GENEVIEVE A. SANTOS | beauty expert - makeup artist & esthetician

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Why Do I Need a Mentor???

My first mentors were at 17; a finance exec and sales entrepreneur who helped me launch my photo album business. My next batch of mentors were my team who guided me in growing my ARTISTRY skincare business. Shortly thereafter, a Manager at Estee Lauder who took me under her wing in breaking into the corporate beauty industry.

So yes, mentors are extremely important in getting where you need to go!

This past week, the Cosmetic Executive Women (the trade org for beauty) hosted a Cocktails & Connections event for their younger members. What was the topic? Mentoring to Enhance Your Career! Held at the swanky Manhattan Penthouse and sponsored by Marie Claire, two industry vets shared their experiences on how mentors have shaped their careers. CEW was also promoting their MentorNet site, the only online mentoring program in beauty, which is exclusive to members. The beauty industry is very small so events like these help me to make new friends and maintain contact with my peers. You never know where a connection can lead you!

Tiffany Proscia, Chairwoman of the Young Executives Committee

Tiffany Proscia, Chairwoman of the Young Executives Committee

First up, Jill Scalamandre of Chrysallis, a firm specializing in acquisitions within beauty companies, walked us through her many transitions–from product development, marketing, fashion, luxury to mass cosmetics. For every change, she had a different mentor guide her on what to do.

“10 percent is getting the mentor. 90% is keeping them,” said Jill, “Clarify your goals first, review them with your mentor, and most of all, it takes committment!”

Nancy Tarantola of Matrix

Nancy Tarantola of Matrix

Nancy Tarantola, AVP of Shows and Events for Matrix, came from the fashion industry before foraying into beauty. “The reason why we need that support system is to help us see the things we don’t see–to get a different perspective.”

Both women had a wealth of knowledge to share, so here’s the condensed list:

  • How to do you get a mentor? – attend events, network, leverage relationships at work and outside of the company.
  • Don’t overthink finding a mentor. Email them, tell them how you know them, and ask for advice.
  • The mentor-mentee relationship is a partnership, so assess whether it is relevant to your career goals. Arrange to meet 1x a month or bi-monthly to touch base.
  • Don’t set high expectations, such as expecting a connection or even start-up funding!
  • Have mentors at different levels. Understand your own strengths so you can find the mentors that can best support you.
  • Don’t underestimate what you can bring to the table; there is also reverse mentoring. You have the ability share your knowledge that your mentor might not know (i.e. social media!).

Nancy ended the evening with some sage advice from a former mentor:

Always trust your instincts. Be open to feedback. Be open to change. Stay in the driver’s seat of your career. If you’re not driving your career, how do you expect to get where you want to go?

Feel free to share your experiences with finding and working with a mentor. What have been your successes? And missteps?

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One Comment : Leave a Reply

  1. A. Davenport says:

    Great post! Thanks, @gorgeousonthego . This got me thinking about how mentors can be informal, as well. You may already have mentors in your life and just not think of them as such. The professor you really connected with in undergrad who helped you learn to write and did your recommendations– a mentor! One of your bosses who always had time to lend an ear and give you her wisdom- a mentor! Formalizing the mentorship makes sure expectations on both sides are clear, but there’s something to be said for informal mentors, too. Thanks for the post and keep ’em coming! :)

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