March 10, 2014
Jan Itamura, an associate manager for Gap Factory Outlet #2556 in Brooklyn, New York shares her employee story and what "do more" looks like to her.
My journey with Gap Inc. began in the mid-80s with the opening of the first Banana Republic store in Honolulu, Hawaii, back in the travel and safari days.
Soon a part-time sales associate job blossomed into an assistant manager position. Eventually, what I thought would be a dream job in television took me away, but not for long. I missed the people interaction that retail provided and decided I could handle an additional part-time job. During my interview at Gap, the general manager offered me a leadership position. Flattered, I opted to not climb the ladder in television production and instead make my career with Gap Inc. My job in television, I realized, was not as fulfilling.
What was once "just a part-time job" has allowed me to help open and work in stores for Gap, Gap Kids, Gap Outlet and Banana Republic in places like Honolulu, New York City, and Vancouver, BC.
This job is not only about selling clothes; it's about engaging and connecting with our customers. I've had the pleasure of helping dress customers for life events—job interviews, first dates, weddings, baby showers, and funerals. I've outfitted the new mom buying her first post-pregnancy outfit and the woman who lost 60 pounds who never before had been able to shop at our stores. I even had the honor of selling a pair of khaki shorts to our Company Co-Founder Don Fisher!
Making customers happy with their purchases never gets old.
This company has given me the opportunity to work with great leaders and associates. Many associates who never intended to have a career in retail are now full time leaders here. And many of the leaders I've had at different points in my career continue to inspire me.
But it’s not just the day-to-day work that’s so fulfilling.
Volunteering in community service events, from AIDS Walks to Adopt A Family, and everything else in between has kept me engaged and inspired. When I returned from participating in Community Corps in Guatemala, I could not talk about my time there without crying. It was such a powerful experience to have the honor to be sent to help a family realize their dream of building a better home for their family. Anyone that would hear my story was impressed that Gap Inc. supported and rewarded their employees with such a worthy opportunity.
As I approach my 23rd year with the company, I will forever be grateful to Gap for all that I've gained personally and professionally.