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Heidi Manheimer Talks CEW Involvement

For the chief executive officer of Shiseido Cosmetics America, giving is a beautiful thing, especially in an industry devoted to making women feel their best.

For Heidi Manheimer, chief executive officer of Shiseido Cosmetics America, giving is a beautiful thing, especially in an industry devoted to making women feel their best.

This story first appeared in the June 27, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Manheimer, who became chairwoman of the Cosmetic Executive Women Foundation in January, works on the foundation’s signature project, Cancer and Careers, which began operations in 2001. “You make time for the things that matter,” said Manheimer. “Helping other women get through incredibly hard times in their lives is so rewarding. Many people talk about the cosmetics industry being a place where everyone comes together, and I think CEW has contributed greatly to making our industry a tight-knit one.”

While the CEW Foundation — founded in 1993 as a nonprofit 501(c)3 charitable organization dedicated to helping women — and CEW are two separate entities, Manheimer sits on both boards, and has been on the executive committee of CEW since 2002. Since February 2006, she has also been a member of the executive committee of the Personal Care Products Council, and since January 2007 has served on the Industry Advisory Board for the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Cosmetic and Fragrance Marketing and Management graduate program. In addition, she sits on the boards of two corporations: Burton Snowboards and Herman Miller. 

“Both Shiseido and I have been devoted to Cancer and Careers since it was started,” Manheimer said, extolling the program’s mission of empowering and educating people with cancer to thrive in their workplace by providing expert advice, interactive tools and educational events. “We have a comprehensive Web site, free publications, career coaching and a series of support groups and educational seminars for employees with cancer and their health-care providers and coworkers,” Manheimer noted.

“Cancer and Careers strives to eliminate fear and uncertainty for working people with cancer. One of the things I like to believe I do well is bring teams together, and for this program it’s easy because I’m extremely passionate about it. I believe in it so much.”

That team-building includes rallying members from competing  organizations, something that doesn’t faze Manheimer. “While we’re all fierce competitors, when we get together, it’s to give back as a team, in a hub that makes us stronger as a group. There are cancer survivors on the board, and we are all fiercely devoted to this cause. We want to keep the industry engaged in this program and the foundation,” she said.

Donations fund the foundation’s programs — both with monetary contributions from major beauty companies and other donors, as well as products that are donated and sold on QVC during CEW’s Beauty With Benefits segments. The foundation hosts the Beauty of Giving luncheon at the Waldorf-Astoria in Manhattan every December, as well. 

In 2013, more than 291,000 individuals perused the information and resources on cancerandcareers.org and cancerandcareers.org/espanol, and 2,400 people attended in-person and online events. In 2013, Cancer and Careers speaking engagements included the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the OMG Cancer Summit for Young Adults, American Brain Tumor Association Conference, Colon Cancer Alliance Conference, International Cancer Education Conference, Association of Oncology Social Workers, Gilda’s Club Nashville and National Women’s Survivors Convention.

Manheimer noted that Cancer and Careers is entering a “new level of growth” with a five-year plan designed to “elevate the brand and the issue, embedding the issues in the minds of the public, using our organization as a thought leader. We are the only industry organization that focuses solely on cancer and how it affects work issues. And it’s not just limited to people in our industry — Cancer and Careers is for anyone in any field to get help with work challenges while battling cancer. This program is one of the beauty industry’s great legacies.”