I am usually never late to appointments/events- it’s quite rare. I’m only late if unforeseen circumstances arise or if it’s intentional. Someone once told me that “If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late. If you’re late, forget about it”. Ever since I’ve been told that in high school I have made it a point to always be at least 10-15 minutes early aka punctual. It’s a way for me to make the most of my time and to respect that of others, especially in New York.
Of course the one time I am unforgivably late, January 16 (last night), the Global CEO of Chanel is speaking at the Asia Society at what was a sold out event.
I underestimated rush hour and overestimated my taxi hailing skills (I have none) that I ended up being 35 minutes late (crazy, I know) to what was to be an incredible and insightful event. Needless to say, I was a bit upset/disappointed with myself. Since the auditorium was filled to capacity and more, there was a television broadcasting the talk outside to a group of people – a group, that was quite large much to my surprise. I had to stand and watch the television screen for the remainder of the event mentally kicking myself wishing I was inside. Note to self: that’s what happens you’re late. Someone left their phone in the bathroom and I was able to successfully return that to them though, so at least I made someone’s night.
In the part that I was present for, Maureen Chiquet, the Global CEO of Chanel (the featured guest of the program), addressed some topics similar to what I had been hearing all week at the Big Show convention (I’ll be blogging about that later btw I was just too excited about this). She mentioned how in her opinion you can’t succeed if you’re not willing to take risks or be wrong. How she really loves beautiful things and all things French, and that essentially fuels her passion for the product and Chanel, leading to success. How despite what Chanel might mean to the public, Chanel to her at least symbolizes “simple, effortless, chic.” That people issues not business issues are what keep her awake at night. Maintaining newness while keeping innate qualities and tradition is what drives innovation. How in a world where so much is demanded, she doesn’t get too worried about what may or may not happen, she just continues to deliver excellence and design.
These are just some of the points that she discussed and it goes to show why Chanel is the way it is. I think what she said about ignoring the noise and continuing to deliver is extremely relevant in both business and life at least, that is something I personally keep reminding myself. She mentioned before Chanel she was at Gap and Old Navy and after the program, a few people I talked to commented on how that seemed strange. To me it made sense because Mrs Chiquet seemed extremely grounded and focused and that, among many other things, no doubt has contributed to her success, especially in the luxury sector.
After the program there was a reception and to my surprise I actually ran into a few friends that I haven’t seen in a while and Mrs Chiquet also happened to stick around for a while talking to the audience. The crowd huddling around her was intense- I can’t imagine what that must’ve felt like… but she handled that situation with poise and grace all the while looking incredibly chic in her embroidered Chanel Suit.
While my two friends and I were waiting for a chance to speak to Mrs. Chiquet , we were talking about how interesting it was that we get more excited about CEO’s than celebrities… Call us nerdy but we couldn’t think of one person we would be excited to see in person, except for maybe David Beckham, but that’s only because of his overwhelming attractiveness. Anyone else have any celebrities/figures they’d want to meet?
I was so close to getting to talk to her…But then, her assistant said it was time for her to go. In defeat I stepped back and sighed and watched as her bodyguard came around to Mrs. Chiquet. While she get stopped again by a few other “fans”, I couldn’t help but be amused by the sight of her tough bodyguard holding her Chanel purse I jokingly said to him, “You pull that bag off really well.” He actually laughed and let me take a photo of him (below). We actually ended up having a short conversation and even though I wasn’t able to talk to Mrs Chiquet I had a fun time talking to C. What fun. 🙂
Even though I was late to the program and wasn’t able to talk to the CEO, I made up for my lateness and ended up having a memorable night. In New York, you never know who you’ll meet or how things will turn out and that’s one of the many things I love about it.
Here’s to hoping I’ll run into everyone from last night again sometime in the future. In the meantime, stay classy, stay fabulous.
“Success is often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.”
“Elegance is not the prerogative of those who have just escaped from adolescence, but of those who have already taken possession of their future.”
– Coco Chanel
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