'I Love My Job’: My Gratifying Career of Making Music, Selling Music and Supporting Music Education

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Trish Thomas

Photo courtesy of Guitar Center.

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July 16, 2024 at 3:39PM UTC

Welcome to I Love My Job, the series where we hear from real women who really love their jobs. In this edition, we sat down with Trish Thomas, a District Manager at Guitar Center, a company that is “the only retailer that offers such a vast amount of music equipment,” Thomas notes. “We also offer lessons, we also offer repairs and we also offer rentals,” explains Thomas. As a result, Guitar Center provides “a great opportunity to meet as many people as possible and touch their lives.”

In her role, Thomas oversees stores in Southern California and Hawaii. “My job is really about creating a great customer experience, but also creating a great employee experience,” says Thomas. “I have the luxury of working with a little over 300 employees in my district and making a difference in their daily lives.”

For her team, Thomas notes that, “Diversity, and including everybody from our local communities and making them feel like they have a place at Guitar Center, is what is super, super important.” One way that Thomas achieves this is by catering directly to the women in her area by “understanding what their needs are, not just as an employee, but also as a woman,” she says. “Some have families at home and some are in school, and we need to meet the needs of their availability and give them the opportunity to succeed in our stores.”

Interested in learning more about Guitar Center and why women like Thomas enjoy working at the company? In the following video, Thomas shares more about her work with the company, what she likes about working there and advice to help you join the company (and become a “future rockstar” as Thomas calls future employees)! We also share a few highlights from this video discussion in the following article.

How would you describe the culture at Guitar Center?

I can tell you that that's the main reason that I joined this company… As a Guitar Center customer, I always dreamt of getting a job here. Finally, I decided to take a chance about a year-and-a-half ago and applied for the district manager position... [As for] what the expectations are, I can tell you, it starts with my boss. My Regional Vice President is someone that absolutely makes a difference in my and my team’s daily life just by setting a great plan and by motivating and inspiring us. 

But, to get a little deeper, it's actually part of who we are. And our core value is creating a culture where everyone feels like they belong. This is the first job that I've ever been able to truly be myself and have pink hair — that’s a good example of it… It's a really robust team from the management committee, to human resources, to the operations team, to, of course, the field team. There's just an incredible amount of support that they focus on and have been able to give me as an employee. 

What is your favorite thing about working at Guitar Center?

Well, it's one of those jobs and one of those companies that you get up in the morning, and every day of the week you're excited about: “how many more people am I going to be able to talk to music about?” and “how many more communities am I going to be able to benefit by raising money through the Guitar Center Foundation for children?”

Most important, and the thing that I love about Guitar Center, is it's about helping employees grow, whether it be in their position or into an accelerated position or into a different field. I get the opportunity to work with dozens of employees on their personal development and make a difference in their daily life. I take a lot of pride in knowing that when my employees go home, I look for them to say: “wow, I was given a great opportunity today. Someone believed in me and gave me the time.”  

In particular, I do something called District Development Day, where anyone in my district (hundreds of employees!) can sign up, and I just want to get to know them and how I can help them. That's something I started because Guitar Center inspired me to do the same for my employees as they were doing for me. Employee development and growth is what my passion is.

What advice would you give to other women who are thinking about working at Guitar Center?

Women should not be shy. When I'm in my stores, I'm constantly greeting people and asking how they're doing. With women, sometimes they can be shy when talking about learning to play guitar or about wanting to increase their knowledge. And just by having that conversation and encouraging my managers and my employees to check in with someone and inspire them, we have been able to hire and retain several women in my group, a few of which I'm currently developing into accelerated leadership positions. It was all about them feeling comfortable coming into our stores and then us approaching them about potential job opportunities.

Tell us about something you're working on that you find really exciting. 

I will tell you about one that's very near and dear to my heart. It is the Guitar Center Round Up Campaign, where our stores ask our customers if they'd be willing to “round up” their purchase to benefit music programs in their local communities. For the second time, my district has raised the most money for their community. 

Having a job where you can make music, sell music and also be able to help kids make music is extremely gratifying. The Guitar Center Music Foundation has been a great way for our region to tap into our desire to support the community in which we live and work.

Want to grow your career by joining Thomas on the Guitar Center team? As she says, if “you're a consumer and you love music, Guitar Center is the place for you.” Apply to jobs via the link below!

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