To celebrate International Women’s Day this year, we’ve sat down (virtually) with an incredible range of inspiring, powerful women across the retail and eCommerce industry. We wanted to know what it takes to get to the top, how to overcome challenges and the top tips for future female leaders.
Today we sat down with Lou Bennett, UK & Ireland Marketing Director at Benefit Cosmetics.
Where did you start your career, did you always know what you wanted to do?
I started my career as a scrappy opportunity seeker, constantly doorstepping potential opportunities, and always wanting to be involved wherever the action and excitement was. Fast forward more than 20 years and not much has changed, I just get to do all those things now and more every day for a brand I have loved for even longer than that.
What are the greatest challenges or frustrations you face as a woman at the top?
I’m so fortunate to work for a brand like Benefit that spends every waking moment empowering women. I am surrounded by a team of ferociously fun fearless women every day, in all parts of our business, and I know how special this is because it is absolutely not the same for so many women. I find it really sad and outdated that anyone regardless of gender, race, age or creed faces challenges like this, so I focus on helping in any way I can like mentoring, giving advice when asked for it, sharing my experience on things, and challenging stereotypes when I see them.
Who is a woman who inspires you?
The incredible women that surround me every day, that I have the honour of calling my team at Benefit.
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
Being able to show up every day as my true self. I’ve worked really hard over the last number of years to find the confidence and inner grit to do this and while it’s not always been easy, it’s been transformational, and I’ve never looked back.
What’s the riskiest move you’ve taken in business?
Never once have I changed or moved roles without it being high risk, a large jump, or an easy option. I’ve never been 100% ready on paper for the new roles I’ve stepped into, but I’ve always taken on the challenge and many others that came with it, seeing them through and this has led to continuously having the greatest stretching/learning experiences of my career, one after another.
What 3 traits do you think are most important when running a successful business?
- Respect for yourself and everyone around you
- A passion for good people and a hunger to be around those who know more than you
What’s the best business advice you have ever received?
You only know what you know, so never assume that’s all there is to know.
Any advice to future female leaders?
Always forwards, never backwards. Back yourself, and back yourself big. You’re more than enough, you are incredibly worthy, and you will do amazing things if you believe in yourself. And most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy the journey!