Being chosen to appear on pulse blog is pretty awesome!!

What is your favorite thing about working at Target?
Having the opportunity to work with and influence such a diverse dynamic team. We have a huge team. Being able to teach and learn from them every day makes work enjoyable and so rewarding.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
A Judge! I always wanted to use a gavel.

What is the hardest thing about being a leader?
Having to let your team fail sometimes. If we are always there as a safety net we will never develop our teams. It’s important to encourage everyone to try new things. They can’t be afraid to fail. Sometimes we have to fall before we can figure out how to fly!

Best career advice that you’ve received?
Keep it simple! Don’t over complicate matters and always use your common sense.

Dogs or cats?
Dogs- 100% dogs! I have Charlie, a 4 year old Yorkshire Terrier. At times he’s annoying– sometimes the reason I say I won’t have kids, but I love him all the time. I guess cats are cool too. I’m allergic so I always stay away, never gave them a chance. The jury is still out on if I want kids too. I’ll be the judge of that!

What is your superpower/unicorn flavor?
My laugh. I’ve been told numerous times my laugh is the best and that it’s super contagious. It’s very distinct. Once you hear it you’ll laugh and then you won’t forget it.

Think you have what it takes to become a leadership team member? Explore opportunities at jobs.target.com/teamleader and apply today.

Get to know Taeler, Store Leadership Team

What is the best thing about being a leader at Target?
This is SUCH an exciting time to be a Target Team Member!! We are laser focused on the FUTURE and investing in the most important part of what we do- our people! I am so proud to say that I work for Target!

What was the most exciting thing that happened this year?
Starting week 1 in my first Store Assignment!!!!!

Who should every leader be following right now?
#1 Get on LinkedIN!! #2 Simon Sinek, Sophia Amuroso and as MANY Instagram influencers / Blogs as you can!!! Love it or hate it social media is how we connect with each other in 2018 and life is moving faster each day… this is how I know whats cool before it’s cool!

What’s your greatest accomplishment in your career at Target so far?
Being a part of all of the exciting progress at Target- from our update to our Logistics process, to our huge investment in Teams with our Selling training.. getting to LEAD our Teams through this time is the most rewarding part of what we do!!

What is your favorite thing about working at Target?
Working for a Brand and Team with a clear purpose that I believe in!

What did you want to be when you grew up?
A lawyer- I still am obsessed with all iterations of Law and Order. 🙂

What is the hardest thing about being an leader?
Understanding that perfection is impossible. As leaders, we make mistakes (Gasp!) and fall short sometimes- the mark of a great leader isn’t perfection.. it’s willingness to accept the failures as a challenge rather than defeat!

Best career advice that you’ve received?
Saying ‘Thank You’ when receiving a compliment as well as when you receive feedback- constructive or positive. Being humble enough and gracious enough to accept BOTH interchangeably. That… and “It’s not that serious”- don’t get worked up unless it’s REALLY something to get worked up about. Choose your battles wisely! C’est La Vie!

Dogs or cats?
CATS- I have 3! Bijoux- a Tiger Tabby, Coco- a Russian Blue, and Magick- a fluffy Persian!

What is your superpower/unicorn flavor?
I am an EXTREME morning person! I pretty much jump out of bed at 5am everyday, and I am my best most productive self in the AM. I like to think of it as a superpower!!

Anything else?
I LOVE to sing karaoke!!!! My husband (Dylan) and I are SERIOUS- we practice and keep a playlist on our phones of potential songs.

A Decade to Celebrate

I have often tried to relate my career to a journey. A journey that has been marked with its share of ups and downs. When I am asked which part of my career journey I remember the most, I spontaneously respond – “the part where I am right now”. This has been my response for the last 12 years. My working life at Target India has given me the perfect blend of new opportunities, challenges, avenues for innovation, a great team, work-life balance and loads of fun.

Starting out in a Finance role at Target Sourcing Services (TSS) in Delhi, I was introduced to different cultures and team members from other countries. The learnings from those days are still fresh in my memory. After six years at TSS, I moved to Target India in Bangalore. My new role gave me great learning opportunities and a chance to continue honing my skills It is not easy for a person who has spent his entire life in one city, to move to a new one with his family. Lucky for me, no matter which geography one is in, the Target team member experience is always the same and it is the best a person can get. Target made my move from Delhi to Bangalore very comfortable. I never had to feel the anxiety of walking into a new space and meeting with new people. The experience at both the offices was the same – well-planned and immaculate office spaces and an amazing team that supported me through my initial days.

The leadership at Target India is one of the main reasons why I love working here. Frequent developmental conversations, focus on the growth of every team member, varied work experiences and support at every instance has been the hallmark of leadership here. As a core Finance professional, I would never have dreamt of stepping outside the profession had it not been for the opportunity and encouragement provided by the leadership team at Target.
My current role is in the Indirect Procurement space. My leaders’ confidence in me and their supportiveness encouraged me to take on this role. The hardworking and efficient team that I work with motivates me to come to work each morning energized and leave work even more energized.

Working at Target has been eventful, exciting and fulfilling. The journey continues to excite me. Who would be in a hurry to reach the end, when the journey is so beautiful?

A Transition from Naval Officer to Store Team Leader

Having served on active duty for almost 11 years, I was not used to having to interview or look for a job.  When the time came for me to transition from the military to the civilian sector, it was certainly a jump into the abyss.  The military does a great job teaching you leadership, discipline and working as a unit; however, when it came to job searching and putting together a resume, I was lost.  While on active duty, it’s easy to take for granted all the benefits the military provides to you and your family, but when it’s time to transition out, there is a bit of hesitation going into unknown territory.

Prior to transitioning out of the military, all service members are required to take the mandatory transition assistance course.  This provided some good benefits, I quickly took courses to help build my resume, practice interviews and go to job fairs.  At one of the job fairs I attend, the Service Academy Career Conference, I was introduced to a gentleman who worked at Target and we talked for a bit.  He was very open and transparent with what the position entailed and the expectations.  Something that resonated then and continues to resonate to this day is the camaraderie.  Several of my friends ended up working at large successful corporations; however, one thing that was constant was the lack of camaraderie.  In the military, teamwork is often one of the key factors that dictates mission success and is something that one does not appreciate until he/she is out of the military.

After meeting with the Target rep, I did my homework, interviewed with several leaders and eventually was hired as a Store Team Leader.  Having been with Target now for over 2 years, I can tell you that the camaraderie you build with your team at Target is something special and one that replicates the camaraderie you built with your fellow troops.  Having been in the service, one gets used to long hours, adverse situations, high stress, etc. and all those skills and situations helps to better prepare you for your career after the military.

Target is a company that’s dedicated to hiring vets, so it is very military friendly.  The company invests a lot in you and wants to see you succeed, and it is a performance based company so you really control your destiny–and it’s fun.  I truly feel like a business owner.  I enjoy training and molding my team. I enjoy the team building events such as community service. The positive reinforcement and great team culture is something embedded in the Target DNA and something we strive for in each store to ensure our team is highly engaged and highly motivated.

My Target Internship: Michael

Target offers Store Executive, Distribution, HQ Undergrad and HQ Graduate internship opportunities.  Want to learn more?  Michael, a Store Executive Intern, shares his experience below.

• Name: Michael S.
• Lives in: Upper St. Clair (Pittsburgh), PA
• College year: Penn State University, Class of December 2017

• Why did you decide to do an internship at Target? I decided to do this internship with Target because it seemed like it would be a great experience with an even better company that would help me to build essential business and leadership skills.

• Which Target team(s) will you be working with this summer? What is your role? My role as an executive intern means I will be working with all the different teams throughout the Target store to gain insight and experience with each over the 10 week program. This will hopefully prepare me to lead the store and different teams throughout the final couple weeks of my internship.

• What do you hope to learn & what skills do you hope to build? I hope to learn more about what goes into being a great leader while learning what it takes to successfully run a business. I hope to take these observations and experiences from other leaders in the store to build upon my leadership and business skills to improve myself for the future.

