I’m a New Yorker and my interest in beauty and fashion is very much linked to being based here. I grew up in Queens and spent a lot of weekends during my childhood in New York City, so the culture and excitement of Manhattan is in my DNA. In high school, I had a weekend job at a local drugstore, and I vividly remember restocking the makeup walls with all kinds of L’Oréal Paris lipsticks, among other beauty products, and it was so much fun. I was always interested in arts and crafts, color and painting, and the sensorial nature of beauty. I even took a fashion illustration class at the Fashion Institute of Technology one summer. I ended up ruling out fashion design as a job because I was terrible at it, but the idea of fashion and beauty was always in my head, although I wasn’t sure how it would come together in a career.

I majored in economics and political science at Cornell, thinking I would go to law school, but instead I decided to go into business with a focus on consumer products. When I was at Harvard Business School, I ended up coming full circle and got a summer internship at L’Oréal – and left with a job offer. After graduating, I interviewed with a lot of fashion and beauty retail companies but decided that L’Oréal Paris was the right opportunity for me. That was my start in August of 2001, and here I am. I never left.

Listening to the people you work with, understanding the needs of the team, and seeing what others don’t see is relevant throughout your career.

I’ve had a lot of different opportunities within L’Oréal, which has made my long tenure here continuously interesting. I’m always able to challenge myself and learn new things. The first part of my journey was on the L’Oréal Paris brand on Hair Color and then L’Oreal Paris Skincare, and after that to Maybelline, and then on to Garnier. There are so many different brands within the L’Oréal Groupe, each with their own unique culture and ways of working, so it’s almost like going to another company. The other big reason to stay put is the amazing people I work with. I can’t do this job by myself. The strength of my success is due to having these solid relationships, and that respect and trust takes time to build.

What I’ve learned is that I don’t have to have every answer. I just have to ask the right questions and encourage people to share their points of view.

Listening to the people you work with, understanding the needs of the team, and seeing what others don’t see is relevant throughout your career. I was fortunate to have a college internship at the White House, working in First Lady Hillary Clinton’s office. The assistant to her Chief of Staff gave me great advice: “Be humble and open to do anything. Listen, learn, ask questions, and the more we trust you, the more responsibility we’ll give you.” I still think this is good advice for anyone starting off in their career. There’s a desire to save the world on day one, but at the beginning, absorb the environment, be respectful and slowly build relationships with the people you work with, and you will make strides to have an impact.

Goldstein with David Greenberg, CEO, L’Oréal USA
Goldstein with Carol Hamilton, L’Oréal Group President, Acquisitions and West Coast Headquarters

When I was given the opportunity to be the head of marketing at Maybelline, it was a real turning point in my career and such a big responsibility, and I remember wondering if I could do it. In some of those early meetings in that new role, there were moments when everyone in the room was looking at me, because I was the most senior person in the room. That’s pretty intimidating, at least it was for me. You eventually get used to it, and what I learned is that I don’t have to have every answer. I just have to ask the right questions, and encourage people to share their points of view. My approach to leadership is to help the team filter through all of the challenges, creating a forum where people can surface the best ideas, and then make those ideas happen. Listening to the team and to the consumer is so important. I have a 16-year-old daughter, and I learn a lot about young consumers from her. She’s my personal focus group!

Goldstein with Karen Fondu, a L’Oréal veteran

As President of L’Oréal Paris USA, my job is to oversee marketing, sales, finance, and to work with the operations team on everything from activating all the launches to interacting with all of the retailers. L’Oréal Paris is the number one beauty brand in the world, and I feel truly honored to be leading L’Oréal Paris USA. When I was given this role four and half years ago, it was a personal milestone and a real full circle moment for me. My mentors – Carol Hamilton and Karen Fondu – had this role before me, and they are two iconic leaders. I idolized them and now I am in that leadership role. The tagline for L’Oréal Paris is ‘Because You’re Worth It,’ and one of the key elements of the brand is conveying to women that they are worth it, which is why our Women of Worth program was created 19 years ago. Each year, we launch a nationwide search for extraordinary non-profit leaders, and distill the thousands of nominees to 10 women who are contributing in amazing ways in their communities. Women of Worth is a way to recognize people who are giving back, and to bring greater awareness and financial support to their charitable causes. It’s a program that I’m extremely proud to be a part of and reminds me that I love what L’Oréal Paris stands for in terms of empowering women.

After over 20 years at the company, I still love the creativity of it all. There’s nothing that can replace holding that lipstick in your hand or trying a new skin care product. It still gives me the same rush that it did way back when. This has always been my dream job.

Be sure to celebrate this year’s Achiever Award Honorees with 1,000-plus beauty industry executives at CEW’s annual awards luncheon taking place April 25, 2024, in Manhattan. For table and ticket sales, visit cew.org.