Meet the Expert Committee

  • Maureen Choi

    Executive Director of Content & Curation,

    Violet Grey

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  • Muffy Clince

    Director of Emerging Brands,

    Ulta

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  • Emily Gerstell

    Associate Partner,

    McKinsey & Company

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  • Jennifer Goldstein Sullivan

    Co-host,

    Fat Mascara

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  • Janet Gurwitch

    Operating Partner,

    Advent International

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  • Carol Hamilton

    Group President, Acquisitions,

    L'Oreal

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  • Jennifer Miles

    Former SVP/DMM Cosmetics,

    Barneys New York

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  • Cristina Nuñez

    Co-Founder & Partner,

    True Beauty Ventures

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  • Joël Palix

    Founder,

    Palix Unlimited

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  • Lisa Price

    President and Founder,

    Carol’s Daughter

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  • Jaime Schmidt

    Founder,

    Schmidt’s Naturals

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  • Kelly St. John

    Founder,

    KSJ Collective

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  • Chelsea Williams

    Founder,

    ThatsChelsea

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  • Rahama Wright

    Founder,

    Shea Yeleen

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  • David Yi

    Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief,

    Very Good Light

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  • Nini Zhang

    Director of Luxury, Beauty and Apparel,

    Credit Suisse

    Learn More
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    Maureen Choi

    Executive Director of Content & Curation,

    Violet Grey

    Who They Are

    Maureen Choi is VIOLET GREY's Executive Director of Content & Curation, managing all aspects of the curation process from start to finish and fostering key relationships with the Violet Committee of industry experts. She serves as a leading voice on beauty, wellness, and health, appearing frequently on camera and at live events, interviewing personalities from celebrity makeup artists to creative entrepreneurs.

    Her hoarding of lipsticks and lashes can be traced back to her years as a dancer with the San Francisco Ballet, where she road-tested hundreds of products on and off stage. Prior to joining Violet Grey, she spent 10 years in the media world as an editor at Marie Claire and Glamour and as a freelance writer contributing to various publications, including InStyle, Harper's Bazaar, Elle, and Allure. Leveraging her deep industry knowledge, she has also developed content and marketing assets for various beauty startups and legacy brands.

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    Muffy Clince

    Director of Emerging Brands,

    Ulta

    Who They Are

    Muffy Clince currently serves as the Director of Emerging Brands, responsible for the Sparked at Ulta Beauty Platform that launched in 2019. This is a cross functional endeavor created to onboard, market, launch and grow new Indie Brands. In addition, Muffy owns the Credo partnership and Conscious Beauty focus for the Ulta Beauty Merchandising Team. Prior to taking on this role, over her 15 years at Ulta Beauty, Muffy has held several roles in Merchandising as well as Planning and Inventory. Most recently launching Chanel Beaute and managing top brands in the Prestige Cosmetics portfolio.

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    Emily Gerstell

    Associate Partner,

    McKinsey & Company

    Who They Are

    A leader in the North America Retail and the Consumer PE practices, Emily Gerstell is an Associate Partner based in New York focused on the fashion, beauty, and luxury industries. Emily brings extensive experience serving beauty and apparel brands (from <$5M to >$15B in revenue), retailers, and Consumer PE players on growth and go-to-market strategy topics, and she is sought out globally for her expertise in Beauty. She also brings extensive experience living and working in Asia, where she has focused on the beauty markets in China, Japan, South Korea, SE Asia. Emily grew up in Hong Kong and speaks Mandarin.

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    Jennifer Goldstein Sullivan

    Co-host,

    Fat Mascara

    Who They Are

    Jennifer Goldstein is the co-host of award-winning beauty podcast Fat Mascara and a journalist with more than 20 years of experience, most recently as beauty and health director of Marie Claire. Her writing has been featured in numerous publications, including Elle, Esquire, InStyle, Men’s Journal, and Health, and she’s appeared as a beauty expert on Good Morning America, Today!, The Dr. Oz Show, and Live with Kelly & Ryan.

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    Janet Gurwitch

    Operating Partner,

    Advent International

    Who They Are

    Janet Gurwitch has a strong track record of identifying and sourcing winners among emerging beauty brands. As an Operating Partner at Castanea Partners from 2009 to 2019, she was involved in several successful investments and strategic exits, including Urban Decay (acquired by L’Oréal in 2013), First Aid Beauty (acquired by P&G in 2018), Tatcha (acquired by Unilever in 2019) and Drybar (Products division acquired by Helen of Troy in 2019).

    In 1996, Gurwitch founded Laura Mercier, a prestige beauty brand, alongside makeup artist Laura Mercier. Gurwitch was integral in the brand’s majority sale to Neiman Marcus in 1999, its acquisition by Alticor in 2006 and its purchase by Shiseido in 2016. Gurwitch was also an early identifier of Dollar Shave Club’s potential; she made a personal investment in the brand in 2013 and served on its board of advisors until its acquisition by Unilever in 2016.

