Professional Protocols


This blog post contributed by Amber Coan, Fashion design student

8am classes. We are all bound to get one, but most of us don’t love getting up even earlier to get ready. It can be even harder when it’s a Professional Sales class and we have to try to look as good as Mr. Dudkowski, our fearless–and always stylish–leader. Reinforcing our need to be dressed and groomed properly are our multitude of professional visitors who come and speak to us about selling in the real world. Recently, we had Mr. Bob Shannon, a Diagnostics Team Leader at General Electric, explain to us how looking and acting professional influences our job opportunities.
Mr. Shannon first began with his Three “A’s,” Proper Aesthetics, Proper Attire, and Proper Attitude. He explained to us that personal cleanliness and attire is just as significant as having a positive attitude.
For both sexes it is extremely important to know what is considered “proper” when addressing grooming and clothing.
For men: Hair should be cut quite short. One should be clean shaven, or have neatly trimmed facial hair. There should be little to no jewelry, no cologne, and all tattoos should be completely covered. Business Professional attire for men includes: a three piece suit, cuff links, and a tie clip. Business Casual includes: dress pants, a button up shirt with matching tie, sport coat, and dress shoes. Mr. Shannon made it clear that a Polo and Dockers were 100-hundred percent off limits and completely unprofessional.
For women: Pulled back hair if long, or neatly styled if short; either way it should be out of your face. When it comes to jewelry and perfume, less is more! Mr. Shannon told us that he shouldn’t smell you before he sees you. All tattoos should be covered as well. Proper attire for female, business professionals is a suit with closed-toe shoes. Hem lines should be no shorter than the knee, and necklines should cover the chest. Wearing clothes that are too revealing can make potential customers or employers perceive you in the wrong way. Business casual for women includes a non-revealing blouse, dress pants, and closed toe shoes. No jeans, sneakers, flip-flops, or plunging necklines. Accessory-wise, bags should be professional and non-distracting.
Both men and women should carry a notebook into an interview and have a plan before walking in. Bring at least three copies of your resume and a few business cards–and yes, students should have business cards! Also, everyone should refrain from what Mr. Shannon called “Cellphone Suicide.” As important as cell phones are in our lives, it is still considered completely unprofessional and rude to waste your client or future employer’s time while you text. When going into an interview or salespresentation turn your phone off!


Mr. Shannon with fashion student Alaina Shannon

Mr. Shannon also wanted to communicate to us the importance of the relationship between the salesperson and the client. Even in failure, that relationship must remain strong; you never know when they might need your services. A good way to form and keep relationships with your sales clients is to be observant, a good listener, and to come in with a plan. Mr. Shannon reiterated what Mr. D has always told his Sales classes; you have to A-S-K to G-E-T. Plan to figure out what exactly the client needs and if that isn’t you or your product, then that is okay. Mr. Shannon specifically said, “Effective salespeople give the client exactly what they want, exactly when they want,” meaning they might not need your business right now but that doesn’t mean they won’t need it later. This is when maintaining a good relationship with your client comes in. Anytime you meet with an interviewer or a potential business associate you should always follow up with a thank you card, even if you fail. Mr. Shannon taught us that a lost sale may be replaced but the relationship we hold with coworkers and clients is invaluable.
Lastly, aside from mere attributes such as looks, intelligence, and innovation, Mr. Shannon believes our personal development in character and integrity is what will stand out from others.
I’d like to formally thank Mr. Bob Shannon for taking time out of his day to give us an outstanding presentation! Thank You!

“Ambiance” features unique bridalwear


One of the most anticipated scenes of the fashion show—the bridal scene—will be featuring some breathtaking designs this year, with custom touches and alterations!  Sophomore Kelly Weatherby and freshmen Lekha Anderson will be partnering to coordinate “Ambience,” the title given to the bridal scene for Ethereal.  The pair hoped to touch upon the heavenly side of the theme Ethereal, while also revealing the mysterious and seductive side.  According to Kelly, “We wanted the romantic, traditional wedding styles, but also want to incorporate the darker, more dramatic side that people aren’t used to seeing in bridal”

Original sketch of Angelique’s design

M.A. Carr Bridal was generous enough to donate gowns for the show.  While some gowns will be used as-is, others will be altered.  Angelique Porey, a freshmen fashion student, has created one of the designs to be used for a gown.  Her vision involves shortening the dress and giving it a waterfall hemline.  Accent colors and ribbon details will also be added to give the gown a unique look, and it might even be dyed. Angelique wanted to “Give the dress a little bit of an edge while still having a feminine touch.” This gown is sure to be a refreshing and exciting look, far from the traditional wedding gowns that we have grown accustomed to–be sure to come and see it at Ethereal on April 26th!

