In 2017, a good portion of the retail industry found itself operating in red ocean strategies. Slumped sales numbers were driving company reorganizations and veteran employees were scrambling to outperform their colleagues. That kind of cut-throat competition described by was the ultimate demise for thousands of workers. I was swept up in the waves of lay-offs and found myself, for the first time ever, unemployed. I was the most vulnerable I had ever felt and uncertain of my immediate future. However, that kind of vulnerability forced me to open my eyes (and mind) to other possibilities.

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Turn and Face the Strange

Job hunting at (almost) 40 years old was not what I had planned and as the retail world saw more changes, I decided to look elsewhere. I stumbled upon gap intelligence through a friend’s social media post about a job opening. As I scrolled through gap intelligence’s website, my biggest fear was that I had nothing to bring to the data-world table, nor the computer skillset to keep up with the 20-somethings in the same job search pool.

Lucky for me, gap intelligence hires based on values and my personal values of integrity, community, and commitment fell right in line with the company’s core values of:

  • Transparency – Strengthen trust by communicating like hell
  • Willingness – Do your best, never stop learning
  • Ownership – Build a cathedral, not a wall
  • Professionalism – A+ work, don't be a jerk.
  • Passion – Inspired by life

I quickly realized that becoming a part of a new industry, and adopting a job description unlike any I had in the past, was not a frightening endeavor because gap intelligence also had a support system, built into its DNA, to nurture and empower its employees.

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Cultivation Culture

At the heart of gap intelligence is a corporate culture that focuses on bettering the collective whole by doing great. "Do great for each other, for our clients and for our community” is the tag line used every day to drive gappers to be their very best. I knew that taking on a new industry would be an easier transition than I thought because gap intelligence is constantly enabling growth. The company has taken the ideas of a cultivation culture, as outlined by William E. Schneider, to promote continued improvement and every gapper is generously provided an annual budget for professional development. Anything from attending industry conferences, to hear from experts in their field, to taking a course on a subject that will enhance work skills. So as I explore new ways to bring our Great Freakin’ Data (GFD) to life for our clients, I can simultaneously expand my skill set to provide A+ work.

A Connection is Made

For those out there struggling to start again, maybe at 40, do not be discouraged when you find yourself in unfamiliar territory. We all have valuable skills and unique experiences that contribute to helping build that cathedral and being vulnerable is not a liability when you communicate like to hell to those on your same mission.

At 18 years old I started my retail career at the GAP with a coworker, from Japan, named Yuki. More than 20 years later I re-started my career in market research at gap intelligence with a coworker, from Japan, named Yuki. It seems my life has come full circle and destiny has played a part in connecting me to this values-led company.

Do you have what it takes to be a gapper? Head over the careers section at to learn more about open positions. Find more info the bottom of our about page.