The voices of the next generation of talent: Opening minds to a career in retail

Retail Gets Real episode 280: NRF summer interns share how their perspectives on retail changed

NRF’s summer interns are about to return to college. Before heading back, we asked them about their work experience and how their perspectives on retail changed after working at NRF. In this week’s episode of Retail Gets Real, we sit down with three bright students, Juliana Saling, Miguel Gomez and Ashton Wiggins, to talk about the lessons they’ve learned from their internships, what they’re looking for in a potential employer, and the impact of seeing the ins and outs of retail advocacy.

NRF summer interns
NRF 2022 summer interns (from left) Miguel Gomez, Ashton Wiggins and Juliana Saling.

All three students agreed that they hadn’t fully considered the opportunities within the retail industry before their internships. But as they worked at NRF, they marveled at how the industry touches every single person. “It’s a people-first industry,” said Miguel Gomez. “Every transaction we have, everything that you do in retail is intimate with another person.”

One important project the interns worked on together was NRF’s Retail Advocates Summit, held in Washington, D.C., in July. Seeing retailers come together with retail technology companies advancing the customer experience and connecting with lawmakers that support policies that help retail thrive made a huge impact. “Retail is an industry, but retail is also a community,” said Juliana Saling.

As they look toward the future and the start of their professional careers, the three students agreed that they’re looking for employers that respect them and align with their personal values. “I want to feel that respect goes both ways. What are they doing to maintain a positive social impact? How are they using their platform? Are they combining business and ethics?” said Ashton Wiggins.

As the retail industry looks to attract new talent into the workforce, these voices offer a glimpse of the future and the promise it holds for positive change and the ability for young people to make a meaningful impact.

Listen to the full episode to gain more insights into how to attract talent, and what inherent qualities of the retail industry resonate with young people entering the workforce.


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Episode transcript:

Bill Thorne (00:00):

We'd like to thank our friends at PWC for their support, partnership and collaboration in making retail gets real. Learn more about how PWC helps retailers at pwc.com.

Juliana Saling (00:13):

I think the retail industry is a prime example of finding success in careers and growing in many ways and expanding your interests and growing into other industries from within retail. And I think that it's a really, really beautiful opportunity to open your eyes to the workforce. I think if there's an industry to get going in, retail is perfect for you.

Ashton Wiggins (00:35):

You know, one way I've always kind of thought about it is it's kind of like an elevator to success. Like there's not enough room for everybody on that path. And so like there are stairs, but people don't wanna take the stairs cuz it requires more work. 

Bill Thorne (00:49):

Welcome to retail gets real where we hear from retail's most fascinating leaders about the industry that impacts everyone everywhere every day, I'm bill thorn. And on today's episode, we have some special guests, not retail's most fascinating leaders, but potentially it's next generation of talent. Our guests today are a few of NRF, summer interns, Juliana Saling, Miguel Gomez and Ashton Wiggins. Very soon, they're going to be returning back to school, but before they go, we wanted to take the opportunity to ask this generation about its views on entering the workforce and what they're looking for in an employer. So without any further ado, Juliana, welcome.

Juliana Saling (01:34):

Hello.

Bill Thorne (01:34): 

Ashton. Welcome. 

Ashton Wiggins:

Hi. 

Bill Thorne:

Hello Miguel. 

Miguel Gomez:

Hello. How are you? 

Bill Thorne:

I'm doing good. So welcome to Retail Gets Real. It's been an interesting summer without a doubt. I mean, you're doing something that you wouldn't normally have done, I would assume any other summer, an internship for the nation's largest and oldest retail trade association. Has it been fun? Has it been good? Have you learned anything?

Juliana Saling (02:01): 

Absolutely. I think fun is an understatement. I think it's been great to meet not only the other interns, but the entire staff at NRF. And to be quite honest before interning here, I didn't really know much about the retail industry or trade associations, but now I've got nothing but love.

Ashton Wiggins (02:19): 

Oh yeah. I mean it's been absolutely incredible. Like I'm going through and I'm writing my thank you cards for the end of the summer and I cannot fit enough good stuff on a four by six piece of paper. Like I have to go through and just carefully curate all of it and be like, okay, these are the things that mattered the most because it really has had an immeasurable impact on me on like my career path, everything I could not have asked for a better summer.

