If you guys didn’t already know, May was National Mental Health Awareness Month…and one beauty brand’s campaign really caught my attention: philosophy’s #HowAreYouReally! The campaign was/is a call-to-action to challenge people to change the dialogue and create a whole new meaning to the typical greeting “how are you?”, and open space to have honest conversations about how we’re really feeling. We all have mental health, being open and honest is a first step in dismantling the stigma that many people face when dealing with their mental health issues. After learning about the campaign, I knew I had to interview one of the driving forces behind it, Tiffani Carter-Thompson, Vice President of Global Influencer Marketing at philosophy. Tiffani is not only a beauty marketing veteran, but she also happens to be a bad ass indoor cycling instructor at BYKLyn – yep, she teaches spin before or after work…don’t you guys wish you had her energy?! Keep reading to find out how she got her career start and all the other #girlboss women she admires…
How did you get your career start?
I did fashion and music PR WAY WAY back, but my beauty career path began at Estee Lauder – I was referred by an industry colleague and as soon as I landed on the Estee Lauder brand PR team, I knew beauty was for me.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
I love the creativity needed to communicate messages to the public through the media they consume – whether it’s Facebook or Instagram, favorite magazine, newspaper, blog or website, the avenues for creating a community are so much more vast. I also find building and maintaining relationships very fulfilling – being able to leverage my relationships to create results is critical to my job.
Name 3 other women in business who you admire and why.
I admire so many talented women in business. Successful boldface names like Bozoma Saint John, Arianna Huffington, Ava Duvernay, Lisa Price, Gabby Bernstein, Serena Williams…all who have demonstrated how to jump, be bold, take risks and trail blaze. But the below three women are colleagues and friends and therefor the admiration is much sweeter:
- Gabby Etrog Cohen,SVP PR and Brand Strategy, Soul Cycle: For being authentic in her work and continuing to drive a brand forward through distinctly creative communications strategies.
- Alexis Rodriguez Alvich, Founder/CEO Harper Grey Consulting: For being an early adaptor of true influencer marketing and bravely paving her own paths in the life-work-mom balance.
- Monica Rowe, VP Communications International Council of Shopping Centers: For being courageous and leaping into new categories of business, while maintaining a communications code of ethics that has never wavered.
What has been your biggest career accomplishment to date?
Receiving the CEW (Cosmetic Executive Women) Top Talent Award. It was a touchstone in my career path – a solid moment that I will always look back on and hold dear. To be recognized by CEW as “the next wave of exceptional, innovative beauty leaders” was such an honor and a reward for all the hard work I have put in. From that experience I learned to just keep being true and to continue doing my best work – with that framework the rewards will come authentically.
Tell us about philosophy’s #HowAreYouReally campaign and how it came to fruition.
We knew that this was our year to gain a bigger voice for Hope & Grace and women’s mental health. The subject matter has been bubbling across the wellbeing AND political categories, and we needed to make a bigger impact than years past. But success does not happen in a vacuum, we needed the right partners to help bring the message forward. I met Madonna Badger at our inaugural Hope & Grace launch breakfast in 2014 and since then she has been a supporter of our cause. I called her agency, Badger & Winters, to set up a meeting and hear more about their work in creating cause campaigns. We immediately knew that they would be a great fit. Several brainstorms and ideation meetings later, they came back with the #HowAreYouReally campaign and video concept. The final outcome is absolutely beautiful and impactful. And it was crucial that we leverage the story throughout all of our communications touch-points, so with the collaboration of my team, our marketing and creative teams at Coty and various external partners, we developed a true 360 campaign that lived in social media, video, digital, e-commerce and consumer experience.
What’s your number one piece of advice for someone who wants a similar career path?
There is so much advice I love to give, it’s hard to narrow down to one. I like to say, “I have an open door policy, even if my door is closed.” I would also say: never stop learning, always collaborate, be humble, take risks, and always lead by example. I am fiercely protective of my team, and I want each of them to continue to grow and succeed. I think it’s also important to have fun while doing the work Live your life to the fullest and let that energy fuel your creativity! I am also an indoor cycling instructor at a small studio in Park Slope Brooklyn where I live, and I teach two early morning classes a week, which gives me another creative outlet. ! Lastly, design your own path, but take time to walk the path and do the hard grueling work necessary.