Posted By Sheryl Thai On 18 November 2016
When I mentioned to a few people that I was attending an up close & personal event with Paris Hilton yesterday, I got some mixed reactions. You’re probably either rolling your eyes right now or perhaps a bit intrigued to know if there is any depth to this “socialite”.
I honestly didn’t know what to expect but I believe, until I meet someone myself, I should never pass judgement based on hearsay. And as easy it would be to dismiss her as nothing more than a Hilton heiress that has become famous for being famous, I was more curious to know what drives a person that already has everything at her finger tips?
In a private room full of busy entrepreneurs (not Paris Hilton fans) we were told she was going to be 45 minutes late and running on 3 hours sleep. You can imagine the skeptical comments floating around about whether there was anything to be gained meeting her.
She finally appears, waving away, with a giant rock on her hand blinding us. She was going to have a hard task of keeping us all engaged.
We delve right into the questions. After an hour, my perception of her as the young ditzy socialite has completely diminished and I could understand why she has been able to successfully build her own empire with a net worth of $100 million. She shared her story of how she took her own initiative to bring her perfume range to life – which has raked in $2.5 billion in revenue and is the second largest celebrity fragrance of all time. Her whole portfolio of companies she owns, she links a charity with each of them to ensure that she is contributing back.
Genuine, confident and a complete workaholic – that was my impression of her. Indeed, she could very well be another trust fund kid, living off the family’s billions but she’s not.
She taught me something that afternoon and I always say if you learn just one thing at any event, it was time well spent.
Paris went into depth on what it meant to be a leader. When asked how she was as a boss and how she thinks her team perceives her, she answered confidently, without a hint of arrogance. Now being a “boss” myself, this is a very hard question to ask yourself. As I’m sure many of you, like myself, have gone through the fraud mentality and fake-it-till-you-make-it phase. As you grow into the shoes of a leader, with it comes a lot of self-development and self awareness. She answered with self-assurance that she believed that her staff enjoy working with her, that she has never raised her voice at anyone and that she is well respected. She ensures that they have fun, are taken care of and that she also celebrates wins with them.
Her words were authentic and genuine. There was no acting or rehearsed lines and you could feel the words come from her heart. And regardless of whether others may agree with her lifestyle, her voting choice or values. Paris taught me something that afternoon. She taught me that regardless of whether you come from rags or riches, gaining respect and being a true leader takes hard work and consistency. And the reason why I truly knew that she had worked to gain that respect was how one of her Directors, Corinne, spoke of her and how her team looked up to her. On top of that, even after a long flight and 3 hours sleep, she didn’t need to meet each and every one of us, but she was patient and stayed till the end. Sometimes, it’s all the small things that count.
One last thing before I sign off, I want to share something pretty special that our friends over at Foundr Magazine are doing. I met Nathan a few years ago when he started on his own with nothing but a huge dream and his mum as his copywriter. Foundr is now a 6-figure company that ranks up with the likes of Entrepreneur and Fast Company, their Instagram following is at 83k shy of 1 million followers – damn! Look, they’ve almost hit their Kickstarter campaign but they’re launching an awesome book that will give you that hit of inspo at the tip of your fingertips. It has immediately actionable advice from the world’s best entrepreneurs (including Daymond John, Barbara Corcoran, Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington and more). They have a ton of early bird specials that are going fast (I’ve got mine already). So get yours!
Sheryl Thai, CEO
League of Extraordinary Women