Erno Laszlo started celebrating women in 1927 and our US congress in 1988 by marking March a month to celebrate women’s accomplishments.  We sat down with our CEO, Charles Denton who has surrounded himself by some of the most inspirational women, he shares his mindset on how he leads and motivates a primarily female run company. 

Charles Denton

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) 

EL: How do you view this holiday?

CD: It’s very important to keep the conversation positive. IWD is an opportunity to celebrate women and what they bring to the world. It’s a bright and hopeful moment in the year to acknowledge their important role in all aspects of life and to be grateful for the progress that’s been made towards a more equal society. It’s also a time to remind everyone of the areas where more discussion and work is required. Sometimes it can feel like we take three steps forward only to be knocked back two steps. But it’s okay as long as we’re moving in the right direction. We must all remain positive and through love and empathy we shall get there. 


EL: Why working with Women in an industry has been so inspiring for you?

CD: In my career I’ve always worked alongside or for women. There are many reasons why I find this inspiring. It’s more collaborative and open, perhaps because there’s less ego in the room. The women that I’ve worked with have been very capable, determined and professional. Great team players and a lot of fun, often setting the pace which encourages me to raise my game. The biggest difference is perspective. Partnering with women gives you a unique insight into their world, which is very important if you want to connect with the female consumer.


EL: What do you bring to an organization that’s almost entirely managed by women?

CD: It’s important to point out that we didn’t deliberately engineer the bias at Erno Laszlo in favor of women, it happened organically over time. I see my role as facilitating the growth and development of all our people towards realizing their career ambitions and in so doing we shall reach our company goals. I spend a lot of time thinking about the type of culture needed to allow us to flourish in this way and more recently this has been focused on a more ‘family first’ approach. The need for a better work life balance within a flexible working environment reflects my understanding of what our people want at Erno Laszlo. While this is driven largely by the women in our company, it obviously benefits us all.


EL: Who are some women that inspire you and why?

CD: My mother is perhaps the most inspiring. She ran away from home at 18 to live her life her way, which was not how a young lady was expected to behave back in the 1950’s. I am the eldest of three and for the most part she raised us single handed. She loved horses, sailing and partying until dawn. With her great physical strength, striking beauty and big personality she could command the room, making her rather intimidating for some men. I remember fondly many occasions where she would back up her statement that “she was the equal of any man” with a challenge to arm wrestle. She won quite a few…


EL: What does the idea of a ‘strong woman’ mean to you?

CD: Someone who lives by their own convictions. Is less concerned about what other people think or how they might be judged, while remaining emotionally intelligent. Someone who isn’t afraid to take risks, be accountable and go their own way. Different societies can apply different forms of pressure on women to force them into behaving in a certain way. A strong-women finds the strength to make her own way through life, drawing on her beliefs, compassion and confidence.


EL: Can you share one piece of career advice for women?

CD: Of course being confident and open to opportunities would be high on my list. And surrounding yourself with like-minded people who think positively and are also curious is a must. But I would say the most important advice I would give is ‘be true to yourself’. Trying to be someone you’re not or living by another’s standards will always undermine you in the end. You will never feel fulfilled and we always be left wanting. Own your truth and no-one can take that away. It’s very empowering being the real you and it will carry you a long way in your career.