Allie and Marty Williams (Mona’s husband)
As I worked to wrap up the end of the school year, I came inside my house only to notice a missed call from a Dallas number. I called the mystery number back, expecting a solicitor or something of that nature. Much to my surprise it was Brooke, the Senior Buying Director at The Container Store. She informed me that Texas A&M Center for Retailing Studies had sent her my information and I kept thinking, “I don’t remember applying for an internship with The Container Store, but if they want to interview me I’d be more than happy to!” A few moments later, different, yet equally great news ensued — she told me I would be the first recipient of the Mona Williams — Women Making a Difference in Retail Scholarship. By this point I was pretty thrilled, but then she proceeded to tell me why I was the recipient. But let me pause for a moment and inform my readers that I am not the most eloquent of writers and what I am about to say cannot fully convey the gratitude, which consumes me.
As Brooke began to explain why I was chosen, she told me about Mona, a 30-year employee of The Container Store, their VP of Buying, who had passed away from a brief illness back in November. When she began to tear up, I caught myself doing likewise. She continued to explain to me how Mona had impacted the company and how her creativity was inspiring to those around her. Then (the best part of all), Brooke said, “We chose you because you seemed most like Mona.” At that very moment I felt incredibly honored. I have always wanted to be a buyer, but I’ve also wanted to earn my position in a company rather than have it handed to me.
Since my chat with Brooke, I’ve had the opportunity to read an article sent out after Mona’s passing. I loved the story of her career path. It’s people like her that can truly lead because they know how to follow. In other words, because of her humble beginnings (i.e. unloading a truck her first day of work) she was able to be successful. Thus, I can only imagine how much of an impact she made with her knowledge of all levels of the business. I told Brooke on the phone that this scholarship was literally the most rewarding one I have ever received because it comes from someone who did what I am most passionate about doing. Thank you to all who have contributed and to all who are reading this. I sincerely hope I can emulate Mona today, as well as in my future.
— Allie M., Texas A&M University student