Business ManagerBergdorf GoodmanKatie Harned, Class of ‘94 majored in French and minored in Education. After graduation, Katie taught French in a junior high school in Hanover County. Katie was so successful as a teacher that she was voted Chair of Foreign Languages after only two years. As Chair, she developed culturally-enhancing activities for all languages and initiated a summer travel abroad program. It was during the first summer trip with students in Spanish, German and French along with their teachers and parents that Katie’s life changed “dramatically.” What happened next? Here is Katie’s story in her own words.“I prolonged my stay in France after the students left and did some traveling with another teacher (an R-MC graduate as well!) We ventured through Normandie, Paris and the Maine and Loire regions. I knew by the end of that summer that I was hooked. After three fulfilling years of working with the middle-school students of Stonewall Jackson Middle School, it was time to turn the page…it was time to move to France."I initially landed a teaching role in a corporate language training institute in the city of Angers. I gave group and individual English courses to corporate French busines people in varying industries, ranging from IT teams to top CEO’s of companies such as Boeing and Lucent."Eventually, I was offered a full-time position with one of my client companies and ended up working in the textiles industry as a full-time English trainer, traveling to various branches. Working with the marketing and sales teams of this company lead to a new interest and a new path for me—marketing. After almost three years in France, I moved back to the States and eventually to New York City where I worked part-time with a Parisian-based textiles designer promoting her line in New York. I was quickly pulled in the direction of the fashion industry. My ability to network led to a job at Bergdorf Goodman. After five years at Bergdorf’s I have found my niche. As the Business Manager for the Valentino line, I have the responsibility of marketing the brand, developing the business, managing sales teams and buying the collections. The latter of the responsibilities is what enables me to keep my finger on the pulse of my “2nd country”. Twice a year, I travel to view the Valentino runway shows and purchase the divisions’ collections for Bergdorf Goodman. I work with teams from the US, France and Italy which makes for a wonderfully rich and colorful life. "I know that my desire to connect with other cultures and ability to communicate with them is thanks to Randolph-Macon College, especially the wonderful team of foreign language professors and to a special Aunt who taught me the importance of becoming a polyglot at a very young age."I am learning Italian now and loving it. My desire to continue learning languages is strongly rooted in my R-MC experience. Dr. deGraff and my other professors were instrumental in motivating, challenging me, and creating in me a love of language The concept of languages being “alive” is what really hit home with me and I simply took off running with that notion. I haven’t stopped since. I love the journey and the doors that have opened and continue to open for me thanks to my multi-lingual communication skills. Languages are not just words; they are culture, history, literature art, religion, politics, and body language. They are the foundation of magical exchanges between people; this was imparted to me long before I could appreciate and realize how wonderfully life-changing and fulfilling learning to communicate in other languages could be."
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