Austin Fitch

How did you get to gap intelligence?

Prior to joining gap I worked in the legal field as a corporate research analyst on class-action securities and derivative lawsuits. I reached the point in this role where the next logical step was to either get my law degree, or move on to something new. Having watched a lot of my friends go through law school and basically disappear from the real world, especially while studying for the infamous CA Bar Exam, which has a pass rate of 40%, I decided that didn’t really sound like a fun way to spend the next three or four years of my life. So I decided to make a change and go back to school, but not law school.

I moved to Lugano, Switzerland, which is a small city just north of the Swiss-Italian border. I moved to Lugano because besides knowing from my past travels that Switzerland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and ideally located to explore all of Europe, Lugano also has an international university with dual accreditation in both Europe and the US that offered a graduate program in International Business Management. I knew this program would help me develop the necessary skills to further my career and also give me experience working in an international, multi-cultural environment. The focus of my program was on the new leadership and management styles emerging, as well as the shift many companies are making in their corporate strategies away from solely focusing on profits, and towards a more holistic, stakeholder and employee-centric approach that emphasizes company and community culture and values. These types of companies seemed dramatically different from the law-firms I had worked with in the past, and I knew that after completing my degree I would like to experience what it is like to work for one. So when I returned to the US that was one of the key criteria during my job search. I’ve also always enjoyed doing research and analysis, and together those are what led me to gap.

What values lead you and why?

Two of my most important values are dependability and empathy. I believe it is very important that people can rely on you, and trust you to get things done without them having to constantly check on you, or remind you, and if you say you will do something, you do it.

For me, empathy doesn’t only mean the ability to connect with others on an emotional level, but more importantly, being able to see something from another’s perspective and then being able to identify and understand what factors or motivations may have caused, or influenced that person to act in the way they did in a specific situation. The importance of empathy is something I learned from studying in an international environment. In some of my classes we had students from Togo, Denmark, Russia, etc., who also had a wide range of undergraduate degrees from fashion to international relations, so there was a diversity of educational, social, and cultural values and norms. Consequently, when we worked on group projects, people would occasionally make proposals that I did not understand or agree with , which could be frustrating because it seemed like what they were suggesting was not beneficial to improving, or completing the project and would make me say to myself, “what were they thinking?” But then, after a while, I discovered that if I asked them clarifying questions and why they thought it was a good idea, I saw that because of their different upbringings, experiences, backgrounds etc., what they were suggesting usually made a lot of sense.  The solution was not something I had considered because I grew up in a very different environment. I learned that, for the most part, when you are open and understanding to what others say and do, and don’t just dismiss something because it initially doesn’t make sense to you, often times you can develop a more effective and complete solution.

What skills are you bringing to gap intelligence and what skills are you excited to learn?

The primary skills I am bringing to gap are my adaptability, flexibility, and willingness to do whatever is needed, or asked of me. I enjoy being presented with new problems and challenged to learn new tasks so that I am capable of stepping up to fulfill a variety of roles if needed.
What I am most excited for at gap intelligence is the opportunity to work in such a team oriented environment where clear, effective communication is so valued and important. I am also looking forward to learning about a new industry and market that I have not had a very in-depth experience with yet.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be, why, and what would you do with it?

I would definitely love to be able to use The Force from Star Wars. I feel like that’s a superpower that gives you multiple abilities which you could use in a variety of different situations. I know being able to use the Jedi Mind Trick would come in handy on some of my motorcycle rides through Borrego and up Palomar… “Officer, this is not the motorcycle you are looking for.”

What’s the quirkiest thing about you that you’re willing to admit?

I’m OCD when it comes to keeping my cars clean. Like it is almost physically painful for me to have to drive a dirty car, which is bad because there are very few people I trust to clean my car besides myself. My sister has figured this out and when she drives down from LA, if her car is dirty, she will park it where she knows I will have to walk by it because eventually I will get so bothered by it I will just wash it for her. I also think my cats know this and love to annoy me by sneaking into the garage and walking all over them leaving paw prints everywhere.

What’s your favorite thing to do in San Diego and why?

My favorite thing to do in San Diego is to wake up early on a Sunday morning when no one else is on the road and ride my motorcycle out to the desert or mountains and just get away from everything and not have to think about anything except the next curve in the road. For me that is best way to relive stress, recharge, refocus, and for me it is also very helpful. In college, I learned that when I got stuck writing a paper, instead of staring blankly at the screen, I went and rode my motorcycle, then ideas and whole paragraphs would just start popping into my head, and when I got home my writer’s block was gone.

Austin riding motorcycle

What is the favorite place you’ve ever traveled to (describe why)?

My favorite place I’ve ever travel to is the Swiss Alps because it’s like being transported to a Lord of the Rings movie with all the spectacular views of high, rocky, jagged peaks, rivers, waterfalls, and alpine meadows (and yes the cows all wear big bells, which is cute until you’re trying to sleep). Pretty much all of Switzerland is crisscrossed by hiking trails so you can hike just about anywhere you want and there so many fun, interesting places to discover. Also, the roads through the Swiss Alps, while sometimes terrifyingly narrow with steep drop-offs, are fantastic for riding motorcycles. Just about every weekend I lived in Switzerland I was out in the Alps hiking or riding, and then in winter I was skiing. I can’t wait to go back because I still have a long list of places I want to visit.

Hiking Swiss Alps 2

Hiking Swiss Alps 1








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