From Intern to Designer

Marjorie St-Jean was part of Groupe Dynamite’s intern cohort in June 2016. Now, one year later, she works within the Dynamite team as a Technical Designer for the denim category.

This spring, Marjorie spoke with students at the recruitment cocktail about her experience at Groupe Dynamite, including some of the following highlights:

Q1: Can you briefly describe your academic background?

My academic career began with the Katimavik program, where I was able to travel and learn about different cultures, as well as learn my second language, English. Then, I studied Fashion Design with a masculine specialization at Cégep Marie-Victorin. In order to deepen my knowledge, I pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design and Management at l’École supérieure de mode de Montréal.

Q2: How did you find yourself at Groupe Dynamite?

Following the presentation of the final collections from my university’s end-of-year projects, the recruitment Manager from Groupe Dynamite invited me to present my portfolio at one of the company’s recruitment cocktail events.  Following this event, I was accepted to the Design internship program!

Q3: What are the 3 highlights from your internship?

  • Stepping out of my comfort zone. During my internship, my mentor let me work independently. This allowed me to quickly learn the tasks that the Design team needed to complete in order to produce the expected results.
  • Realizing that my opinion counts! Groupe Dynamite values everyone’s input, no matter their hierarchical status. I was quickly encouraged to share my opinions and learnt to bring my ideas forward with confidence.
  • Participating in the company’s creation process. As Designers, we have a concrete influence on the creative process at Groupe Dynamite. It’s extremely inspiring!

Q4: What role do you currently occupy at Groupe Dynamite and what does it entail?

I’m currently a Technical Designer for the denim category at Dynamite. My role consists of assisting the Senior Designer in the steps leading up to the creation of different collections. I participate in researching different materials and washes in order to get the ball rolling in the creative process of new denim models. 

Q5: As a young grad, how do you feel supported at Groupe Dynamite? What opportunities does the company have to offer to the youngest generation?

We are surrounded by passionate mentors who include us in different projects.  This pushes us to want to learn more in order to gain more experience and to bring something new to the table.

Q6: What advice would you give a young grad who’d like to work at GD?

Go for it! It’s an extraordinary opportunity to gain and develop an exceptional array of knowledge in a company filled with passionate people who are open to new ideas.

Q7: In your opinion, what sets Groupe Dynamite apart from other retailers?

It’s a company that constantly wants to surpass itself, that takes risks and is very open. 

 

Mini Survey:

  1. The mentor or person who inspires you:My parents, without a doubt!
  2. Your favourite clothing item/accessory: Trench coat that I bought at Zara
  3. A place in Montreal where we’d run into you: Met gym
  4. Your style icon: Victoria Beckham
  5. Your favourite trend right now:Pink, pink everywhere!
  6. Your dream destination: Skellig Islands
  7. The word you use most often: Oh my god!
  8. In high school, you dreamt of becoming:A fashion designer
  9. To take your mind off of things, you… go for a run by the water
  10. Your guilty pleasure:Sewing

Click here to learn more about our Internship Program.

Fresh vegetables all summer long!

This summer, employees will be receiving fresh veggie baskets, thanks to a partnership between GDI and micro-farm Ferme La Machine, who will be delivering the baskets to our Head Office. Our Atrium kitchen will also participate in this program in order to offer a menu filled with local, fresh, in-season vegetables that will delight our palates!

Ferme La Machine is a family-run farm, located in the Outaouais region, which sells sustainably-grown vegetables for local consumption. It’s a true pleasure to provide our people with the opportunity to enjoy delicious homegrown veggies, while supporting a local business.

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Raising our glasses to Cedars CanSupport

Colleagues, friends and family came together for a fabulous fundraising cocktail to show their support for our Dynamite Dragons! This event, held in our beautiful Atrium at the heart of our GDI Campus, was the perfect opportunity to mingle and laugh with attendees, while enjoying great food and wine. The funds raised by this event will benefit the Cedars CanSupport Foundation.

This charity provides free psychological and emotional support to patients battling cancer, along with their families. On September 10, 2016, our Dynamite Dragons will be paddling their hearts out for the seventh year in a row to support this noble cause!

A small event that made a big difference!

