Jill Scalamandre: How CEW helped develop my career path

September 21, 2016
Jill Scalamandre: How CEW helped develop my career path
CEW’s new campaign proudly features its Chairwoman, Jill Scalamandre, who is President, Global Makeup Center of Excellence, Shiseido Americas. Here, Jill talks with CEW Beauty Insider about some of the things she has learned during her vast career in beauty, as well as how being a part of CEW has developed her career path.

CEW Beauty Insider: Your career has spanned from Revlon to Prada to Avon to Strivectin to Coty, now to your current role at Shiseido.What are some of the key lessons you learned about the business along the way?
Jill Scalamandre: My career path has helped me understand consumers across channels (mass, prestige and direct) and across beauty categories (skin, color, personal care, fragrance). Years ago these channels were very independent of one another. Today, as we all know, consumers shop beauty across all channels and I am lucky enough to have the insights and experience within each. What I have learned after all these years is that consumer needs don’t change from one channel to another. Not surprisingly, they do change from category to category.

BI: Was it difficult to make the move from mass to prestige cosmetics? Which categories excite you most?

JS: No, when you put the consumer first, it’s the same across channels. Having worked across all categories, I have to say skin care and color are my personal favorites. You do see the influence of some categories within others, but the way the consumer approaches the categories is different. Despite the fact that you need to have a blend of rational and emotional, skin care skews more rational while color is more emotional. It’s all about balance. It’s important to understand what the consumer wants and how a brand’s DNA can authentically deliver it.

BI: What are some of your leadership tips, i.e. how do you lead your team?
JS: In terms of leadership behaviors, I believe in collaboration, but at a certain point it's 'pencils down,' and I am very comfortable making the decision. I also believe it is important for a leader to listen, to check their ego at the door and to be willing to be led. In terms of attributes, I always align with the leadership qualities that Jim Collins cites in his book, Good to Great, which is humility and will. It’s important to be humble and not pretend you know everything, but at the same time tenacity is critical.

BI: When you joined CEW, do you recall your main motivation for joining?
JS: That was over 25 years ago, but seems like yesterday. I was a young assistant product manager at Revlon and my mentor, Annette Golden, was being honored as an Achiever. I wanted to be a part of an organization that recognized women in the beauty industry.

BI: How has being a member helped your career?
JS: I was, and still am today, a sponge, and I took advantage of the opportunity to attend events, meet my peers and learn from many successful leaders. It has helped me gain exposure to other functions in the business and has guided me to step out of my comfort zone and develop my career path.

BI: How did your involvement with CEW evolve from that of member to Chairwoman?
JS: From the beginning I was an active member within the organization. I attended events because I felt so connected to the industry and took the opportunity to learn from both my peers and other industry leaders. I was asked to join the board when I was at Revlon – a major milestone in my career path – and continued to be active within the organization. I was thrilled when Carlotta and Robin [Burns, CEW’s former Chairwoman] asked me to take on the role of chair. For years I was the recipient of the organization’s capabilities, now I had the opportunity to give back and help build tomorrow’s leaders.

BI: What’s the best thing about being a CEW member that others probably don’t know about?
JS: Many perceive CEW to be about networking and events, but if you take advantage of the membership, there are real opportunities to help build your career, such as through mentorships, the Beauty Insider newsletter – with its broad coverage of industry news and data - the forums and the job bank. CEW also looks outside our industry to help influence and bring business-building knowledge. It’s a comprehensive 360 approach.

Learn more about all of CEW’s member benefits and join here.

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