Business advice from the world's most successful women
Find out how these women made a name for themselves in the business world
Over the years, Arabian Business has spoken to some of the world’s most influential and successful businesswomen. In this list, we’ve garnered the best advice the leading boss ladies had to offer: CEO of leading auction house Christie’s - Patricia Barbizet:
\nKnown as the right-hand woman of French billionaire businessman François-Henri Pinault, Barbizet has fought her way through a number of impressive roles including being executive director of Pinault’s investment firm Groupe Artémis and board member on Air France. The 60-year old advices young women to be confident, build on what they have and take their piece of the pie.
\n“The environment is different from when I started. Some areas are easier, some are not so easy. Any woman has the right to be able to act according to what her wishes and possibilities are. We have to make sure to chase any unfairness and make sure that every woman is offered the position she deserves, is offered the recognition that she deserves. And that is a permanent thing that we need to have in mind. But if I was 40 years younger, I would say to students or my daughter is try with what you have, make your own route, find your way. It's very important that you see what you can do. Be confident with what you can do,” she said.
Founder of beauty brand Huda Beauty - Huda Kattan:
\nShe’s best known for being the Middle East’s leading influencer with over 14m Instagram followers, but Kattan has done much more than garner an audience. The finance-graduate-turned-makeup-artist started her beauty blog by sharing makeup tips and tricks. Less than 6 years later, she turned it into an unparalleled social platform and a business brand with one of the world’s fastest-selling beauty products. She urges up-and-coming bloggers to believe in their ideas.
\n"I remember when I first started my career, somebody said to me, 'What are you doing?' And I was like, 'You don’t understand my idea. It may seem like there isn’t an idea there but there is a reason that we do everything that we do'. Now people are starting to see it. And I know in three years’ time they’ll see even more. When I started doing makeup and blogging on the side, so many makeup artists were telling me I was so dumb for doing that. They were like, ‘You’re giving away free tips. You’re giving away information to people on how they can do their own makeup. Why are you doing that?’ And I looked at it in a very different way. I had the approach that this is my marketing tool,” Kattan said.
CEO of high-end fashion brand Paule Ka - Catherine Vautrin:
\nVautrin has worked in some of the fashion world’s most luxurious brands including Italian giant Emilio Pucci. She now heads multi-million French fashion house Paule Ka which operates 60 stores and 300 points of sale around the globe. Her advice for up-and-coming businesswomen in the fashion world?
\n“Should I be giving advice in a world where professional skills are evolving so quickly? [There are] no sure recipes, but [I say] choose the right projects and leaders to start with, be dedicated, focused and result-driven. And go for it,” she said.
Company group chairperson, EMEA, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. - Jane Griffiths:
\nHaving joined pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson in the 1980s, Griffiths has faced the challenges of working in a male-dominated environment for decades. Griffiths tells women the possibilities are endless.
\n“It’s not as if I came in in a senior role. I hope it tells women about the possibility that you can get there. I see my role as trying to enable that more. When I first came into the business I was often the only woman in a meeting. I was the first woman to have kids who was a manager. You feel you’re blazing a trail to start with. But my objective now is to get more women into senior positions, so we have metrics that we look at every year. Different countries are at different stages on that journey, for sure. In Saudi we’ve been working with the women’s university to sponsor pharmacy graduates to come in to work in Saudi. It’s obviously very different there, there are different working arrangements, but it’s about trying to develop more female leaders to bring forward in the future. You have to work within the cultural norms whatever they are, but on the other hand I’ve always been one for pushing the limits a little bit,” she said.
CEO of luxury Italian accessories brand Loriblu - Annarita Pilotti:
\nPilotti knew she had to be fearless when she became the first policewoman in her town in Italy. Her practice in the police force gave her the confidence to dive into the male-dominated Italian luxury shoe market to create her brand Loriblu. Her advice is simple.
\n“You have to be strong and believe in everything you do. If you believe in what you are doing, you can do anything. Strength is one of the most important things if you want to do anything in life - not just business. My advice is: don’t ever give up,” she said.
CEO of Occidental Petroleum - Vicki Hollub:
\nThe oil and gas industry’s most influential woman does not believe in limits. Now heading one of America’s biggest energy firms, Hollub has bigger plans for the EOR company than her male predecessors.
\n“People often ask me: ‘Well, what are you going to do different than what [former CEO] Steve Chazen did?’ What he did, really, was build our domestic business. We didn’t have that before him. He built that portfolio… built the company through M&A [mergers and acquisitions]. What my goal, my vision, is, is to take the portfolio he has put together and accelerate development. Not only to accelerate it, but do it better, take it to the next technical level. We have always been considered one of the best, if not the best, EOR [enhanced oil recovery] companies, but why can’t we do that better? So I’m trying to get us to the level where we can accelerate, and this will give us more opportunities worldwide.”