The Kirby File Featured

8:00pm EDT August 26, 2009

Born: Sydney, Australia

Whom do you admire most in business?

I have had some wonderful mentors, and sometimes the mentors have been people I’ve worked for, and sometimes they’ve been three sets removed. Jim Preston at Avon, I was probably five levels below him the years that I was there. I worked for a wonderful woman at Avon by the name of Joyce Roche, a woman out of New Orleans who came from a family of eight kids. Her dad died when she was very young, and she sort of pulled herself up by the boot straps. I then worked for Bob Mettler at Sears, a really seasoned business player where I learned how to navigate a big company and how to deal with different personalities.

If you could be one superhero, who would you be and why?

I’ll tell you who I think is just incredible at the moment. I think what Michelle Obama is doing is inspirational for all women. Regardless of what you think of her political persuasion, I think she is a woman who is carving out a totally new path and is on a journey that no other woman in her position has been in before, and I admire that because when you think about what I’ve been trying to do here — and I don’t mean to liken myself to her — which was lead my team to a whole new place, that’s what she’s doing for women at large. I think she’s showing tremendous courage, tremendous conviction and balance. I think she is helping women understand at the most visible position in this country that there is balance between home life and business life, and she has found a unique answer in her home life in terms of having her mom there. It’s not about anybody else’s answer on balance, it’s what’s right for you, and I think she has found a unique answer that works for her.