Sara is currently a Planning Manager at Indigo. Her previous role at the company as a Merchandise Planner included responsibilities that were broken out into two main areas. The first is inventory management where she worked with another co-worker and was in charge of replenishing and allocating inventory to both the warehouse and stores as well as markdown management, forecasting inventory needs, and ad hoc business analysis. The other part of her role is forecasting and building plans with all financial KPI’s (key performance indicators) for her category. Throughout the year she managed the forward-looking financials that support in translating business and merchandise strategies into executable plans.
Her career path since graduation has remained in the planning world of retail. She worked at Sears Canada for two years, right after graduation, as an Allocation Replenishment Analyst. From there she moved to Indigo, where she started as an Assistant Planning and Allocation Manager then a Merchandise Planner—which is the stepping stone into her current role as Planning Manager.
One of the best things she has learned from her time at Ryerson is the importance of balancing "work" and life. While in school it's easy to get caught up in academic stress, joining an association, or attending some conference, and holding a part time job, all while forgetting the importance of taking time for you, relaxing, or spending time with family and friends. Acknowledging this and actively making the time to just step back from everything is so essential in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, especially in your career.
Working in the book industry, one of the major companies she always followed was Amazon. It's interesting to compare and contrast Indigo's strategy versus theirs, seeing what they'll come up with next and knowing the differentiating factors of your competitors. The main way she stays up to date is from her VP who sends out “Friday Readings” with usually 3-4 articles on what’s happening in the industry!
Fun fact: when I was in school I wasn't a part of any groups or associations, but when I graduated I stumbled upon the Retail Alumni Association and I now currently sit as President. My piece of advice is its never too late to get involved or give back!
"I think one of the best things you can do, as a student or alumni, is to always be looking for opportunities to grow. Whether it’s taking extra courses, joining a committee, going after that side hustle or even just reaching out to someone of interest on LinkedIn or Ted’s Café to chat about their experiences. In order to get out of your comfort zone you must take action and put yourself out there, even if it makes you uncomfortable at first."
"Discomfort brings engagement and change. Discomfort means you’re doing something that others were unlikely to do, because they’re hiding out in the comfortable zone" - Seth Godin