• Tell us about your new Target team. What are your first impressions? My target team has been awesome to me since day one. Everyone has been kind, welcoming, and great to work with. The team has a very positive attitude that impacts both their work and the guests of the store. The members of the team are always willing to help me when I need it, and I was thankful for that the first couple weeks I was in role.

• What was your favorite moment from your first few weeks on the job? What surprised you most? My favorite moment from my first few weeks on the job was receiving positive feedback from my mentor and store team leader so that I knew what I was doing well, where I stood with the other team members, and what I needed to focus on moving forward. What has surprised me the most is how much certain areas of the store flow into others and how eager team members are to do well and help the guests.

• What’s your favorite part about shopping Target as a guest? My favorite part about shopping as a Target guest is the great deals you can find here, while feeling comfortable shopping in the store. I think every time I shop at Target I come expecting to buy one thing, and leave with more than I expected.

 

The Power of Strategy

The path of my 15 year leadership journey with Target is a tale of two stories. The first story began with my first position as a team leader, and I was young and hungry to be successful. I worked really hard and thought that it would translate to success. It did: I was promoted Executive Team Leader after just a couple of years. What I quickly realized in my new role was that the same hard work which gave me that opportunity would not grant me success in my new position.  Still, I continued to do what I knew best and that was to put my head down and work hard.  I was a reactive leader, but because I worked hard I still got decent results and my team viewed me as a decent leader.

I had my aha moment in the second half of my Target career.  I was inspired by a great leader.  She played such a crucial part in my development over the years, but what really inspired me was the confidence she instilled in me regarding my ability to lead others and make great decisions.  Her empowerment came with more responsibility, and I started to think strategically to solve problems and make decisions.  I developed what I think is such a crucial aspect of leadership: strategizing to solve problems.

The importance of strategizing:
In the competitive retail world, there is always so much change.  It is easy to get overwhelmed with the details. This may become detrimental to keeping your eye on the prize so to speak.  By far the most intriguing and important aspects of leadership are strategic and critical thinking to solve problems. Solving problems will determine your ability to get results and ultimately set you up for success in achieving your personal goals as well as the opportunity to promote at Target.

How to keep strategizing simple and where to start:
Start with the big problem first.  Ask yourself what is the main goal you are trying to achieve with your team? Next, create an action plan. I utilize a very simple approach to solving every problem standing in the way of accomplishing my goals. First, do I have the right person in place to be successful? Second, did I set the expectations and gain commitment? Finally, what are the consequences?

With leadership, your team is the most important aspect of winning.  Without the right person in place, you will not set yourself up for success. I am always looking for team members to have a great attitude, to show a sense of urgency, and to be able to adapt to change.  Once you’ve found a team member with these qualities, you can easily gain admiration from them once you show them success and help them with personal growth and development.

Once you have the right person in place, the expectations must be clear and pertain to your roadmap to success. At Target, we utilize a lot of tools, reports, and statuses to get the most out of this process. Clear communication of the goals, plans for achieving success, and the method of measuring the results are key to leaving the team member feeling inspired, supported, and committed to meeting or beating expectations. Without clear communication, the team member has little chance of reaching these expectations as they will be only striving to reach their own.

Lastly, what are the consequences? It is important that there are mutually understood consequences between you and your team member. This can be either recognition or accountability. As a leader, I wish the consequence was recognition and sharing success, however in reality the accountability piece also plays a huge role in leading the team to success. Recognizing success validates the team member’s efforts. It will inspire the individual team member and the surrounding team to continue to work hard. On the opposite side, holding team members accountable drives them to improve their performance.

My personal development around thinking strategically and critically has been such a key factor in achieving both company and personal goals. During the second half of my Target career I have been able to get amazing results, help others grow, develop and promote, and most importantly I have achieved my personal goal of becoming a Store Team Leader.

Utilizing these simple strategies you will be able to solve and lead your team through problems big and small. Once you’ve honed these skills, the sky’s the limit for opportunity at Target. So if you love leading and working with great people, a competitive culture, solving problems, opportunity, and winning, come see what you’ve got.

Believe in yourself. You will hit the Target!

Senior year in college is a scary and exciting year for everyone. You are finishing up another chapter in your life, you may or may not have to go back home, and now all of your hard work must result in a job! I worked so hard throughout college to maintain a great GPA, but being a mother of 2 did not make me into the traditional college student who had a lot of time for extracurricular activities to show for.

I went to my school’s Career Fair, and Target was there recruiting interns. I spoke to the recruiters about who I am and what motivates me. Listening to other students speak to the recruiters about the leadership program they joined for 4 years, or the 2 years studying abroad made me second guess myself. I asked myself, why would Target want a person with a psychology major? I put my resume on the pile with everyone else’s and walked away.

To my surprise my school Career Center called me and told me that Target requested me for an interview for the internship program. As you already imagine, I got the internship. During an intern event I saw my recruiter and asked him why did he call me back? He said “I knew you would be perfect for Target; you are passionate about what you love, you know hard work pays off, and that not everything is black and white”.

After my internship, I was offered a position to be the Executive Team Leader of Guest Experience. I was in that position for 18 months, and during that time I was able to help people, and use what motivates them to shape them into better professionals while at the same time driving results for Target. Now I am training to be a Human Resource Executive where I believe I can make more of an impact, and continue to find those who need someone to believe in them.

A leader at Target is not necessarily the one with the longest resume. It is the one with the most passion, who knows who to believe in, and how to motivate them to achieve their best. That’s how Target achieves results.

Interested in joining Target?  Learn more here.

My Career at Target

My name is Henry, a graduate from Salisbury University (Perdue School of Business). While attending Salisbury I was afforded multiple opportunities, one of which was participating in Target’s internship program. Prior to pursuing an internship with Target, I was offered an opportunity to intern for another company. This presented a major challenge for me, because I wanted to make the right decision. I began to research both companies, and what really stuck out to me about Target were their inclusive culture, focus on training and development, and the opportunity for growth. When I completed my Target internship, I had learned so much about how to be a leader and how to develop the individuals who report to me. It was an amazing experience and I didn’t want it to end.

While interning with Target I was offered the opportunity to become a Campus Liaison which means I would be a representative for Target campus recruiting at my University. This really sparked my interest because I was very involved on campus and wanted to spread the word to everyone about how great it is to work at Target. Shortly after I started as a liaison and concluded my internship I received a phone call that may have very well changed my life. Target human resources called me to extend an offer to become an Executive Team Leader. In awe and excitement of the news, I was very eager to spread the word to any and every one about why they should choose Target. Going into my senior year, I was stress free when it came to the question “Where will I work after graduation?” I already knew – Target!

I have been working at Target for going on 3 years, and during that time I have been promoted from an intern to a Manager of the Sales Floor to a Manager of Logistics. I have also been selected as a Campus Recruiting Leader where I’m given the opportunity to go to campuses and spread my knowledge of the Target business and career opportunities. I look back at my career and I know that my life is changed for the better because I selected Target as my career.

Interested in joining Target?  Learn more here.

Game Time

As an Executive Team Leader, the 4th quarter is like the “Super Bowl” of retail because it consists of a high sales, high traffic and high focus being around the holidays. For me, this is my favorite time of year. Not only was I able to be a strategic thought partner and create plans for the entire store in order to drive sales and initiatives, but I am able to walk through the execution with the entire team, getting them excited and prepared to have a successful holiday season. When I talk about the 4th quarter being like the “Super Bowl” this means as a team, we have worked hard to get to this point, and now we are putting the finishing touches on the season. The holidays consist of collaboration with peers and the entire store! You feel as if you are one big family, because we are all going through it together. The energy and drive at a store during this time is inspiring. That is why this is my favorite time of year.

The key characteristic that comes into play during the 4th quarter and as an Executive Team Leader is “Leadership”. I am a competitive, team oriented person by nature, and to have the opportunity to lead a multi-million dollar store is amazing. I get to focus on developing my leadership everyday through the incredible tools and resources Target provides, helping me become a better leader. Our most valuable asset at Target is the people! I love that I am able to utilize my leadership to focus on building others up, motivating, teaching and training in order to help teams and leaders become the best they can be, which in turn builds a strong organization.

