Susan Arnold, Lynne Greene, Lynn Sherr and Robin Burns.

NEW YORK — Despite the impending snowstorm, the show went on Tuesday night and executives got a chance to observe the beauty industry’s leading women as they were questioned about their climb to the top, how they stay there and...

NEW YORK — Despite the impending snowstorm, the show went on Tuesday night and executives got a chance to observe the beauty industry’s leading women as they were questioned about their climb to the top, how they stay there and leadership.

This story first appeared in the January 30, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The sold-out event was held at The Equitable Center in New York City to celebrate Cosmetic Executive Women’s 50th anniversary. CEW was founded in 1954 as a social organization for professional women working in the cosmetics industry and had 160 members. Now in its 50th year, the organization has grown to include more than 2,400 women.

ABC news correspondent Lynn Sherr, who was the moderator, started the panel discussion with a story about a recent visit to Myanmar. Sherr said, “In case you think what you are doing is the least bit frivolous,” and went on to explain how though the women there live in huts, they’re surrounded by tourists most of the day. Each time someone asked to take a picture, the women would pull out and apply an almost used up lipstick. She noted that what the beauty industry does is “not a luxury or frivolous but something that’s very important.”

Susan Arnold, president of global beauty and feminine care at Procter & Gamble; Robin Burns, president and chief executive officer of Intimate Beauty Corp., Victoria’s Secret Beauty and Aura Science, and Lynne Greene, president of specialty groups worldwide at the Estée Lauder Cos. were on hand to discuss the issues, rewards and challenges of leadership. They were asked questions that included: “How do you define leadership?, What is wonderful about being president?, How do you think you are perceived by others?,” as well as to share the best advice they had received from a mentor.

The panel discussion was followed by a cocktail reception and dinner.