The Role Call series takes you behind-the-scenes of work life at Gap Inc. from the passionately cool people that work here.
“I get to live my passion each and every day.”
Patty Colee | District Manager, Athleta
What is your current role?
I am a District Manager for Athleta stores in the Mid-South region of the U.S.
How did you start your career?
I was walking by the Aliso Creek, Calif. Old Navy store back in November of 1998 and, when I looked in the windows, it looked like they were having fun — they were having a one-minute meeting [I later learned]. I decided to go in and see if they were hiring. I filled out my application and interviewed me on the spot — the next day, I received my job offer for a seasonal associate for Holiday.
Did you always know you wanted to work in retail?
Prior to coming to Athleta, I worked as an accountant; I loved numbers. Unfortunately, I quickly learned that I didn’t really get to talk to people. When I started at Old Navy, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I had never worked for a clothing retailer before but I thought, “Why not, I love clothes, it seems like a fun place to work.”
What are the advantages of being a seasonal employee?
The best part of being seasonal: you get to experience our brands without a long-term commitment. Holidays are incredibly busy for everyone, both personally and professionally, and we want you to have some fun, earn extra money and experience our brand. It has been amazing to see how many of my seasonal associates have moved into leadership roles or to headquarters through the years.
What has your career journey looked like with Gap Inc.?
I started in 1998 as a part-time seasonal associate for Old Navy. Within the first week, I knew that I wanted to work past the holiday season. Fortunately, I was kept on after the holidays and knew that this was a place where I could have an amazing career. I’ve moved through leadership roles at Old Navy as the Associate Manager of Kids/Baby, to a General Manager (GM) at Gap Kids/Baby to a GM at Banana Republic. I am now the District Manager for Athleta — one of Gap Inc.’s growth brands.
What advice do you have for someone considering a seasonal sales associate role at one of the Gap Inc. brands?
Even if you don't know you want a career in stores, this could be the door that leads you to other opportunities (headquarters/global opportunities).