As an ETL, not only do I get to focus on leading others at a store level, but I have the opportunity to become a mentor and resource to other leaders and stores in the district. This is another way to build upon your leadership, while providing your knowledge and experience with other leaders to help them be successful. I love that I am able to take my competitive and team oriented nature into an organization to engage, motivate and develop others, while building a business to drive sales, initiatives and goals.

Interested in joining Target?  Learn more here.

My Second Family

The year was 2006 and I was in my senior year at Iowa State University (Go Cyclones!). I was six months away from graduating and like many of my peers, I was looking for a job. Once I spent some time actually applying, reality hit quickly and I realized it was going to be more challenging than expected. I began to worry I may not find the “Dream Job” I was looking for.  I decided to look at some opportunities I hadn’t considered before and applied at Target for a retail management position. Fortunately, I got the job and started as an Executive Team Leader in Target Stores. Truth be told, I never saw myself as a retail manager and considered this an option only until I found something more suited to my degree.

That was 8 years ago. The “Dream Job” WAS Target. The level of responsibility and trust I was given, as well as the training, was inspiring and motivating.

As I moved through each year, I grew as a manager, a leader and a person.  I was promoted to a Store Team Leader, which is the position I currently have.  Over these 8 years I met and worked with many inspirational team members that changed my life forever.  It is all these team members, past and present that have become what I refer to as “My Second Family”.

It isn’t until you experience something life changing that you begin to realize how wonderful this “Target Family” really is.  Two years ago this past fall, one of those team members had a sudden heart attack and passed away. This team member was loved by all of his peers but even more so, he was loved by Target guests. He was known for his infectious laugh and his ability to make everyone smile. At the funeral, over 50 team members arrived wearing red & khaki to celebrate his life and honor his memory.  Each and every one of them a member of his Target Family.  It was a privilege to be among them.

As I start the beginning of my 9th year with Target, I look back on experiences like this and reflect on how lucky I am. From weddings of co-workers to meeting the love of my life, I will forever be grateful to work for such an amazing company.

Interested in joining Target?  Learn more here.

Reaching and Teaching Our Veterans

I was really excited to be a part of the Target team that piloted our first ever Fort Hood Base event. This event allowed us to reach out to some of our nation’s veterans and connect them to career opportunities at Target. But what really impressed me was how we used this event to also teach by providing professional leadership development to the participants along with first-hand testimonials from current Target leaders that made the transition from military to civilian life. Just like in our stores, we focused on providing our guests (our veterans in this case) with an amazing experience to keep them coming back to Target.

The participants really got involved in the professional development- coming up with ideas on how to connect with our guests and transform our business in the Stores. And I heard rave reviews from them on the afternoon session where they had the chance to meet with both human resources and stores leadership to discuss resume writing, interview skills and transition tips. It was encouraging to hear from several of the participants that they had never attended an event like this before where an employer focused on really connecting with prospective talent versus just selling their company as a place to work.

The potential for an event like this is huge! As our nation’s military reorganizes after returning from over 10 years of war, there will be very talented, motivated and agile leaders who are looking to continue their career in leadership. And there’s no doubt that we provide this opportunity here at Target. We started with the largest active duty post in the country first- just like Target to start big! I look forward to us expanding this pilot to other installations as we look to bring great leaders into our organization to join the best team ever!

Post by Tyler, Human Resources Manager – Distribution
Tyler is a former US Army Military Intelligence Officer with over six years of experience at Target within distribution and supply chain leadership.

Are you a veteran with an interest in Target? Learn more about opportunities at Target.com/military.

Building Confidence

Being a senior and attending Louisiana’s flagship school, I was always taught to be prideful and confident in my university. I have never been too shy to scream “GEAUX Tigers,” and I have always made it a point to say “Love Purple and Live GOLD”. However, it has always bothered me that I could be so confident in a school or even our football team, but I have myself lacked self-confidence. While I attending LSU I have taken classes that allowed me to conduct some self-evaluations and dive into my personality type. Sure enough, all my results from my instructors and classmates were along the lines of “Take Risks” or “Be Confident”. I began to realize that if I was always afraid or nervous that I would not be able to excel.

Once I began my executive food internship at Target I was very excited; yet, the feeling of excitement soon vanished when I received my schedule.  As I reviewed the course of the program, there were dates marked “Lead Food Department” or “Be LOD (leader on duty)”. I was so nervous! However, over the course of the internship, I was able to prove to myself how much responsibility I could handle. I noticed I was becoming more comfortable not only in my department, but in the greater store as well. It was definitely time to do something out of my comfort zone.

Recently, our district team leader (or DTL as Target calls it) and human resources business partner (or HRBP), took us interns on two store visits.  Our district team leader wanted us to get the feel for what it was like to be on both ends of a DTL visit. We were able to witness how he actually conducted the walk to observe a Target store. I was pretty sure that this was an assessment of how much we were learning over the last few weeks.

I was rushing with emotions as we walked the store  assessing their wins and opportunities. It hit home for me that all of the training and development I received during my internship came to fruition. Then, the time came to recap our experience with our DTL. This really took me out of my element. I am not typically a reserved or shy person when it pertains to my personal life, but I was now lacking professional confidence. But in that moment I felt a sense of confidence build up inside me. I began to explain my assessment of each store calmly, yet confidently, which resulted in me receiving amazing feedback from my HRBP.

I owe a great deal of recognition to my mentor for being such a huge impact in my development. He has always supported me by instilling the confidence in me to lead at the next level. With his encouragement, I was not only able to successfully complete my DTL walk, but I gained the experience in such a value-added session to not only take back to the store team but to continue with the tools given to enhance the communication style and leadership capabilities that I have always desired!

Post by Kristen, Target stores executive intern

Learn more about Target opportunities for college students here.

Boarding Call for Success

At Target, we talk about professional development using the terms “strengths” and “opportunities”-the latter being a euphemism for “weakness”. During my first weekly mentor meeting my store team leader, Rony, shared an insightful metaphor. He compared strengths and opportunities to the parts of a plane. He described that we fly with our strengths; propelled by our innate and instinctive strengths as the fuel of the plane. However, our flight will always be weighed down by our opportunities, essentially our baggage (excuse the pun). To get to our destination the quickest we must lead with our strengths and control our opportunities.

My plane, now shining with the bright red Target bullseye symbol, has swiftly ascended into clear skies. Truthfully, what makes this flight so smooth and pleasant is my team. On my first day in the store I was embraced by smiles and even a hug! My cheeks actually hurt from smiling. I am grateful to say that this warm welcome has not faded. What truly differentiates this internship from any other is summed up in two simple words: “I matter”.  I am seen, heard, and understood. Most importantly, I am held accountable. The Target culture and environment challenges my talent, responsibility, and leadership. My professional and personal growth is aided through hands-on involvement. Not only am I shadowing my mentor but I am given the chance to manage and execute with the same expectations as an executive team leader. I am held accountable for running the sales floor, managing my team and exceeding guest expectations. An ideal example of jumping in when I am interested occurred today: I had the opportunity to lead an interview with an applicant and have a say in the next steps. I felt important that I had a say in the future of Target.

As my fourth week comes to a close I can already share my advice for future interns: crave curiosity. Curiosity compels and drives our development. Taking initiative and interest in an area or simply clarifying a topic for full understanding not only demonstrates a thirst for knowledge, but a thirst for success. To me, success is flying your own plane. Target has provided me with this plane but it is my responsibility to choose the path.

Post by Jasmin, stores intern

Learn more about Target opportunities for college students here.

Amazing Nurse Practitioners at Target Clinic

Last month I shared how much I love my profession and recognition. Well, I would be completely remiss if I did not share my love and recognition for another medical profession that staffs Target Clinic in Minnesota– Nurse Practitioners (NP). And since National Nurse Practitioner Week is celebrated this month I thought this would be perfect timing.  I asked one of our fabulous NPs, Kristen, to share more about the profession and what she enjoys about working at Target Clinic.