Bill Thorne (02:42): 

Has it changed your perception at all, about what a career doing something in retail, or in business, or whatever it is that you want to do. Has this informed that at all?

Juliana Saling (02:54): 

Yeah. It most definitely has been an experience.

Bill Thorne (02:55): 

How, how would you describe that experience?

Miguel Gomez (02:59): 

Wisdom. Like nothing but wisdom I learned from everything. Honestly, it's been a lot like in terms of being integrated into the workforce, because I never have had so much responsibility and had other coworkers trust me with tasks, but it feels good to, to be a part of something that, that is a part of a team, I guess.

Bill Thorne (03:20): 

Now tell me what area did you work in this summer at NRF? 

Miguel Gomez (03:23): 

The marketing department, but in the creative services.

Bill Thorne (03:26): 

In the creative services within marketing. And is that something that you professionally, the kind of direction that you're looking for in the future or is it absolutely without a doubt?

Miguel Gomez (03:34): 

I have a strong passion for things that are creative and really just making things, designing things. I'd say I'm good at it. And being at NRF made me realize that when you're good at something, stick to it and keep doing it. Yeah.

Bill Thorne (03:50): 

You know, it's interesting because you think about the retail industry and this is one of the things I love about this industry. You know, creativity, you have an idea and it's something that you think about, it could be as you're drifting off to sleep or as you're waking up and you're walking to the train to take the commute or you're on the train and you have this thought, maybe I wonder if this would work and you come into work and you present and you build it up and then you see it kind of come to life. Yeah. That happens in retail every single day. And it's a lot of fun to be a part of that. And I think that seeing it actually have an impact or making a difference, given what your responsibilities are, is a big part of learning that experience. And we all do it every day. I mean, it doesn't matter if you're an intern or if you've been doing it for a long period of time, it's kind of fun. It keeps you going. Yeah. So if you were to go back to school Juliana and tell people, wow, I think retail is great because what would that fill in the blank be?

Juliana Saling (04:54): 

I think retail is great because it's the only place where I can find peace, but I can also find my future. I can go shop and, you know, see everything that I love, feel beautiful, try new, you know, makeup, clothes, whatever I want. And then I can come into my internship. And it's the most amazing experience to sit here and learn about, you know, CEOs and leaders, whose brands I love. 

Bill Thorne (05:18):

I love that because one of the things is that, you know, people, they see retail and they just see it this far. They don't open the doors. Exactly. And see it the rest of the way. And if you were to go back and tell somebody, open the doors, what are they gonna see? Mm-hmm.

Juliana Saling (05:31):

Yeah, exactly. And I think for me, it really opened my eyes to the ins and outs of retail and the many, many people and roles that it takes to keep the industry alive for me to shop and have fun. And I think it was really eye opening look for me into, you know, the industries that build the pleasures in their life. Yep.

Bill Thorne (05:53):

Ashton, what area did you work in?

Ashton Wiggins (05:56):

I was in the government relations department. 

Bill Thorne (05:58): 

Ooh, GR, yes. Now people don't ever think of GR when they think about retail. 

Ashton Wiggins (06:03): 

Absolutely not.

Bill Thorne (06:04): 

Why is GR important to retail?

Ashton Wiggins (06:05): 

I mean, GR is important to retail because it deals a lot with advocacy. And so when you deal with advocacy in all forms, you're advocating not just for one person or one industry, you're advocating for everyone. And the thing about retail is that it's kind of a touchstone for every person because it impacts your life. Retail impacts what you eat. It impacts what you wear. It impacts everything around you. You rely on it for just about everything in your daily life, whether or not you are consciously thinking about it. It is there in the background. And so when you're dealing with the government relations department in relation to retail, you know, everything that we do has, it has a ripple effect. Like we come in, we're looking at supply chains, we're looking at labor shortages, we're looking at, you know, how does the workforce function? What is impacting the workforce? Like overtime changes. We're looking at this entire complex world that you most commonly associate with like TV or Netflix shows where you're like, oh, this is so fun. Like, look how dramatic it is. Like I'm, I'm never going to have to deal with that. And the reality of it is, is you don't have to deal with it directly because someone else is dealing with it for you. 

