Erich D. Walker, senior vice president of sales at the Enyce Clothing Company, a division of Liz Claiborne
“Success is in the journey, not in the destination,” said Erich D. Walker, senior vice president of sales at the Enyce Clothing Company, a division of Liz Claiborne. On October 23, 2006, Mr. Walker gave an impressive talk on his career as one of the founders of Enyce and mixed in inspirational advice for the crowded room of students and faculty.
Launched in 1996, New York-based ENYCE (pronounced eh-NEE-chay) – the phonetic spelling of NYC – designs and markets sportswear through its ENYCE and LADY ENYCE brands. Estimated sales for 2003 were $95 million and in 2004, Liz Claiborne Inc. bought the brand for $114 million. One of the most respected brands in the street-wear market, ENYCE successfully competes with labels such as Sean John and Rocawear. Dr. Jamie Williams, athletic director for the University, brought this exciting opportunity to the students. Dr. Williams, a former professional football player, has always been an artist as well as an athlete; his aim is to promote this same diversity of pursuits in students. Inviting his childhood friend to speak at the University is an example of this.
Mr. Walker told the students that they need the “desire to leave a legacy” and that “in order to be a good leader, you must first be a good learner” with an important aspect of that being to “know what you don’t know.” The University prides itself in giving the student body the tools and support needed to fulfill their goals and dreams with a high number of graduates working in the art field within a year after graduation. Part of this success is due to the commitment that students are taught and mentored by the best talent their chosen field has to offer and a faculty of top working professionals.
Another key point that Mr. Walker brought up was that “sometimes we have to seek help from others” and this is part of having an open mind which is essential for being on a team and working together. No matter where any of us end up, we will have to relate to others and work together. He then told them to “believe what you say [and to] do what you say you are going to do!”
Before answering the many questions students had, Mr. Walker closed his talk with an “Autobiography in Five Chapters” by Nyoshul Khenpo.
I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk I fall in. I am lost . . . I am hopeless. It isn’t my fault. It takes forever to find a way out.
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again. I can’t believe I’m in the same place. But it isn’t my fault. It still takes a long time to get out.
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk I see it is there. I still fall in . . . it’s a habit My eyes are open I know where I am It is my fault. I get out immediately.
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk I walk around it.
I walk down another street.
After meeting some of the students and answering more questions, Erich Walker and Dr. Jamie Williams took a tour of the School of Fashion, which included viewing student collections from the New York Fashion Week Show and taking part in a Textile Lab demonstration.