Yesterday’s spectacular intern event was a trip to the Avon executive headquarters to have tea with the CEO Andrea Jung (when they say tea, they mean tea, coffee, cookies, the whole nine yards). For any mark. or Avon lady, or even anyone in general, meeting the CEO of a Fortune 500 company that also does social good is a remarkable experience.
Andrea shared with us the story of her career – how she majored in English with a goal to do something philanthropic, somehow ended up in retail training and later joined Avon in 1993. She led Avon’s brand transformation, completely revamping the product line, packaging, formula, advertising, and more. Her vision for the company: to make it the best company to work for women, a place to empower women of any age.
Clockwise from top left: the mentors with Andrea and Claudia Poccia, the president of mark.; me with Andrea and Claudia; Avon’s founder David McConnell; the interns with Andrea; and again
- Internships are the best way to learn what you love as much as what you don’t want.
- Passion for what you’re doing is the most important thing. It’s not about capability, it’s about passion.
- Follow your compass, not your clock – lead with your heart and not your head. (For Andrea, it was about working in a company that she loved, not about the job title.)
- Fire yourself at night and rehire yourself in the morning – look at everything objectively with fresh eyes; you’ll reinvent yourself and be able to start anew. We all have to reinvent ourselves.
- Find the balance in your lives. The #1 issue is work/life balance; there is a way to find it.
- The strongest leaders possess both the top-level ability to be visionary and see the future of the company and the bottom-level capacity to get down to the nitty-gritty execution and nuances of making it happen.
Andrea’s vision for mark. in particular? To reinvent direct selling through mark, to be the best brand and company for young women. mark. takes the best aspects of Avon in a more modern, technology-advanced way. Both Avon and mark. really provide a unique experience for women that can’t be replicated elsewhere!