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Saying goodbye isn’t easy, but saying thank you is.

I really don’t even know where to begin. For the past 7 years, I’ve had the privilege of working for the same company.

There have been countless friendships, meaningful memories and unforgettable experiences that have invoked growth in me as a person and professional.

If I thanked everyone that deserved it, this article would be 100+ pages. As I ready for the exciting next step in my journey, I feel overwhelmed with gratitude for everyone that crossed paths with me for the past few years. I did want to take the time to highlight a few that have inspired me more than they know.

Grabbing some sushi at a local spot

The first of whom is the best manager of people that I’ve ever met, Denise Hardman. I’ve never felt more safe to speak my mind, more encouraged to push myself forward or witnessed more of a champion of people. I know that I speak for everyone that has ever worked for Denise in saying that she is truly unique and special in the best ways possible. Without her, I wouldn’t be nearly the person or designer that I am today.

The second is my previous mentor, Kevin Voller. The day that I found out what the term “UX” meant was the day that I started looking up to Kevin. I’ve yet to meet anyone that matches his attention to detail and willingness to learn. He was meticulous, measured and always held me accountable. I want him to know that even though we don’t work together currently, he is still the standard that I try and hold myself to (fashion choices aside of course).

The third and fourth kudos that I have are for my best friends, Zack Pontious and Jessica Schneekloth. Our friendship means infinitely more to me than the awesome work that we collaborated on. I will never order a “Chef’s Sushi Bowl” without cracking a smile or be capable of parking worse in Sewickley than Zack did in his Subaru. Our passionate lunch debates, peanut butter preferences and personality test analyses will forever make me laugh.

Christmas parties and blue cheese stuffed dates

Lastly, thank you to everyone in the design org at DSG. It was a joy to learn from all of you and to create these connections that will permeate past our times as co-workers. Looking back, these past few years with all of you were some of the happiest of my life, so from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

By Gene Steratore

Designing memorable experiences for DICK'S Sporting Goods.

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