Bill Thorne (07:15):

Right. And again, this just goes back to the fact that it is an industry. And we say it at the beginning of every episode, an industry that impacts everyone everywhere every day. I mean, everybody has a retail transaction. Whether you go to the bodega and buy a newspaper, or you go to Starbucks, you buy a coffee or whatever you do, that is a retail transaction. Oh yeah. But I don't think that people really look beyond that transaction to understand everything that goes into it. And so, you know, being a proponent as you have been this summer for policies and for educational efforts and regulation that helps to spur more growth, more opportunity, more entrepreneurship. I mean, that's what people don't understand. And that's a very, very important part of what we do as a trade association and you have to do it, you know. Miguel, to your point creatively. I mean, everybody can do it. I mean, you can just put out a piece of paper and say, look at the numbers, but you've got to do it in a way that attracts them, pulls them in and makes them want to be a part of that. 

Miguel Gomez (08:13): 

Yeah. I think that's a special part about retail that makes it very interesting. And like, as you were saying, it's a people first industry, like really every transaction we have, everything we have in retail is kind of intimate with another person. It's like, say, if I'm buying something for myself, it's intimate to me. If I'm making something for somebody and I sell it to them, it's intimate for them. I think that's a special part about it. Especially like when you get to the creative side, it's like, how can you make something that's special for someone to go out of their way and be like, I want this, I want to have it a part of my life and I want to incorporate it in some way. And through retail, I feel like you can do that in so many different ways. 

Bill Thorne (08:55): 

Yeah. We just had an experience that was really unique and it was our retail advocate summit just a couple of weeks ago. The thing that I always tell people is what, what impressed me most about that was it was a collaboration across the organization. Yeah. And certainly across the industry as well, to get people there, to make it an interesting experience for them. But the thing that just absolutely broke all kinds of records as it relates to our advocacy was one fifth of the Congress. One fifth of the elected representatives in Washington came. Left the Capitol, got cars and came to where we were having the event, blew it out of the water to experience that. And, and I think it speaks to that fact that, you know, we do touch so many in so many different ways. You know, 52 million Americans rely on a healthy retail industry. For their jobs in order to put food on their table, in order to be contributing members to their communities, they rely on a healthy retail. So getting people there I think was, you know, part of the battle and making sure that people understand that. And a lot of it, Juliana, I think you would agree is education.

Juliana Saling (10:01): 

Yeah. We've got to educate these folks a hundred percent. And, I mean the retail advocate summit, it was an out of body experience. For me. It was an environment I had never been in before. I mean, I accidentally cured to a Congressman. I was just so overwhelmed with excitement between the presence of Congress, people themselves, but then also just countless retail leaders and to see all of the innovations that they had Miguel and I were playing with every single innovation during the cleanup. I mean, it was an amazing time. And for me, I think like the word that just keeps resonating in my mind is community. And, you know, retail is an industry, but retail is a community. And it something that you said when you were discussing that people overlook the, you know, the workers of retail. And I think about when, you know, when you walk into a store and you see someone mistreat an employee, it's simple things like that. 

It's just these little human connections that we've lost over the years with, you know, the pandemic and the climate of the world today. And I think that the retail advocate summit was a really, really exciting moment for me to just feel peace and just to see everyone come together and celebrate the work and, you know, the mission of NRF and of our retailers and of our industry and the change we're trying to make, but also highlighting how we're doing that. And I think like through proactive and productive education advocacy, our foundation work, we're able to achieve that impact. But I think that res allows that, you know, platform to really emphasize it and bring it all together to celebrate it on all levels, not just within the foundation or within GR, but bring the community together as one. So it was incredible. 

Ashton Wiggins (11:39): 

I could not have asked for a better experience with that. I mean, I was blown out of the water. Tears were shed at the end of it, because that, I mean, that was our baby. Yeah. That was our super bowl. And we got to the end and I was like, oh my God, we just pulled that off. Yeah.

