We'll be challenging our panel to share their views on what leadership means now - and how that is going to change in a future who's only constant is change.
Sarah Harbon, General Manager UK & Ireland, Benefit Cosmetics
LVMH’s Benefit Cosmetics’ Sarah Harbon knows all about leadership. As the General Manager for the UK’s No 1* Prestige Cosmetics brand, every day she leads over 2,500 employees across the UK and Ireland. Challenging times require fearless leadership. Nowhere is this more evident than in the UK and Ireland today, in an ever-changing landscape with rapidly evolving customer behaviours.
Since it’s arrival to the UK over 20 years ago, Benefit Cosmetics has been quick to predict and prepare for emerging retail trends and localised consumer behaviours. Agile, consumer-centric brands have strong leadership, and Sarah has led many first-to-market initiatives responsible for the market domination that Benefit Cosmetics enjoys. Benefit Cosmetics’ very different and often disruptive approach was the first to offer a fresh alternative to the traditional premium beauty business model in many senses be that not doing any traditional above the line print or TV advertising to being the first beauty brand to truly embrace the digital world.
In defining her leadership strategy, Sarah would be the first to say that the success of Benefit Cosmetics is due to finding great people who share her passion and bring their own personalities and skills to the show. And once you find them you have to empower them to do the job you’ve employed them to do! Bravery is also important to Sarah and she knows that falling over from time to time is just part of the process - we just shouldn’t get too good at it!! Everyone working with Benefit should feel they're part of something special and that hard work and fun should come in equal measure. After all, ‘Laughter is the best cosmetic’.
* Source: The NPD Group. Value and Unit Division sales of Total Prestige Beauty