I Work in a Male-Dominated Industry — Here’s How I Fight for My Seat and For Other Women

office meeting table

Canva / Fairygodboss Staff

Brinn Garner, Chief Revenue Officer at Orveon
Brinn Garner, Chief Revenue Officer at Orveon
April 14, 2024 at 10:48AM UTC

I started my journey into the beauty industry in a rather unconventional way. When I started college, I was determined to go into tax law – I found the math workload to be challenging yet riveting. My academic advisor, on the other hand, before even discussing my experience and credentials, told me I should reconsider my math major as it’s a very difficult path and find something “more appropriate for a woman.” Little did he know nothing motivates me more than being underestimated — his influence is what drove me to continue with my plans in studying math. Being one of the very few women in the program, I realized I had to fight for my right to be there and the respect I knew I deserved. 

While attending school I began freelancing as a makeup artist for a large beauty brand. My belief is that if you think you look good, you will feel good, and consequently, you will be more empowered to do anything and everything you want to do. Beauty has the power to foster happiness and positivity that is contagious, emboldening people to stand a little taller because they’re comfortable in their own skin. In my role, I embodied this mindset which helped me find ways to grow within the male-dominated company.

Navigating Existing Gender Disparities

For an industry that is predominately shopped by women, it has been my experience that men hold a majority of leadership positions; even in 2022, more than 65% of executive committee seats in the beauty industry are held by men. It’s surprising that an industry that thrives almost exclusively on meeting the demands of women is so long overdue for leadership that reflects its consumers. 

Not fitting into the standard was something I was already comfortable with because of my educational background, but that doesn’t mean the fight got easier in the workforce. What worked for me was finding an avenue where I was enthusiastic about the products, with a unique set of skills and relevancy to the work – while constantly seeking out the types of leaders that supported the same goals as myself. 

Supporting Other Women

There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing someone succeed in a position and being able to learn from them directly – especially in the different sectors of the beauty industry where women are often not represented. Something that brought me to my current role was Orveon’s egalitarian structure, where the whole team is seen as equals that can learn and grow from each other and share ideas. This wasn’t always present in my past experience. In particular, there are strong women leaders on this team that I greatly admire and consider it an honor to learn from. 

I strongly believe in mentorship. Raising up others, finding your voice and spreading your own wealth of knowledge are equally important to making sure the seats are balanced. Offering yourself as a mentor to those below you is vital in promoting gender equity – and likewise feeling empowered to ask the women you see succeeding to support you is equally critical. It’s not often people offer to be a mentor. If you see someone you aspire to be more like or learn more about their path, ask! In my experience, it has always been well-received.

Using Positive Self-talk

The power of mental support is critical to what you can achieve. I believe innately in positive talk and setting the bar very high, having limitless expectations, yet manifesting they come true. You can do this – and everyone should – by continually finding ways to motivate yourself and distinguish yourself as the best person for the role at hand.

You must remind yourself, even when you’re the only woman at the table, that you have a right to be sitting there. Your voice deserves to be heard. If you have something powerful to say, you should say it and ultimately, your seat will become yours.  

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This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Brinn Garner serves as Orveon’s Chief Revenue Officer (US), where she oversees the brands’ US business and teams. In this role, Brinn works to build the future strategy of profitable revenue generation processes for the entire business. Breaking down silos, her role is designed to have teams work collaboratively to service the client and improve the output of the brand in the US, including but not limited to functions of sales, customer support, marketing, and product. Brinn is an accomplished beauty expert with 20 years of industry experience. Starting as a makeup artist, she has a true and committed loyalty to improving the customer experience through product, people and process. Her passion for growth in this field has been fueled by her love for the customer journey. 

What’s your no. 1 piece of advice for a woman working in a male-dominated industry? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!

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