By  on May 20, 2011

On a recent Saturday as ballet class at the Academy of Music and Dance in Pasadena, Calif., wound down, Ingrid Jackel held her face to her knee for a deep stretch after practicing pliés, arabesques and jetés. Her lean body clad in a black leotard and shrug, her hair pulled into a tight bun, she looked every part the prima ballerina that many young girls dream about becoming. In fact, Jackel was once one of those girls.

Thirty years before Jackel took the helm of Physicians Formula Holdings as chief executive officer, she was on the path to becoming a professional ballerina. It was a goal forged in her hometown of Toulouse, France, where she fell in love with dance at the age of four. Much to her dismay, Jackel’s parents advised against pursuing ballet for her career. “They explained that I should keep it as a hobby, because it’s fun and provides me joy, while, if I was gearing up to make it a profession, it could become not quite as fun,” Jackel says. “The likelihood of success at a high level is slim. One in a million are really successful, and that was my parents’ concern.”

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