Alumni Spotlight: Tonya Belle

IMG_5182Full name: Tonya Belle

Program: Fashion Business

Grad Year: 1998

Current Position: Category Manager, Walmart

What is your favourite Seneca memory?

The Changing Faces Boutique offered a great opportunity to learn and practice real-time how the Fashion and Retail industry operates.  I was the General Manager of the boutique, which helped me obtain a job as Assistant Store Manager directly out of College.

If you could give one piece of advice to a student completing the same program as you, what would it be?

Network, network, network.  Interact with as many teachers and industry partners as you can.  Absorb and learn as much as you can from first-hand industry professionals.  Imagine your career path and take the steps to realize those goals.

How has your career evolved?

I started my career as an Assistant Store Manager, then In-store Merchandiser after which I was promoted to a Buyer Assistant Buyer and then to Buyer.  No matter what position I was promoted to I, committed to it!! I built my career path and made those steps to ensure I achieved that goal.  I also had great mentors that I worked with and learned from.  Each position I was given, I took advantage of the learning experience in order to achieve success. In my early days I was a sponge, I listened, learned and took the necessary steps to put those key practices into action.

How did your Seneca program help you get to where you are now/your current career?

Seneca is an outstanding school! The faculty is passionate about the students and the industry.  They really know how to prepare you for the real world.  The courses were all very relevant, update and applicable to the current retail landscape. 

Do you have any other thoughts or memories you would like to share?

Do what you love and be passionate about it.  Put in the extra time to make your dreams come to reality.  I can’t tell you how many hours and evenings I worked early in my career. Turn pressure into growth and development. Be resilient and learn from your sets backs. Challenge, and don’t settle and accept the status quo. Innovate, be bold, be strong and be persistent, in what you believe.

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