Juliana Saling (11:54): 

The steak was incredible. 

Ashton Wiggins (11:56): 

Yeah, it was really good. The dinner was, was really nice. I was very happy there. But I mean, just to hear people come through and talk about the experiences that they were having throughout the day, especially down at the end, because I was helping hand out on the awards, all the members of Congress on the fifth that showed up, got to walk right by me, pick up their award and go.

Miguel Gomez (12:18): 

What was the award?

Ashton Wiggins (12:18): 

So we gave out two different awards. There was heroes of main street and the champions of main street. And it's essentially, we're giving it to these members of Congress who have their policies and the ones that they've supported and enacted are for the benefit of retail and retailers across the United States. And so, you know, like watching all these people come by and not only just pick up their award and leave, but actually sitting down and talking to the retailers that we had over at the main street display, watching them interact with the innovations to see like, oh, this is where retail could go in the future. Like, this is what it has the potential to become and not just what it is, and to just see all of the people who are willing to come in and be so, you know, open and honest and, you know, sharing their creativity, sharing like their love of the community sharing, you know, this is our drive. This is how we want retail to grow and shape everything around us because retail is kind of the driver of everything else. It's very humbling to see all of these people come together and lay out the roadmap for the future and to have everyone be like, oh my God, this is, yeah. So much more. Yeah.

Juliana Saling (13:29): 

That just you speaking about it kind of just brought me chills to when it's oh my, what was the founder of it? Margaret.

Juliana Saling (13:41): 

But also I think, and this was one thing I said to my mom when I came home, but I think to the NRF allowed like us the opportunity to attend that event but as a woman of color to see that kind of representation for me was like, I was not expecting that and it was incredible. It was real I'm like getting teary eyed. 

Juliana Saling (14:02): 

Sorry. But it was, it was an incredible moment for me because this internship has been an eye opening, you know, industry opportunity for me. Yeah. But then to see someone that looks like me with my same passions of, you know, bringing back to my community through your business, it was, it was great to see that.

Ashton Wiggins (14:20): 

I'm kidding. You're going to make me cry.

Juliana Saling (14:22): 

I'm sorry, guys.

Ashton Wiggins (14:23): 

Just stop.

Bill Thorne (14:24): 

That's fine. What did you think? 

Bill Thorne (14:27): 

Any key takeaways? 

Miguel Gomez (14:28): 

My key takeaways, I really had a great experience with the interviewees. I had a opportunity to interview some of the business owners and CEOs and founders of certain companies. And one thing that really stuck out to me was the idea that these people are not in it just for the money. And it's more, it's more deeper than that. And like Juliana said, it's literally about the community and these people put their customers first before everything. And it's all about the experience and everything is really catered to the people that they take care for and look out for them as well. And I really appreciate that. Like, there's this idea and like retail, that when people like founders get a lot of money, they kind of just forget about the small customers and all of the small people that have helped them along the way. But you could really tell that these people are really catering towards the people that cater towards them. 

And it's like a give and take relationship. And honestly, it was really refreshing to see that because it reminded me that these are genuinely people at the end of the day. And they really took the time and the care to build out something that works for them and something that works out for the community as well. And shout out, I don't, I think his name was Lonnie McCord from refill station. I was talking to him, he was the last interviewee. And I was just asking him questions about like like fuel stations, the economy and stuff like that, because I mean, the right person to ask these gas prices are ridiculous. Like why not? And I mean, somebody like him, who's in a position, a really hard position to where it looks like he's gouging prices for some absurd reason. It just was really refreshing to know that like, he's still doing things on his behalf to benefit his community and still look out for the people that, that help him along the way and all the people in his circle. Whether it be just lowering prices or making sure that the customer experience top tier or, I mean, however many ways he does it, it's still like really refreshing to know that that's the first thing that comes to mind instead of just purely getting money and purely making the most maximum amount of profits. 

