Online Exclusives

Pay It Forward

By Tom Branna, Editorial Director | October 28, 2009

The Cosmetic Executive Women honor four industry achievers who love what they do and are grateful to the people who taught them how to do it.

Pictured, from left: Nicky Kinnaird, President & Founder, Space NK, Veronique Gabai-Pinsky, Global Brand President, Aramis & Designer Fragrances, BeautyBank, IdeaBank, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc., Jeannine Shao Collins, Senior Vice President, Meredith 360, Client Solutions, Esi Eggleston Bracey, Vice President of Global Cosmetics, P&G Beauty & Grooming, Terry Darland, President NA, Christian Dior Parfums LLC, Carlotta Jacobson, President, CEW.


Their backgrounds are as diverse as their talents are deep, but the four women who received the Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW) Achiever award spoke on a common theme—the importance of mentorship in the tumultuous world of beauty.

(left) Queen Latifah and (right) Esi Eggleston Bracey, Vice President of Global Cosmetics, P&G Beauty & Grooming
At a recent luncheon at the Waldorf-Astoria, the CEW honored Esi Eggleston Bracey, vice president-global cosmetics, P&G Beauty & Grooming; Terry Darland, president, North America, Christian Dior Parfums LLC; Veronique Gabai-Pinsky, global brand president, Aramis & Designer Fragrances, BeautyBank, IdeaBank, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. and Nicky Kinnaird, president and founder, Space NK.

Ms. Eggleston Bracey noted that some of her most important mentors included Gina Drosos, who taught her that P&G’s greatest asset is its people, and Susan Arnold, who taught her to value her unique gifts and encouraged her to use her talents to drive business. During her career at P&G, Ms. Eggleston Bracey helped expand the definition of all-American beauty by signing diverse personalities such as Queen Latifah, Ellen DeGeneres and Drew Barrymore, and she is most pleased that she can help women feel great on the inside. “At Cover Girl, we call it rockin’ your beautiful,” she told the audience.

She reminded the audience to always keep their options open, be authentic in the workforce and pay it forward.

Terry Darland, President NA, Christian Dior Parfums LLC and (right) Pamela Baxter, President & CEO, LVMH Perfumes & Cosmetics, NA; President & CEO, Christian Dior Inc.
“I had extraordinary mentors and sponsors at P&G,” she recalled. “Before that, it was my father.”

In accepting her award, Ms. Darland also urged audience members to find a mentor—some of hers included Marilyn Zolner, Jane Hudis, Pam Baxter and Dan Brestle.

“I’ve learned from the very best,” she noted. “My time at Estée Lauder was equivalent to a Harvard MBA.”

Ms. Darland’s keys to success include being open to change and surrounding herself with smart people. At the same time, she credited her bosses for looking out for her best interests. Something she does for the people who work for her.

“It’s our job to coach and motivate the next leaders in our industry,” she said.

It is that type of giving back of which Ms. Gabai-Pinsky is most proud, as she has coached young people and contributed to their lives. Her list of mentors is a long one that includes industry heavyweights such as Jean-Paul Guerlain and Leonard Lauder.

“All of them empowered me, but most of them are men,” she noted. “We have to do something about that.”

One reason for her success, according to Ms. Gabai-Pinsky, is that she never multitasks. Instead, she follows a quick-paced series of mono-tasks, even if it is minute by minute. Of course, it helps to be optimistic, take risks and be kind to others, she said.

Michael Gould, Chairman & CEO, Bloomingdale's and (right) Nicky Kinnaird, President & Founder, Space NK
Finally, Ms. Gabai-Pinsky credited her father for teaching her to live life to the fullest. “It is better to have remorse than regret,” he would tell her.

Ms. Kinnaird—the only retailer to receive an Achiever Award—traced her success to being true to herself and respecting others. Along the way, she’s been able to turn her passion into a business. But passion alone isn’t enough in retail. Innovation is critical in product, environment and service, she said.

“Embrace change,” she told the audience. “If you see something that can be better, then go for it.”