From Model to CEO: 5 Lessons in Business From Simona Fusco From Model to CEO: 5 Lessons in Business From Simona Fusco Ever since I can remember, everyone told me I should be a model and actress and I will never forget how happy I was landing a job as a lead model at the young age of 8 for Lacoste, which was one of the major international advertising campaigns at that time. From that point everything happened so fast and I was catapulted into the entertainment business and began working as a full time model and actress. It was an endless roller coaster of job opportunities that I didn’t have time to think! It wasn’t until the birth of my daughter, that I had an opportunity to slow down and think about my life. I remember clear as day that during that time of reflection, something inside me made me make the decision to slowly transgress from being an entertainer to working on something that I’ve always had a passion for, something that fulfilled me more than working as an actor and allowed me to help others. Once I realized that, I never looked back. I looked at what my talents, passions, and interests were. I asked myself what could I see myself doing? Plans were laid and I began what would become the start of my company, ‘Perfect 12’, a high-end executive match-matching firm in Beverly Hills, California. Here I am today, a successful business woman and owner of a company for over 10 years. I’ve learned so many invaluable lessons in that time. Some of which, I hope help you on the path to breaking through the business world glass ceiling. Follow your instinct. Women can be extremely critical of themselves and therefore hesitant to trust their gut instinct when it comes to many situations including business. I realized that in the past I was making a lot of my career decisions based upon what I thought was rationale and was told by others that it was the right thing to do. I learned over the years that following my internal instincts was less stressful, quicker and easier to make and nine out of ten times ended up being the “right” choice. Don’t be Afraid to Fail. I cannot emphasize how important this lesson is. A lot of times women get intimidated being that it is still a predominantly male business world. You might think that successful people are just lucky or have the right connections but you forget that you are looking at the result of years of struggling, failure and hard work. I see every “failure” as another stepping stone to reaching my ultimate success. It is the ultimate teacher. Find yourself a mentor Rome wasn’t created in one day and neither was any business. After all we aren’t just business women. Women nowadays juggle motherhood while being a provider all at once! Start doing your research and find yourself a female role model who can share her experiences. They may be more difficult to find than their male counterpart but trust me, women nowadays are making powerful moves they just are not as publicized. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends, family and colleagues for advice. Knowledge and wisdom are power and we can never have enough of either. Don’t take No for an Answer Women are by nature generous and compassionate and therefore prone to settle even if it is not in their best interest. Never ever ever ever settle and don’t be a follower. Challenge the status quo and be a leader and take smart and calculated risks in order to solve the problem before you. Walk into every Meeting and Own it Every heard the motto: Dress for success? I know that every woman has that one outfit in their repertoire that they feel confident in. Think of Jackie O, Grace Kelly or Oprah. Strong, intelligent, classy women that made an impact in the world all the while being dressed to impress. Whether it’s that little black dress for that first date or that power suit for a business meeting. I certainly dress for the occasion and it gives me that extra boost of confidence. You are in charge and the more confident you are, the more people who are listening to what you have to say will feel your energy and that will give you even more confidence and success. Rome wasn’t created in one day and neither was any business. After all we aren’t just business women. Women nowadays juggle motherhood while being a provider all at once! The Quick 10 1. What app do you most use? The app I most frequently use would be Facebook. It’s a great way to promote my businesses and my press articles. It’s also a great way to stay in touch with family and friends overseas. 2. Briefly describe your morning routine. My morning routine starts out by making sure my daughter is off to school and my dog is fed. I’ll have breakfast, check my messages, check in with my assistant and attack my schedule of the day. An average day typically consists of taking meetings with clients and doing interviews such as this. 3. Name a business mogul you admire. There are so many moguls that I admire! One of them would be Oprah. I love her confidence, her style and her generosity. While she’s incredibly successful she always remembers to give back. She’s an innovator and a leader. 4. What product do you wish you had invented? Apple of course! 5. What is your spirit animal? My spirit animal would be a lion. It reminds me of my late mother who passed away from cancer. Her astrological sign was a Leo and she had the personality of a lioness. Fierce and a warrior. 6. What is your life motto? Never never never EVER settle. 7. Name your favorite work day snack. I typically don’t snack and on the rare occasions that I do, it’s typically with healthy, natural foods such as fruits, nuts and yogurt. 8. Every entrepreneur must be what to be successful? Passionate and driven about what it is they’re doing to be successful. 9. What’s the most inspiring place you’ve traveled to? Many places leave me with different inspirations. Europe makes me melancholic as it reminds me of my childhood. Hawaii makes me feel romantic. NYC inspires me and reminds me that the sky’s the limit. It just depends where I am. 10. Desert Island. Three things, go. Obviously my phone, my family and my dog lol not necessarily in that order! Simona Fusco Simona Fusco is the founder of ‘Perfect 12’, a high-end executive match-matching firm in Beverly Hills, California. Prior to this, she was a successful model and actress with 30 film and television credits to her name, which include “The Pool Boys”, “Beerfest”, and TV shows such as “Crazy Girls”, “Entourage”, and “Shark”.