Ryan Gilmore: A Man on a Mission

Ryan Gilmore graduated from LMU in 2008 with a degree in management. 2008 was also the start of one of the largest financial crises the country has ever seen. After working in HR at TOMS for nearly seven years, Ryan pivoted to sales. We sat down to learn more about his unique path, and get any advice he has to offer.

When Ryan was in college, his friend told him he was interning at an apartment in Venice and selling shoes out of a living room. Like most people, Ryan was concerned that his friend’s sketchy internship might not bode well for his future. This shoe company turned out to be TOMS, which is considered one of the most successful retail startups of all time. His friend now leads a sales team of dedicated individuals who all are passionate about the product and company mission. After learning more about the values and culture of TOMS, Ryan discovered he had the same mindset and joined the company.  

TOMS has a very simple concept. For every pair of shoes sold, they will donate a pair of shoes to an individual in need. The company as evolved over the years and expanded into other products including sunglasses and totes. They have also expanded their services to job creation, social entrepreneurship and education. Ryan went to work every day for a company that is for profit but also stands for strong values. During his tenure, he was able to take the StrengthFinders assessment. He said that taking the test changed his life. It helped create a plan for his future and made him even more excited to go to work knowing he is in a position he loves. Ryan knows that now, he could never go back to a company without a service-driven mission at its core. 

So what was it like working for such a cool company? Ryan loved going to work for a place that's devoted to making the world a better place. He has held several positions within the company, but as he transitioned into an HR position, he learned to care about employees differently. He said that a core value of a good company is having people who always strive for more, and he is learning more each day on how he can support that.

When asked what he would tell his college self, he said two key things any college student can use as motivation for their future. His first advice is to take on the challenge. Sometimes in college, it's easy to avoid the difficult classes, especially approaching senior year. Still, big challenges typically come with big rewards. Accept the challenge and grow! His second advice is to do internships, especially during junior and senior year. The more internships the better. You develop your skillset, expand your professional network and learn more about where you passions lie.

Written by Lindsay Western, MBA '17