BBR10 Thought Leader Q&A: Jan Lombardo (President of GO SMiLE) – “Developing a Team”

“A workplace should be an enjoyable experience since you spend the majority of your time with your colleagues.” 

Beauty Biz Roundtable 10 attendees all enjoyed Jan Lombardo‘s Keynote Address on building a team, based on her experiences as the President of GO SMiLE, Inc.

jan lombardo

Jan started working in the beauty industry over 25 years ago by selling behind the Estée Lauder counter, working her way up, and spending 18 years as an executive. She became VP of Sales for North America at Calvin Klein Beauty before leaving in 2009 to join GO SMiLE, Inc. as the VP of Global Sales and Marketing.

“I’m proud to have started my career working with the end user, and have always worked hard to stay connected to what the consumers see as value. At GO SMiLE, I had a lot to do and a lot to learn, at a time the US and entire world were changing economically. My success has come by working with and through others.  I make mentoring, partnerships and collaboration my top priorities and put emphasis on contribution, not titles.  Ideas can come from many places and anyone.”

In early 2012, Jan was named President of GO SMiLE, Inc. She has created a team that can volley between being experts leading their departments and generalists giving input on all aspects of company development. It is a team that has taken the company on an entirely new course of growth, vision and overall success.We sat down with Lombardo to discuss her experiences and thoughts about the beauty industry.Please share 3 key points from your roundtable discussion “Critical in Small Companies – How to Choose and Develop an Entire Team Invested in Company Success”:

  1. Creating a team that is invested in the company means allowing them to help create where you are going, and how you are going to get there. Make certain you know the non-negotiable company values, then create a blank org chart of what skills are needed to accomplish your objectives.  Leave out current names – line up the needs first with specific skills.
  2. Fill in the names of who you currently employ. Do you have the right team? Are they in the correct positions? Can they learn and grow toward what is needed in the company? Be fair, but don’t settle.
  3. Pull them in one by one as you put them on the “new” go-forward team.  Be transparent, and get their opinion. Teach them to do the research, have an educated opinion, make a decision, and then be accountable. Give them authority, and celebrate the wins!
Jan Lombardo, president of Go SMiLE, Inc. discusses "Critical in Small Companies--How to Choose and Develop an Entire Team Invested in Company Success" at the BBR10 event

Jan Lombardo, president of Go SMiLE, Inc. discusses “Critical in Small Companies–How to Choose and Develop an Entire Team Invested in Company Success” at the BBR10 event

Why did you choose this career? Why the beauty industry?

I think it found me!  My first job involved teaching at a private college in Indiana. Then as a newlywed, I found myself in San Francisco without a job. As part of my adjustment to living a new life in a new city, I decided to take a part-time job at the Emporium department store in San Mateo (which closed its doors in 1996).  I worked part-time in Estee Lauder and was then asked to be the Aramis Counter Manager. I remember saying to myself that I had finally arrived! I loved cosmetics, the excitement of the industry, the people that I had worked with (like my Account Executive and Regional Manager), and I soaked up every aspect of it with joy and gusto. The beauty biz had found me – and I’ve loved every minute of it!

What do you see as the latest trends in your industry?

In our category, I see ease and convenience being taken to the next level.  Quality is a must, and it must be on-trend and add value to your life.  How do these products make you feel? Do they make you feel glamorous, healthy, youthful, and fun? Have you found what you’re looking for? In today’s fast-paced world where we are all scheduled to the max, we just don’t have the time or patience to add major steps to an already-packed daily schedule. Products must be time-efficient and not take away from work or family in order to give you what you want. Women have always been willing to pay for quality and will continue to do so, but  convenience is now a major factor when shopping for “must-have” items.

What attributes make a great leader? Tell us about your leadership style.

A great leader should be able to plan strategically, communicate their plans,  partner at the right moment, and learn to take a step back. Let your team create success and celebrate their wins!

My style is pretty informal. We all understand our objectives and the priorities we need to protect, so I look for partners in creating the road map. Everybody on the team gets a vote, since I learned long ago that solutions come from the most unexpected places. These voting moments are important in giving everyone “a voice,” and also serves as a learning experience for those who aren’t the leads on a project. They don’t take long, but the experience elevates everyone.

jan lombardo beauty biz roundtable 10

BBR10 Thought Leader & Keynote Speaker, Jan Lombardo (President – GO SMiLE, Inc.), with Bret Hadley (CEO – Roberts Cosmetics + Container).

What kinds of qualities do you look for when hiring a candidate and/or someone to join your team?

There are 3 “deal-breaker” categories that I’m always looking for:

  1. Are they experts in their field or can they grow to be one?  They need to be experts  because they need to make decisions, and then be comfortable with accountability.
  2. Are they willing to manage and mentor others?  Many people have the knowledge, but do they have the patience to share it, and teach others? In a small company, we cannot work in isolation, and it’s our responsibility to teach and share.
  3. Are they highly flexible and likable? We sometimes spend more time with our colleagues than we do our families; I want to enjoy the people I work with. We shouldn’t all be alike, and it helps to have very different perspectives and thinking.

These Top 3 categories are deal breakers for a productive environment.

To learn more about GO SMiLe, Inc., click here

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About the Beauty Biz Roundtable Series

Hosted by Mazur Group, the Beauty Biz Roundtable (BBR) series brings together 100 Mid to Senior Level Beauty Executives in a roundtable format that fosters networking and idea sharing. This is not a lecture or panel discussion. Attendees are given the opportunity to sit down in small group settings with industry peers. Past BBR attendees and Thought Leaders have come from every major beauty company here in the West including Stila, Dermalogica, John Paul Mitchell Systems, Neutrogena, Murad, Urban Decay, CND,  P&G, Josie Maran, Intelligent Beauty, Sexy Hair Concepts, boscia, MOR Cosmetics, OPI, Smashbox, Sexy Hair Concepts, Orly International,, and more. To see exclusive coverage of BBR events, visit Mazur Group’s YouTube channel at:


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