Insider Perspective: Prioritizing and Getting Ahead

I always enjoy attending CEW’s Beauty Insider Series, a monthly panel where influencers and thought leaders meet to discuss topics that are shaping our industry. The most recent event was conducted with leading beauty industry executives—Unilever’s Gina Boswell, Executive Vice President, Personal Care North America, and Gurwitch President & CEO, Claudia Poccia.

The panel was moderated by Jenny Fine, Editor of Beauty Inc., a sister publication of WWD. Boswell and Poccia provided tips and advice for leadership strategies and the skills needed to succeed in the industry.

I was captivated as both women discussed the importance of prioritizing the day’s tasks and being truly present in the moment. This struck a cord, as I understand the struggle between multitasking and being present in the moment all too well as a PR professional.

Poccia advised us to continue to prioritize your to do list, citing hourly if needed! She explained that new tasks will always pop up and it’s about constantly knowing what to tackle next to be as effective as possible each day. Boswell shared that sometimes being present in the moment means to put down your iPhone or Blackberry altogether or travel to meet with your client or team in person when necessary. Boswell explained that she lives in Chicago but gets on a flight every week to attend important meetings at the company’s headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

Here are a few of my other favorite “words of wisdom” from the evening:

Fine: Both of you rose through the ranks of large organizations. How do you stand out from the crowd?

  • Poccia: For me, it has always been about coming to work with a desire to make a positive contribution to the company. The best leaders will notice your work; you don’t have to chase them down to show it off.
  • Boswell: I agree that great work speaks for itself. I also strongly believe in lifting others while you’re climbing.

Fine: We have a lot of people just starting their careers here tonight. Can you share with us what skills you’re specifically looking for when you hire?  

  • Poccia: My hiring style isn’t formulaic—but I have an eye for cultural fit. You have to be smart, willing to learn, versatility and have passion for what you do.
  • Boswell: I’m always looking for deep curiosity in a potential candidate. If you’re not curious, you’re not current.

Fine: What would you tell your younger selves if you could give some advice?

  • Poccia: You can’t control everything. Enjoy the ride, chill out a bit and trust yourself.
  • Boswell: Breathe a lot more, sleep a lot more and wear more sunscreen!

Beauty Insider September 2014

Gina Boswell and Claudia Poccia

(photo c/o Patricia Willis Photography)

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