sheri-2To mark Women’s History Month, the WLN NY has initiated its Social Profiles Spotlight Project. This initiative will highlight senior-level IPG women talking about their inspiration, their motivation and their thoughts on leadership.  The first interviewee for the project is Sheri Baron, CEO & President, beauty@gotham.

What are some qualities/traits in yourself that have helped you advance in your career? What are some traits you see in men that help them advance that we can learn from?

For myself, I believe it’s always been about passion combined with a healthy competitive spirit. The courage to take (informed) risk. Surrounding myself with incredible people, and taking their success personally.  And ultimately having the good fortune to work with spectacular role models who taught me what truly mattered in a client-centric business. I’ve worked for a number of very successful men and learned quite a bit about leadership. Importantly, sometimes you don’t have to be the most popular or well-liked “kid in the class” to be the best leader.  People (including clients) will follow those who provide them the greatest sense of confidence that they can be successful. Women in business must become more and more comfortable with that notion if we are to continue to make strides.

What characteristics in general make for strong leadership and are those harder for women to own?

Actually I believe just the reverse! Women have the capacity to become incredibly strong leaders. We have insight, are amazing multi-taskers, take pride in other’s successes, and are natural collaborators. We can see the big picture, without losing site of the little things. We are incredible competitors who enjoy winning…but also understand the the importance of learning lessons from losing. Women do not have to give up being feminine to be strong leaders…we just need to get comfortable with the idea that we can’t be “over-achievers 150% of the time!”

What was the scariest/most intimidating moment of your career? How did you prepare for it?

Oh…there have been so many it’s difficult to focus on one! I can recall the days when fear of failure could literally become paralyzing…and there was only one way to avoid complete melt down, and that was prepare, prepare, prepare, and prepare again! In truth, nothing has changed in over 30 years! The issues have become more complex, but the solution is the same. One last thing…after doing all that preparing, take a deep breath…and remember that NOBODY in the room could possibly know their stuff better than you! So enjoy your empowered self!

How do you stay relevant? Innovative? Keep your ideas fresh?

Have a life outside of work! Tackle the uncomfortable with curiosity and a sense of humor. And if possible, travel to other cultures. Particularly emerging ones. See what it is like to experience that which we take for granted with fresh eyes. It’s incredibly inspiring!

If you had to start over from scratch, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently.

I’m not sure I would do anything differently. More often I find myself thinking how fortunate I’ve been that my life happened exactly when it did, the way it did. No three wishes for me!!