    In addition to her new role on Olaplex’s board, Gurwitch serves on the board of Drybar. She received a bachelor’s degree in retail from the University of Alabama.
    Advent has significant investment experience in the retail, consumer and leisure sector. Over the past 30 years, the firm has invested $12.8 billion in more than 75 companies in the sector worldwide.

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    Carol Hamilton

    Group President, Acquisitions,

    L'Oreal

    Who They Are

    During her 35-year tenure at L’Oreal, Carol has been responsible for building the L’Oreal Paris flagship brand from an indie brand in the 80’s into the number 1 global beauty brand worldwide, behind the iconic phrase celebrating women’s worth “Because I’m Worth It”.

    In 2008, she took over the helm of the L’Oreal Luxury Division overseeing all Luxe brands including Giorgio Armani, Lancôme, Kiehl’s Since 1851, Yves Saint Laurent, Viktor & Rolf, Ralph Lauren Fragrances, Clarisonic, Urban Decay, and the fragrance license of Proenza Schouler. During her 10 years running L’Oréal Luxe, she has moved from a $1B business to a $1.8B business, gaining market share and increasing its profitability in a strong and regular way.

    In January 2016, Carol Hamilton was promoted to Group President L’Oréal Luxe USA where she began to delegate the operational animation of the USA business and focus more on the animation of the existing US beauty brands DMIs, the search and evaluation of new acquisitions as well as their integration into L’Oréal, and contribute to the global division’s strategy with an American perspective. Carol has led the successful acquisitions of Clarisonic, Urban Decay and It Cosmetics, she went on to run these brands - along with Kiehl’s Since 1851- globally.

    As of August 2018, Carol was placed in charge of acquisitions for all divisions of L’Oreal.

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    Jennifer Miles

    Former SVP/DMM Cosmetics,

    Barneys New York

    Who They Are

    A senior retail merchant with particular experience in the cosmetic and beauty industry, Miles is an innovative brand manager with proven ability to identify emerging trends, opportunities and white space. She has a successful record of initiating and implementing new strategies and marketing programs that deliver sales and profit growth.

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    Cristina Nuñez

    Co-Founder & Partner,

    True Beauty Ventures

    Who They Are

    Cristina has spent over ten years investing, operating, and advising in the consumer products industry, having dedicated the last seven years exclusively to beauty and wellness. She is currently a Partner and Co-Founder of True Beauty Ventures, a recently launched fund focused on finding, partnering with, and scaling brands exclusively in beauty.
    Prior to joining True Beauty Ventures, Cristina was the General Manager and COO of Clark’s Botanicals, a clean botanical skincare brand, held various operating roles at Laura Geller Beauty, a prestige makeup brand, and developed new business growth opportunities for Equinox, a luxury fitness and lifestyle brand. Prior to her operating roles, she was a Senior Associate at Tengram Capital Partners, an Associate at L Catterton, and an Analyst in the Consumer & Retail Investment Banking group at UBS. Cristina graduated magna cum laude from Duke University and holds a B.A. with Highest Distinction in Public Policy Studies

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    Joël Palix

    Founder,

    Palix Unlimited

    Who They Are

    Joel Palix is a seasoned beauty executive with 30 years of international experience, both on the brand and retail sides.

    Previous roles include CEO of Feelunique a leading beauty e-retailer, CEO of Clarins Fragrance Group, CEO of Thierry Mugler, MD Europe of Yves Saint Laurent Beauty.

    Last June, Joel Palix started his own consultancy, Palix Unlimited, advising beauty brands, PE firms and VC funds on DTC and E-commerce strategies, brand positioning, innovation, acquisitions and new ventures. More information on www.palixunlimited.com

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    Lisa Price

    President and Founder,

    Carol’s Daughter

    Who They Are

    Lisa Price’s journey begins like that of many entrepreneurs—with curiosity and determination mixed with moments of panic and a resounding belief that products that were made with love and delivered on their promise would find their following. It was a company born of Price’s love for fragrance and a passion for scent alchemy that formed the foundation of her high-performing products. More than a quarter of a century later, even amid massive industry disruption, new company leadership, and acquisition by L’Oréal, Carol’s Daughter continues to thrive and remain relevant in an industry where brands come and go as quickly as trends change. Carol’s Daughter began in Price’s Brooklyn kitchen. With a career in TV production, mixing up fragrances, perfume sprays, and creams served as a creative outlet. It wasn’t long before Price began dabbling in aromatherapeutic oils, educating herself on their healing properties.