Bill Thorne (16:38): 

It's not always about the bottom line. Yeah. So, you know, so it is one of the things that I really enjoy. The one thing that you always hear from everybody, doesn't matter if they're the CEO, the founder senior director or manager talking about their industry, their jobs, their, the brand and the people that they work with. The thing that you always hear is passion. They love what they do. They love who they do it for. They are committed to it. They're committed to the customer. They're committed to the community and they're committed to the people that they work with. And it doesn't matter what level. And I promise you that you you've seen it and you've experienced it. And it doesn't matter what opportunity you have, where it is. You'll see it and hear it again. And again, and again, it is a constant, consistent thread among all of these retail leaders. 

And so, you know, you think about retail jobs. Okay. So, so the three of you have had a unique opportunity, Miguel, Ashton, and Juliana, to experience this level of understanding about the retail industry, particularly retail jobs. And you may want to ultimately make that your career right in retail, and somebody comes to you and you say, oh, I wanna work in retail. And they look at you like, that's weird. How do you respo, why do you want to work in this industry? Not necessarily just because you're good at what you do, but why this industry, when you look so many others, Miguel, you start.

Miguel Gomez (18:06): 

Simply put, it's an opportunity for everybody. It's as simple as that. And as long as you have passion and you you're putting what you care about forward you're flourish, you're like you literally will flourish.

Bill Thorne (18:18): 

Ashton.

Ashton Wiggins (18:20): 

Kind of to go off of what Miguel said. I, I totally agree with your answer, but I think that when we're having that conversation, you have to address, there's a respect gap between what people perceive of the retail industry and between what it actually is, where people look at it. And for some reason, even though it's such an integral part of their daily lives, they look down on it and they perceive the people who work in it as not deserving of the same level of respect as like the people who are working in the corporate office. And I think what you have to explain to them is, you know, the job it's still very complex. Like you're dealing with people, you're dealing with monetary resources, you're dealing with itemizing things. It's a very hands on and whether or not people want to admit it, it requires a lot of not only communication skills, but also just general like academic pros in a certain way, because you have to be able to handle all of the things that are flying around you in an environment that is never going to be as consistent as you want it, like in an office, you can pretty much sit down and say, here's, what's gonna happen today. 

You never know what you're gonna get in a store.

Bill Thorne (19:25): 

Isn't that the truth.  

Ashton Wiggins (19:26): 

So that's kind of, 

Bill Thorne (19:27): 

You got to be kind of flexible at that too.

Ashton Wiggins (19:29): 

Yeah. You have to think on your feet, you have to be able to respond and react. 

Juliana Saling (19:33): 

Yeah. 

Bill Thorne (19:34): 

Juliana. 

Juliana Saling (19:35): 

I mean, I think that if there's one thing I've learned at the end of the summer, I think the beauty of the retail industry is that it's for everybody. And I think that exactly as you put it, Ashton, I think that in today's society, we have this idea that success has one path and it's that you go to a prestigious university and you get a nice internship and you get in that door and you work your way up to the top and then you're CEO. Yeah. And that is the only way to do it. And I think that now with our generation, we're seeing a lot of, I think a lot of people saying that it's okay to not take that path. And I love that. And I think the retail industry is a prime example of finding success in careers and growing in many ways and expanding your interests and growing into other industries from within retail. And I think that is a really, really beautiful opportunity to open your eyes to the workforce. I think if there's an industry to get going in, retail is perfect for you. 

Ashton Wiggins (20:32): 

Great. No, one way I've always kind of thought about it is it's kind of like an elevator to success. There's not enough room for everybody on that path.

Ashton Wiggins (20:40): 

Success, like there's not enough room for everybody on that path.

Ashton Wiggins (20:44): 

So there are stairs, but people don't wanna take the stairs cuz it requires more work.

Juliana Saling (20:48): 

Or maybe they just don't know where the entrance the stairs are. 

Ashton Wiggins (20:50): 

Exactly. 

Miguel Gomez (20:51): 

Sometimes you could take the escalator. 

Ashton Wiggins (20:53): 

Yeah.

Juliana Saling (20:54): 

I'll float.

Ashton Wiggins (20:54): 

Nice middle ground. Yeah.