Anybody interested in redesigning a gown that would fit into “Ambiance” can share their ideas and sketches with Kelly at, and could be featured in the fashion show!

Donation aids Creation


This blog post contributed by Amber Coan, Fashion Design student

GCC’s Fashion Design students are thrilled about a recent donation of two brand new dress forms from PGM Incorporated representative, Andrea Quintana! If you walk into the sewing room, you’ll find about eleven handmade dress forms in a wide variety of sizes from 2 through 24. The forms are a huge part of our design and draping class, one of the most significant classes for fashion design majors. While some of us strive to master the creation of plus-size garments, there are many, myself included, who would rather work with smaller sizes; to fit this demand, we were absolutely in need of more narrow-bodied mannequins–I speak for all of the design majors when I say that we are very thankful for Andrea and PGM’s donation!

Outside of class, many students use the PGM dress forms for our own personal projects for clients, to build our portfolio, and to aid in creating garments for GCC’s annual fashion show–which is now the largest in Western New York!

dress form

PGM dress form with student draping

I, personally, am using one of the forms to fit an evening gown of my own design for next year’s fashion show. The dress will consist of a black leotard base and a very long flowing skirt. My inspiration for my scene proposal next year is fierce, dark, and strong–contrasting this year’s “Ethereal” theme. Bringing my inspiration to life has to start somewhere, and that somewhere is the blank canvases that Andrea Quintana and PGM so generously donated to us.

I would highly recommend that design majors–or anyone interested in pursuing fashion design–check out the wide range of beautiful, top-of-the-line dress forms (including customizable and colored!!!) at PGM’s website,

Once again, I’d like to publicly thank Andrea and PGM for their contribution to our fashion program!!

Presidential Presentation on Economic Growth


This blog post contributed byNicolette Suozzi, Tourism & Hospitality Management Major

Last Wednesday, Mr. Chris Suozzi—Vice President at Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC)—gave a presentation for Mr. Dudkowski’s Professional Sales class. He talked all about what his work entails and shared with us some details from the latest projects he and his office are promoting for the county. Mr. Suozzi presented our class with a professional PowerPoint, to give us a visual on what Genesee County has to offer, and how it is getting bigger and better every year.


From left: Chris Suozzi and Professional Sales student Michael Mason

In 2011, Mr. Suozzi and his team convinced a Colombian yogurt company, called Alpina, to build in the Agribusiness Park here in Batavia, NY. This was a major accomplishment because this company could have based their business anywhere in the US; they chose Western New York because of our ideal location, and the availability of resources needed to jump-start their business.

The following year, the Agribusiness Park added another huge company—the biggest yet—to its lands: Muller Quaker Dairy, a joint venture between US-based PepsiCo and German company, Theo Muller. Again, we had the best “Shovel-ready” site available, and an unbeatable location for fresh dairy products. If you haven’t tasted their yogurt yet, you’re missing out!

 Mr. Suozzi and his team aren’t done yet; there is still so much in store for the future. The STAMP project is expected to be a huge success.  If a computer chip manufacturing plant lands it will bring thousands of potential jobs to Genesee County. As more jobs are created throughout the area, support for businesses grows.

Mr. Suozzi and his team at GCEDC put their hearts and minds into promoting our county and all it has to offer—in areas related to money, tax breaks, or jobs—you name it! We cannot wait to see what other projects companies have to offer Genesee County, and what else GCEDC has up their sleeves. A big thank you to Chris Suozzi for his outstanding presentation; we know we’ll be seeing you soon!

Linkedin Basics


Last Friday Mr. McGowan and Ms. Vetrano came into my Business class and helped us with the basics of setting up Linkedin accounts.  For anyone who does not know, Linkedin is a professional social networking site that can be used to keep in touch with business connections and make new connections.  It can also be used as a sort of online resume and a way to search and apply for jobs!