Lexie: What is a Nurse Practitioner?

Kristen: A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse who has expanded his or her education and passed a national certification exam. Some nurse practitioners are known as “Advanced Practice Registered Nurses”. As an NP, I am trained to diagnose and treat most medical conditions. I can also write prescriptions for medications and order lab tests and x-rays. I have also been trained to preform minor office procedures such as: casting, suturing, and mole/wart/skin tag removal- just to name a few. Though, I don’t do all of these things at Target Clinic, they are all within the scope of my training.

L: Last month I talked about PA education and training. How does this differ from a NP’s?

K: There are a number of differences ranging from the clinician’s background to practice guidelines. Nurse practitioners are required to have a bachelor’s degree as a registered nurse and to practice as a registered nurse for at least 1000 hours prior to beginning an NP program. Nurse Practitioner programs can be either a masters or doctoral program and generally take 3-4 years to complete. After completion of a NP program, NPs must pass a national certification exam in order to become certified. In order to maintain that status a NP must practice at least 1000 hours and maintain a specified number of continuing education credits every five years.

L: So with NPs able to work in a variety of settings, what brought you to Target Clinic?

K:  Prior to coming to Target, I worked as a registered nurse for seven years. My cohorts frequently ask me why I work for Target Clinics; the answer is simple- I LOVE my job! As an NP I am driven by the ability to help patients meet their healthcare needs through innovative, quality and convenient service which Target Clinic offers all of their guests. I have also always been very passionate about development, leadership, and leading amazing teams to be successful. These are all opportunities that I have been presented while working for Target Clinics. Additionally, I am fortunate to work with amazing leaders who are invested in my future and who support my personal development every step of the way.

L: Anything else you’d like to share?

K: I am proud to be one of more than 171,000 certified nurse practitioners in the US. I truly have a sincere appreciation and passion for the profession, which is why I am an NP. As National Nurse Practitioner Week was November 10-16, I would like to recognize all of the fabulous nurse practitioners that I work with at Target Clinics for all of their hard work, dedication and professionalism. The patients that we serve deserve the best and that’s exactly what they get when they are seen at Target Clinic!

Interested in a career with Target Clinic? Click here to learn more. 

b.a.l – be a leader

B.A.L is a simple acronym that stands for “Be a Leader!” Target loves acronyms so, I thought it was fitting to use one from my personal life to show case what leadership means to me and how I apply it to my career. The term stems from way back when I played high school football in New Jersey. It was my first game starting at quarterback and to ease my nerves, and my coach wrote “BAL” on my wrist tape. He said if I focus on leading and making sure the team is all pulling for a common goal, I’ll get the outcome I wanted. [Then he ripped up some end zone grass and made me eat it. He said you need to want to score so bad you can taste it.] I tell you this not so you can know my life story, but so you can see how something so simple can shape your passion and drive towards leadership.

Taking the BAL mentality to Target, I took advantage of any and all developmental opportunities offered. We use the term “own your development,” meaning use all the amazing chances you get to build your leadership brand and mold your personal style of leadership through a number of activities. The level of transparency in the company allows me the contact and open communication with leaders of all levels who are always ready and willing to share knowledge and feedback. The great variety of classroom and on the job lessons provided during my 6 week training period really set me up for success in my first role and gave me a better understanding of responsibilities as an executive team leader (ETL). [Being open about my goals and where I want to be with the company (tasting the end zone grass, if you will) has given me the opportunity to take the path and build the relationships necessary to get there.]

These tools, plus a passion for leadership, provides endless growth potential with Target. I came in with no retail experience at all, but had the ability to learn and the desire to lead. Target gave me the tools to build my style of leadership and grow as a manager. Every day I go to work, I get to be the quarterback of my team again. Motivating and training my team, empower my team leaders, mentoring my peers and inspiring others to all pull towards a common goal is how I use leadership every day. As ETLs, we manage a diverse team, a growing business and one of the most recognizable brands there is. All you have to do is BAL and the sky is the limit with Target.

“b.a.l – be a leader.”   -Coach M

Interested in a store management role at Target? Learn more and apply for openings here.

Happy Anniversary to Me

This month I will celebrate my fourth anniversary with Target Clinic. While this may not be a milestone anniversary like 5, 10 or even 20 years,  it still has caused me to reflect on the last four years- what brought me to Target Clinic, what I love about working at Target Clinic, and what my future here holds.

After graduating from PA school I took a job in family medicine. I liked my job- I had great colleagues and wonderful patients. However, after a few years I found myself feeling a little less engaged. I had great ideas for improving patient care, for helping the business grow, and making the transition from student to provide easier for our team but there was no avenue for me to share these ideas. I was no longer challenged and invigorated by my work. I had a former colleague who was working for Target Clinic and she loved it. Knowing what an amazing provider she was I thought if she loved it, then chances are I would too! And I do!

Lots of people come to Target this way; as a referral from a trusted friend or colleague. It turns out great people love working with (and for!) other great people. Once I was here, I saw the opportunity to do all those things that I was not doing in my last job.  I was able to share ideas for improve patient care through my role on the clinic safety and quality team. I was also able to help the business grow by generating ideas for our new clinic services committee.  Both of these opportunities, as well as many others, helped me to develop not only as a healthcare provider but also as leader.

Development is one of the things I love most about working for Target Clinics.  My leaders’ investment in my development helped me grow from being a healthcare provider in one of our clinics to now being an area clinic manager supporting many clinics. I now have the ability to help develop other providers both as clinicians and as future healthcare leaders. Helping others to develop as leaders and achieve career goals is one of the most rewarding things I do in my current role.

As for what my future at Target Clinic holds? While I’m not entirely certain, what I do know is that I have leaders who are passionate about helping me continue to develop my leadership skills and achieve my personal and professional goals. With their amazing support I know that my future at Target Clinic is bright and I look forward to celebrating my next anniversary!

Interested in a career with Target Clinic? Click here to learn more. 

The 411- Tips for New Interns

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Beginning your first internship can be an experience filled with nerves and excitement. If you set yourself up for success and are open to anything, there’s no need for nerves. As an intern you are going to have the chance to learn so much and contribute so much. Target isn’t looking for interns to get their executives coffee and make copies. Target is looking for interns that are leaders. Interns do the exact same things their mentors do. That’s the best part. You will attend executive meetings, run the sales floor, solve guest complaints and manage your team. So once you’ve gotten here, it’s up to you to make the best of it. Your leaders want you to do well and want you to take on important responsibilities, be engaged and show them you’re ready.

Once you first start your internship it’s extremely important to build relationships. By having relationships with those around you, you can feel comfortable asking for help and offering feedback. This also includes being able to receive feedback. Target is a huge feedback driven culture and you will receive this feedback through statuses with your mentor, interactions with other leaders in your building and your team, and even from guests. My one biggest tip for feedback is: don’t be scared of it! You are receiving that feedback to help you become a better leader. Instead of letting you make a mistake again, you team cares enough to help you work on it. The same goes for giving feedback. You want your team to be as strong as it can be. Instead of seeing a team member make the same mistakes over and over without knowing it, be there to lend a helping hand and guide them through it.

You want to be resilient and adaptable as an intern and be open to anything! The retail industry is definitely a crazy one and you have to be ready for it. Different things will come your way every single day and that’s what’s so exciting about it. You’ll never be sure of what your day lies ahead, so don’t be afraid of the unexpected.

Finally, set goals for yourself and go out there and make them happen. Know the team wants you to do well and will be there to support you. Partner with those around you to make the store better than it was when you entered it. Don’t be scared to try new things and remember to utilize your resources. Sure you may make mistakes, but that’s okay! You’re an intern and now’s your time to try new things and learn from your experiences. Before you know it, the 10 weeks will be over and you will want to be able to look back and know you made a difference.

Post by Araima, Stores  Executive  Intern

Learn more about Target opportunities for college students here.

