Meet Megan Erspamer '12
Buying coordinator for the Men’s Athletic Training Division, Nike
— business administration major
Q. How did you choose Augustana?
A. I was looking for a private, liberal arts college combined with a strong track and cross country program. I enjoyed my visit to campus and was offered a great academic and athletic scholarship package.
Life at Augie
Q. Favorite class and why?
A. Business Law II with Jason Harris. The course material was interesting, challenging, and required strong critical thinking. I also enjoyed the case study format and class discussions.
Q. Favorite professor and why?
A. That question creates a four-way tie. I am not able to name just one, which only means that I was fortunate to have multiple professors that I enjoyed learning from and getting to know. I will say, though, that although I had only one class with Dr. David O’Hara, he taught me many things that have made an impact on my day-to-day life. I will share a fun one: O’Hara asked us to start class one day by writing down a few sentences on how we were feeling at the moment. After a minute, he said, “Now, smile!” Then again, we wrote down how we were feeling after a smile (forced or real). What a difference! A simple reminder that we can (on the spot) choose to positively alter our mood and disposition. I use this when I am feeling stressed, tired, or upset…and let me tell you, it works! Give it a try.
Q. Best Augie memory?
A. Cross country team camp out in the Black Hills at the beginning of each season was always a blast. Particularly freshman year, that year stands out. It was the perfect environment to meet and get to know people on the team.
Q. Tell us about your journey after graduating from Augustana – first job, grad school, travel, etc.?
A. I backpacked in Europe for about three months following graduation in May of 2012. When I returned, I moved out to Portland, Oregon. Whatever fit in my car made the move! I found a place on Craigslist, was kindly gifted a bike from a friend of a friend once I arrived. I worked at a local outdoor store, Next Adventure, for about a month to pay the rent while I made frequent trips out to the Nike campus to meet people for coffee, trying to soak in as much information and advice as possible. The stars soon aligned, and I was offered a contracted position in Global Digital Commerce, supporting a three members on the leadership team. It was a great learning opportunity and place to start, and still today, the people that are/were on that team are some of my favorite people at Nike and are incredible mentors for me. I was in that position for about 10 months before I was offered a permanent position in my current role.
Q. Tell us about your career – what’s an average day like?
A. Every day is different! In the world that I work in now, Monday is an important day for analyzing the business (stores and .com) from the previous week, and the remaining days of the week can be all over the place. At any given time, we are usually working on and thinking about four (retail) seasons at a time. We are currently in Spring ’15, recently hind-sighted the Holiday ’14 season, preparing digital assets (copy, image, and attribution) for the upcoming Summer ’15 season, and we will soon be ordering our assortment for Holiday ’15. On an average day outside of the “work” portion, I go for a run in the morning before work and rock climb or attend a yoga class at lunch; the sport facilities on campus are incredible. Nike places a lot of trust in its’ employees to design and manage our own schedules. At the end of the day/week or come deadline, it is our responsibility to have our work done. How and when we decide to get it done is mostly up to us. I really value that trust and autonomy.
Q. Greatest challenges and best rewards of your current role?
A. My biggest challenge and reward of my current role lies with the numbers. The challenge has been to really understand the numbers and how to effectively put them together to tell a story. My brain strives to discuss ideas and strategy, explore, research, and interact with people. So, working on my ability to focus on and effectively break down these very large spreadsheets with many measures and statistics of the business has been great experience for me. The rewards are when the business is growing and consumers are excited about our products. It makes the work on the back-end worth it, and I work with an amazing team to make it happen.
Q. Greatest professional accomplishment thus far?
A. Becoming an employee at Nike. I had Swoosh posters and quotes plastered all over my walls as a kid, and it was a dream to work here. So making that a reality was (and still is) really exciting. Nike is truly an incredible place to work. I am surrounded by extremely smart, driven, and talented people every day, who inspire and push me to be my best.
Q. What’s next for you professionally?
A. I am pursuing a move into brand marketing at Nike. I am really passionate about working in a space that inspires and creates meaningful and authentic experiences for athletes all over the world.
Q. If you could offer a prospective or existing Augie student some advice, what would you say?
A. I have notebooks full of great advice that I have received over the years! I will narrow down to four things: 1) To always be the driver of your own career and work to create your own opportunities. Do not rely on anyone else or wait for others to do this for you! I would not be where I am today without the help of others, but my (passed on) advice would be to remember that it’s up to you to make things happen; you are in charge! I saw this on a poster a few years ago: “You are entirely up to you.” 2) Use LinkedIn. When used properly, it is an incredible resource. What is your dream job or company? Look that company up, find people who are doing the job that you want to do, and contact them. I cannot stress that enough. Send a connection request (which may or may not accepted, but I have found that some of the best people will accept) and as soon as you are connected, do not wait- send that person a thoughtful email as soon as possible that tells a little bit about yourself (perhaps experiences and ambitions) and the reason you reached out to them in particular. Ask for 20 minutes to chat on the phone, and then come to that phone call prepared with good questions. 3) If someone gives you their time and advice, whether via in-person, phone, or email, follow up that same day with a thank you note. Not two or three days later, same day. It makes a difference! Put time into your note: what did you gain from the conversation? What was helpful, inspiring, or interesting? What are your next steps? Will you be following up? Also, don’t underestimate the power of a hand-written thank-you. The extra time and thought it takes to do that is still appreciated and valued. 4) Create your “Personal Hedgehog Concept.” You can find the details in Good to Great, an influential business book by Jim Collins, or a simple google search.
Q. Tell us about your family.
A. My mom and younger brother, Jake (12), live in Madison, Wisconsin. I wish that I could spend more time with them, but we stay in touch via FaceTime and Skype!
Q. What’s given you the greatest personal satisfaction since graduating from Augie? And why?
A. Relentlessly pursuing what I love, career-wise and in my personal life, has given me the greatest satisfaction. We really can do anything we want! It’s a rollercoaster ride, but a very rewarding one. I spend a large majority of my free time climbing mountains, rock, and my newest interest- ice, and downhill and backcountry skiing. I take full advantage of weekends and get out as much as possible. I have high goals set for where I want to take my climbing, and I am very fortunate to be surrounded by a great community of motivated and supportive climbing friends. Spending time in the mountains makes me feel so energized and alive. “Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.” - Rumi