Natasha Cornstein, CEO of Blushington, Imparts Career Wisdom
The exec shares what she’s learned from her diverse experiences.
If there’s one word we’d use to describe Natasha Cornstein’s career—and Natasha, in general—it’s “well-rounded.” Natasha developed a fascination with languages and culture at an early age and later enrolled at Washington University, where she studied Latin American Studies and Spanish. She earned a spot in the Coro Fellows Program, which prepares young, soon-to-be leaders for public life. During the nine-month program, she worked for a government agency, a political campaign, a labor union, a corporation and a media outlet.
Her first assignment in that fellowship was with Fran Reiter, the deputy mayor of economic development and planning. “That was a fundamental experience for me, to see this woman navigate arguably the toughest and most exciting city in the world,” says Natasha. After her fellowship, she pursued a career in television. She started at the very bottom—at the overnight desk—and worked her way up at Fox News, before taking on executive roles at Pinnacle Management and CIRCA.
See what we mean? Well-rounded. Today, she’s the president and CEO of Blushington, where you can get your makeup done, Drybar-style—in a chic space, by vetted makeup artists, for a
She shared a few words of career wisdom with us.
1. Listen more than you speak
I was on the Fox News assignment desk during 9/11, which was a very formative experience. There was a lot of information flying at as, as well as a lot of unknowns. That’s where I honed my ability to ask questions and really listen. At this stage in my career, I’m doing a lot of the talking, but it’s listening that’s helped me get to where I am. I think sometimes, particularly when we’re early in our career, we’re so eager to prove ourselves and to do the talking. It’s listening and observing that help us to grow the most.
2. Talk to all types of people
Every conversation you have and every person you meet can teach you something and open a door. Sometimes, that word “networking” doesn’t have the best connotation, because it implies that you approach relationships and interactions as a means to an end. If you approach it that way, you’re missing the journey. I encourage anyone starting out—and really at any stage in their career—to embrace conversations with all types of people, at every level and every walk of life, because you don’t know what will spark an idea or lead you down a path.
3. Keep your eyes peeled for opportunities
I walked into Blushington for the first time as a customer. I was the spokesperson and head of branding and marketing for CIRCA, and I needed headshots taken. Before my photoshoot, my publicist took me to Blushington. I never liked having my makeup done professionally, but when I walked in, it was love at first sight. When I left, I felt like I could rule the world. The next day at a breakfast, I was raving about the experience to someone that I was meeting just for the first time. She turned out to be Blushington’s publicist, and she put me in touch with the owners. We got to know each other over the phone, discussing the vision and where we could take the brand. That’s how I joined Blushington. I tell everyone, “Your next hello can become your future.” If you’re excited by something, pursue it. I joined Blushington in January of 2015 as the company’s president and became the CEO in June of 2016 when the founder asked me to take on the role.
4. Be thoughtful with your time
I don’t want to miss out on anything. That’s why I plan my time so carefully—I’m a CEO, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a daughter-in-law and a granddaughter. Each one of those roles is exceptionally important to me. I’m afraid of shortchanging or missing out on any part of those experiences. I’ve learned to mitigate that fear by being very thoughtful about my time.
Image courtesy of Ivanka Trump
Illustration by Jonny Ruzzo