Fashion Marketing & Management
Collaboration brings about insight into one’s own strengths and sometimes weaknesses. Reynisha Lindsay , Faculty , The Illinois Institute of Art — Schaumburg
What would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
I knew that I was destined to become a creative professional when I was in high school and took my first Home Economics Class. It was a sewing class and my teacher’s name was Mrs. Paisley. I loved her style. It was reminiscent of the '40s—blouses with skirts put together so meticulously. She always told me I would make a great seamstress. Her words and her lessons have stuck with me throughout my life. I was interested in fashion before I took her class, but I loved fashion by the end of her class. She was such an inspiration and helped define who I am today. Therefore, I love that I now have the opportunity to inspire others and help ignite the creative spark within them!
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?
It is easy for me to weave my professional background into the class by using examples from my experiences. My background is diverse, which allows me to draw on different scenarios that relate to the subject matter I teach. For example, I have worked for brick & mortar, e-commerce and catalog companies and there are pros and cons for each of those formats. Additionally, I have worked in buying, product development and have traveled overseas to source product. I also connect with peers in the industry to be guest speakers and deliver interesting and pertinent presentations to my classes. Lastly, I have lived and breathed the retail industry for over 20 years. Therefore, I can relate just about any topic to my students in a way that is interesting and beneficial for them.
Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? Similarly, how does your approach inspire each student to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?
I insert “teachable moments” (more like “inspiring moments”) in each lesson or topic. I introduce a real-life scenario or analogy to underscore the point I am making. I break it down into digestible pieces so the perception is one of “I can” instead of ‘I cannot.” Once it is relate-able, the students can see themselves moving beyond any perceived limitations.
What role does collaboration contribute to students' success, especially when students from other programs contribute to the same project?
I believe working in groups serves as a microcosm for what students will experience in the working world. You will always have to work with a team or within a team to achieve a goal. At some point, we all are placed in the group scenario. The sooner one learns how to navigate the dynamics of the team, the sooner one becomes successful. Collaboration brings about insight into one’s own strengths and sometimes weaknesses. It gives the student an opportunity to understand different opinions and how those opinions add value.
What is the most critical advice you would offer any student as he / she embarks on a creative career?
The most important thing I impart to students to help them succeed is to do more than what is required. Once a student grasps this concept as a “good thing,” they have begun to form a lifelong quality called—work ethic.
As for critical advice I would offer as students began their career, I would say never stop learning. Always learn something new, whether it is in your field or not. As the old adage states, “The more you know, the further you’ll go!”