“Today is a day to think about women’s roles. Looking around this room I see so many talented women,” she said. “Today we are recognizing the full gamut of women’s achievement in the beauty industry,” said Jacobson.
Jill Scalamandre, president, Buxom, global development Shiseido Makeup, and chairwoman, CEW, thanked lead sponsor, Meredith, for exemplifying diverse and multifaceted beauty and introduced Lola Ogunnaike, feature writer, and Host of People TV, who spoke on behalf of Meredith, acknowledging the “diverse and beautiful” women behind each brand.
“Ninety percent of American women are engaged with Meredith brands,” Ogunnaike said, citing their commitment to representing the beauty of all individuals; a fact of particular importance, she said, having grown up in the 1980s in Virginia, when publications she saw “were not relatable,” and she “seldom felt seen.”
Innovation, Achievement and Excellence
Dionisio Ferenc, VP-global fine fragrance, IFF, presented the first award of the afternoon, the Scent Innovator Award, to Saskia Wilson-Brown, director & founder, The Institute for Art & Olfaction. The non-profit Institute, located in LA’s Chinatown, provides a space where scent innovation and exploration are welcomed and celebrated. Its independent studio supports olfaction in all forms and expressions. In her acceptance, Wilson-Brown offered a brief history of perfumery, emphasizing its roots and varied representation; and she urged individuals to utilize scent as a vehicle for inclusion, not division.
“Running a non-profit is a challenge. At the Institute we are trying to democratize scent,” she said. She concluded with thanks to CEW for its support and promised to “definitely pay this forward.”
Linda Fargo, SVP-women’s fashion and store presentation director, Bergdorf Goodman, presented honors to Sylvie Chantecaille, founder and CEO, Chantecaille Beauté. Chantecaille, whose accomplishments include creating the Prescriptives line for Estée Lauder and pioneering the untapped arena of botanicals, went on to create her own cosmetic brand, Chantecaille Beauté, which, said Fargo, is now one of the best-selling brands at Bergdorf Goodman.
Fargo said, “Chantecaille Beauté emphasizes ingredients that are found in nature and products that are safe for the planet and Sylvie Chantecaille epitomizes the adage that beauty is as beauty does.”
Chantecaille characterized the beauty industry as “all about giving back.” She emphasized the importance of working to protect the environment, giving back to the animals, and fulfilling your work by doing things you really care about.
“I’m 74 years old and I’ve been working since I was 20. I’m not bored,” she said. She described having been told at various points in her life that work was number one; then love; then family; and finally, soul. Her worldview encompasses all of those elements; and she continues her conservation efforts, which include working to preserve the Monarch butterflies in Mexico and the animals in the African bush. She urged everyone to work with their conscience, and thanked Carlotta Jacobson for all she has created.
Carol Hamilton, group president, acquisitions, L’Oréal, presented the award to Megan Grant, president, L’Oréal USA Luxe Division, noting that Grant continues to champion work/life balance, shows kindness, and is “a fantastic leader.” Grant emphasized the importance of motivating a team, and credited her 10 years at Kiehl’s with providing an opportunity to develop her skills, and emphasize openness, honesty, and frequent communication.
Tim Thorpe, global president and CEO, HCT Group, presented the honor to Carisa Janes, founder and CEO, Hourglass Cosmetics, a cruelty-free cosmetics brand, which she founded in 2004. Janes thanked CEW and described an early interview with Urban Decay, which became her entry point into the beauty industry. That scenario, where a large lizard roamed the Urban Decay office, and individualism reigned, was the beginning of what became her own journey to cosmetic creation. The company she founded 15 years ago, which was purchased by Unilever in 2017, continues to support her cruelty-free, and vegan positioning at Hourglass.
Priya Venkatesh, SVP-merchandising, skin care and hair, Sephora, presented the award to Artemis Patrick, chief merchandising officer, Sephora, describing her as “a compassionate leader who makes everyone feel empowered.”
Patrick thanked Carlotta Jacobson and all the inspiring women in the industry, noting that her entry into cosmetics was a circuitous one. “I worked at a comedy club and I drove a pedicab in San Francisco,” she said, adding that time spent working at a non-profit, a business school education, and a shift from furniture sales to cosmetics at Sephora sealed the deal. She cited three elements she continues to hold dear, “amazing bosses and leaders; brand founders; and my insanely talented team, that while each is different, continue to show up with incredible passion every day.”
Jenny Fine, executive editor, Beauty Inc, and WWD, presented the award to Jadzia Tirsch, SVP-corporate communications, Shiseido Americas. Tirsch accepted the honor emphasizing the importance of having the right people around you.
“Really great people make you feel that you too can be great,” she said. She noted that as an immigrant from Poland, the messages she received from her parents remain the most inspiring. “Be true to your word, and understand life’s responsibilities. How interesting that I would wind up in PR where your word is your currency,” she said. “It’s more important than ever to hold fast to what you believe in and be kind. Stay true to your values and be the change you want to see in this world,” said Tirsch.
Fabrizio Freda, president and CEO, The Estée Lauder Companies, presented the award to Tracey Travis, EVP and CFO, The Estée Lauder Companies, characterizing her as an “incredible leader and devoted mother, who does it all with unparalleled conviction.”
Travis, who said she grew up with a love of creative writing and math, shared the qualities she valued most in life and business; namely, to be an active listener, to know that there is no substitute for courage and the conviction of your beliefs, and not to compromise on integrity. She thanked her mentors, saying, “Gratitude is the memory of the heart,” and especially thanked Jane Hudis and Sara Moss, for their friendship and partnership; and the three most important families in her life--her Lauder family, her home family, and her CEW family.
Leadership Excellence Award
David Taylor, chairman, president and CEO, Procter & Gamble, presented the Leadership Excellence Award to R. Alexandra Keith, CEO, P&G Beauty, citing her numerous professional accomplishments, including the launch of Olay in China, her passion for diversity, and her ability to inspire and motivate. Carlotta Jacobson joined him to present the award to Keith, noting the particular significance of this award.
“Women’s voices are being listened to in ways they never have before. Alex has shown how to lead by example, not by ego. During her 30 years at P&G she has transformed the beauty business and just became the first female CEO of a major beauty company, P&G Beauty,” said Jacobson.
Keith said, “I had a dream to become CEO of P&G Beauty when I received the Excellence in Beauty Award 10 years ago, and today, I’m living that dream.” Over the course of challenges and movements in beauty, Keith observed, “I truly believe a leader has to be grounded in reality, but also provide hope and understand the evolving role of beauty and how beauty brands are viewed today. We needed to address the movements in beauty and we modernized at P&G so our brands were grounded in core competencies; and we needed to reconsider what they meant in this world today. Guided by a culture that puts the consumer at the center and a culture that insists on reinvention, I am proud to say that we have revitalized our partnerships, and are shaping our brands. We remain deeply committed to raising the bar in beauty.”