“Every doubt was partnered with a what-if, and this has taken my career on an incredible journey from the UK to the Middle East to the US.”
By Alyssa Shapiro, she/her
Welcome to Follow These Women! the latest series to join To The People’s lineup. In this series, we’ll get quality one-on-one time with the women of Youth To The People and sit down with them to discover their career paths—some are unusual, all are inspiring—their goals, dreams, and values. No matter the stage of your own career, taking a peek into someone else’s path can be a breath of fresh air—it can offer a new perspective, or even help you double down on the things that are important to you. If you’re looking for groundbreaking women, look no further. Follow these women!
Next up is Anna Vale, a self-described beauty-loving Brit based in New York, New York who wears a great many deal of hats. Among them: “Mom, dog-mom, wife, and global brand communications consultant,” she says.
Fun fact about Anna—remember Tommy Girl? (I for one can still smell it as I walk by the lockers in my mind.) Anna worked on the UK launch of Tommy fragrances as an intern at the start of her career, and now, she heads up global communications as a consultant for Youth To The People.
“From an early age, I knew I loved beauty and its impact on peoples’ lives, from the way it makes you feel to the way it can impact the world for good,” says Anna. “It empowers people in so many ways, and I knew this was my calling.”
Anna has worked on brand launches, relaunches, and specializes in building brands globally—because there’s no one-size-fits-all approach for beauty around the world. Her work has always been global—expansive, full of new places and new experiences, but for Anna, things changed—and opened up—when she had a baby.
“My career took an unusual turn after having my daughter,” she says. “I felt I needed to reinvent myself in new ways, and although I had a global career, I felt like I needed more.” Before becoming a mom, Anna held an executive position at a large beauty company—but she felt that the maternity leave time available to her wasn’t enough.
“I felt like I'd never be able to get my time back with a baby, but I felt like I'd be able to get my career back on track,” says Anna, “So I put my career on hold so I could be home with her. And I know that's a very fortunate thing to have the opportunity to do.” And when her daughter turned 16 months, Anna felt ready to restart her career.
“I needed to start from scratch; I felt like I’d become a different person after becoming a mom—I actually really struggled with what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be. I had this whole new identity that I really wasn't prepared for, so we needed a change,” she says. “I packed up our life and moved to the Middle East for an experience that I couldn’t have dreamed of.” She was offered an opportunity to run the beauty division at an agency in Dubai helping global brands enter a local market.
“This gave me an entirely new perspective of what being global truly was. This was never planned in my career goals, but when the opportunity came up, it sent me in a different direction and I jumped on the opportunity for a new career and family experience. I wanted to be in a different place where I could expand my horizons whilst being a mom, and being in Dubai gave me that opportunity to reinvent myself and test my own barriers. and it was the most incredible time.” After a while, Anna wound up running the agency, but after two and a half years in Dubai, she felt the heartbeat of NYC calling to her.
So in the summer of 2019, “I decided to come back to the big city,” says Anna.
“I’ve always had amazing mentors around me pushing me out of my comfort zone; every doubt was partnered with a what-if, and this has taken my career on an incredible journey from the UK to the Middle East [and on] to the US,” she says.
Her ultimate career goal orbits on the axial ideal of always being excited to go to work, so it helps that each day offers something new as a consultant. At Youth To The People, Anna works to amplify communications on a global level.
“Every day is different,” says Anna. “I work with most departments in the brand and many countries around the world to drive brand awareness with the goal to reach new consumers that are yet to discover YTTP.”
No matter where her career journey takes her, one thing that has surprised Anna about her experience is the endless room for growth:
“No matter how your career advances, there is always room to grow, share your knowledge with others, and learn from others,” she says. And at Youth To The People, this comes through in unique ways: “Every day, our voices are heard at YTTP, and [as women] our ideas are celebrated and implemented.”
Groundbreaking female mentors and role models abound outside of skincare, too.
“There are so many women I admire daily, co-workers, founders, leaders, activists. But one person that really impacted my views of what women can achieve last year was Whitney Wolfe Herd, who floated her company, Bumble, on the stock exchange with her baby on her hip! Just seeing these images crushed many barriers in my mind,” says Anna.
As for what constitutes “groundbreaking” to Anna, it has to do with recognizing that this is a group effort—a team effort.
“It’s about constantly thinking about how you impact others for good and creating opportunities for people around you,” she says. “We are in this world together."
Follow Anna at @annajvale on Instagram.