Jane Hertzmark Hudis, Estée Lauder’s group president, has a mind-numbingly huge job. She leads eight brands—Estée Lauder, La Mer, Bobbi Brown, AERIN, Darphin, Origins, Aveda, and Bumble and Bumble—globally. Not only does she do it with grace and humor, she’s committed to helping women up the ladder after her; Hudis, the company’s only female group president, founded its “Women’s Leadership Network” to mentor other women in the company two years ago. Later this week, Hudis will be recognized with the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) Vanguard Award, which celebrates leadership and innovation.
How does Hudis get it all done? The key, she says, is getting up early. She’s often traveling to London, Paris, Seoul, or other cities where the company has offices. But when she’s in New York City, where she lives, she wakes up at 5 a.m., looks at social media, checks her emails, and sees what needs an immediate response. “I know I should say that I run like five miles, but I don’t,” Hudis jokes. “I run five miles on my iPad by addressing, searching, and seeing all the different things that have happened overnight.”
She hits the office by 7 a.m. and takes advantage of the quiet time to get real work done. “Once 8 a.m. rolls around, I’m in back-to-back creative, marketing, strategy, and financial meetings all day long,” Hudis says. “I’m in a pair of Manolo Blahniks and I’m running from office to office, floor to floor.”
And while part of her drive is certainly inborn (“From the day I was born, I never slept,” Hudis admits), part comes from a deep sense of mission and connection to the work she does. “I feel like a girlboss, because I am one,” Hudis says. “I’ve come up through this company of the course of 32 years. I started as a marketing manager at a brand call Prescriptives, and today, I’m a group president. I go back to being inspired by a woman, Mrs. Estée, who was determined, passionate, and driven.”
Ahead, Hudis shares the products, tips, and tricks that help her get it all done, in this week’s “Shortlisted.”
“Do the thing that counts, and then don’t count it.”
I went to a sleepaway camp called Camp Pinecliffe when I was younger. In the main bunk, there was a sign that said: “Do the thing that counts, and then don’t count it.” I’ve lived my life by that statement, from the time I was eight years old. Just do the right thing and don’t beat your chest about it. I also like what Mrs. Estée Lauder said: “I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.”
To me, Esteé Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair is the best skincare product in the world. Everybody tells me I look pretty good, and that’s the reason why. I use it morning and night, I bring it on the plane, I mix it with my foundation. That little brown bottle follows me everywhere—and I mean everywhere.
I love water, the sun, and the beach. This white gauzy cover-up from La Sireneuse, with my big sunglasses, and my toes in the sand, that’s my happy place outfit. It’s like the world has gone away. I’m so inspired by water. I take a bath every night and just stare at it.
I could say I’m re-reading War and Peace for the fourth time, but the answer is that I’m not actually reading any books right now. I try to pick up inspiration from everywhere. I’ve become like a young person who flips from thing to thing. That’s who I am today.
I’m obsessed with lists. I make lists for my assistant, I make lists for my household, and I make lists of things I need to do. When I walk into the office, that’s not really the start of my day. When I walk through the door here, I’m already in motion. Things are happening, people are emailed, and the lists are made. I usually make them on my BlackBerry. Even though I have an iPad and an iPhone, I love the Blackberry because the buttons are so good.
I get more, faster, from Instagram than any other social media app. I follow people all across the world. I like that I can wake up in the morning and see what Claridge’s London is serving in the lobby for breakfast. I’m a voyeur. Years ago, I used to take 20 magazines to bed, then read them and put them on the floor. So I guess I should tell my husband that my Instagram habit isn’t actually that bad. The magazines were bigger and the fall off the bed was much louder. Now, I have a phone or two that just gently slides off.
Good hair secret weapon
I’m a wavy girl with a straight hair obsession. I get it blow-dried twice a week. The whole Aveda Smooth Infusion Naturally Straight line is really good.
Flats, sneakers, or heels?
Heels for work. Flats, for sure, on the weekends. Aerin Lauder turned me onto these Le Monde Beryl Slippers and they are the most comfortable things in the entire world. I have them in black velvet and green velvet and want to get a pair for summer. They come in shoes and slides.
Self-care method of choice
A warm bath, a Jo Malone candle, and a glass of white wine.