Pandora jewelry is a forever favorite. Its affordable jewelry finds have managed to maneuver past popular accessory franchises like Kay and Jared due to its modish approach to design. In 2015 the brand made a major shift and launched its E-commerce platform thanks to the Chief Marketing Officer, Americas Charisse Hughes.

Hughes who was formally the SVP of Marketing at Estee Lauder started working for Pandora after a few months of taking some time off. “You have to believe and have faith in yourself and what you’re capable of,” Hughes told ESSENCE. While achieving success in a high-power position, the business professional made the decision, after proper preparation, to take some time for life.

Now approaching her 5 year stint with Pandora, ESSENCE got a chance to chat with the CMO about her journey, what’s next for the brand, and the importance of a work/life balance. Read below.

Pandora Jewelry CMO, Charisse Hughes

NH: What brought you to Pandora?

Hughes: I had been really successful at Estee Lauder, kind of rose through the ranks, starting out as executive director, then to VP, then to senior VP. And it all happened so quickly, but not quickly in that, your life goes by really fast and so you get to a certain point of trying to figure out what matters. I was at the point in my life where I wanted to recalibrate. I made the decision to step away from Estee Lauder in order to allow me that room to figure out what I wanted to do next in my career. I was having conversations and basically started to activate my network, exploring new opportunities, and then Pandora came up.

NH: When you left Estee Lauder, how did it feel to choose you in that moment?

Hughes: It actually took me two years to take that action. So it just goes to show, I planned in terms of financials. I wanted to be financially responsible. You may have people who have expectations of you financially or otherwise emotionally. So that also weighed on me. You have to believe and have faith in yourself and what you’re capable of. Your skill set and your ability to articulate this message, to pivot into the next thing and being very intent and focused on what you do with your time. When you do take that pause, it’s not like a vacation, it’s meant to be thinking time. It’s not easy, I’ll just say that. But, trusting yourself and confidence is a big part of it.

“Don’t just sit there and expect to get the perfect job and think that life is perfect. It’s not perfect.” – Charisse Hughes

NH: How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?

Hughes: I read all these blogs and I think they all are saying a lot of similar stuff, which is you can have it all but maybe not all at the same time. You’ve got to figure out your priorities and make sure that you manage those. I think that is probably the mindset and it’s a day by day challenge or opportunity to figure out how to reassert what’s important to you.

NH: What is your advice for young women stepping into the professional working space?

Hughes: Your network, the people that you need that maybe have been either your bosses in the past or your mentors, those relationships are really important. They can be incredibly helpful and it’s important to make sure you’re asking for help when you need it because I do think people want to help. Don’t just sit there and expect to get the perfect job and think that life is perfect. It’s not perfect. Figure out what two or three things you want to get, go for it and hopefully you’ll get those and more, and then start to build on that. But you have to move. You can’t kind of be stagnant. So I believe in kind of having progress and developing yourself through those experiences.

“You have to believe and have faith in yourself and what you’re capable of. ” – Charisse Hughes

NH: You’ve really expanded the Pandora E-Commerce platform, what was your reasoning behind that?

Hughes: Having been at Lauder and knowing how rapidly the company’s grew and seeing what was happening in the digital space, it was kind of a no brainer. I got to Pandora if you can believe this, they had a site, but the site was just a brand site. You couldn’t purchase anything, but you could just go on there and browse the product. That was just an online catalog. From my standpoint, I knew the potential of E commerce and how rapidly it was going. So again, data and understanding where the market is and where it’s headed and how we can tap into that and make that a relevant way of interacting with consumers.

NH: What are some projects for Pandora that you are excited to launch?

Hughes: We’ve made a commitment to have a hundred percent renewable energy in two of our facilities in Thailand and then we’re going to be completely carbon neutral by 2025. What is making me really proud about working for Pandora is that we’re really trying to work hard to align our brand in terms of what we stand for, to the values of our customers. And that feels better than anything. That’s how we’re thinking about 2020 and then there’s a lot more to come in 2021. Also, we’re doing this charms for change initiative and supporting UNICEF. So on March 7th we are celebrating International Women’s Day with an exclusive concert in central London.

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