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9th Annual FMM Open House a Big Success

December 5, 2013

Cheyney University's Fashion Merchandising and Management (FMM) Program held its 9th Annual Fall Open House this week.  The 2013 theme: "The Year of the Male" featured keynote addresses from two men in the business who rose up the corporate ladder and were more than willing to share their tips for success.

Gregory W. Watson, General Manager of JC Penney in King of Prussia, PA, told FMM majors, alumnae, CU administrators and visitors how important it is to stratgically market yourself and your product.  He also stressed how important it is to get experience through internships that often lead to permanent jobs. Listening to customers, he insisted, is crucial. "Leaders listen, they don't always dictate," Watson noted. "Listen, because the feedback is out there."

Lance de la Rosa, Senior Vice President of Sam's Club, told the story of how he graduated from college with a music education degree, hoping to be a high school band director.  Instead, his life took a detour, leading him into retail sales.  "You can do anything when you set your mind to it," he announced. "I'm a great example of that." Walmart, a division of Sam's Club, was founded on three basic beliefs or "Golden Rules", de la Rosa explained. "Respect for the individual, strive for excellence, and service to our customer," he listed.  "Practice those and you'll be successful.  You don't have to be a retail genius but you have to have passion to want to learn and succeed."

Several FMM alumnae came back to attend the FMM department's biggest event of the semester. Each one took a couple of minutes to share what they're doing in the industry and every former student singled out Dr. Vanessa Brantley, Coordinator of the FMM Program, as having a positive influence on their lives and their careers. Brantley, bursting with pride, kept tissues handy to wipe the tears as she handed awards to four of her star students, Shakiah Canty, Janae Silver, Sam Prather, and Kamia Jackson who were not only applauded as leaders, but also scholars who've achieved high GPA's in the classroom.

An afternoon session featured 2011 CU alumnus Shaun Guess, Operation Manager for Pnk Elephant, a women's clothing store in Philadelphia, PA.  Guess handles ecommerce, online sales, buying, advertising and promotions for the store.  "I love it," he told students.  He then went on to teach students the difference between "no" and "not right now", encouraging them not to get discouraged when things don't seem to be falling into place like they want.  "When it's meant to be and you work hard, it always works out."  People spend too much time, he said, looking at the ending and not enough time understanding the trials and tribulations that came before the triumph. Learn to "think, plan and act--in that order," he suggested.

"The theme we heard today was exellence and developing your own brand," commented Dr. Michelle R. Howard-Vital, President of Cheyney University. She acknowledged the hard work of the students as well as the dedication and tireless efforts of their leader.  "Dr. Brantley is tough but she has a heart of gold," she said smiling.

Two days later, Dr. Brantley took FMM majors on a trip to New York City, the fashion-capital of the U.S., where they took in Jean Paul Gaultier's exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum, the only East Coast venue for The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk.  It is the first international exhibition dedicated to the groundbreaking French couturier. The multimedia exhibit is organized around seven themes tracing the influences on Gaultier's development.

Two FMM majors won department contests: Asiah Walker took top honors in designing a Magazine Cover entitled "Cuties", receiving 25 extra credit points.  Cori Ray won $50 for first place in the Advertisement Campaign Project.

In the spring, look for FMM majors to shine on the runway when they host the 4th Biennial FMM Fashion Entrepreneurship Expo on April 29 and May 1, 2014.