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Sample 4: Internal Corporate Email Blast

Glennda Erickson: Farewell after a Quarter Century at Gap Inc. IT

It’s the end of an era: the Erickson Era.

Tomorrow, May 7, Lead Systems Engineer Glennda Erickson will retire after 25 years with Gap Inc. IT. A quarter century of service and dedication is a rare thing, and we think it’s worth celebrating.

Glennda first fell into the Gap back in 1975, when the Cessna Aircraft facility in Burlingame, where she worked as an admin, closed their doors. Acting fast, Glennda looked for a new opportunity in the neighborhood. What she found was a trendsetting young clothier called The Gap, whose headquarters lay a mere stone’s throw from her former digs at the aerospace company. She was soon hired and began what would become a thoroughly distinguished career.

Following two years as an admin, Glennda learned about an exciting opportunity offered by Gap’s MIS department (Management Information Systems – an early incarnation of today’s IT), and recognized the chance to grow her career. When Ed Strobin, the senior vice president of MIS, personally offered Glennda a spot in the Programmer Trainee Program, she didn’t think twice. Glennda focused all her energies on the program and was soon on her way to becoming an IT professional. She was well suited to her new career path. Technically minded and naturally gifted at math, she took to the job like a duck to water.

Few could have predicted the incredible expansion Gap Inc. would come to experience. Says Glennda: "Although the core of this company has stayed the same, the growth and current size astounds me." When she came aboard in the 70s, Gap boasted about 100 stores. Leaving to explore other opportunities in 1984, Glennda later returned to the company that had provided her first big break into IT. Fast forward to her second tenure in 1997, and Gap’s store complement had swelled to four figures while simultaneously establishing an online presence. In the 2000s, Gap Inc. had embarked on the fast track toward becoming the global phenomenon we see today – and Glennda was there every step of the way.

25 years means a lot of change in the technology employed by our company, with innovation developing at light speed. Glennda was a firsthand witness to it all: "IT has grown and diversified so much, from a single computer to hundreds of servers and networks." She recalls the early days at the San Bruno headquarters, when Gap’s tech resources consisted of a single room on the third floor housing one huge mainframe computer.

A quarter century also makes for a tremendous volume of work. Standout projects include installing the very first computer at a distribution center, the PFI (Perpetual and Financial Inventory) project (which is essential to our one global platform business model), and the Prompt purchase order system.

Senior Systems Engineer and longtime team member Karen Yan says Glennda was one of the keys to PFI’s success: "The PFI project was extremely complex. Glennda spent a great deal of time working through requirements and testing. When PFI went into production, she was able to manage all the failed messages that never seemed to stop. This was a huge task! She successfully controlled the failed messages, which greatly minimized the impact on PFI. And she did it without breaking a sweat."

Karen adds that not only is Glennda passionate about her work, "She is very dedicated, dependable and always willing to take on new challenges." Her efforts never went unnoticed by team members company-wide, either. In addition to earning an Exceed Award in 2012, Glennda regularly received high praise from business partners during stakeholder feedback surveys.

Director of IT Kristine Adona offers her own rave review of Glennda, calling her a confident professional, hard worker and steadfast contributor. Says Kristine: "One of the things I really appreciate about Glennda is her ability to put the company’s history into perspective and make tangible connections to founder culture. With her 25 years of service, she offers a personal connection to Gap as a family company. I also consider Glennda a role model in how she was able to establish a successful career as a working mom and IT professional throughout the years when IT was a male-dominated profession."

Glennda insists that the opportunity to work at Gap was pure luck. But what made her stay – devoting the bulk of her talent and career to our company – was no coincidence.

"The Fishers – they made me want to stay," explains Glennda. "This company has always been so ethical and so genuine. It’s supported from the top down by people who have always walked the talk from day one. I really respect that. It feels good to work for a company like this." Furthermore, Glennda credits both the incredible individuals she’s collaborated with as well as the stimulating nature of her work for her career satisfaction and longevity at Gap Inc. IT.

What’s retirement got in store for Glennda? Besides some well-deserved rest, she plans to make good use of her free time – planting flowers, working on home projects, visiting family and friends and volunteering at the Peninsula Medical Center in Burlingame. First up on the agenda is a trip to Arizona to visit her daughter and attend her grandson’s graduation.

Please join Gap Inc. IT in wholeheartedly thanking Glennda Erickson for 25 years of exceptional contributions, and bidding her a very happy retirement!