A Thousand Thanks!

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I have a tendency to let my passion take over and get myself into adventures that make me feel like I’m in way over my head. The latest project was titled Run for the Arts! A 5k walk/run to raise money and awareness for fine and performing arts education here in Omaha. If you ever think planning a 5k is an easy way to raise money; I’m here to tell you that it’s not.

Luckily for me I had the support of my store and district. With just one email, I was able to fill every volunteer position. The run quickly became a well-known volunteer event for my store and Target volunteers helped cover everything from helping set the course, setting up food and handling registration. I never could have imagined the amount of support I received. For its first year, the fundraiser was a great success raising over a thousand dollars. With my store team leader’s support, I was able to apply for a grant from Target. Turns out the company and I share the same passion for arts education! I had no idea that the company sponsored grants to various organizations for field trips, early childhood reading education, and arts education.  With the Target grant and the money raised from the event I was able to give a total of $3000 dollars back to the community to support arts education.

Not only was my team able to raise funds for a good cause, we were also able to accumulate volunteer hours to help the company reach its goal of 700,000 team member volunteer hours. The fun didn’t stop with Run for the Arts! As my stores community captain, I have been able to plan several volunteer events for both my store and the district. As a store, we have exceeded our goal of 418 volunteer hours and will continue to volunteer as a team and make a difference in our community. I could not be happier to be a part of a company that sees the importance of giving back to the community, and cannot wait to plan more very successful events in the future!

Interested in a store management role at Target? Learn more and apply for openings here.

a new perspective

I am on the threshold of finishing up my fourth week as an intern at Target. Every day has been crammed with new challenges and obstacles; new memories and hilarious moments.

Frequently I feel that no matter how often I work, there is still so much that I need to learn. When considering Target’s “language” of acronyms, their fast-paced routine, and what seems like an infinite number of products, it is easy to get overwhelmed.

Recently our store hired several new team members, and today I had the opportunity to help with orientation. It was empowering to be able to answer all of their questions and give them advice. I knew exactly how they felt—excited, nervous, and confused—because I literally was feeling the exact same way less than one month ago.

The incredible part about working with the new team members was that it made me realize how much I have learned since I started here at Target. Thanks to my amazing mentor, all of the team leaders, and every team member that has gone out of their way to teach me different parts of the store, I finally think I’m “getting it.”

Target’s optimistic, inclusive environment encourages team members to “settle for more”. In every section of the store there is constantly a list of things that we are  improving or changing. Although the workload can seem tough occasionally, it is extremely rewarding every time someone successfully tries something new or finishes a new project because the leaders at Target do an outstanding job of recognizing their performance.

Whether it is saying congratulations over the walkie, writing a card, or making a small thank you gift, learning and succeeding is always rewarded with recognition. It is because of this that there is such a positive environment here at Target, a “vibe” that no other company seems to possess.

Post by Whitaker, Stores  Human Resources Intern

Learn more about Target opportunities for college students here.

My path: the one less traveled

Hello all! My name is Vinton and I wanted to share a little about my path to (and through) the great company that is Target (many of you know us as Tar-jay or Tah-git depending on what part of the country you’re reading from). You may ask – “Did you want to be in retail management your entire life Vin?” Well, the answer to that is no, and for no better reason other than I had a false sense of what it was like to work in retail. So now, I’ll go ahead and educate the masses on the things that I didn’t know about retail, Target and all things in between that could have essentially kept me from an AMAZING career.

First things first. I grew up in a small town in Northern NJ (no not near the Jersey Shore, but just over the Hudson from NYC) and had big dreams of becoming an architect. My love for football (and an athletic scholarship) took me to a small town in Smithfield, Rhode Island at Bryant University. My plans quickly changed and I perused a Management degree for a hopeful career in project management.

Bryant, for those of you who aren’t from New England, has a well-known business program. Typical of most business programs, retail and retail management was not prevalent in the curriculum. I found a great internship back near my home town. I was an assistant project manager and head intern of an up and coming Construction Management company. I thought it was great! I was the right hand man to the COO, I had a beautiful office right on the Hudson River, and I drank my morning cup of joe with a view of the Empire State Building and the NYC skyline as the backdrop. But soon I came to a realization: my dream job was far from what I wanted. Well … now what to do? I was going into my senior year and had NO IDEA what career path I wanted to take.

I spoke to one of my favorite professors about my situation. He said something that I will never forget: “Vin, just do something that you never in your life thought you’d be interested in. Your dream job clearly wasn’t what you thought it’d be, so maybe you’re just wrong about everything?” After I shook off the feeling of being insulted, I gave it some thought. The next week I threw on my best suit and tie and walked through the career fair on campus. I saw a friend of mine who started with Target the year before waving so I approached the booth. My intention was to say hello and keep it moving, but the words of that professor played back in my head.

Everyone I spoke to at Target had an amazing attitude, upbeat personality and a great story to tell about their experience. I was able to do the Target executive internship program, which was my way to give it a trial run before I really committed to it full time. For the first time I woke up every day and was excited to go to work. The summer flew by and my last semester of college and football approached. On the final day of my internship, I was given a job offer! I was on cloud nine and obviously accepted! Not even the impending preseason camp that started the same day could bring me down.

I moved to Boston, MA and started my career as an executive team leader – hardlines (running the sales floor areas not including apparel or accessories). I learned A TON about myself, leadership, merchandising and running a business. I did well in my first role, and after a year and a half was promoted to executive team leader -logistics (running the logistics, or in store supply chain management and replenishment process). Now I’m excited to move into my next Target milestone as a blogger.

So long story long; you never know where the path may take you. Mine took me one way before hooking a hard U-Turn to get me here. I learned a lot about myself throughout my journey, and can’t wait to see where it takes me. The greatest part about Target is, there is no end in sight. There are tons of opportunities, in different places, doing different things. And I’ll always remember, this all started from – “Vin, just do something that you never in your life thought you’d be interested in. Your dream job clearly wasn’t what you thought it’d be, so maybe you’re just wrong about everything?”

 

Interested in a store management role at Target? Learn more and apply for openings here.

Life as the “LOD”

As a Target executive team leader (ETL) intern I am not only exposed to new faces, surprise store visits, and an infinite amount of training, but every few days I am able to stand at the front of the store with a huge smile on and say, “this is mine.”  Well, sort of. There are a handful of individuals in each store who get to carry on their backs the title of “LOD” (leader on duty) multiple times a week, a month, and/or a year…if you are an ETL-Intern you will more than likely receive the opportunity to do this.  Every Wednesday night I close the store with my mentor and get to put on the LOD “hat”.

It is the LOD’s responsibility to know who is working the upcoming shifts, ensure their knowledge of payroll for the week and month are up to date, and lastly but definitely not least, understand where each department of the store stands depending on the time of day.  It’s the LOD’s responsibility to hold every team member in the building accountable, ensure guests are receiving nothing but amazing experiences, address any “bumpy” departments and applaud the “smooth” ones, and even make sure the trash out front is not overflowing!

From the start of my LOD shift, to the closing minutes when I walk the store to ensure no guests are left in the building my mentor and I get to call the shots.  Target is trusting me every Wednesday night, and a few weekends here and there, to help run the store and make every team member’s and guest’s experience AMAZING.  Target truly empowers their employees. I am given more responsibility here than most college students could ever dream of. Do college students dream of responsibility? I do.

A few times a month, I get to live the life of an LOD. On a daily basis?  Well I do the same thing, just in my individual department!  I have to admit though, occasionally I love to jump around to the other ones.  But when it’s time to be LOD, I’m the leader.  Thanks Target, for not just giving me a great summer to remember, but for giving me an amazing summer which I will never forget.

Post by Jessica, Stores Human Resources Intern

Learn more about Target opportunities for college students here.

Giving Back with Target

As a 2013 pharmacy intern, I’ve learned a ton about the best practices of Target Pharmacy. I’ve personally seen how the Target pharmacy staff partners with its guests to promote healthy communities, but what about the rest of Target? I bet you didn’t know that Target gives 5 percent of its profit back to local communities each week; I sure didn’t! However, Target believes that the time spent through volunteering in our community is equally as valuable as the financial contributions they make.

