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Women in Business Q&A: Sandy Saputo, Chief Marketing Officer, Bare Escentuals

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Sandy Saputo is chief marketing officer for Bare Esecentuals, and is a member of the company's executive management team. In this role, she is responsible for the company's worldwide marketing and business strategies for bareMinerals and Buxom brands.

In the three years since Sandy joined Bare Esecentuals, she implemented her business philosophy to be visionary and be vulnerable that has delivered back-to-back successful launches for bareMinerals and regained its position in top 5 beauty brands. Sandy's leadership approach infuses humor and fun with hard work to galvanize her teams and partners to produce exceptional results. It is a cross-functional collaborative business structure that has led to the brands' double-digit sales growth within her first 24 months.

Prior to joining Bare Escentuals, Sandy served as Vice President at Procter & Gamble in Global Brand and North American Region, Hair Care and Global Brand and European Region, Professional Beauty in Ohio and Switzerland. Under these two global franchises, she led the strategic vision for eight regional brands building reputation, product concept and marketing communications.
In her other roles, Sandy merged her talent for brand marketing with a background in makeup artistry to execute a dual career path as Vice President Global Marketing and Global Creative Director of Cosmetics at Wella A.G. on brands Sebastian Professional and Trucco Cosmetics in Los Angeles, California.

Sandy was recently named to San Francisco Business Times' Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business 2014. She is a graduate of University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California, holds a degree from the Institute of Studio Makeup in Hollywood, California. Sandy resides in Marin County with her husband and two children.

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
I started my career as a professional makeup artist in Los Angeles. After a few years practicing, I combined my passion for makeup artistry with strategic thinking to build and grow global beauty brands. Learning the science of the products that I am marketing has helped me develop a leadership style that informs and inspires creativity within my teams.

How has your previous employment experience aided your position at Bare Escentuals?
I've seen that in order to create and execute a successful marketing campaign, you either need to fulfill a need or create one. Additionally, my international experience has given me a global perspective because as the world continues to flatten, influence will come from other markets, and we must understand them to be successful.

What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at Bare Escentuals?
I have had mostly positive experiences since working at Bare Escentuals in 2012. The bareMinerals brand was loved by many but not growing when I first started. In the first 24 months, I developed and implemented an aggressive brand turnaround strategy that delivered the company's first double-digit sales and profit growth. In 2014 and 2015, we launched back-to-back number one launches in the prestige beauty industry.

What advice can you offer women who are seeking a career in your industry?
Don't be afraid to take risks, but also be ready to take responsibility and have a solution when those risks don't go as planned.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I have the amazing support of my husband who helps me balance home and work life. Every day I carve out time to spend with my two children and husband that is just our family time. We also take two vacations a year that are times when work is not the priority, and I get to spend 24/7 laughing and spending time with my family.

What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
Ironically, in the beauty industry, most of the top CEOs are all male. I think there is a great opportunity for more women to step into that role.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
I believe it's critical to have a mentor. For the past 20 years, I have sought out the simple and insightful advice of Carsten Fischer, former corporate senior executive officer, COO of Shiseido.

Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
Oprah Winfrey has inspired a number of women to take control of their lives and do great things. When I started watching her OWN series "Super Soul Sunday," I can honestly say watching others overcome and achieve success helped me realize I wanted to take the next step in my career and that's when I joined Bare Escentuals. I'm also motivated by Marissa Mayer with the commitment she makes to her career while still growing her family, and Gloria Steinem will always be a role model for me.

What do you want Bare Escentuals to accomplish in the next year?
In the next year, I want bareMinerals and Buxom to continue to develop into brands that are the most relevant and talked about beauty lines because people are truly trusting and loving the products. We are planning to do quite a bit of brand building through digital and investments in social strategies to achieve this goal.