Before becoming the chief marketing office of Amway, a leading health and beauty company, Candace Matthews had a number of positions at many well-known companies, such as Coca-Cola and SoftSheen-Carson.
But her impressive career got its start when Matthews—then 26—joined General Mills as an assistant product manager. She was recruited by Ann Fudge, who later became CEO of marketing company Young & Rubicam. Fudge, a woman of color herself, became a much-needed mentor and friend as Matthews began navigating the often tricky waters of the corporate world.
That relationship has been invaluable to Matthews (the two women are still incredibly close), and it’s one she encourages young women to find for themselves. Matthews gives some great insight on finding a mentor.
“Find a mentor who is willing to be very honest. Many times, when you are so focused on driving your career, you don’t take the time to reflect on the good, the bad, and the ugly in yourself. A good mentor does that with you. She doesn’t allow you to say ‘Oh, well, this was their part.’ She’ll say ‘What was your part of the situation? Let’s talk about that. What are you going to do differently? Now come in here, cry, get it out, and put your game face back on, because you’re going back out there to deal with it.’
“You want people to be very honest. You want people to say, ‘This is the deal. Understand what’s going on around you.’ And guess what? It’s not always going to be fair! So how do you distinguish yourself in a world that’s not always fair? You deal with it in a way that doesn’t compromise who you are or your values.
“Carla Harris at Morgan Stanley wrote a book called Candace Matthews by reading our profile on her.