Corporate Social Responsibility in Retail

Alek Davis, COL ’23, Leesburg, VA

This summer I interned at Williams-Sonoma, Inc. on their Corporate Social Responsibility team. Having no prior experience in the retail industry, I didn’t know what to expect from this internship experience, but I learned so much about everything that goes into producing and selling a product. In addition to creating my final project, my team encouraged me to gain exposure to all of the different parts of the business. From visiting the photo studio in Industry City to scheduling time to meet with people from the product development, marketing, and legal departments, I now have a much better understanding of how a product comes to life.

As an industry leader in sustainability strategy, I had the opportunity to learn about how Williams-Sonoma is working to reduce their carbon footprint, transition to responsible materials, support worker wellbeing around the globe, and more. As part of my final project this summer, I developed a framework to help the team not only upskill their workforce to implement their sustainability goals, but also to mitigate climate impacts as they increasingly affect their workers. Getting to bridge their commitment to supporting the wellbeing of their workers and their commitment to creating a more sustainable future through my project was such a rewarding experience. My team served as a wonderful resource for me as I worked on my project this summer, and they have left me with a wealth of knowledge about sustainability and climate impacts.

Aside from the internship program itself, I spent my first summer in New York and headed into the office in Dumbo, Brooklyn each day. Coming from interning at a small law firm in Philadelphia last summer, this office environment was definitely a bit of an adjustment. However, collaborating with my team in person and spending quality time with the other interns made the experience that much more memorable. This experience pushed me to constantly try new things and learn as much as possible during the eight week program, and I am excited to use the skills and knowledge I have gained as I head into senior year.

This is part of a series of posts by recipients of the 2022 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they spent their summer. You can read the entire series here.

By Career Services
Career Services