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The 2007 recipients of the award were: Pamela Baxter, president and CEO, LVMH Perfumes & Cosmetics, North America; Thia Breen, president, Estée Lauder Worldwide; Virginia C. Drosos, president, global personal beauty, P&G Beauty; Helena Foulkes, senior vice president, marketing and operation services, CVS/pharmacy; and Candace Matthews, president, SoftSheen-Carson.
Carlotta Jacobson, president, CEW, welcomed attendees, saying, “The most talented women in the industry are seated on this dais.” She also paid tribute to Dame Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, who recently passed away, saying, “She was a pioneer in the green consumer market who enabled us to think about causes and the advancement of women as a business imperative.”
While each honoree had entered the industry in a different manner, bringing unique experiences and academic backgrounds, there was a common thread among them. Each cited the need to love the industry and to be passionate about what one does. Baxter, recently named president of Dior Couture, began her career at the counter, went to Charles of the Ritz and then Borghese. She said, “If someone offers you a scary job, take it and go for it.” This message was reiterated by each of the honorees. Drosos urged those on their career path to, “Stay curious. It’s all about building and moving ahead, and [rethinking] what you’re doing if you don’t feel passion for it.”
Foulkes offered the advice of her mother, who said, “Aim high, be resilient and have fun along the way,” to which she added, “Take risks, get out of your comfort zone and love what you do.” Matthews combined tenacity with humility, stating, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” and Breen noted the importance of women supporting women, urging all women to mentor others. Regarding the industry, she said, “If you don’t love the beauty industry, move on. If you do, don’t wait to be tapped on the shoulder. You need to take charge of your career and have to work on it continuously to see results.”