 

On The Sales Floor

The grads from our 4th cohort had the opportunity to discover the dynamic environment of our stores, where they got the chance to familiarize themselves with the various facets of our customer experience. Grads also got to shadow our Head Merchandisers in their role, and took advantage of the opportunity to acquaint themselves with our visual standards, our DNA and the importance of our brand image.

The grads will continue with their week-long rotations in each department until July 29th, closely working with mentors and leaders, while enjoying a memorable experience.

To know more about our Graduate Rotational Program, click here.

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Let’s Play Outside!

Every spring is another opportunity for us to recognize the hard work of our employees in the Distribution Centre. Their support is crucial to the proper functioning of the business, like shipping our online orders on time and replenishing stocks at our Dynamite and Garage stores worldwide, among many other things.

We took advantage of a warm and sunny Friday to go to Parc du Domaine Vert in Mirabel, where we took part in some outdoor activities. On the agenda: enjoying the beautiful park by playing some friendly games, like dodge ball, giant babyfoot and archery. Everyone happily participated in the games, giving them a chance to bring out their inner child. The group’s enthusiasm was evident throughout the outing!

Leaders from the Distribution Centre prepared a delicious BBQ for the employees, an appropriate end to such a fun day.

With sun-kissed cheeks and full bellies, we headed back home, taking with us these happy memories of a fun-filled day.

Spring Huddle

Three times a year, Groupe Dynamite executives invite all Head Office and Distribution Centre employees for an assembly to discuss the company’s current strategic initiatives. The latest one took place on May 18, where more than 600 employees gathered for our Spring Huddle, and were given a presentation by Anna Martini, President, and Andrew Lutfy, CEO.

The huddle opened with a grand entrance of the winners from our Showtime recognition program, made up of more than 30 sales associates and store managers, who had excelled in their roles during 2015 through their dedication and passion. These Garage and Dynamite employees distinguished themselves by raising the bar when it came to our customers’ experience in-store, and by motivating their teams to reach for excellence. It’s only natural, then, that the company wished to offer them a fitting tribute that reflected their own contribution to the organization.

We also took the opportunity to announce the expansion of our Head Office, which will grow by 30,000 square feet by next winter, as well as tripling the current number of design centres. We were also informed of the continuing expansion of Garage in the United States, with the opening of 10 new stores under the banner in 2016, including Valley Fair Mall in California. The company sees this development as an excellent way for the stores to propel the growth of the brand.

A Memorable Evening With the New Generation of Talent

On May 5th, more than a hundred guests were brought together under our Atrium’s beautiful glass ceiling as part of our spring recruitment cocktail. It was the perfect occasion for fashion graduates to meet with members of our Design and Marketing teams, in addition to a one-of-a-kind visit of our Head Office. With portfolios, appetizers and drinks in hand, our guests had the chance to discuss their projects and ambitions in a welcoming environment. Anna Martini, President, and Andrew Lutfy, CEO, were also there to network with the graduates, giving them a brief presentation of the company and discussing the future of the fashion industry. We are ecstatic to have been able to take part in this exchange with the new generation of talent. See you in November for our next recruitment cocktail! 

 

Meet the Dynamite Dragons

Once again this year, our Dynamite Dragons will be paddling away to raise funds for the Cedars Institute CanSupport Program, a McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) initiative, whose mission is to provide free, humanitarian support to cancer patients and their families.

The objective is to raise $12,500 to support this foundation. Stay tuned for all kinds of fundraising activities taking place throughout the summer until race day on September 10th.

Go Dynamite Dragons!

GD Culture For The Young

Groupe Dynamite is extremely happy to have been recognized as one of the top employers for young Canadians in 2016. Every year, Canada’s Top Employers for Young People honours companies whose efforts contribute to the creation of programs meant to mold tomorrow’s leaders. Groupe Dynamite has committed to support the new generation of talent in the fashion and business industry. It is, therefore, with genuine pride that we are recognized in this respect. Among the many initiatives that differentiate us from other companies, we are most proud of our program for new graduates, where they take part in a rotation which gives them a chance to gain experience in seven of our departments and all levels of the company before beginning their role. Every spring, university and college graduates from fashion design and fashion marketing programs are offered a paid internship which lasts 12 weeks, allowing them to immerse themselves in their respective fields. The company also organizes several social events throughout the year such as recruitment cocktails, where graduates are invited to engage with our directors and VPs, as well as our President, Anna Martini. In addition to recruitment programs and events, we strive to create a working environment that encourages our employees to develop their full potential. We offer, among other things, financial aid to those who wish to pursue their academic studies, grants for obtaining professional licenses and certifications, as well as integration and continuing education programs for all of our young leaders at Head Office and in-store. Our employees are young–33% of them are in their twenties–and we want to give them a voice, and ensure a bright future for them. We are pleased with the rate of engagement recorded in 2015, which reached an average of more than 90%! At Groupe Dynamite, we believe that it’s the people who make all the difference. We are dedicated to investing in future generations and maintaining a work environment where everyone can flourish. This recognition from Canada’s Top Employers for Young People is proof of that, and we could not be more proud! For more information: http://canadastop100.com/2016/groupe-dynamite/

