Yale School of Management

What I Learned from: Colleen Funkey of Estée Lauder

In this series, students reflect on talks by visiting speakers. Christina Healy ’21 shares her takeaways from a talk by Colleen Funkey, executive director of consumer insights at Estée Lauder.

Colleen Funkey, executive director of consumer insights at Estée Lauder, spoke at the Center for Customer Insights’ Colloquium on Marketing Leadership on February 17. Funkey discussed her experience as a leader in brand strategy across a diverse group of CPG companies, including AB-InBev and Colgate-Palmolive.

MBA student Christina Healy ’21 shares her takeaways.

How this speaker enriched my Yale SOM experience

It’s always interesting to hear how people connect the dots between the different positions they have held and to understand what drives them when moving from position to position. For Colleen, this was about understanding people, their motivations, needs, and values and designing products that help them achieve their goals. Specifically, this event helped me understand that need states are constantly changing and that something small (like lipstick) can have a huge effect on the way that you feel about yourself and how you move through the world–even in a pandemic!

My biggest takeaway

The way youth shape culture and their values drive behavior for decades. I thought it was very interesting to learn that Gen Z, in response to constantly feeling judged and growing up with social media, places immense value on self-esteem, which is leading beauty brands toward messages of celebrating natural beauty, inclusivity, and self-care. I also loved that in the end she predicted that in the near future, going into the office will be a “special” event and something people dress up for—which is funny to think about, but also resonated strongly with me.

About the author

Christina Healy