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Accessing mentors and building networks important for women in business

By Andrew McDougall+

02-Jul-2014
Last updated the 02-Jul-2014 at 15:58 GMT

Relationships are very important to success in the cosmetics industry and women should work at building relationships and seeking out mentors in order to make it to the top, according to an industry veteran.

“We should always have access to inspirational females in the beauty industry and in business in general,” Kerry Preston tells CosmeticsDesign.com USA.

All business owners face certain challenges, but women, because of their gender, often have additional challenges and obstacles that their male peers are less likely to encounter. Working women who have children experience even more demands on time, energy and resources.

But this does not mean women are less successful than men, in fact, statistics show that women are starting businesses at more than twice the rate of male-majority-owned businesses.

Kerry herself has started her own consultancy having worked in the beauty industry for many years with Calvin Klein Cosmetics, L’Oreal, Estee Lauder, Shiseido, NARS, Beaute Prestige International, and Zotos, and now helps give leadership advice for businesses.

Perceptions

According to Preston, the beauty industry, like many others, can be difficult to crack for women due to the changing perceptions between gender, and levels of intimidation which can make it difficult for women to reach the top.

She calls upon role models and female figures in power that can inspire others to make it at the top, such as Kathy Cohen at Mary Kay, and the importance of working towards being a leader like them.

“When I see women in positions of power and when I work with many different leaders, I try and take a bit from each person,” she says. “I believe in mentorship and building networks, especially in cosmetics, as the industry is all about relationships.”

Kerry is currently working with her company, Image Dynamics, with a number of companies, including some from the cosmetics field, such as Shiseido, looking at how leadership strategies can work.

She has also co-authored a book with Kin Zoller, called ‘What is your Executive Edge’, which is designed to help develop qualities to help succeed in business.

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