MY PAS­SION FOR LEARN­ING IS THE IN­SPI­RA­TION BE­HIND ELEMIS

NOELLA GABRIEL, MAN­AG­ING DI­REC­TOR AT ELEMIS, TALKS TURN­ING 60 AND CRACK­ING THE GLASS CEIL­ING WITH HER HEELS TO BEAUTY DI­REC­TOR, JO GB

Woman & Home - - CONTENT -

WE TALK TO NOELLA GABRIEL, MD OF ELEMIS

NOELLA GREW UP IN BAN­DON, COUNTY CORK, ONE OF FIVE CHIL­DREN WHOSE FA­THER WORKED FOR THE FORD CAR FAC­TORY. SHE DE­SCRIBES HER­SELF AS A “FREE SPIRIT” AND HAS NEVER MAR­RIED BUT HAS ONE DAUGH­TER KATE, NOW AGED 18. SHE CO-FOUNDED ELEMIS IN 1990.

I JUST adore WHAT I DO. PAS­SION IS, AND HAS AL­WAYS BEEN, MY KEY DRIVER. YOU COULDN’T WORK IN A MORE IN­TER­EST­ING BUSI­NESS: BE­CAUSE IT’S EVOLV­ING ALL THE TIME

AND BE­CAUSE WE WOMEN ARE AMAZ­ING – GROW­ING AND GET­TING MORE CON­FI­DENT.

I THINK YOU NEED TO BE AM­BI­TIOUS IN

LIFE, BUT SOME WOMEN WANT SUC­CESS

AND FUL­FIL­MENT SO MUCH THAT IT GETS IN

THE WAY. I THINK WANT­ING IT AND BE­ING PAS­SION­ATE ABOUT SOME­THING YOU’RE DO­ING ARE TWO VERY DIF­FER­ENT THINGS. MY DRIVER HAS AL­WAYS BEEN TO LEARN, TO EX­PE­RI­ENCE AND TO MEET PEO­PLE – AND IT STILL IS.

A WORK/LIFE BAL­ANCE IS KEY. I AM EX­CES­SIVE BY NA­TURE, SO A BAL­ANCE HAS AL­WAYS BEEN DIF­FI­CULT, BUT I THINK IT’S DIF­FI­CULT FOR WOMEN IN GEN­ERAL IN BUSI­NESS BE­CAUSE WE AL­WAYS FEEL WE NEED TO OVER­COM­PEN­SATE. THROUGH­OUT THE 60S AND 70S I TRAV­ELLED THE WORLD AND ALTHOUGH MY BUSI­NESS WAS ABOUT BEAUTY AND WOMEN, THE IRONY IS THAT THOSE AT THE TOP ARE STILL, PRETTY MUCH, MEN. SO I NEVER FELT I COULD SAY, “I CAN’T DO THAT”. BUT I THINK TO­DAY THAT’S CHANG­ING. THERE IS A PER­MIS­SION TO TALK

ABOUT YOUR LIM­I­TA­TION WITH­OUT IT DE­STROY­ING YOUR OP­POR­TU­NITY. I WEL­COME THAT

CHANGE FOR WOMEN WITH OPEN ARMS.

I NEVER WANT TO STOP LEARN­ING. AGED 60, I’VE JUST GOT A YOUNG GIRL IN THE OF­FICE TO GIVE ME AN HOUR OF SO­CIAL ME­DIA MEN­TOR­ING ONCE A WEEK! AS WE GET OLDER AND HAVE THESE BIG ROLES, WE THINK WE’RE EX­PECTED TO KNOW ev­ery­thing BUT WE’RE LEARN­ING ALL THE TIME.

THE GREAT­EST PIECE OF AD­VICE I EVER HAD IS “GIVE IT TIME”. WE ALL THINK WE NEED

THE AN­SWER NOW! I DRIVE THE TEAM MAD SOME­TIMES AND SAY, “I’LL COME BACK TO YOU.” TIME IS MONEY, SO ALL THAT PRES­SURE TO MAKE DE­CI­SIONS COULD MEAN BE­ING RUSHED, BUT YOU HAVE TO HAVE THE CON­FI­DENCE TO SAY, “NO, I NEED A LIT­TLE SPACE”. I’LL SLEEP ON IT AND COME BACK WITH A FRESH SO­LU­TION.

I HAVE AL­WAYS HAD A PAS­SION AND CU­RIOS­ITY ABOUT SKIN. I SHARED A HEALTH SHOP IN CORK WITH MY SIS­TER FOR ABOUT THREE YEARS. I WAS SELL­ING LECITHIN AND WHEATGERM 40 YEARS AGO – WAY BE­FORE THE CUR­RENT TREND. LOTS OF WOMEN WOULD TALK ABOUT THEIR SKIN AND THERE WAS THIS PAR­AL­LEL WITH GOOD HEALTH.

THE BEST RECIPE FOR SUC­CESS IN LIFE IS THE PHRASE “NOW GO LIVE LIFE EAS­ILY”, WHICH WAS RE­CENTLY SAID TO ME AT THE END OF A MIND­FUL­NESS TRAIN­ING COURSE. IT’S ABOUT WAK­ING UP IN THE MORN­ING AND TRY­ING NOT TO GIVE INTO THE ANGST. THE VALUE OF THAT TO ME PER­SON­ALLY HAS BEEN IM­MENSE; BUT ALSO IN BUSI­NESS WE’RE BE­GIN­NING TO UN­DER­STAND HOW TO BRING WELL­NESS INTO OUR EV­ERY­DAY LIVES. THAT’S AL­WAYS BEEN THE ELEMIS WAY – WE WERE VERY HOLIS­TIC FROM THE EARLY

90S, BUT NOW IT FEELS LESS COM­PLI­CATED.

