If you feel like it’s difficult to change, you will probably have a harder time succeeding.
There are pros and cons of experience. A con is that you can’t look at the business with a fresh pair of eyes and as objectively as if you were a new CEO. Fire yourself on a Friday night and come in on Monday morning as if a search firm put you there as a turn-around leader. Can you be objective and make the bold change?
Avon is a unique place to work; we’ve got family-friendly policies. We have more senior women in high-level management than any other company; 46 percent of our officers are women.
Talent is the No. 1 priority for a CEO. You think it’s about vision and strategy, but you have to get the right people first.
When a woman earns a dollar, the payback is higher. She’ll invest in her children, in their education, health care, and basic needs. The impact of a woman’s role in the economy benefits society at large.
A representative is free delivery; she’s a personal beauty consultant. Some people want that high touch.
Women are clearly the major consumers in far more than just female categories. It doesn’t matter whether it is purchases of cars, cosmetics, or even products for men, female consumption power is the leading consumption power in the world. Any company that overlooks the woman as the decision maker is making a huge mistake.
We also never undercut representatives’ prices. A representative will always be able to sell the discounts in our core business, which are not offered at retail. So it’s never more advantageous to buy there.
Women like myself, CEOs, can pave the way for more women to get to the top.
You know, you go home and you try on a new mascara, and I guess a male CEO can’t do that.
I can only have dinner with my girlfriends once a month instead of once a week.
I think the economic empowerment of women that has been growing over the past decade is at the ‘inflection point’ with this global recession. Women are, we believe, the solution for their families in their ability to go out and increase household income.
There’s obviously a correlation between an economically empowered woman and the investments she makes. That leads to her social and moral conscience for bettering her community.
The game in beauty is changing so much, if your product isn’t high tech or can’t make a unique performance claim – plump your lips, reduce your lines, look glossy, and stay on for 24 hours – you can’t go to market today. I’m not just talking about a $20 lipstick, but a $5 lipstick!
Avon invented the concept of direct marketing and direct selling beauty. And that’s still very valid to us. We’ll have a firm that will be around for another 114 years as strongly as it was the first 114.
No one in my family had a retail or marketing background. They were professionals. They didn’t understand just what I was doing by going into retailing. After I started, though, it got into my blood. I knew this was what I wanted.
Since I’m a mother and a wife, I have to have passion or the frustration would win out. But I love managing people. The product is second to managing the people. And marketing to consumers is so challenging because it is evolving constantly.
China is going to be one of Avon’s largest market opportunities. It has a large geographic expanse, with hundreds of thousands of women in small villages really striving to make an earnings opportunity for themselves.
I became CEO at the beginning of the hit on old economy stocks. When something like that occurs in your first six months as a CEO of a more traditional branded firm, it makes for a fast learning curve.
My parents kept the best aspects of the Asian culture, and they Americanized the family. My mother was a great example for me. She was a working mother with a good career.
I think it’s critical that you feel you’re working for a person who is committed to advancing your career.
President Obama’s 100-day plan is pretty impressive. I think it’s a Wow 100-plus days. The administration is not operating from fear, it is trying to drive change for the future, and that’s a good thing.
I feel like I’m part of history being made. I leave Apple board meetings thinking, ‘I’ve got to do a better job.’
It has given me a global vantage point, being the daughter of immigrants from China, who had nothing when they came here. And now I am leading a company. It speaks to something deep in me, the concept that you don’t have to start with anything.