Though I had heard a lot about the benefits of Linkedin, this class session was really useful in helping me understand how to develop my own account! Here are some of the basics I thought others might find useful:

  • Your profile picture should be of you only, in an appropriate pose or situation that could be related to the business you are involved in. A simple background is a good idea.  Though profile pics are optional, they are highly recommended; 38% of businesses won’t look at a profile if there is no photo posted.
  • Your heading is your title and is listed directly underneath your name on your profile.  Linkedin will automatically set this to say your last or current job, but it is a good idea to add keywords that describe you or your position to help catch the eye of potential business partners, employers, and connections.
  • Directly below your profile picture you will see the web URL for your page; if you edit this you can change it to something simple to remember so you can easily tell people how they can find your page!
  • Your Linkedin profile should be consistent with your resume.
  • When listing your job descriptions for work experience, try to stick to one format (sentence, bullets, or paragraph) and verb tense for all of them to make it easy to read and understand.
  • When you add someone new, it is a great idea to personalize the message they will receive with your request; it can help them understand how you know them, why you want to add them, and makes them feel like you’ve put in extra time and effort.
  • Current GCC students may want to consider joining the GCC Alumni page; it is a great way to get to know past GCC Students and find out where they have gone on after graduation!

I would encourage anyone looking to keep up with their business connections to get started on their Linkedin profile; though it is a free program, when used correctly and remembering these tips, it can be a priceless tool for businesspeople and professionals!

Student Day in the Field


On October 28th 2013 two GCC Business students participated in the Buffalo Niagara Sales and Marketing Executives’ (BNSME) Student day in the field program.  Alec Engel—a major in professional golf management—and myself (Fashion Business major) had the chance to network and ask questions during the 3-part program.  First we went to Kegworks’ location in Buffalo to see a presentation by their marketing team; Next we went to Millennium Hotel and were able to sit down in small groups and converse with business professionals about their day-to-day activities; and lastly, we were treated to a networking dinner followed by a presentation on modern marketing strategies by personnel from the Manzella Marketing Group.

Our first stop at Kegworks gave a very unique view on one company’s marketing and retailing strategy.  Kegworks, which now employs over 50 people began as a man looking to make it easier to make repairs on commercial restaurant and bar supplies and equipment through a one-stop online retailer.  In March 2013, the first Kegworks Store was opened in Buffalo, sealing the deal that Kegworks was one business which successfully formed in the reverse order of typical retailers.
One employee at Kegworks that I found very inspirational and relatable was content writer/journalist Caleb Houseknecht.  Like the company, Houseknecht is atypical in his career with Kegworks; he began working for Kegworks as the main social media writer in March of 2012, months before his graduation in May of that year.  Houseknecht shared with us some of the insight he has gained so far in his career: sometimes you really learn things as you go, so you should always be open to new experiences.  After answering many questions about various marketing methods Kegworks has used to get an edge up on competitors, director of sales, Jeff Conrad, was able to really sum it all up for us, stating, “If you don’t change, you don’t grow.”

For the next portion we met up with the rest of the students (half of us went to Kegworks and the other half to Rich Products) to have mini question answer sessions with professionals form a conglomeration of different industries.  Some vital tips offered include:

  • Meet customers’ objections with persistence and product knowledge
  • Don’t be shy
  • Be careful on Facebook (etc.)
  • As a professional, it is most important to preserve your integrity and reputation
  • If you want a job, keep sending your resume (every 3 months recommended) as a “gentle reminder” in case of openings
  • Answer messages by the next day whenever possible; be prompt DSCN2313

 With these wise suggestions in our heads, we headed to the dinner, where Manzella Marketing would be presenting.  Before dinner we had time to mingle with the business executives and fellow students; many calling cards and handshakes were exchanged.

Manzella Marketing’s presentation served as a definite example of best practices for presenting.  They covered many topics we have been learning in Professional Sales class, and how to put them into use in the real world.  The presentation was interactive and included a great display of visuals, along with video clips and marketing samples they have used.  With the conclusion of the presentation, we all said our goodbyes and began the drive home, our pockets full of new calling cards from potential employers, mentors, and connections. DSCN2314

A Word From the Wise


This Friday–October 25, 2013—a very special guest speaker came into the Professional Sales class.  Not only is this speaker a “Cornucopia” (in the spirit of Thanksgiving!) of sales knowledge, but Mr. Charlie Soles is also the grandfather of Karly Natalizia, a current student in BUS 201!


As soon as he began to speak, you could sense that Mr. Soles was an experienced salesperson; and indeed, 30 years in any profession is no small achievement.  Soles was able to speak to us with ease about his past experiences; his secrets to success; and his motivation for us future salespeople.