Grow­ing up

I WAS A CLAS­SI­CAL MEZZO-SO­PRANO GROW­ING UP. I WAS SINGING SOLO AT 13 AND WON A MU­SI­CAL SCHOL­AR­SHIP AT 15, WHICH DEF­I­NITELY CON­TRIB­UTED TO MY CON­FI­DENCE BUILD­ING AND LOVE OF “THE BREATH”. I STILL HAVE A LOVE OF CLAS­SI­CAL MU­SIC TO­DAY.

MY MA­JOR TURN­ING POINT IN LIFE WAS WHEN I WAS 21 AND LOST BOTH MY PAR­ENTS QUITE UN­EX­PECT­EDLY: THEY DIED 3-4 MONTHS APART: MY FA­THER FROM A HEART AT­TACK, MY MOTHER FROM BREAST CAN­CER. SUD­DENLY, I WAS AT A CROSS­ROADS AND I THOUGHT “DO I RE­ALLY WANT TO BE A SINGER?” I HAD IT ALL AT MY FEET BUT DE­CIDED “NO”. I DIDN’T LIKE THE FACT THAT MY WHOLE LIFE WAS MAPPED OUT FOR ME. MY PAS­SION FOR BREATH­ING AND WHAT SHAPES THE BODY LED ME TO STUDY NUTRI­TION AND TRAIN AS A BEAUTY THER­A­PIST.

IT’S IM­POR­TANT TO HAVE SOME­ONE TO TALK TO. I’VE BEEN IN PSY­CHOTHER­APY ALL MY

LIFE. SOME PEO­PLE SAY “WHY WOULD YOU WANT THAT?” BUT IT’S MY ME-TIME. FOR ME, AS A SIN­GLE PAR­ENT, IT WAS VERY IM­POR­TANT FOR ME TO HAVE THAT WHILE MY DAUGH­TER KATE, NOW 18, WAS GROW­ING UP, SO THAT I DIDN’T OFF­LOAD ONTO HER. THAT’S BEEN VERY HEALTHY FOR ME AND MY MIND.

In­ner self

HOW WE MAN­I­FEST OUR LIFE­STYLE CHOICES IS VI­TAL, FROM THE MINUTE YOU GET UP OUT OF BED, HOW YOU BREATHE AND HOW YOU “AT­TACK” YOUR DAY. SOME PEO­PLE RE­ALLY DO AT­TACK IT, WITH A FORCE THAT RESOUNDS THROUGH THEIR BODY LIKE A DOMINO EF­FECT. BUT IT’S

ALSO HOW YOU LOOK IN THE MIR­ROR, HOW YOU HOLD YOUR FACE, HOW YOU PICK UP YOUR HAND­BAG, HOW YOU EN­GAGE EV­ERY DAY. I HAVE A REAL PAS­SION FOR THAT EN­QUIRY; IT’S BEEN THE WAVE BE­HIND EV­ERY­THING I DO WITH ELEMIS.

I’M A WISE OLD OWL. MY IN­NER WIS­DOM TELLS ME THAT IT’S IM­POR­TANT FOR ME TO HAVE A BAL­ANCE. I DON’T THINK ANY­ONE BEN­E­FITS IF YOU ARE WORK­ING 24/7 BE­CAUSE THEY’RE NOT GET­TING THE BEST OF YOU. I THINK BE­ING IN WEEKLY THER­APY HAS HELPED ME KEEP THAT BAL­ANCE.

I’VE HAD MY UPS AND DOWNS IN LIFE. THERE’S BEEN A LOT OF LOSS – MY PAR­ENTS, KATE’S FA­THER, BE­ING A SIN­GLE PAR­ENT – BUT THERE HAVE BEEN IN­CRED­I­BLE MO­MENTS OF RICH­NESS TOO. I’VE MADE SURE MY EYES HAVE BEEN OPEN ENOUGH TO SEE THEM, AND THAT MAKES THE DIF­FER­ENCE. I THINK SOME PEO­PLE HAVE MO­MENTS OF RICH­NESS BUT THEY MISS IT.

I GAR­DEN MORE NOW AS I’VE GROWN OLDER.

I NEVER THOUGHT I HAD GREEN FINGERS BE­FORE, YET NOW EV­ERY­THING I PUT DOWN COMES ALIVE! I’VE OPENED MY EYES, AND IT’S AS IF MY GAR­DEN IS MIR­ROR­ING BACK TO ME HOW I’VE FLOUR­ISHED IN MY­SELF AND HOW I’VE GROWN.

THE WORST THING FOR ME IS TO LOSE A CLIENT. MY THER­A­PISTS KNOW THAT EACH CON­SUL­TA­TION IS NOT TO BE TAKEN LIGHTLY. THIS CLIENT IS LET­TING US INTO HER INNERMOST SE­CRETS, SO WE HAVE TO VALUE THAT, IN­TER­PRET WHAT’S THERE, TO DE­LIVER THE BEST TREAT­MENT EV­ERY TIME.

I’M NOT SURE IF 60 RE­ALLY IS THE NEW 50. IT’S ABOUT SELF-AC­CEP­TANCE WHAT­EVER YOUR AGE. I’VE NEVER DONE BO­TOX AND I NEVER WILL. I SE­RI­OUSLY BE­LIEVE A WOMAN CAN GROW OLD GRACE­FULLY: WE OWE IT OUR­SELVES.

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