    In 1993, Price, with the gentle nudge from her mother Carol, began to sell her products. With $100 in cash and a cramped kitchen, she crafted a collection that would become the foundation of a beauty empire. Selling her homespun concoctions at flea markets, and later out of her living room, favorable word-of-mouth began to spread for early iterations of Almond Cookie, Hair Milk, and Black Vanilla Hair Smoothie—all of which retain their cult-status today. “To name my company, I listed everything I was, and wanted to be, and realized the most special thing that I am, is Lisa, Carol’s daughter.”

    Over the next few years, word spread, with celebrities like Jada Pinkett-Smith, Erykah Badu, Rosie Perez, and Halle Berry becoming loyal customers. Joining the L’Oréal family in November 2014, Carol's Daughter widened its extensive footprint, selling its hair, body, and skincare solutions nationwide at key retailers. During the Obama administration, Price was appointed to the National Women’s Business Council, an independent source of advice and policy recommendations to the President, Congress, and the U.S. Small Business Administration, on economic issues that face female business owners. Price mentors female entrepreneurs and works closely with an array of organizations to give back to the community.

    Price was featured in the film She Did That (2019) and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Black MBA Association's Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2000), the Working Woman Magazine’s Entrepreneurial Excellence Award (2001), and a Cosmetic Executive Women Achiever Award (2010). She is also the author of “Success Never Smelled So Sweet,” a memoir that chronicles her transformation from a young Black woman deep in debt to president of a paradigm-changing business.

    Price and her husband, Gordon, have two sons and a daughter and still live in Brooklyn.

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    Jaime Schmidt

    Founder,

    Schmidt’s Naturals

    Who They Are

    Jaime Schmidt is an entrepreneur and the founder of Schmidt’s Naturals, a brand of natural personal care products that she started in her kitchen in Portland, Oregon in 2010. Jaime is known for modernizing natural personal care products, including the customer-favorite deodorant, and bringing them to the mainstream market. Under her leadership, Schmidt’s grew into a household name lining the shelves of retailers including Target, Costco, Whole Foods, Walmart and CVS across 30 countries. In 2017, Schmidt’s partnered with CPG giant Unilever, with Jaime continuing as the brand’s founder. Today, Jaime is focusing her efforts on helping emerging entrepreneurs pursue their own dreams. In June 2019, Jaime launched Supermaker, an editorial-driven platform that celebrates diverse, independent brands and creators, and hosts conversations that empower progressive values in the workplace. Jaime is also the co-founder of Color, an investment portfolio that supports diverse and underrepresented founders, and co-owner of local entrepreneurial collective Portland Made.

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    Kelly St. John

    Founder,

    KSJ Collective

    Who They Are

    As a leader in consumer-driven organizations, I deliver sustainable outcomes and thrive on the challenge of the ever-changing marketplace and business transformation. My deep understanding of the beauty industry results in a true 360-degree perspective and forward-thinking, proactive point of view.

    Colleagues appreciate my abilities as a natural relationship builder who energizes teams and cultivates trust across a broad range of constituencies.

    With a reputation for consummate professionalism, diplomacy, and grace under pressure, I balance intuition with informed risk-taking to make the right calls and drive top performance in both people and products.

    Years of cultivating relationships with the industry’s most well-respected retailers, vendors, investors, marketers, and talent across multiple areas results in a network that is vast and ever-growing.

    Regardless of the scale of your need or idea, I encourage you to reach out and schedule a time to speak about the change you are seeking. Every idea, conversation, and question opens a door that leads to the next big idea.

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    Chelsea Williams

    Founder,

    ThatsChelsea

    Who They Are

    Chelsea Williams is a nationally recognized public health nutritionist, wellness consultant, and influencer that is highly skilled at developing compelling digital communications that drive positive behavior change.

    After being diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder and finding success in managing her condition through a plant-based, non-toxic lifestyle, Chelsea started her platform to help teach others how they can live a healthier lifestyle, as well as become more knowledgeable, health-conscious consumers. Her content ranges from quick health tips to eco and green beauty reviews, to plant-based recipes.

    Chelsea has been identified as an authoritative yet relatable source in the holistic wellness space. Her work has been featured on various media outlets such as TV One, Fox 45 News, ABC 7 News – WJLA, News Channel 8, ESSENCE, PR Newswire, and Beauty Independent.

    In 2017, Chelsea was named by The Daily Record as a Very Important Professional – Successful by 40 award recipient for her professional accomplishments, community service, and commitment to inspiring change. Additionally, Chelsea serves as 1 of 6 Board of Advisors for The Well, a social brand by Samsung Mobile USA and POPSUGAR Fitness that focuses on wellness content and experiential events throughout 2019 and beyond. She has partnered with brands and organizations such as AT&T, Under Armour, Whole Foods Market, Brandless, Dyson, Alex and Ani, and New Hope Network.

