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Female Leaders on Tough Lessons Learned

Desirée Rogers, Artemis Patrick and more share what they know now that they wish they'd known in their 20s.

“Never settle. Always follow your heart and dream big. This will lead you to work incredibly hard, learn from your mistakes and grow professionally as well as personally. The most important gift it will give you though, is immense joy and pride in what you are able to achieve, the teams you are able to build and people you will learn from on this wonderful journey.” — Sandra Main, global brand president, La Mer and Bobbi Brown

Leaders From Sephora, Fashion Fair, La
Sandra Main Courtesy Photo

“Patience. Life is a continuous process of learning. You will never ever know everything. Enjoy the process.” — Desirée Rogers, CEO, Fashion Fair

Desiree Rogers Black Opal
Desiree Rogers Nathan Becker

“Never stop learning — like bank interest, professional and personal growth compounds over time. Ask open-ended questions and genuinely listen to what is said (and unsaid) in reply. Stay open to new ideas — mind and heart. And if you can make it all about others’ progress more so than your own, your path will mean so much more.” — Maly Bernstein, CEO, Bluemercury

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“I would tell my younger self to live in the present and don’t worry so much about what’s next. Work hard, learn from failures, celebrate successes and know that everything you experience along the way will make you stronger.” — Artemis Patrick, global chief merchandising officer, Sephora

Leaders From Sephora, Fashion Fair, La
Artemis Patrick Courtesy Photo

“That you don’t need a classroom in order to be a teacher. In my 20s, shortly after starting my career in education as a third-grade teacher, I was actually let go from my job. It left me confused about my future, but what I know now is that I was still meant to be a teacher, just in a very different capacity. Today, education is the foundation for our work at Supergoop. It is our responsibility to change the way the world thinks about sunscreen so delivering education around SPF and skin health has been an incredible and important responsibility and journey. So don’t get discouraged if your path as a twentysomething seems to take a different turn than you expected.…You may realize it isn’t quite so different after all — and that you may actually be able to impact so many more people around the world along the way.” — Holly Thaggard, founder and chair of the board, Supergoop

Holly Thaggard
Holly Thaggard Photo courtesy of Supergoop!

“I would tell myself that time waits for no one. When we are young, it seems like we have eternity. Accomplish as much as you can while you have limited obligations. The older you get, the more obligations you accumulate. Do what you have to do now, so you can do what you want to do later.” — Courtney Adeleye, founder and CEO of Olbali and founder of The Mane Choice

The Mane Choice's Courtney Adeleye 
Courtney Adeleye Courtesy Photo

“The one thing I wish I had known in my 20s is the power of a trusted network. To go bigger, stronger, faster and happier. It’s important to surround yourself with the right people for you. Never rely on yourself only. Eliminate toxic people who drain energy and confidence. Have by your side people who complement your skills and challenge your way of looking at things, chose a team that reflect your values more than having certain skills and grow them; pick mentors who see your potential and really care for your growth, expand your network beyond your close community to people from very different backgrounds from whom you can get inspiration and learn. Most important of all, chose people you can fight with but laugh with as well.”

— Ilaria Resta, global president, perfumery, Firmenich

Ilaria Resta
Ilaria Resta