On Monday, February 26, some Senior Vice Presidents of the Estee Lauder Companies visited Bryn Mawr. Many students crowded in the beautiful Rhoads Dining Hall for catered lunch and to hear from them about their experiences, jobs, and the art of branding ourselves. Here are some of my key takeaways from the great event, put on by LILAC (Leadership, Innovation, and Liberal Arts Center):
- “You are your own brand.” This could mean many things, but to me, it means everywhere you go, you represent a type of business: yourself. You must sell yourself and put your best self out there. What’s your brand? I know mine is tech, but also teaching, empathy, and, at times, something fun like Disney or table tennis.
- “Everything you touch has your name on it. Everything can be your job.” This means that you should take risks and do jobs that aren’t necessarily related to your role. SVP Lisa Napolione started out at the company as a 17-year-old intern who was studying chemical engineering. She went into research and development (R&D), and progressed upwards in the company by trying new things even if it wasn’t on her to-do list or in her job description. Everything she did or everyone she talked to helped represent who she was as a person, as an employee, and her reputation.
- “Your reputation is in the details.” SVP of Global Management Strategies and Chief of Staff to the President & CEO of Estee Lauder Companies, Phoebe Farrow Port, talked about frantically trying to find a lipstick freebie before an opening or product launch. Her hard work for that seemingly minute task did not go unnoticed as she helped the launch succeed and make customers happy.
- “It’s more important to have learning agility than to know everything.” Be open to learning and growing rather than memorizing and already knowing, and don’t be intimidated by not knowing something!
- Companies and startups have board of directors that advise the CEO. We, as individuals, are CEOs of our own personal brand, and should have our own board of directors to mentor or advise us. You don’t need to tell them that they’re on your board of directors, of course!
- “Science and technology are like glue…we connect, we bond, and we join.” It was really interesting to learn about the company’s 80% women tech team, the history of the company, and what they’re doing in STEM. Yes, they have the typical team of chemists and biologists, but a growing number of software engineers to manage different online platforms and a 3D printer!