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CEW President Carlotta Jacobson on Women’s Leadership Awards

CEW president Carlotta Jacobson talks the 2021 Women's Leadership Awards, as well as the organization's ongoing pivot to networking.

In its second digital incarnation, CEW‘s 2021 Women’s Leadership Awards honored a slew of beauty leaders and executives for their contributions to the industry.

The ceremony, which took place on Sept. 9, was a continuation of the organization’s pivot to digital content and networking opportunities.

“It was pretty shocking to stop doing in-person events and to really see what else had advantages,” said Carlotta Jacobson, president of CEW. “What we’ve been able to do is to actually add more knowledge and more networking, even more so than when they were live.”

For this event in particular, which grew out of the CEW Achiever Awards, giving members access to top executives was a key goal. “What’s really different about the awards this year, too, is that we’re able to make available to our members a unique networking and knowledge section, in which 50 of our past Achievers and executive leaders will participate in one-on-one sessions with members.”

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Also new to the event was a focus on video content. “We’re doing a lot of video, which tells a different type of story about the achievers. Typically, there would be an industry leader who would introduce them and tell their story,” Jacobson said.

“The difference is that in doing it in this video, they talk much more about their challenges, their regrets and the interviews are really inspirational because they’re more personal, they’re more accessible, and a lot of people come because they want to know how they got to where they are. People learn a lot about who these women are, and why they joined,” she continued.

Among the honorees for the 2021 Achiever Awards were Monica Arnaudo, chief merchandising officer, Ulta Beauty; Gail Boyé, senior vice president, product development at BareMinerals and corporate innovation and commercialization, Shiseido; Lela Coffey, vice president, North America hair care and multicultural beauty, P&G Beauty; Cara Sabin, chief executive officer, Sundial Brands; Lisa Sequino, cosmetic executive; Holly Thaggard, founder, Supergoop!, and JuE Wong, CEO, Olaplex.

Also honored were its Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Madonna Badger, founder and chief creative officer, Badger & Winters; and Corporate Empowerment for Women (C.E.W.) Award recipient Stéphane Rinderknech, president and CEO of L’Oréal USA.

“For Madonna, the criteria for this award is that whoever receives the Lifetime Achievement Award is really an individual who dedicated her life and career to improving how women work. For her, it’s about how women are represented,” Jacobson said. “Madonna, after losing her daughters, said she was inspired to change how the world views women. She feels it’s important to stand behind that women shouldn’t look like objects.”

“I am so deeply honored,” Badger said in a statement. “But as wonderful as it is to be recognized with this incredible CEW Lifetime Achievement Award, for me it truly is about the work and its impact on our world, big and small, better than we found it: ore brave, more filled with love and hope and light, more dedicated to values we believe in. ‘Those who can – should’ has become my passion.”

Rinderknech’s efforts for gender parity at L’Oréal USA were a key factor in his honoring, Jacobson said. “In 2010, only 30 percent of their strategic leadership was women. By 2019, the company committed to grow that to 45 percent, and under his leadership now, it’s more than 50 percent women in the management committee,” she cited. “It’s the highest level of gender equity in the company — 70 percent of the L’Oréal USA workforce is comprised of women. The company is serious about advancing women.”

Here and on the pages that follow, this year’s class of Achievers discuss career advancement and the factors that have helped them rise to the top.

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