 The presentation began with the acknowledgement of the negative side to selling—the bad rep, the pressures of meeting quotas, and the potential for rejection.  Like any respectable salesperson, Soles was not about to try to deny or conceal the shortcomings of a product—or, in this case, a career.  To each of these negatives, however, Soles offered us a means of coping, and suggested to take all hardships as an “Opportunity or challenge to do better next time.”

Next, Soles addressed the more prevalent—and appealing—side of selling: the rewards.  Essentially, selling to customers involves creating a relationship in which they allow you to help them in some way—or, as Soles put it, “If you position yourself as a helper, you will have the trust of others.”  For Soles, being able to help people is one of the greatest rewards of selling.  Beginning with a degree in agriculture, Soles’ journey lead him to eventually being one of the top salespeople of medical devices in the country.  When asked how he came to such an unexpected career, Soles answered “If it’s right and you’ve decided you can do it, and you fill your mind with thoughts that you can accomplish it, you will.”

The big secret to success, according to Soles, is to never stop learning.  From every sales call there is something to be taken away; one tip I thought could be very useful was to review yourself after a sale or meeting; learn from your strengths and weaknesses in order to constantly better your technique and hone your skills.  If you hope to best persuade a prospect to buy, you need to ask questions, see your product from a customers’ point of view, and try to find common ground with the customer.  As Soles advised us, “In order to be the best at something, you need to have the best knowledge.”

 Today’s class was definitely a testament to what we’ve been covering in class.  Not only was Mr. Soles very motivational to listen to, he was also affirmative of many of our previous lessons.  Personally, it was refreshing to hear the same message reiterated by someone outside of GCG; today’s speaker has given me the confidence and drive I think I needed to take me through the last 8 weeks of semester one!


Mr. Soles with Karly

NYC: LIM and Tommy Hilfiger

Friday morning we woke up nice and early to get ready to head over to LIM, a business fashion college in Manhattan. On our “Saunter” over (as so called by Mr. D) we tried to take a good look at the 5th Avenue window displays.  Our professors Mr. D and Ms. Ehrhart pointed out to us how the visual merchandisers used elements of design to best draw the attention of customers and move the eye through the entire display.

We arrived at LIM College and were greeted by the Assistant Director of Admissions–Mr. Anthony Urmey.  Mr. Urmey gave us an overview of all that LIM has to offer us as a potential transfer college.

Ms. Amanda Hallay is a professor at LIM, and she was nice enough to take some time out of her day to speak with us about the Merchandising program.  She was able to help paint a picture of what we would experience in classes if we chose to attend LIM.  Ms. Hallay was definitely a shining example of the expertise we could expect from the faculty.

At this point a panel of LIM students–including 3 of GCC’s own alumni–answered any questions we had for them and told us about all of the ups and downs of classes and student life at LIM.  At the end of the presentations our students were welcome to a tour of the campus. Who knows, some of us might end up choosing LIM after we graduate GCC!

In the late afternoon we were told to find a building on the west side of Manhattan. Luckily, we all made it to this location; some of us (myself included) had successfully hailed a taxi; others had bravely made the trek on foot! Whatever the mode of transportation, it was surely be worth our lightened wallets and worn-out feet; we were here to meet with representatives from Tommy Hilfiger.

When we arrived, we were directed to the Hilfiger lobby; from the crisp sofas, to the red patchwork carpet, the framed stars and stripes, and the Tommy Hilfiger promo videos playing on a flatscreen–this room itself exuded the Americana-prep that is Tommy Hilfiger.



From here, Ms. Catherine Welsh took us through the office areas, passed the showrooms, and into a meeting room where she filled us in on the history of Tommy Hilfiger (from man to brand-name).

Ms. Christina Caruso spoke with us about applying for summer internships–and offered some valuable advice for making living arrangements during internships in the city.

Ms. Anna Christensen and Ms. Amie Robinson from the Creative Projects Research and Development explained to us the process of taking the latest trends and creating a general concept for the designers to use as inspiration; this way Tommy Hilfiger captures the same aesthetic, even though there are numerous sects of design teams.

Next we got to learn about the system Tommy Hilfiger uses to create a uniform look in their visual merchandising store-wide.  Personally, I was impressed to experience the infinite number of possibilities for employment within the fashion industry.  As we students saw, fashion has truly become a specialized profession which demands hardworking individuals from an amazing number of backgrounds and areas of talent.