I was able to experience this commitment to service when my leaders invited our  interns to participate in a local Habitat for Humanity Event. We piled into cars, wore our Target volunteer t-shirts, and headed to a nearby town to get our hands dirty.

When we arrived, we were greeted by the Habitat for Humanity staff. They were immediately impressed by our huge turnout of volunteers! They promptly assessed the group and assigned our tasks. Most volunteers went inside to paint the interior walls and ceilings while other more daring volunteers headed up to the roof, climbed ladders, or tested their luck with a table saw. I was assigned to paint a bedroom ceiling; a job that left me splattered in paint. I was quickly awarded the “Hot Mess” title by my store team leader (apparently no one else was as “decorated” as I was).

Volunteering with Target and Habitat for Humanity was an incredible experience.The family we helped consisted of two parents, five children, and one grandchild. It’s amazing what a couple of hours and determination can do. Not only were we able to help a few people, we were able to impact generations! Just in a few hours, we were able to get the whole interior painted and all the siding attached to the house.

After all of hard work, the volunteers gathered for lunch at a local restaurant to celebrate our success. We had some great laughs but best of all; we couldn’t stop talking about how much fun we had that morning. At Target, we are passionate about our guests, and by volunteering, we can extend our passion to the local community, where we can create amazing moments for everyone!

Post by Alex, Target Pharmacy Intern

Learn more about Target opportunities for college students here.

the one where it all begins

I have a confession to make: I completely overuse the word “love.” You may be wondering why I’m choosing to start off my first blog post like this, but I feel it’s important to make sure everyone’s on the same page. I use the word “love” to express my feelings about everything from people to a new Excel macro.

That being said, I think it’s important to note WHY I use this word so much. I’ve been at Target working as the business analyst for ice cream since I first started training on the desk last August. After interning the summer before, I thought I knew what I was getting myself into when I decided to return to Target for a full-time position as a business analyst…but I really had no idea what an amazing experience it would turn out to be. Knowing this, I want you to know the three reasons for why I overuse the word “love” since I’ve started working at Target:

Reason #1: I’m Surrounded by Ice Cream 24/7

  • I think this is a given. Who wouldn’t want this gig?! Besides being delicious, ice cream always puts a smile on peoples’ faces. I love that I can help create joy and a special moment for our guest when I ensure that they can find their favorite flavor on the shelf.

Reason #2: One Team, One Dream

  • Target is all about our team–both as a whole and within your specific area. Every day I work with some of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met, and I’m lucky enough to call them my fellow teammates. The importance of team is emphasized daily, and it’s embedded in Target’s culture. From team meetings to Friday breakfasts to fun team adventures, Target encourages the creation of strong bonds within your team.

Reason #3: Leadership Opportunities

  • Beyond being the business analyst for ice cream, I hold a variety of captainships within my department and in my division. I get to drive company initiatives for my area, as well as create and invest in projects of my own to drive my business. From optimizing expenses to creating a division-specific intern curriculum, I get to use so many parts of my skill set every day at work.

As you can see, I’m confident that I work on the best team ever,  at the best company ever. I love my job. I love working in ice cream. I love the opportunities that Target has offered me to drive my business and my development at the same time. I love my goofy teammates… and I really love the fact that they gave me the “Superlative Award” once because I exaggerate how much I love everything all the time.

So, now you know: I overuse the word “love.” I’ll do my best in my posts to limit its use and expand my vocabulary (anyone have a thesaurus I can borrow?), but sometimes there’s just one word that can truly capture how I feel about my job and my team. And yes…you guessed it…it’s “love.”

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

A New Role

For the past two years, I’ve been working as a product engineer developing picture frames and limited time only products. I have been largely focused on the item-level details of our various assortments. I reported to a product development manager (PDM) whose job it was to lead us through the process of product development, and ensure every member of the team (buyers, packaging, engineering, design, leadership) were all producing the right deliverables at the right time. He managed our development calendar in order to anticipate obstacles, secure resources and create strategy. He facilitated the correct conversations at the correct time to create alignment with other teams and leaders. He was a program manager at the core, with additional responsibility for team and technical strategy. It was his job to keep the cross functional team running smoothly, producing great product and getting it to stores on time.  (He did great, btw.)

Well, now, it’s my job!

As of last week, I joined the Housewares team who develops kitchen tools & gadgets, barware, bakeware, cookware and cutlery. Target has tremendous breadth of product in these categories, and many different brands both Target-owned and national. Our part in this is the development of owned or exclusive brand offerings such as Chefmate, Room Essentials and Threshold. I also get to lead a team with incredible talent and guest empathy who weave user experience into everything they do.

As I onboard into this new role, I’m drawing both great strength and caution from my own experience as a Target engineer. I know the product development process in and out, and the specific ways I accomplished the job. In this role, however, I have to use that experience judiciously, because even a few weeks in I’m fighting the urge to solve – to prescribe – to execute! I’ve led teams and people before, but I was always alongside them developing product in a same or similar job. It was easy to lead by executional example. As a PDM, I step away from that somewhat and lead through other means. I must now use experience not to hand down solutions, but to influence, to organize, to build consensus and enable my team to bring their own experience to a better solution.

I’m excited to have the time to focus on team, resources, and grow skills in cross-functional leadership. It’s a natural next step given my background and future goals, even if it feels unfamiliar to step back from the day to day. Although, as exploration of unfamiliarity has been the goal of my Target experience, I’m still on the right track.

Interested in a career with Target? Learn more about opportunities in engineering or product design and development

Every Voice Matters

At Target, diversity and inclusion are not just buzz words that are thrown around arbitrarily, rather, an integral ingredient to our success.  Every voice matters. It is not only deeply integrated in our culture but also the reason Target supports several diversity and inclusion organizations on both a national and local level. One such organization is The Multicultural Forum on Workplace Diversity — the largest diversity and inclusion conference in the country, which Target has sponsored for 10+ years. The purpose of the Forum is to provide a compelling learning experience fostering business and thought leadership in workplace diversity and inclusion.

Last month, I had the opportunity to attend the forum to participate in sessions around leadership, recruiting innovation and winning with diversity and inclusion. The two day event was filled with inspirational and informative content and I want to share my top 5 takeaways with you.

1. The golden rule is fundamentally flawed due to its self-centered view. We need to recognize that perhaps others don’t want to be treated the way you do.

2. Introducing the platinum rule: treat others the way they want to be treated.

3. Leadership is a journey, not a destination

4. Revolving Door: talent acquisition without a culture of inclusion

5. Meet people where they are at. You will not win by having the same conversation with everyone.

I hope you find these insights as helpful as I did as they remind us why diversity and inclusion is so important and small ways that we can start to shift our thinking to truly activate it.

VIDEO (click here): Jodee Kozlak, Executive Vice President of Human Resources shares with the 2013 Multicultural Forum general session why and how diversity & inclusion is at the cornerstone of innovation, guest service and leadership at Target.

Click here to learn more about human resources opportunities at Target.

Time to Say Goodbye

Well everyone, the time has come for me to say goodbye. This last year of blogging has been fabulous and I am so glad that I was able to share my first year as a Target business analyst with you. Before I start getting too sappy (tear, tear) I want to share my closing words with you. It just so happens that we received a “Wise Words” page from our senior leadership yesterday, full of good tips for how to succeed at Target (or any company for that matter). What better way to end a journey then by offering tips to help you begin yours! So here it is. Soak it up and live by these words because they are indeed, very, very wise.

Own your performance:

-Be passionate about what you do. Do something that matters.
-Never be the “least dressed” in the room. When in doubt, dress more professionally.
-Consider using more pictures instead of words.
-Body language can be more powerful than words.
-Own your opportunities.
-Come to work with a positive attitude and be friendly.