    Chelsea received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design from Radford University and holds a Master of Public Health in nutrition from Liberty University. She is also a Certified Communicator in Public Health through the National Public Health Information Coalition.

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    Rahama Wright

    Founder,

    Shea Yeleen

    Who They Are

    Rahama Wright is the Founder and CEO of Shea Yeleen a social impact company she created after serving in the Peace Corps. The DC-based enterprise develops shea butter creams, balms, and soaps that create living wage jobs for women in Ghana. Her entrepreneurial journey spans bootstrapping to securing her first round of venture capital investment from Ron Lauder and Dick Parsons, and landing deals with Whole Foods Markets & MGM Resorts International. The products have been featured in a variety of media outlets including O, The Oprah Magazine, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Washington Business Journal, MSNBC, and CNBC Africa. A leading voice on African women’s economic and business development she has completed 150+ speeches and panels globally including the United Nations Thematic Debate on Entrepreneurship for Development, the U.S. Secretary of State Global Diaspora Forum, the World Bank Africa Region Growth Dialogue, and the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. In 2014, she was appointed to the Presidential Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa and is currently serving her third term on the council. Rahama received her BA in International Relations from the State University of New York at Geneseo. An avid traveler she has visited and worked in 36 countries.

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    David Yi

    Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief,

    Very Good Light

    Who They Are

    David Yi is the founder & editor-in-chief of Very Good Light, the ultimate men's grooming destination for Generation Z and young millennials. “With Very Good Light, [David Yi] hopes ‘to redefine masculinity and to redefine men’s beauty. The timing may be right," described the New York Times. The site has been covered in publications from USA Today, the New York Observer, Fashionista, Advertising Age, Allure, the Daily Front Row, among others.

    The site takes grooming as a funnel to redefine masculinity. This comes through personal essays, longform journalism, beauty reviews and how-to guides. Included is a weekly section called Groom Raider, a series that profiles insiders, influencers and celebrities about their grooming secrets.

    Prior to Very Good Light, he was the first fashion hire at Mashable where he launched its new vertical. He produced several culture-pushing viral stories including: The lives of 11 Trans teens styled by Nicola Formichetti, the state of dress of black men in America, a week-long initiative surrounding mental illnesses with Glenn Close, to launching Snapchat Discover's first-ever beauty spread with Michelle Phan.

    Before Mashable, he was a menswear reporter at Women's Wear Daily under the Conde Nast umbrella. Before Conde, he was a Web consultant at Harper's Bazaar where he launched the series, #bazaarTA, a "Tweet and Answer" with notables in fashion and entertainment. The first debuted with actress Emmy Rossum. He was also a contributor at the Wall Street Journal, ELLE, Esquire, Details, and Fashionista. He's been published in monthlies including ELLE, InStyle, Nylon; weeklies including New York, Entertainment Weekly, Time Out New York, New York Observer; dailies including: Los Angeles Times, NY Daily News; online: ELLE.com, Fashionista, NYMag.com.

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    Nini Zhang

    Director of Luxury, Beauty and Apparel,

    Credit Suisse

    Who They Are

    Nini Zhang is a Director at Credit Suisse based in New York and has been with the firm since 2012. As part of the Consumer & Retail team, she has coverage responsibility across Beauty and Personal care, as well as eCommerce and Fashion. Nini actively engages with emerging and digitally native brands, as well as established players on a wide range of transactions such as IPOs, M&A, private fundraising and debt financing. Nini received her B.A. in Molecular Biology from the University of Pennsylvania and her M.B.A. in finance and accounting from The Wharton School.

2020 Nominees

The 2020 Beacon Award nominees attest to the breadth and depth of the independent beauty community.

  • Best Social Media Nominee
    Venn
  • Brand Launch Nominee
    Biophile
  • Best Packaging Nominee
    Kjaer Weis
  • Industry Icon Nominee
    Frédéric Fekkai
  • Inclusivity Champion Nominee
    Spktrm Beauty
  • Product Launch Nominee
    Body Plane
  • Small Indie Retailer Nominee
    Beauty Heroes
  • Entrepreneur Nominee
    Lauren Napier
    Founder & CEO
    Lauren Napier Beauty
  • Sustainability Champion Nominee
    Aether Beauty
  • Investor Nominee
    Ancora
See All Nominees

We think the name captures the spirit of our community. A beacon shines so brightly that it can’t be ignored. It’s an example for others to follow and a symbol of possibility.

–Rachel Brown, Editor In Chief, Beauty Independent

Join us for the first Annual Beacon Awards Live Ceremony! Wednesday, September 30th - 1 PM EST

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