Brenda Lilly '91
Brenda Lilly ’91 was an English and French literature major at Radford University who found a passion in the beauty industry.
“I moved to the New York area in 1996 and started my career in the industry. I have worked for Revlon, Clinique, L’Oreal-Maybelline, The Estee Lauder Companies and now for Fresh,” says Lilly.
As a student and new graduate, Lilly was interested in theater. ”Right out of college, I received an internship with the Washington Performance Art Society. It was great because I realized I had a lot more interest in business. I also realized the theater industry was not for me. That is what internships are for. I then started pursuing jobs in sales,” says Lilly.
After working in the retail side of beauty, Lilly moved into product merchandizing and market research. “My career really transitioned when I started working for Estee Lauder. I worked for the company for 11 years, gaining experience in product marketing. I enjoyed being in sales and doing market research, but product marketing is where I found my passion,” says Lilly.
Today, Lilly works as the senior director of global marketing for Fresh, Inc. "I am focused on product marketing and developing new products for Fresh in both the United States and Asia,” says Lilly.
Lilly and her team look for inspiration in all sorts of places. They look at current items that are popular with their customers and see how they can expand those products into something more. “If we have a great skin cream, we look to see if we can also make an eye cream. The beauty industry is very creative and we have the opportunity to express ourselves,” says Lilly.
Lilly credits Radford University for her leadership skills that she uses every day. “I was in the class that recolonized the Sigma Kappa sorority. In that process you learn how to host people, how to get to know people, and how to make someone feel comfortable. Those are all fundamentals that I use a lot today, especially when I am hiring someone,” says Lilly.
Lilly encourages students to take advantage of the leadership opportunities available at Radford University, and to keep up with their relationships made at Radford. “Peers, professors, administrators, alumni—they are all important contacts for you,” says Lilly.