We met Karen Fondu, President, and Malena Higurea, CMO, at L’Oreal’s corporate headquarters that morning. We learned about how the selection process went from 3,400 applicants to thirty finalists to ten honorees. Every honoree took a few minutes sharing their story with the L’Oreal team. Tears were shed. This lasted about two hours. I was so in awe of the other honorees. I didn’t realize how integral Karen and her team were in the selection process. They are extremely invested in this program.
Nine years ago, L’Oreal Paris launched the Women of Worth program. The mission of the program is to feature women who embody the spirit of its brand – commitment to community, selflessness and a drive to make a difference in the world. The name “women of worth” came about because the tagline for L’Oreal is “because I’m worth it.”
We all arrived at the Pierre Hotel around 5:30 PM and took turns stepping on to the red carpet. There were probably twenty reporters and photographers there. Darren found himself a spot among the paparazzi.
Pretty soon, the celebrities began to arrive . . . Andie MacDowell, Blake Lively, Diane Keaton, Eva Longoria, Aimee Mullins, Mika Brzezenski, Hoda Kotb and Julianne Moore to name a few. After about an hour, we were invited to be seated. I took my seat next to Darren, Jenny Williamson (a fellow honoree), Aimee Mullins, Rupert Friend, and Eva Longoria.
One by one, a celebrity introduced the honorees (Aimee introduced me), they shared a brief movie about each honoree, and then we spoke to the crowd. It was silent for every single speech. I posted my comments in an earlier blog.
As an honoree, I expected to be incredibly uncomfortable and nervous about all of the attention I received. I expected to raise awareness about cardiac arrest and death in children. I expected to introduce Simon’s Fund to new people. I expected to receive a $10,000 donation from L’Oreal to Simon’s Fund. I expected to attend an unbelievable gala and meet some celebrities.
I did not expect to receive a valuable life lesson from an international cosmetic company.
Our culture and society is obsessed with beauty and fashion. The average woman will spend $15,000 in her lifetime on makeup. We go to great lengths to make ourselves “beautiful.”
L’Oreal is a beneficiary of this craze. In 2013, its sales were over $28 billion. However, the Women of Worth program reminds us that the real beauty in this world doesn’t need to be touched up or accessorized. By highlighting the works of these amazing women, L’Oreal is making an incredible contribution to our society. They are celebrating the accomplishments of these selfless and stunning women, and proving to us that beauty lies within. You needn’t look in a mirror because the beauty is reflected on the faces of our beneficiaries.
I am so honored to be a part of this group of women. It was inspiring and refreshing to be in a room with people who are full of hope and passion. It was humbling to be selected the 2014 National Woman of Worth. In a world full of fluff, it was nice to be submersed in substance, if even for a moment. I am so grateful for this authentic and powerful program. Thank you, L’Oreal.