And so concluded our final field trip on this whirlwind city adventure.  We broke back into small groups to try to squeeze in some final shopping, see last-minute sites, and maximize the mileage on our tired legs, before turning in for our last sleep in NYC.

Day one in the big city

Today was our first full day here in the big apple!  Though it was a bit rainy in the morning, it turned out to be a fair–and action-packed–day!
I’m here in NYC with other Fashion students to learn more about design, fashion, and business from people that work in the industry in NYC.
Our first stop of the day was to the Gitman Bros showroom.

There we met with Mr. Chris Olberding; the Vice President of the company.  Gitman primarily focuses on menswear, and is a top producer of fine shirting and suiting in the USA. Mr. Olberding exhibited his zeal for the industry and spoke with us about the production of classic, quality clothing.  Olberding helped us see how much precision is involved in such an industry; though the basic design and cut of the shirts does not change rapidly, the fabric choices for each line must be chosen meticulously.  Possible fabric choices include material that is already produced and ready to be used as-is; manipulated versions of prints or plaids; a print created using a design; and reproduced vintage prints.

Along with Mr. Olberding, we were also able to meet with the personnel from the merchandising, marketing, communications, and managing departments.  We asked lots of questions and got a glimpse of Gitman’s business practices and some potential careers in menswear.
After a brief break for lunch and shopping, we got together again for a meeting with Ms. Diane Alexander, the PR Director of fashion powerhouse, Buffalo David Bitton. Ms. Alexander told us many stories–from the woes of interns with attitudes, to the high demands of some celebrities–she has seen it all.  As Alexander spoke to us, we were surrounded by Buffalo David Bitton  lines for Spring 2014 and–my personal favorite–Holiday 2013/14.
DSCN2236 On this field trip, we really got first-hand proof that networking is an integral part of  the fashion business.  Alexander explained to us all of the ways in which celebrities, bloggers, and magazines can be used to promote a line or product.  Alexander was very down-to-earth and not afraid to tell everything like it is; no sugar coating.  I loved her no-nonsense nature and one particular bit she mentioned about her interns stood out to me–“I wouldn’t ask you to do something I wouldn’t do myself.”  Even the smallest, most tedious and menial jobs must be completed.

And with that we were free to explore the city–for me, it was time to head down to the garment district in search of some new fabric to work with!

Guest Speakers From Verizon Wireless


It’s Friday morning, September 27th, in Mr. Dudkowski’s 8am Professional Sales class. We went through the usual routine of reviewing homework and forgetting each other’s names (current students–you understand; Future students for BUS 201–learn your peers’ names…you will understand) has been disrupted. Who are we to thank for our rescue from Mr. D’s much-too-early-in-the-morning name game? Guest speakers Cindy Carpenter and Jon Spencer, who have come to share with us their experiences in business with Verizon Wireless; experiences which, between the two of them, are undoubtedly abundant.

For over 15 years, Ms. Carpenter has worked in various business positions in 
Rochester and has been the recruiter for the Verizon Calls Center since 2006. Mr. Spencer, a former GCC student himself, has held positions in Verizon in numerous facets including customer service, billing, tech support, inventory, and sales, and currently holds the title of “Device Expert.”

In his talk, Spencer highlighted how fortunate he is to work in a business that is so connected with technology.  He emphasized the incredible world we live in today where technology is growing and expanding more than ever before. Spencer’s career in business with Verizon gives him the opportunity every day to be right at the hub of this age of technology and help others connect with our increasingly tech-driven society. Aside from the obvious application and knowledge of the latest gadgets, the business aspects of working for Verizon allows for human connections through customer relations.  As Spencer stated, customer interactions make his job worthwhile; the ability to introduce customers to devices which allow them to speak with loved ones over long distances, recover priceless photos, and could even change their lives, creates visible gratitude which is “Worth more than all the money in the world,” said Spencer.

A Friday morning class–usually merely the last hurdle before a long weekend–proved to be an enriching and worthwhile experience for the students in my class.  Not only did we get to hear firsthand experiences from two Verizon Wireless Employees, we were also given some advice; though we’ve heard it many times before it still rings true, as Spencer said: “At the end of the day, the paycheck and the benefits don’t mean a whole lot if you spend 40+ hours a week doing something that makes you miserable.”