From starting her career within the male-dominated London Stock Exchange to the important women’s projects Aveda are involved in, we asked Amanda Le Roux (our Vice President) what International Women’s Day means to her.
First things first, what do you do at Aveda?
I joined Aveda in 2000 as the General Manager for Aveda Europe to speed up the integration of Aveda into the Estée Lauder organisation – with a focus on the UK. In 2005, I was promoted to VP Europe where I lead the expansion of Aveda into new markets: Spain, Turkey, France and Scandinavia. In 2013, I was promoted to VP International with a remit to increase the Aveda business outside the US in Asia, Europe and South America – most recently launching in Mexico and India and preparing for our launch in Brazil this summer.
How did you break into the beauty industry?
I started my career in the financial world and was involved with a Venture Capital company raising money for small companies and start-ups. One of the start-ups was a natural beauty concept, focusing on aromatherapy solutions for the body. I loved the concept so much, I persuaded the two founders to take me on as a third partner and that is where I discovered my love for beauty, retail and the highs and lows of running your own business!
What inspires you?
Great people, accomplishing goals, travelling to new places and learning every day.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
A wonderful and important moment to celebrate the achievements made by women every day all over the world. I love the fact that now we have our own day!
One of the things I really love about working with Aveda is the projects we are involved in to improve women’s lives in developing countries. Many of the challenges for women in developing countries is that the lack of access to clean water means that the burden of responsibility falls on them to walk up to 5 miles every day to collect water from (often dirty) far away rivers/water holes etc. At Aveda, one example is where we joined forces with Global Greengrants (GGF) and Action of Women and Rural Development (AWARD) to improve the community’s local water system in the Umbari Region in India. Now the 800 Umbari villagers have easy access to clean water year-round, earn income and receive and provide education. They also grow their own vegetables on their own land. Today, thanks to this project, more than 200 female farmers and four schools have setup “Kitchen Gardens” utilising the clean waste water from their kitchens to better nourish the community. When you see the pictures of the women’s smiling faces from giving them a basic right to clean water, it makes me so proud of Aveda.
Have you experienced any challenges because of your gender?
Sure! My first job was working on the trading floor of the London Stock Exchange, where I was 1 of 5 girls and there were 2,000 men! When I joined the apparel industry, most of the sales roles were led by men.
How did you overcome these challenges?
Having the confidence to be myself, using humour to deflate any tricky situations and proving that I could do the roles I was given. The difference over the past 20 years is amazing and today I am so lucky to work predominantly around women who are passionate, determined and successful.
Do you have a mantra?
Who has been the most inspiring woman in your life?
I would say the women in my family: one sister is in politics and really wants to make a difference in the world, my other sister is in teaching and believes passionately in helping young people in schools and my mother who had a very strong ‘Can-Do’ positive attitude – and thought complaining about anything ‘was a waste of time’
What advice would you give your teenage self?
You are so lucky! You may have no idea now what you are going to do for a career, but you are going to have a huge amount of fun and satisfaction in what you do – just put down that cigarette!
Book that changed your life:
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I read this book about 6 months ago – it is the most beautiful book about a blind French girl and a German boy in occupied France during World War 2.
We can’t let you go without asking – what’s your favourite Aveda product?
OMG, just one?! OK, thickening tonic – cannot live without it!