Cara Sabin of SheaMoisture gives 5 tips to aspiring beauty company CEOs

The beauty entrepreneur also looks over brands such as Dove Hair, Nexxus, TRESemme. and Vaseline
Cara Sabin of SheaMoisture gives 5 tips to aspiring beauty company CEOs
Photo courtesy of SheaMoisture

Cara Sabin is the CEO of the beauty brand SheaMoisture and as well as organization Beauty & Wellbeing for Unilever North America.

With 25+ years of marketing experience, Sabin oversees iconic brands such as Dove Hair, TRESemme, Nexxus, and Vaseline, in addition to SheaMoisture.

Sabin shared her career journey and gave tips for aspiring beauty CEOs.

What did your career path look like?

My career path did not start in beauty. I broke into the industry at Kraft Foods later transitioning to Capital One when it was a small, new player in the banking and finance space. Though the banking and the financial service industry ultimately was not for me, working on an emerging brand presented the challenge of growing something and making it resonate with the target consumer. This led to my proudest moment while at Capital One, which was working on the first “What’s in Your Wallet?” campaign. About five years after business school is when I had my first beauty assignment at L’Oreal, and once I entered the industry I just completely fell in love.

What has been your biggest career high and your biggest career low?

Throughout my 25+ year career in marketing, I’ve had to tackle some unique challenges such as being the only Black woman in many meeting rooms working on general market brands. I’ve had to overcome biases and a lack of advocacy for the advancement of my career, which I was able to address by building a strong, supportive network. When I decided to let my hair go natural, I stepped into my authentic self. I approached my career with a sharper focus, purpose, and intention. Ultimately, I believe that decision led me to my biggest career high as the CEO of SheaMoisture, which has now expanded to also include being the CEO of Beauty & Wellbeing of Unilever NA. Another career high. For brands like SheaMoisture, diversity has always been top of mind, catering to and overserving consumers who for a long time were overlooked by more “mainstream” brands. I am proud to lead a business unit in Beauty & Wellbeing that not only wants to create products that cater to the needs of diverse consumers, but that also gives back to the communities of our target consumers.

What advice would you give someone who wants to follow in your footsteps career-wise?

I would tell them to lean into what makes them different and unique, always be open to learning and adapting, and reach back to pull up the next person who looks like you or is inspired to do work that can change the industry for the better. Have goals and pursue them boldly. Sometimes as women, we struggle with measuring or trying to modulate our level of ambition, thinking that it is almost unseemly for a woman to be driven or ambitious. Of course, we have dreams, hopes, desires, and goals but never lose the passion and drive to think, dream, and execute boldly. Don’t ever feel like you have to make yourself small.

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