New Land O’Lakes CEO makes history

There’s a first for everything, and the Land O’Lakes company has hit a major company milestone.

According to HuffPost, the Minnesota-based company has named Beth Ford its new CEO, becoming the first openly gay woman to lead Land O’Lakes in its history. Ford explained her pride in the promotion to CNN, says HuffPost, especially that it’s considered “an important milestone by many LGBTQ rights advocates.”

“‘I made a decision long ago to live an authentic life,’ said Ford, whose resume includes stints at International Flavors and Fragrances, Mobil Corporation, PepsiCo and Pepsi Bottling Company and Scholastic. ‘If my being named CEO helps others do the same, that’s a wonderful moment.'”

While HuffPost points out that Ford joins Apple’s Tim Cook and Dow Chemical Company’s James “Jim” Fitterling as the third openly gay person to take the helm of a Fortune 500 company as its CEO, she is the only woman to do so.

Deena Fidas, director of workplace equality for the Human Rights Campaign, expressed her the magnitude of Ford’s promotion this way:

“This is not a story of someone getting into the higher echelons of leadership and then coming out,” she told CNN. “This is someone walking into this role with her full self.”

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GM to get female CFO, CEO

With a female CEO leading the company since 2014, General Motors is about to get a new woman in charge.

According to CNN, GM has announced that Dhivya Suryadevara will be their new CFO, joining CEO Mary Barra in leading the Fortune 500 motor company. The move also puts GM in exclusive company, says CNN, with Hershey being the only other Fortune 500 company to have both a female CEO and CFO.

As for Suryadevara, CNN says she “joined GM in 2005 and has been vice president of corporate finance since July 2017,” and her recent promotion will have her replacing Chuck Stephens, who had been CFO since 2014.

While putting a woman in a position of power is significant, Anna Beninger, senior director of research and corporate engagement partner at Catalyst — a “non-profit studying women and work” — told CNN that this move is even more rare.

“Any time a woman brings on another woman, it’s notable. It should be acknowledge, and celebrated.”

Amen to that!

IT Cosmetics CEO champions diversity in beauty industry

If at first you don’t succeed, try again — especially when you have a mission that’s as important as promoting diversity in the beauty industry.

And that’s exactly what Jamie Kern Lima, co-founder and CEO of the wildly popular IT Cosmetics did after she was told by a prospective investor that shoppers wouldn’t purchase her makeup because of her appearance.

Recounting the tale at the Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW) Achiever Awards, Fox News said Lima explained how her company almost didn’t come to fruition: “I’m just not sure women will buy makeup from someone who looks like you, you know, with your body and your weight,” he said after hearing the pitch. But for Lima, his words weren’t the end; they were only the beginning of her pursuit to prove her naysayers wrong.

“I felt something deep down inside,” she said, according to Yahoo Lifestyle. “And it said, ‘No. You are wrong.'”

From there, Yahoo says the former news anchor, who was inspired to create IT Cosmetics because of her experience dealing with rosacea and hyperpigmentation, began pushing forward by marketing her products in ways that privileged diversity and inclusivity. Eventually, Fox News said Lima landed her big break when she appeared on QVC. “In her products launch on QVC, which sold out,” they report, “she chose models that went against the grain – a 73-year-old woman and an African American model with acne,” sticking true to her mission of representation.

But even after achieving success, Yahoo says Lima concluded her speech by saying she is not yet finished in attempting to create change in the beauty industry.

“She reminded that roomful of beauty executives — ‘the people who singlehandedly decide the images billions of women see around the world’ — to ask themselves: ‘How will these images impact your mothers, and your sisters, and how will they impact your daughters?'”

Oh, and as for that investor, Fox News says that after IT Cosmetics was acquired by L’Oreal for $1.2 billion, she heard from him again. His message?

“Congratulations. I was wrong.”

And that is how you succeed when others think you can’t.