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The Power of Partnerships: Employees of The Estée Lauder Companies Making a Difference

By BCRF | November 1, 2017

Annette Williams shares her story.

Over the last 25 years, The Estée Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Campaign (The Campaign) has been a leading voice for breast cancer awareness, igniting a global movement that has helped fund innovative research and inspired meaningful action against the disease.

Evelyn H. Lauder founded The Campaign and co-created the pink ribbon in 1992, sparking this global movement to end breast cancer. Mrs. Lauder founded the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) the following year in 1993 and The Campaign has remained a critical partner since. The Campaign has raised $70 million dollars globally, of which $56 million dollars has funded 225 medical research grants through the BCRF. Employees of The Estée Lauder Companies (ELC) have played an integral role in The Campaign’s success in raising awareness and propelling research forward, faster.

We talked to several of the incredibly dedicated staff at The Estée Lauder Companies to learn what drives them, year after year, to support research.  

Annette Williams is the Executive Director of Global Education for Aramis and Designer Fragrances (ADF) based out of New York City. She has been with ELC for 25 years, and with ADF for 12. As the head of Global Education at ADF, she oversees the instructional design and retail sales development for a diversified portfolio of designer fragrance brands including Tory Burch, Michael Kors, Ermenegildo Zegna, DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger and several others. She also volunteers as a fundraiser for The Campaign.

How do you raise money for The Campaign?

For nine years, I have led the ADF Annual Bake Sale. The Bake Sale takes place at our headquarters in New York City and with the support of countless volunteers, we have continued an ELC tradition that shows the power of collaboration for a worthy cause and proves we are stronger together. While the Bake Sale is our main theme, donations from top designers and all ELC divisions provide incentive to participate in our very popular raffle event with William P. Lauder, Executive Chairman of The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. Hundreds of employees participate, creating a lively and fun event at our offices. Plus, the recent addition of our “Sale-a-bration” featuring top-selling ELC products was a winning effort along with the very successful grassroots fundraising program executed each year by our sales team. Proudly, our goal to raise the bar every year has helped us not only raise funds but an awareness of breast cancer.

What inspires you to raise money for breast cancer research?

I strongly believe that someone’s life does not have to be personally touched for them to be inspired to support this important cause. You don’t have to have breasts… or have known someone that suffered through or bravely defeated breast cancer. When I became involved with the ADF Bake Sale, I knew of no one with breast cancer in my personal life. Today, that zero count has increased to 14. Thankfully, some are survivors and sadly, some are not. And, while 14 may not seem like a high number, to me, “one” is too many. It is vital that we heighten everyone’s awareness that breast cancer is not a disease about beauty or your appearance but about life!

It is simple, research is the lifeline to the end of breast cancer in our lifetime.

Any words of inspiration for others who are hoping to make a difference like you have?

Many years ago, the ADF Bake Sale began with every tasty sliver personally baked by an ELC employee, including Mrs. Evelyn H. Lauder’s beloved apple pies. With each year, it has only grown bigger and bigger and now includes generous donations from 32 top bakeries/eateries in NYC in addition to home-baked goods from our employees. This clearly shows that being associated in any way (big or small) with an effort such as The Campaign or BCRF can truly make a difference. You will find that inspiration is reciprocated in innumerable ways. So just do it! Help us fight this deadly disease and hopefully, one day, we will “have our cake and eat it too.”