Erin Bradley

“I haven’t thought of myself as a mentor or role model until recently. A young woman I work with stopped me and said, ‘Wow, that was a great presentation. I hope I can be like you someday.’ That forced me to open my eyes and see all the people I touch, from our newer employees to seasoned employees, to the kids I work with as they work their way up the ranks in karate.”
Karate has helped me see myself as the strong person other people see, and earning my black belt has been a huge confidence booster. It’s also helped me to better digest personal critiques. At the dojo, if someone is giving you a critique, it’s because they want to see you succeed. At work, I think this is also the case!
But like most women, I’ve faced gender-related challenges at work. I’m petite and don’t look my age, so I feel I’m often not taken seriously or my opinion is discounted. Men I work with have called me 'kiddo.' I doubt men call other men 'kiddo.' But when coworkers discover I’m a 17-year employee of my company, the conversation changes.
I’ve met so many influential women through karate; through Costco’s women’s networking group, Journeys; and through NEW. These mentors have helped shape my legacy: I want people to remember me as hard working, professional, excellent at what I do, friendly and positive.
Thinking of myself as a role model now, I’ve become more conscious of how I act and present myself, and I take more opportunities to assist those coming up behind me. I’ve learned to stand up for myself — I just think of the way my sensei sees me.”
Supervisor, Product Safety Analysis and Reporting
Costco Wholesale Corporation