Great leaders make it a priority to notice when and what others are doing right, and, more importantly, show appreciation when that happens. Andrea Kramer (M ’98) President of City Apparel in Findlay, is well-known for doing just that.
City Apparel, a nationally recognized business that curates, designs and decorates apparel and logoed merchandise like uniforms, printed material and signage, regularly employs interns from the University of Findlay who, according to Kramer, are recognized quite a bit for their outstanding work, and, subsequently, often become City Apparel’s next “rock stars,” as she calls them.
Clearly, UF interns are an important cog in the City Apparel wheel, but how did the idea to seek out these students specifically from UF come about? That happened, Kramer said, because of her own relationship with the University, one that continues to develop through this regular hiring of its students. “I received my MBA from UF,” Kramer explained. “I continued my engagement through the years by speaking to classes and was a chair for the spring 2017 College of Business Dana Chair and Scholar Program. I was excited to find opportunities to learn from students while providing experiential learning and experiences that would both drive and add value to their education, mindset, skill set and capabilities.” It seems, then, that the result has been an overly positive and fruitful experience for all involved.
Kramer and City Apparel frequently feature their interns in posts on their social media, and, much like many of their other posts, the snippets featuring these interns are positive, supportive and uplifting. Kramer noted that they do this because they want their interns to “feel like we’ve got their backs” and so that they can “be their advocates when it comes to graduating, ‘adulting’ and finding a big kid job.”
Positive, supportive and uplifting, paired with hardworking and dedicated, seem to be the words that best describe the atmosphere at City Apparel. According to intern Natalie Regula, an accounting major who just completed her sophomore year at UF, interning there was everything one would hope an internship would be. “It was enjoyable and educational,” Regula said. “Everyone there always had a smile on their face, they were always so welcoming, and my favorite was the puppy [Kramer’s dog Nash] that was there to greet you when you walked in! At the same time, it was a work hard, play hard environment and I got real world experience there.”
Senior marketing major Danielle Basinger added that, while it was her fifth internship, it was clearly different than the others. “The culture was cool and laid back,” she explained. “At the same time, everyone is always working their hardest. It was very busy all the time in a good way.”
Kramer said that the type of student she looks for in an intern is one who has a dynamic personality, a sense of humor, and who is ready and willing to roll up their sleeves, try their hand in anything pushed their way and make things happen. The interns can manage, on their own, a number of companies. Aleeha Krupa, a soon-to-be senior animal science and marketing double major, said that what she didn’t know already, she learned pretty quickly. “To say I learned a lot is an understatement,” she confessed. “After working at City Apparel for a semester and now this summer, I feel that I will be beyond ready to find a job in the marketing world.”
One of the reasons that Kramer is looked upon as a revered leader is that she tries to find, in UF students, people who can and will become great leaders themselves. And since UF works as hard as Kramer does at mentoring and creating these future leaders, it’s certain that there will never be a shortage of UF students from which to choose.
“We recently hired a UF student who will be coming our way full time in May when she graduates,” Kramer said. “She wasn’t an intern but a 100 percent referral from our current interns. That’s an awesome return on investment. They’ve become our best brand champions.”