e.l.f.’s CFO shares how she forged her own path to a way-cool career and life she’s proud of.
– KEYS SOULCARE
From their words to their work, women at the top of their game have a way of inspiring those around them. It makes total sense that our convo with e.l.f. Beauty’s Chief Financial Officer Mandy Fields — a woman who embodies her purpose and moves through her days with equal parts presence, self-awareness, and cool — was nothing short of illuminating.
Read on for our chat about navigating a barrier-breaking career, defining the work-life balance, and her no-fail, Zoom-friendly beauty routine.
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m the chief financial officer of e.l.f. Beauty. I’ve been with the company for two years now, and I’ve been a chief financial officer for the last five. A really big accomplishment in my life was becoming a CFO at the age of 35, which is rare for a woman and for a woman of color. In my personal life, I’m married to my partner Gary, and we have two little boys, Noah and Nathan. They’re seven and nine years old, and they certainly are “active.” Ha! Let’s put it that way.
What inspires you and challenges you about finance?
At a young age, I had an inclination for numbers. I obviously didn’t know what finance was, but I remember being a little girl and helping my mom budget our money every month. This is what we have to pay for rent. Here are the utilities. I would write it down for her and get so excited. I learned a lot about money because we did not have a lot of it.
How have you maintained your networks as you’ve moved through your career?
You’ve got to find your champion. There’s always somebody in the organization — it may not be your direct manager, maybe it’s someone two levels up and over — that’s going to say, “Yeah, you know, Mandy? I really like her. Have you thought about putting her on this project or in that role?” When you find a connection with somebody, just hold onto it because you never know what door that might open and where that path might lead.
Any advice for those just exploring their career path — or the potential for one?
I was the first one in my family to go to college. So I had to help my mom figure out what I needed to get there. I remember dragging her to the PSAT’s, and she was like, “Why do we need to do this?” I’ve had to chart my own course at times. But I also have faith that our paths are charted for us, before we even get there. You just have to make sure that you’re open and going in the right direction, so that you’re there when opportunity arises.
Speaking of opportunities, you’ve applied for jobs and promotions while pregnant — which is not something women typically do. What do you say to yourself, now that you’re on the other side of those experiences?
First I’d say to myself, “You got the promotion!” But also, that I’m glad I pushed myself to continue the work I was already a huge part of.
I was going to be going on maternity leave about a month after the promotion was going to be official, but I thought, “Why not? Why not just go for it? Don’t be afraid of rejection or that it might not happen. You’ve already put in the time to figure out if you can do this job or not — and you can.”
Can you describe your soulcare routine?
I don’t get a lot of free time, I’ll admit. But I will tell you what makes me feel good at the end of the day is taking a shower and turning the water up to hot. It’s like 115 degrees in there. My husband’s like, “What’s going on in there? Why’s it so steamy?!” I just sit there and inhale, exhale, and let it all go.
Can you share a little more about how you prep for a day, too?
Every morning, I wake up and I tell my kids (who tend to be grumpy then) that we’re not going to head into our days with a bad attitude. We say a little prayer in the morning, to take a moment to be grateful that we have a bed and a home. I encourage them — and myself — to just get our minds right before going out into the day.
After that, my routine is super simple: I wash my face, brush my teeth, [and] I’ve already had my blazing hot shower the night before. I go for my W3LL PEOPLE Expressionist Pro Mascara, a Mac lipstick I fell in love with long ago, and my e.l.f. Poreless Putty Primer under any foundation or concealer I use – it’s a must! Then, I’m ready for the day — and Zoom!
Did our talk with Mandy inspire any new ideas about work, life, or anything in between? Share your thoughts in the comments!