Perceptions are reality:

-Ask yourself, “Could I use this as an example in an interview?”
-Be open to change or new challenges. They are often the times you learn the most.
-Be credible, especially with financials.
-Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. All that matters is you learn from it.

Own your business:

-Deliver your financials.
-Know your guest.
-Take risks and take partners.
Have facts to support your opinion.
-Take 30 minutes Friday afternoon to organize your desk & calendar for the next week; it helps with your mental stability.
-Think big picture. Anticipate the implications of your decisions.
-When there are issues that we need to discuss, come with potential solutions. Show effort in determining the problem and solutions.

Own your network:

-Keep meeting new people. Be open-minded and inclusive.
-Invest in other people. Teach them what you know.
-Keep your partners (Manager, Buyer…) informed. If they don’t know what you are working on, then you will not be recognized for your hard work.
DON’T BURN BRIDGES; you may work with that person again in the future!
Smile, make eye contact, say “Hi!”
-Take time to keep in touch with old acquaintances by setting up coffee.
-Get to know people personally. We spend more time with our co-workers than our friends and family.

So there are words of wisdom passed down by some people who are pretty dang important. The biggest thing I would emphasize for anywhere you choose to work going forward is that perceptions truly are reality in the work place.  It matters how you come off to people. Which makes sense when you think about it, because how you come off to people IS the reality of who you are to that individual. Use this knowledge to your advantage because once you understand this, and own it, you will truly be able to thrive in the workplace.

Thank you so much for sticking with me and reading my year worth of blogs. It has been such a joy and I cannot wait for a new business analyst to begin covering their experience throughout this next year. Meanwhile, feel free to support my business and buy a pool online- summer is right around the corner, I just know it!

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

Lessons from South by Southwest Interactive (SXSW)

I believe that education is the cornerstone of progress. It has the ability to propel us forward with intention and precision. Undoubtedly, we are all lifelong students.  Although, the way we process and use information may differ. For me, immersive educational experiences result in critical thinking and a higher propensity for retention. I’m fortunate that my leadership team at Target recognizes and appreciates this.

Last week I had the privilege to attend the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Conference in Austin, TX [insert yee-haw here]. If you’ve ever attended, you can attest to the fact that SXSW is the epitome of an immersive educational experience. I attended the conference to fuel my professional development and digital acumen along with over 20 other Target team members. Over the five day festival I attended several sessions ranging from topics centered on leadership lessons from a jazz band to real-time marketing in social media. Now, I pass on to you 3 thought-provoking lessons I picked up at SXSW:

1. Be an active learner. Engage in experimentation and learning while simultaneously seeking reliable performance. This will allow you to grow and innovate more rapidly.

2. Master the art of spontaneity. Explore the edge of your comfort zone and create situations that demand action, where passivity is not an option. Learn to act without a plan. (As a hardcore planner, the thought scares me but I appreciate how it could create the structure to spur an elevated end product.)

3. Better is the enemy of done. Sometimes good is good enough. You can always make something better but the key to success is knowing when to stop. (As a self-proclaimed perfectionist, hearing this was an ah-ha moment for me and something I will need to continually remind myself.)

The intent of sharing my takeaways from SXSW is that it may make you pause, even if for a brief moment, to reflect on what you are doing to fill your knowledge library and how you are creating opportunities to drive innovation.

I returned full of insights and inspiration that I look forward spreading within my team and throughout the organization. Not only did I learn a lot about leadership and digital innovation but I had the pleasure of learning more about my fellow team members. We are now bonded by this crazy experience called SXSW and have formed even closer relationships that will continue to enhance our collaborative culture.

Target is committed to the development of our team members and my personal experience at SXSW is just one of the many examples of how this is coming to fruition behind the bullseye.

Click here to learn more about human resources opportunities at Target.

Tomorrow’s Technology Leaders

*Corey here….In the next few blogs my Target Technology Services peers will provide unique perspectives from their various roles. Enjoy the series featuring insight into the TTS life!*

Audrey – Guest Blogger

Hello everyone! My name is Audrey and I am part of the 2012 Technology Leadership Program (TLP). I wanted to talk a little bit about the program, my first project, and my transition to Target.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Technology Leadership Program, it is a 15 month rotational program within TTS and during those rotations you work in different areas of Information Technology. You get exposure to leadership opportunities as well as learn how to create innovative technology solutions for a variety of applications, platforms and environments. The purpose of the program is to hire talented external candidates or internal Target talent and grow them into future TTS technical and business leaders. This program is great for multiple reasons; one being the ability to become acclimated with the Target culture but also the opportunity to explore the different job families within TTS. For me this was great because I didn’t necessarily know what I wanted to do professionally, so this program is giving me the opportunity to work in different areas with the ultimate goal of figuring out what is it that I would like to do long term.

The focus of my first rotation was on streamlining and automating a very manual process. During the rotation I was able to gain both project management and engineering experience. By the end of the rotation I was able to improve the stability of the manual process by delivering a more streamlined/repeatable process while also creating a roadmap for future automation.  My team gave me the freedom to do what I thought was best for the initiative; I felt my opinion was heavily valued throughout the rotation which was totally unexpected since I was so new to Target.

Which brings me to my next topic…

I recently graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in Management Information Systems. Transitioning from college into “the real world” for me was very scary because I didn’t know what to expect.  (New state…new job…new everything!)

“Will I actually apply what I’ve learned in college throughout my job”…“will they value my opinion since I am new to Target”…“will I know everything”…  Those were some of the many questions I had starting out and I’ve found that the majority of my questions went right out of the window once I started my first rotation. My team as well as my coach, mentor, and sponsors have been great at making sure I have the proper tools needed to succeed at Target. The support system for the TLPers is unreal and much appreciated. I can honestly say my transition was extremely easy because of that.

I highly encourage anyone who is interested in the program to go for it! This has been one of the best experiences for me and I’m sure other TLPers would say the same.

 

Interested in a career in information technology at Target? Search and apply for jobs here.

Work/Life Balance

Photo: description here

It’s during this time of the year that I always think about a phrase you hear a lot around Target—Work/Life Balance. It really is a great time of the year; one where you can spend quality time with family and friends, attend holiday parties, and go sledding at the neighborhood hill. However; I consistently hear from my friends and family who think I am at my store from open to close, seven days a week, and they think I’m only making it through this time of the year with caffeine and a prayer. Not true!

It really is amazing how much consideration my manager puts into me maintaining a balance of my work life and personal life during this busy time, and that translates into how I help my team be able to enjoy the season too. We do our best to stick to scheduling basics—5 days a week, maintain as normal a schedule as possible, ensure nobody has to close and then be back in the store right away in the morning. Also, we scheduled all our leaders to have off either the day before or the day after Christmas. That also includes me and I’m grateful for the extra time I get to spend with my family (they live 3 hours away, so it’s a little bit of a haul to get there and back—especially with winter driving conditions!)

While time away from work is important this year, it’s just as important to make our time at the store fun and engaging for our entire team– and my Leaders get really creative around this part! For example: Imagine my surprise when I walked into my office earlier this week and saw about 10 platters of cookies that one incredible leader baked for the entire team. My office turned into a gigantic cookie exchange, and while I don’t have the baking skills necessary to contribute my own baked goods, I was more than happy to partake in the peanut butter fudge. Sometimes, it’s as easy as buying a pizza for my executive team leaders like I did today for lunch– just an easy way to say “thank you” for a job well done this week.

I will be totally honest and say that it does get very busy around here and the hours sometimes can get a little longer, but I think my team and I all do a great job to hold each other accountable in ensuring we get home at a reasonable time. Because work/life balance is just that—a balancing act. If you spend a little longer at work one day, you should spend a little extra time outside of work on a different day. It’s pretty cool to work for a retail company that understands and promotes that!

Interested in a store management role at Target? Learn more and apply for openings here.

Black Friday: My Favorite Day of the Year!

