Growing up, Rosi Fernandez dreamed of being a teacher so she could help people discover their true passion. While she may not be an educator in the traditional sense, the Managing Director for La Prairie Group Australia and New Zealand undoubtedly guides her team to learn and grow.
"I try and keep this memory top of mind each day to ensure I remember to appreciate I am in a position that I thoroughly enjoy and that I can help my team to learn and develop," Rosi shares with The CEO Magazine.
For the past 25 years, Rosi has delivered stellar results at the luxury skincare maison – 10 of those years spent at the helm of the Swiss brand.
Despite her formidable longevity – which the leader assures isn’t unusual at La Prairie, it hasn’t always been an easy journey.
"One meeting that changed my work life was finding out I had been overlooked for promotion," she explains. "I remember feeling so disappointed. It did, however, change my trajectory and forced me to reset my behaviour.
"My main mistake was not being the focus, not talking. Men are very good at making themselves heard and women are not."
While it wasn’t a lesson at the time, it helped Rosi become more confident in the workspace, which was challenging given she’s a natural introvert.
"On a professional level, the bravest thing I have ever done is to open myself up to scrutiny via public speaking," she shares. "I find my comfort zone is as an observer, so I tend to be racked with nerves when faced with a stage and a large audience.
"I now mentor others on how to be an effective leader and manage the introvert tendencies."
Having been with La Prairie since it was a distributor business, the managing director has watched the Swiss brand flourish for nearly three decades.
On a quest for timeless beauty through the highest standards of advanced technology, La Prairie fuses skin care and art to pioneer the way in the multibillion-dollar beauty industry with its revolutionary formulations in 90 countries.
Understanding that it’s the people who drive the brand’s vision, Rosi believes in leading her team with transparency and support.
"My objective is to ensure that my team succeeds in their roles by being encouraged and challenged to improve," Rosi says. "I achieve this by building a culture of respect, constant 360-degree feedback and a sincere desire for all to succeed.
"If the whole team is united, then we are able to meet our financial targets.
"We know that La Prairie is the very best in skin care, but without the very best people with razor-sharp focus, our brand would not be represented in the elevated way it is today."
This is the attitude the seasoned director will be bringing with her to the respected judging panel for The CEO Magazine’s Executive of the Year Awards.
Responsible for crowning three CEOs of the Year – a first in the awards’ history, Rosi will be sitting alongside the likes of Tobi Pearce, Tim Gurner and Lynette Phillips to work through the finalists for 2021.
"In the face of extreme challenges, good leadership has never been more important," Rosi says. "It is often a lonely pursuit and, after the year we have just had, there has been even more responsibility resting on the shoulders of leaders.
"Now more than ever, we need to recognise and reward effective leadership in as many forms as possible."
Synonymous with the luxury skincare conglomerate, many of the brand’s qualities including innovation, excellence and supreme performance are mirrored by the leader.
"Your greatest strength is sometimes your greatest weakness," Rosi says. "This has helped me to understand that there is no such thing as someone who is good at everything.
"By encouraging the differences and various strengths, we can all succeed."