Career advice: How I became the Managing Director of CEW

Published: 14-Dec-2023

Sallie Berkerey, MD of CEW UK, on her rise to the top of the beauty giant

Sallie Berkerey is the Managing Director of CEW UK, the global membership community for the beauty industry. 

She was previously the associate publisher of British Vogue and was a Condé Nast veteran, having working at the publisher for 24 years. 

"I was privileged to work on some beautiful campaigns with clients such as Chanel, Estée Lauder, L'Oréal, Coty and Benefit Cosmetics, projects such as the tenth Anniversary of Glamour," says Berkerey. 

Here, Berkerey details her career journey, advice for new starters in beauty, as well as the essential skills a cosmetics industry professional can possess.  --ABSTRACTEND-

Tell us about your first job in beauty. 

Joining CEW in 2019 was my first role in Beauty Proper, as before that, for 24 years, I had held commercial roles at Condé Nast as Associate Publisher on Glamour and British Vogue.

Through these roles, I worked with some of the industry's most talented beauty editors. I attended many product launches along the way, and this is what ignited my passion for beauty. I was also an active member of CEW, which enabled me to attend some incredible events and build connections which last to this day.

I was privileged to work on some beautiful campaigns with clients such as Chanel, Estée Lauder, L'Oréal, Coty and Benefit Cosmetics, projects such as the tenth Anniversary of Glamour, the Vogue 100 Festival, to launch activations such as Five Days of Vogue and the multi-award-winning Non-Issue of British Vogue with L'Oréal Paris which shone a light on how we perceive age and for which we shot Jane Fonda and Helen Mirren among others.

What was a lesson you learned early in your career?

I learned very early on the power of teamwork in making a project or campaign successful, giving everyone a voice and the opportunity to contribute and, in turn, to be recognised as part of the success. 

Is there someone who has helped you climb the ladder or provided some key advice? 

I have been fortunate to work with so many talented individuals in my career journey to date. It would be impossible to choose just one.

However, since joining CEW, Vasiliki Petrou, Group CEO of Unilever Prestige and the Chairwoman of our Board at CEW UK, has been very generous with her time and advice as we have set about evolving CEW UK over the past few years.

What is the best thing about your current role?

I am excited that we have the opportunity to do so much more with our platform and for our members at CEW, and I adore collaborating with a wide variety of partners and brands from across the whole supply chain.

Undoubtedly, the past few years have been challenging for most, but the Beauty industry is resilient, and we are excited to see what comes in 2024 and beyond for our members.

What core skills do you need to have as a leader today, particularly in beauty?

If I think about those in leadership positions whom I have worked with directly or admire and who have been or are highly effective and successful, they are empathetic, creative, adaptable, curious, and collaborative.

They also allow their teams to be bold and try things without fear of repercussions of failure; not all but most of my managers have had these traits.

What do you look for when hiring a team?

A passion for beauty and collaboration, the ability to manage multiple activities while keeping calm, which is a must at CEW, and the confidence to push back and (sometimes) keep my wild ideas in check!

What is your proudest moment to date at CEW?

I am proud of so many of the things that we have achieved at CEW since I joined, such as the launch of our two-way mentoring scheme, which has seen 100 mentors benefit to date, our second cross-industry research into D&I with MBS Group and Science Magic and the 2023 Beauty Awards, which was our biggest to date.

Above all, I feel proud of the feedback I receive that CEW UK's platform, network and programmes are more accessible and helpful than ever before to people and businesses in the sector because this is our aim with all that we do.

What tips do you have for anyone starting out?

Work hard, be kind, and get to know the industry inside out and upside down. Always learn, and always be bold and ask questions or for help.

Tell me something about your job that might be unexpected.

I get nervous every time I need to do public speaking, which is often, and although we are hoping to grow next year, we are a team of three at CEW, which can sometimes surprise people.


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