Meet Thomas Lalonde

Thomas Lalonde, E-commerce coordinator, has been a part of our Marketing team since winter 2016. It was only after completing his master’s thesis at HEC Montréal on omni-channel approaches that he developed a real passion for the world of retail. He is part of the third cohort of our Graduate Rotational Program from February 2016. A few months later, he reflects on his experience.

Q1: In order to get to know you better, can you briefly describe your academic/professional background?

A: To make a long story short, I really hesitated between pursuing an acting career and beginning my university studies in business. I know, they’re two completely different fields! When I was younger, I had the opportunity to work on some film projects, but I decided to go into marketing to combine my creative side with my entrepreneurial side. I finally pursued a master’s degree, and once that was completed, I jumped on the chance to join Groupe Dynamite’s Graduate Rotational Program.

Q2: What was the selection process like for the February 2016 cohort?

A: What I loved about Groupe Dynamite and the Graduate Rotational Program was the way the company evaluated the different candidates. During my first meeting, the goal was to see what my interests were and what the needs were for GDI. Unfortunately, there weren’t any positions in E-comm planned for my cohort. However, upon seeing my many skills and interests in this field, a position in E-comm was created after re-evaluating the company’s needs.

Q3: What surprised you during your first weeks at GDI?

A: My biggest surprise was experiencing how easy it was to begin a conversation with a director or an executive. During the first few weeks, each Vice President presented their department to us, and we were able to ask any questions that we thought were important. We also had the chance to sit at the same table as Anna Martini and Andrew Lutfy, the President and the CEO, and introduce ourselves. The company culture is young and very dynamic.

Q4: What is the most important thing you’ve learnt from this program?

A: Having the chance to sit in every department was the greatest learning experience for me. Upon leaving university, it can be difficult sometimes to get a clear and precise idea of the inner workings of a company. The Graduate Rotational Program was the best transition I could’ve ever asked for upon finishing my studies. I’m better prepared for the position I’m in today, having spent eight weeks with different teams. On top of gaining a better understanding of the relations between each department, I’ve also acquired contacts in different areas, which allows me to better direct my questions as they arise.

Q5: In five words, how would you describe your overall experience with the Graduate Rotational Program?

A: Attentiveness, openness, flexibility, generosity and opportunity.

Q6: What are you currently working on?

A: Aside from helping the digital Marketing team in their various daily tasks, I have the chance to work on several projects regarding Groupe Dynamite’s omni-channel strategy. In short, the omni-channel approach is supposed to optimize the customer experience using current and upcoming technology. You’ll see, the next few months will be very interesting for Garage and Dynamite!

Mini Survey

  1. Your mentor/person who inspires you: Angela Ahrendts, the Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores of Apple Inc. She’s an omni-channel expert in the retail industry.
  2. Your favourite clothing item/accessory: The famous white t-shirt. It goes with everything!
  3. One place in Montreal where we would run into you: The SAQ, there’s nothing better than a good bottle of wine 😉
  4. Your style icon: I don’t know… I would’ve liked to be original, but I’ll say James Dean.
  5. Your favourite trend right now: Skinny jeans and running shoes
  6. Your dream destination: Latin America
  7. The word you use most often: “Awesome!”
  8. In high school, you dreamt of becoming: A university professor or veterinarian (haha)
  9. To take your mind off of things, you… take a bath while watching Netflix… try it, it’s awesome!
  10. Your guilty pleasure: …eating some St-Hubert while watching 30 Rock. Please don’t judge!