“The minute I discovered there was an opportunity to be a part of the Marcus Graham Project, I knew it was something I wanted to do.”
This is Jennifer Smith—solution-oriented, inclusive, highly engaged. She’s a Group Manager in Product Development for Fossil men’s leathers, as well as a frequent volunteer. Though she passionately supports s a variety of organizations and causes, The Marcus Graham Project (MGP) has been especially meaningful to her. MGP creates opportunity in the marketing industry for ethnically diverse students, and Jennifer sees herself in the interns who come to Fossil during the summer.
What do you make time for?
I always make time for mentoring others. Marcus Graham Project affords me an opportunity to do this and Fossil does a great job getting us plugged in. The program allowed me to interact regularly with my mentee, to discuss current projects, offer advice on handling situations and provide feedback on the group’s final presentation to senior management.
Why did Marcus Graham Project resonate with you?
I am an advice giver by nature. To be able to take what I’ve learned as an African American woman in the corporate world and pass it along, not only to my mentee but to other people in the group, was the most rewarding thing for me. When I started my career, it would have been helpful for me to have a similar mentor who could share his or her experiences and advice.
How does Fossil Group support what you’re passionate about?
Fossil does a great job of empowering employees to get involved in the community. I’ve been able to, on multiple occasions, participate in volunteering activities during the weekday which I otherwise would not have been able to attend.
Tell us about a recent volunteer experience that was meaningful to you.
I partnered with members of the Product Development team to organize a holiday party for the children of the Interfaith Family Services, a nonprofit organization in Dallas that works with families to break the cycle of poverty. We played Christmas-themed games and decorated cookies. It is always so refreshing to spend time with kids and do things that put a smile on their face.
What advice would you give someone looking to make an impact in their community?
When most people think of giving back to the community they think of monetary giving. One of the things I have learned through my various volunteer experiences is that face to face contact with people.