Bill Thorne (20:57): 

I have a somebody that I used to work with, she say that there are people that ride the escalator and people that walk the escalator she said that there's a very real difference between those two mentalities. Yeah. So you've had this experience, you've seen what corporate life is like. Not just here, but you've seen looking at the industry that we represent the retailers that are a part of what we do on a daily basis. And you're gonna go out someday and you're going to look for a job. What do you want that employer to provide you as someone that wants to have a career with that brand? 

Juliana Saling (21:34): 

First and foremost, I wanna feel that respect goes both ways. Just as much as I wanna respect my employer. I also wanna be respected and valued by them. Company. Mission and values are very, very important to me. Not only at a company that I work at, but at any company I'm going to interact with and absolutely their presence in the world, what is their impact? What are they doing to maintain a positive social impact? How are they using their platform? How are they com combining business and ethics? And does it align with my own personal mission and values? And if it doesn't then perhaps it's not the best environment for me, but that's usually the guidelines I go to.

Bill Thorne (22:13): 

Miguel.

Miguel Gomez (22:14): 

Honestly, along the same lines. I honestly, I put ethics and morals. First. I applied to many internships over the summer and I was really looking for like certain companies I wouldn't want to morally work for or work under just for my moral compass. I just couldn't do it for me. And also I really look for a company that embrace me and welcome me and give me a reason to come to work every day. Cause especially if I'm gonna be building a, a commitment and coming to work every day and giving myself a reason to get out of my bed every day. I don't want to be in an environment that is draining. I don't wanna be in an environment that doesn't make me feel welcome. I really want to feel like my identity is respected, who I am is, is understood. And I, I don't need to like fully be engulfed in the, in the community at work because at the end of the day, it's still job. It's still a career, but give something that I can work around and then I can move over around. I feel like I, I flourish better in places where I can connect with my coworkers and where I'm understood and given room to at least be myself and be comfortable. So that's really a big thing for me. Awesome.

Bill Thorne (23:24): 

Last word. 

Ashton Wiggins (23:26): 

Oh, last word. That's a lot of pressure. When I go to work, I want to be excited about not only what I'm working on, but who I'm working for. And you know, I think a lot of that rests on what Juliana and Miguel have said. It's about values. It's about the ethics. It's about respect, both like from the employers and the higher up and the people that I work with and just kind of the entire thing, like an aggregate. I mean, being excited to go in and do the work and work for the people and work with the people that are around me. I think a lot of it rests. It's on values. It's on ethics. It's understanding flexibility. It's the character of the organization. And like here, I mean, you all have built a company, a character, everything that you can be proud of. 

And I think that that is something that I really look for. Like I can go home to my parents and be like, Hey, remember all the nightmare internship stories that we've heard from everyone else. I don't have that kind of experience. Like I can come back and say, you know, I've every day I felt appreciated. I didn't feel like I was being used for manual labor downstairs in the basement every other day. They didn't ignore me. They didn't just gimme the work they didn't wanna do. They trusted me. And I think that that means a lot. It's being treated with respect, being treated as an intelligent person and being treated as though you were competent and capable and that they know you are going to grow with what they are giving you. And I think that that's really important to me, 

Bill Thorne (24:52): 

Trust and respect. And I think that those are two very important points, but at the end of the day, one of the things we always talk about, and you're gonna be hearing a lot about it throughout your entire professional lives and that's culture, a company that has a really good, solid culture that will help you to not only survive, but thrive and really puts you to bed at night. Excited about getting up the next morning and doing it all over again. Yeah.

Ashton Wiggins (25:20): 

Yeah. 

Bill Thorne (25:20): 

So let's think about the next interns that come through the doors here at 1101 New York Avenue. What would your piece of advice be to them in order to ensure that they get the greatest experience that you've had as an intern at the NRF? And we'll start with you, Ashton. 

