2017 Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship Finalists
Introducing Kaley Suero, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
Major: Statistics and Marketing
Hometown: I was raised in the happiest place on earth: Orlando, FL.
What drew you to pursuing a career in the fashion industry? I grew up competitively dancing and whenever I would travel to a new city my friends and I would, of course, find a way to squeeze in a shopping trip. It was through these trips that I began to take notice of how different cities offered a different selection of brands and products. This was probably the first time I started to realize how much there is to the retail industry and since then I’ve been preoccupied with learning more. Nowadays, I’m looking at demand distribution models that help optimize that same variety of assortment I noticed as a child.
What are some of the activities you are involved with on campus? I am President of the Wharton Retail Club so spend a lot of my time on campus helping students interested in a variety of sectors better understand the industry and its implications. I am also on the board of Wharton’s Innovation and Design Club and Bell Senior Society, Penn’s technology and entrepreneurship society. I am a member of Penn’s American Marketing Association Chapter as well and have been selected to represent the school at an International Business Case Competition this year in Serbia.
How do you enjoy spending your free time? I have made a very diverse group of friends in terms of aspirations, backgrounds, and areas of study so I love getting to spend time talking with them and exploring Philly. I also enjoy taking dance classes in my free time and traveling – I just joined a swing class and started planning a trip to Africa! You will also frequently find me with headphones in listening to a podcast.
Where you do you hope to see yourself after graduation? After graduation I want to be at the intersection of retail and technology. Specifically, I see myself working in an analytics role supporting a product team or in a performance marketing role at a fast-paced, mid-size retailer.
Picture yourself ten years from now in your dream job, what position are you holding? What really thrills me about this industry is that, although it has been around for many centuries, and will continue to exist for many more, the way we access and purchase products is going to continue to evolve as our society and technology do. In ten years, I hope to be one of the movers and shakers accelerating the industry’s growth, just as the Warby Parkers, Rent the Runways, and Stitch Fixes of the world are doing today.
How do you hope to make an impact on the future of fashion? Just as fast fashion was an innovative business model and supply chain that turned heads of retailers across the world, I want to leave an impact by creating a new way for consumers to access product. There is so much waste at the manufacturing and consumption phases that I think we will see new ways of doing business that build on the efforts of companies including Reformation and REI to pave the way for a more sustainable future.
What has been the most impactful part of the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund program since winning a $5,000 scholarship? By far the most impactful aspect has been the network! The access it has provided to industry leaders and influencers is unparalleled and has gone a long way in shaping my career aspirations for after graduation. Further, getting publicly acknowledged for my efforts is a great way for me to help spread the word to younger students about the value of this incredible organization to both my campus and beyond!
What does winning a YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund Geoffrey Beene Scholarship mean to you? How will this scholarship help you to pursue your dreams and career goals? This opportunity means so much to me and it’s hard to express the full impact it will have. For one, it will help me pay for my last semester at Penn, enabling me to graduate debt-free - something my family and I are really proud of. Additionally, this money will go to further supporting my interests and career aspirations in retail. It will make it easier for me to travel to learn more about retail in different cultures as well as fund side projects exploring new ideas impacting retail.