When I tell people outside of Target about Black Friday, their first inclination is to make a face or offer a comment like “That is a crazy day—I wouldn’t go out shopping that day.” Most assume that it is also the most stressful day of the year to work at Target; which I will now tell you is just not true! By far and large, Black Friday is the event that my team and I look forward to the most every year. What other day of shopping do I have all my leaders working, all my team members in the store, and when you simply think about the time we put into planning—there is no way it can go poorly!

We started planning this year’s event back in September by identifying key positions for our team like crowd management control leader and preliminary planning. Just two weeks ago, my leadership team and I walked through the plan in detail for this year. In my experience, creating Black Friday plans can be a little difficult sometimes—I am brand new to this Target store and I also have two new executive team leaders on my team who have never seen a Black Friday yet. I decided the best way to create our plans at this store was to do a realistic walk-through of what the day would look like. My team came prepared with packets full of information from the previous years and ideas to improve this year. It was an awesome experience to walk step by step through the “what if’s” and “can we do this” to find that my team had thoughtful plans and were ready to begin executing them. As I went leader by leader, it dawned on me to ask my team how many Black Fridays they have worked. When we added it all up, we had over 45 years of Black Friday experience to draw on!

Suffice to say; there are always unknown elements in play on Black Friday and there will always be a few things that we cannot account for. But, working with this team, I have the distinct impression they are ready to win and can be adaptable. This will personally be my 7th Black Friday with Target  and my 5th as a store team leader—I’ve come to trust my team to be able to make the key decisions that will impact their departments in preparation for the day. There are so many competing priorities that to try to take it all on at once would be near impossible…so I guess it’s a great thing that I have an amazing team!

Black Friday? Bring it on!

Interested in a store management role at Target? Learn more and apply for openings here.

Kicking off the field internship program!

This past Monday morning was no ordinary day … it was a day our campus recruitment team has been eagerly anticipating and preparing for over the last several months. Our recruiters have been dedicated and passionate about pursuing top talent across several college campuses within the U.S. this past fall and spring to find the best interns for our Stores, Pharmacy and Distribution Centers. As a sea of red and khaki streamed into the intern kickoff room for the Midwest, we all couldn’t help but feel excited and energized!

Our internship program for Stores, Pharmacy and Distribution focuses primarily on leadership development and providing a realistic job preview into our entry-level leader roles. It was amazing to meet so many passionate interns – whether they were returning or new – start their 10-week summer experience. Many of our field leaders also attended to welcome our interns and provide insight, support and guidance to the newest additions to our Target team.  The key message from our leaders was “we’ve hired you as an intern because you are already leaders – so make the most of the experience and take initiative. We are invested in your development, growth and opportunities here.”

Each district also had an opportunity to put together a brand presentation to highlight each team’s mission, values, diversity, community focus and goals. Let’s just say we had a Twitter spoof, completed the wave and did the dance to Carly Rae Jepsen’s song “Call Me Maybe.” Clearly, we are dedicated to our fast, fun and friendly culture!

After a day full of team bonding, laughter, insight and direction, our interns set out on their leadership journey. Over the next several weeks, each intern will train and shadow one-on-one with a mentor, learn more about our operations, engage with our Target team members and leaders, focus on development and begin leading the business.  It’s going to be a great summer at Target!

 

Learn more about Target opportunities for college students here.

sharpening the saw…

I think most working Americans can attest that Mondays are inherently tough.  Something about taking two days off makes it slightly challenging to wake up bright-eyed + bushy-tailed. I mean, maybe it’s just a buyer thing that the amount of emails and phone calls just seem to be slightly Monday-heavy in the scope of a week (although something tells me it’s NOT just a buyer thing).  Desk time is suddenly sacred and not to be wasted. So it was a pleasant surprise to see a hundred or so buyers take an hour out of a busy Monday to do what business gurus call “sharpening the saw.”

The occasion was the third Buyer Speaker Series: a buyers-only guest speaker event hosted by TGT’s very own Buyer Committee (a buyer-led group focused on helping buyers gain career development + networking opportunities beyond the realm of normal job duties). I love the concept since it allows buyers to take a break from the normal grind and take time to “sharpen the saw” –  i.e., take the time to listen | reflect | learn | actively rejuvenate.  Three for three, each speaker series has been motivating + engaging, memorable + inspiring.

This past event featured Keri Jones, SVP of Merchandise Planning  (i.e., SVP of everything inventory related).  Remember my post about my loving my business analyst?  Keri leads ALL the BAs, the BAs’ bosses, the BAs’ bosses’ bosses, and so forth.  Basically, a lot of smart people.

The theme was “Insights/Advice on Personal + Team Development.”  A perfect topic for someone who’s been with Target for 23 years ( No really, 23 years…) and navigated a career through lots of different merchandising roles and walked the shoes of many of the buyers in the listening audience.  She left us with 10 points of Leadership @ TGT. Since sharing is caring, I will share her wisdom with you:

  1. Be Intentional : Be purposeful.  Take pause.  Ask yourself what you are trying to achieve.
  2. Be Authentic : Manage your emotions or they will manage you.  Oh, and don’t forget to listen.
  3. Develop an Intellectual Curiosity :: It’s an ambiguous world out there.  Discover it.
  4. Be Courageous : It’s not always about being the best or the expert.  Sometimes it’s about forming an opinion and standing for it.  Don’t be afraid to go against the grain.
  5. Network outside of TGT : Being insular is dangerous.  Work it.  Outside the red + khaki circle.
  6. Make talent acquisition + development a priority :  This one should really be #1. ‘Nuff said.
  7. Balance Innovation + Strategy : (with disciplined execution).  It’s a yin + yang.  A peanut butter + jelly.  You can’t have one without the other.
  8. Unleash the power of TGT : know your resources {TGT has A LOT of them!}.  Leverage them. Know + learn total Target
  9. Keep it Simple.  Communicate Often : Sometimes the hardest thing is to decide what NOT to do. So don’t do it all.  Be intentional.
  10. HAVE FUN : Or leave.  Fo’ reals.  The buyer role is tough stuff… but it’s also a blast.  So if you’re not having fun then something’s not right.

Okay okay, in full disclosure… I left some Jess commentary in there.  But Keri’s talk was just what I needed on a busy, hectic Monday afternoon.  It was only an hour of the day and yes, of course… my inbox gained a few LBS while I was away… but taking some time to soak in some wisdom was just what my week, month, TGT journey needed.

Namaste 🙂

 

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

wait… I get my own mentor??

One great part about both the intern program and the training program is the support you continuously receive throughout your time at Target. Target places a serious emphasis on the mentorship position as it can, quite frankly, make or break your experience with the company. Your mentor is somebody who is there for you from day one. They help you get used to the Target culture, assist you with new systems, teach you the ins and outs of your position, and most importantly, they are a friend that you can confide in about a bad day, tough training class, or an awesome presentation you gave.

My mentor was a great guy named Erik who shared the same entrepreneurial and creative passion as I did. Since we worked so closely together, he was able to very clearly see my strengths and opportunities and did everything in his power to help me stand out from the crowd. It is a great experience to be able to learn things on your own, but such a relief to have someone in the background whose goal is to help you succeed. I had someone to sit with during lunch, guidance in writing my first $50,000 order, and someone walking me through my first vendor e-mail. It was his advice and expertise during the first six months of my training that got me to where I am today.

Being a mentor is also an important role to play as you spend more time working at Target. When you have gotten the hang of your position, your manager may ask if you are interested in participating in the program and being a mentor to a new intern or team member. If you feel ready, your answer should be yes! This is a great chance to show your manager and team that you are able to multi-task and be a strong leader in your position, which is also a segue into more responsibilities and advancing in your position. In addition, when your mentee succeeds, it not only reflects well on you, but also makes you feel very accomplished that you are now able to help someone the way you were once helped.

Both the mentor and mentee greatly benefit from this relationship. I still consider my mentor a close work friend, even though he has moved on to another position in the company.  When you are hired on at Target, make sure to make the most of your relationship with you mentor because not all companies are able to give you such an incredible learning opportunity!

*The photo is of my friend Patrick who was in my training class (on the left) and his mentor (on the right)

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