Ashton Wiggins (25:39): 

I have a lot of advice. I think one thing definitely is be open to the opportunities for relationship building that you're going to have, like get to know your other interns. You will learn more from them than you will from sitting at your desk during lunch, or like just saying hi to them on the first day and like never interacting with them again because I, something I'm so grateful for here is that I'm leaving with 10 new friends. Yeah, I know. And I've gotten to learn about everything that they do in conjunction with what I do. And it's given me a deeper understanding for government relations in relation to everything else. And that extends beyond the intern class, get to know the people that you're working with. And I think that can be said for everywhere. Like you need to be able to talk to the people you work with because once again, you learn from them and they help you grow. It gives you an opportunity to have someone invest in you to teach you to inspire you, change you, challenge you. And I, I think that's the whole point of an internship is to leave in a different place than you showed up in. Totally.

Bill Thorne (26:41): 

Very well put. I know it is very real.

Miguel Gomez (26:43): 

True. 

Juliana Saling (26:44): 

I absolutely left here in a different place than I showed up. Yeah. And a much better one at that. I am very, very happy. My advice for the next NRF intern would be to take advantage of every opportunity that is presented to you or that presents itself and, or find a way to create opportunities for yourself. I think that if you're interning here, you'll have a fantastic experience. If you, you know, if you fully immerse yourself and you are present and you work hard. But I also think that for anyone interning anywhere career advice would be to be having like, believe in yourself, don't have imposter syndrome because I literally still have that to this day as an intern, which is ridiculous. And give yourself grace. Awesome. 

Bill Thorne (27:28): 

Oh yeah. Miguel, you get the final word. 

Miguel Gomez (27:30): 

Literally stole the words out of my mouth, to be honest with you. But honestly the best way I could say, like, don't be shy, ask questions. Like this internship is literally for you. And like, as Juliana said, you're gonna come into this internship and leave as a completely different person in a completely different place and make sure you're not at the same place where you started at, like, you don't wanna leave with nothing. So leave with something and take as much as you can and take advantage of the opportunities. Cause dear Lord, there's so many opportunities here.

Ashton Wiggins (28:02): 

It's so snacks, lot drinking from a fire hoses of snacks. I love the Coca-Cola the Coca-Colas miss the coffee machine so much. 

Bill Thorne (28:11): 

That is a great coffee machine. That's kind of new. 

Ashton Wiggins (28:13): 

I actually might take it with me. Like you all might come back from your break in August and there's not, I actually be very large. 

Juliana Saling (28:20): 

I'm gonna have separation anxiety from the coffee machine. 

Ashton Wiggins (28:21): 

I know I get separation anxiety.

Bill Thorne (28:23): 

Here's the good news, you can always come back. Yeah, yeah. I mean, you can always come back, you know, I can't thank you all enough. Not only just for the time that you took here for retail gets real, but for what you did this summer for the work that you've undertaken for the attitude, with which you've undertaken it for the success that we have had as a result of it. And so thank you for that. We're all going to be watching you very, very closely, and we're very, very optimistic. Thanks to you all about the future, not just of retail, but in this country and in business and in general. So thank you for everything that you've done, Miguel. Good luck. Thank you. And every endeavor, they may be podcasts certain in your future.

Ashton Wiggins (29:07): 

I think so. I think you were born for it.

Bill Thorne (29:10): 

I did too. Juliana. Thank you so much. Thank you. And trust me that you're gonna have these experiences where you go into these stores and you're gonna view them an entirely different way. It's funny. When I was working in retail, I'd walk into stores and I'd just start conversations with the manager, which really frustrated the people I was in there with and be like, just shop and shut up. That's kind of fun. It's kind of fun, Ashton. I'm sure that you will look at the sausage making process known as government in an entirely different light, but it's a good one to know, and to understand at this point in your career, so many people don't really understand it. They get into it and they're just lost as a result of it because of your experience. You go in with something that most people don't have, and that is a knowledge that you'll be able to use to succeed in your career as well. 

Ashton Wiggins (29:57): 

Absolutely. I've got a bird's eye view coming out of here. 

Bill Thorne (30:01): 

Excellent. Thanks again. And thank you all for listening to another episode of retail gets real. You can find more information about this episode at retailgetsreal.com. I'm Bill Thorne. This is retail gets real and thanks again for listening. Take care.

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