The Ambassador, Estée Lauder Cos. Celebrate Women’s History Month – WWD

LONDON — Women from business, technology, health and the media all gathered at Winfield House, the official residence of Jane D. Hartley, the US Ambassador to the UK, to celebrate Women’s History Month.

The event marked the first partnership between Estée Lauder Cos. UK and Ireland and the US Embassy with the aim of amplifying women’s voices.

The American cosmetics multinational announced that it will extend its commitment to women’s social impact programs in the UK for a further three years by funding existing initiatives.

These include the Young Women’s Trust Work It Out coaching service, which helps women ages 18-30 climb the corporate ladder; The Prince’s Trust’s Women Supporting Women Programme, which supports women in gaining qualifications; Hygiene Poverty Social Impact Organization Beauty Banks, which provides self-care products for women and families; and the National Literacy Trust’s Words for Work: Dream Big program, which educates children ages five to seven about work stereotypes.

“In 2020, we wanted to very quickly create an inclusive environment where everyone can feel a part of it because they’re all sitting at home, working, and still making a really big contribution to the success of the company,” said Sue Fox, President of Estée Lauder Cos. UK and Ireland.

Fox joined the vision for the UK and Ireland a few weeks before the pandemic hit, inspiring her to “get used to the uncomfortable,” a mantra she’s adopted company-wide when it comes to social issues in the world entire Estée Lauder Cos goes.

“During this time it became really clear that we needed to do a lot more around inclusion, diversity and equity as part of our key strategy for the company,” said Fox, who held internal discussions with employees before opening up to bring in key external metrics.

Hend, Advisor to the Young Women's Trust and Jane Hartley, US Ambassador to the UK at Winfield House.

Hend, Advisor to the Young Women’s Trust and Jane Hartley, US Ambassador to the UK at Winfield House.

Courtesy of Estée Lauder

The first was British TV presenter June Sarpong.

“I spoke to her about the racism she was experiencing herself and that was really the start of it and how to have a very open conversation not only with our guests but also within our organization here in the UK and Ireland.” added Fox, who has been with the company for more than 26 years and has held positions such as general manager of Japan and managing director of South Africa.

During the pandemic, the company launched an employee resource group on mental health and wellbeing, which has become the company’s largest employee resource group. It has welcomed a menopause support service, an accessibility program for store and office workers, a breast cancer awareness campaign in the Black and South Asian communities, and a prostate cancer campaign for male employees.

“I’ve always felt that private sector companies have a responsibility to their communities and their customers,” said Hartley, who served as Ambassador to the US for France and Monaco.

“I’ve always believed that we should think more about public-private partnerships. I championed this when I was in France and by the end of my tenure I founded Jobs For All and worked with private sector companies to provide training and apprenticeships in some of the underserved areas outside of Paris,” Hartley added.

Since taking office at Winfield House in late May last year, the ambassador has had three prime ministers and two monarchs.

“We talk about the special relationship at home and until you’re really here you don’t really understand, but it’s really unlike any other relationship that we have in the world. There’s so much trust and history here,” Hartley said.

“The institutions are so strong and closely linked that I don’t think we missed anything. It’s especially important right now because we’re really partners and we do so much together, whether it’s sharing intelligence or military cooperation related to Ukraine,” she added.

Hartley’s goal is to change the broader culture in which women are involved. She is the second female ambassador to Britain

“When I came into this embassy and looked at the wall where all the names of former ambassadors were engraved, you could walk down this long hallway and see only one woman, that was almost 50 years ago and now I’m the second, and was in France it’s the same,” she said.

“I feel very responsible for looking at inequality and diversity to make sure we’re doing our best but also to make sure that after me it won’t be. We cannot wait another 50 years for another ambassador,” she added.

Referring to the fashion and beauty industry, the Ambassador notes that nobody should forget what is “an economic engine for many countries”.

“Fashion and beauty are very important when it comes to standing for things. That’s why I find Estée Lauder Cos. so amazing and Stella McCartney for what she does with sustainable fashion,” said Hartley, whose daughter Kate Schlosstein is vice president of marketing and communications at Loro Piana.

“She’s a businesswoman and I’m very proud of her. She is very involved in politics. These companies are vital because they represent half of the world’s population, namely women, and we will have a stronger voice on all these issues in the next generation and the one after that,” added the ambassador. The Ambassador, Estée Lauder Cos. Celebrate Women’s History Month – WWD

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