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职场 - 专栏

雅芳掌门人成功的钥匙

Patricia Sellers 2011年08月11日

所有成功的职业生涯都会有一个关键的时刻:你可以选择放弃,但最终明智地选择了坚持。

    对于雅芳产品公司(Avon Products)主席兼CEO钟彬娴来说,她在大学毕业后就不得不面临这样的一个时刻。当时她正在接受布卢明代尔百货公司(Bloomingdale's)的经营管理培训。她整天都得呆在仓库里,把成千上万件衣服上的衣架换成经销商的衣架。“我记得我在感恩节的时候打电话给我爸妈,我说:‘你们拿钱供我接受优秀的教育,但我现在所做的事情真的没有一点意义……或许,我真的该辞职了。’”

    钟彬娴出生在一个传统的华裔美国家庭,家教颇为严格,读完普林斯顿大学(Princeton)后,她曾希望加入美国和平部队(Peace Corps)。但当时钟家家境并不富裕,所以,她的父母坚持认为她应该走一条更为传统的道路。所以,当她打电话告诉他们自己想从布卢明代尔辞职时,钟彬娴回忆起父母的反应是“迅速而又激烈”。她父母说:“不许辞职。你要从底层做起,一步一个脚印走向成功的顶峰。”

    钟彬娴表示:“于是,我放弃了辞职,选择了坚持。最后证明,这段经历让我在零售行业有了一个很好的开始。”

    她先后加入了布卢明代尔和内曼•马库斯服装公司(Neiman Marcus),1994年从零售业转行到化妆品行业,加入雅芳。钟彬娴当时接到的任务是,打造一个全球化的雅芳品牌,三年后,她出色地完成了任务,成为公司CEO的热门人选,但最后却未能如愿。尽管她当时产生过放弃的念头,但最后还是坚持了下来。两年后,她被任命为CEO,成为《财富》500强(Fortune 500)公司中最年轻的女性首席执行官。

    钟彬娴说:“在哪里扎根,就在哪里绽放。追随你的罗盘,而不是时钟。”她还说,从事任何职业都要具备耐心。她自己就是最好的例子。目前,钟彬娴在2010年《财富》杂志最具影响力商界女性(2010 Fortune Most Powerful Women)中排名第5位;目前,她掌管雅芳已长达12年,是《财富》500强公司中任职时间最长的女性CEO。她说:“现在的我就像个上了年纪的女掌门人,靠着自己的智慧,努力为更多的后来人铺平道路。”

    目前,钟彬娴是苹果电脑公司(Apple Computer)、通用电气公司(General Electric)和雅芳公司的董事会成员。她独自抚养21岁的女儿和12岁的儿子,对于如何平衡工作和家庭,钟彬娴总结出了一套经验。她说:“照我的经验来看,没必要非得在一天之内就把所有问题都解决掉,但你必须要做出选择。” 去年,雅芳的收入达到109亿美元。现年52岁的钟彬娴完全可以离开雅芳,执掌另外一家大型跨国公司,但她表示:“对于这个问题,我还没有考虑太多。”

    目前,她把主要精力都放在如何保证雅芳的长盛不衰。今年是公司成立125周年,作为庆祝活动的一部分,她访问了全球15个城市,每一站都会见了约5,000多名雅芳的经销商代表。她认为,领导雅芳最大的满足感在于,能够帮助650万名经销商——来自105个国家的创业者们——白手起家,开创自己的事业。雅芳在创业初期为经销商提供资金和产品,钟彬娴强调:“因此,我们是目前世界上最大的小额信贷机构之一。不错,我们确实是一家化妆品公司,但我们所做的不仅仅是兜售美丽。”

    本文为《财富》杂志与雅虎(Yahoo)合作项目对《财富》最有影响力商界女性的系列采访之四。更多精彩,请查看雅虎网站Shine频道“点亮未来”(Power Your Future)专栏。

    (翻译 刘进龙)

    For Andrea Jung, the chairman and CEO of Avon Products (AVP), this moment happened right after college, when she was in the management training program at Bloomingdale's. All day everyday, there she was in the stockroom, switching vendor hangers for store hangers on thousands of pieces of clothes. "I remember calling my parents around Thanksgiving and saying, 'You paid for me to have a great education and this is really not that meaningful…Maybe I will quit.'"

    Jung, who grew up in a traditional Chinese-American family with a tremendous amount of discipline, had made her way to Princeton and wanted to go into the Peace Corps. But her parents didn't have a lot of money, so they insisted she take a more conventional path. When Jung called them about quitting that first job at Bloomingdale's, "the reaction was fast and furious," she recalls. Her parents told her: "You are not quitting. You start at the bottom and you work your way to the top."

    "So, I didn't quit," Jung says. "I persevered, and it ended up being a really terrific run in retail."

    She traded retail--Bloomingdale's (M) and then Neiman Marcus--for the beauty industry, moving to Avon in 1994. Jung was assigned to create a global Avon brand and did that so impressively that she was considered for the top job three years later. But she got passed over. And though she felt tempted to quit, she stayed. Two years later, she got the CEO job and became the youngest female chief executive in the Fortune 500.

    "Bloom where you're planted," says Jung. "And follow your compass, not your clock," she adds, preaching patience in any career. She has certainly demonstrated that. Now at the helm for 12 years, Jung is No. 5 on the 2010 Fortune Most Powerful Women list and the longest-serving among the female Fortune 500 CEOs. "I feel like the wise old woman CEO, trying to pave the path for a lot more after me," she says.

    Jung is on the boards of Apple Computer (APLL) and General Electric (GE), as well as Avon. And as a single mother of a daughter, 21, and a 12-year-old son, she has learned plenty about juggling work and family. "You can't, in my experience, necessarily have it all in one day," she says. "But you've got to make those choices." Now 52, she could well go and run another big global company after Avon, which had revenue of $10.9 billion last year. But she says, "I don't spend a lot of time thinking about that yet."

    Right now, she is focused on Avon's longevity. As part of the company's 125th anniversary celebration this year, she has traveled to 15 cities around the globe and met with some 5,000 Avon representatives at each stop. The greatest satisfaction of leading Avon, she says, is helping 6.5 million representatives—entrepreneurs in 105 countries—build businesses from the ground up. By providing the money and products for reps to get started, "we're one of the largest micro-lenders in the world today," Jung notes. "Yes, we are a beauty company, but we do more than just sell beauty."

    This is the fourth interview in Fortune's Most Powerful Women series in partnership with Yahoo (YHOO). See more at Yahoo Shine's "Power Your Future."

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