Five keys to success for female leaders

Suzi Weiss Fischmann shares her secrets to success with Breaking Glass

Suzi Weiss -Fischmann’s parents were Holocaust survivors and her country of birth was overrun by the oppressive communist party of the 1960s. There was nothing easy about her origin story. Suzi fled Hungary as a child and capitalized on the American Dream to become co-founder of one of the largest beauty corporations in the world, OPI. Suzi joined us on Breaking Glass to reflect on having built a billion dollar company, her run at the top of the beauty industry, and its complex relationship to the unattainable beauty standards of American society. In her story from immigrant to entrepreneur, from first generation Holocaust survivor to beauty industry titan she leaves a trail of advice for each of us to remember as we climb our own career ladders: 

  1. Be authentic – At the core of Suzi’s success is a deep commitment to authenticity. She believes that every single woman deserves the opportunity to self-express and her success is a product of our collective craving for individualization.
  2. Tell stories – The daughter of Holocaust survivors, Suzi’s story of  fleeing the Hungarian revolution to living the American dream is one she is passionate about sharing. Storytelling, she believes, pushes us all to grow, to connect, to build community, and to be better.
  3. Be silly – During her time with OPI, Suzi led by example. She embraced silliness and never lost her sense of humor on her climb to the top. 
  4. Bring other women along with you – Suzi built OPI into a billion dollar company led by 95% women. At every turn she created a culture of female leadership which enabled the brand to connect authentically to its customers and differentiate itself in the industry.
  5. Pay it forward – Suzi’s legacy is one of service. An immigrant story of survival to the epitome of entrepreneurial success, Suzi is deeply committed to giving back and investing in education to make sure that every child has access to a brighter future.

Suzi reiterated a theme we have heard on nearly every episode of Breaking Glass. That the women who shatter glass ceilings do so by bringing others along with them. They make collective cracks. And whoever finally breaks through turns around and creates a place at the table for more women to be authentic, to push boundaries, to innovate in their respective industries. And in doing so these leaders – Suzi Weiss Fischmann among them – set a precedent for more collaborative leadership that we see when women are at the helm.

Listen to Suzi on Breaking Glass