Internal affairs: jeri finard

On Friday, we had another make their mark. luncheon with Jeri Finard, the global brand president and chief marketing officer for all of Avon since late 2008 (pretty cool/stressful). Her career path? A few years working in her college admissions office, a decision to go to business school and 21 years working in marketing at Kraft Foods Inc. After hearing many stories from other women of major job shifts between diverse companies, it was refreshing to know that you actually are able to work your way up in a straight line (although she wouldn’t recommend it!)

Jeri was incredibly approachable, speaking with us in a frank and open manner about her past career and her current goals for marketing Avon’s image. In fact, she spent ¾ of her time answering our questions! I love the idea of possibly being in marketing one day – hearing from a brand marketing executive cemented that even further.

Her advice for general work/life success:

  • If you’re good at what you do, if you’re worth it and you deliver, you can ask for what you need at work.
  • If you are mobile and can move around from place to place, your career will move much faster.
  • Taking a lateral position shift to get experience in a new area (instead of a promotion) will give you more ground to get a better promotion in the future. You can move backwards to pick up new skills and catapult ahead later.
  • Try a million things, talk to many different people. It’s the only way to know if something sparks an interest for a career.
  • Don’t be afraid of changing (companies, careers, etc.) Skills are very transferable.
  • Be honest with yourself about what you’re good at and what you’re not.

Thank god for powerful women who want to empower others!

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