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CEW Recognizes Beauty Industry Achievers

By: Nancy Jeffries
Posted: November 16, 2012

CEW 2012 Achiever Award winners (from left) Laurie Black, executive vice president, general merchandise manager, cosmetics, Nordstrom; Jill Belasco, founder and CEO, CoScentix; Laurice Rahmé, president and founder, Bond No. 9 New York; and Alina Roytberg, co-president and co-founder, Fresh.

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Belasco, clearly moved by her brother’s tribute, made a point of emphasizing relationships and pride in her team. “Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart,” she says. “The first thing is to know for sure that opening a business is what you love and what you want to do. Be bold, be brave, be 150% present all the time and be compassionate. The people that support you, they’ll be there to help your dream come true.” Belasco also acknowledged that while it is important to venture out of your comfort zone, it is also important to have relationships in business, and she recognized the great network of people in her career who have listened, advised and helped when she needed it most.

Laurie Black's award was presented by Gemma Lionello, vice president, south regional manager, Nordstrom, who recognized Black as a woman who is “relentless in her pursuit of excellence, and has a passion for her team and her customers.” Black, who was a fashion design major at the University of Washington, planned to be a designer. She worked part-time at Nordstrom throughout college, and when her department manager was promoted, she was offered the position and spent the next 20 years as a buyer, store manager, corporate merchandiser and then president of the Nordstrom Rack Division. In her five years at the Rack at Nordstrom, she doubled business from $500 million to $1 billion, which she attributes to aligning product and service with the Rack customer. For the past five, years she has been the company’s general merchandise manager for cosmetics and executive vice president, a role that has brought her into the customer-centric world of selling and service.

Black says, “Do what the customer wants and you’ll have success.” Black has learned a great deal about this industry since she took on her current role, and counts being well rounded as a beauty asset, noting that all of her roles at Nordstrom give her a well-rounded approach to business overall. Black suggests that you may like what you think you won’t, and says that women should go through doors that are opened to them even if they like where they are, suggesting that you can sometimes find the right fit unexpectedly. Black thanked her partners, acknowledged the Nordstrom leadership team, and said, “I am so proud to be part of such an accomplished team.”

Pamela Baxter, president and CEO, LVMH perfume and cosmetics, North America & Christian Dior, presented the final honors to Alina Roytberg, who came to the U.S. via Rome and the Soviet Union in 1978 when she was still in high school, followed a passion for fashion with art classes. She later moved from Boston to New York, where she attended Parsons School of Design. Her background in art is evidenced by the design and packaging of Fresh products, which reveal her passion for textiles and prints. She added what she refers to as “an essential brand code for our Fresh look.”

After reuniting with an old friend, Lev Glazman, a fellow Russian via Israel, Roytberg embarked on a business opportunity called Nuts About Beauty in 1991, and the store was registered under the Fresh banner later that year. She says, “I was fortunate to have a dream since I was 12 years old, and I’m grateful to my parents for immigrating to the U.S. From starting out in fashion and spending the last 21 years in beauty, I have found that the most important part has been meeting and working with women. Men work and they work hard, but women are born strong, and we can empower ourselves and one another. We can showcase our peers and one another’s talents.”

Roytberg, who says her secret to success is based on staying true to who you are, developing a professional mantra and leading by example, ended her acceptance by saying, “I want to thank my peers in this industry and thank my team for their passion and their loyalty. I aspire to be in this work and of this world. This is a very special moment for me.”

Sponsors for this event included the Meredith Corporation, International Flavors & Fragrances, Arcade Marketing, Beauty Inc, Always, The American Association of University Women, Laura Mercier Cosmetics, Ulta Beauty, Revlon, Wells Fargo Securities, Belasco Family Foundation, Interpublic Group, HSN, Acxiom, WWD, Indelible, Suite K, Consultancy Media, and Kaplow Communications.