I met Tanya Pushkine several years ago when she was heading up PR for Clarins. She’s an internationally recognized global communications and brand strategist with over 20 years conceiving, directing and producing major initiatives, events and philanthropic programs. Now consulting with luxury, cosmetic and fashion brands, as both a communications strategist and architect of corporate social responsibility initiatives, Tanya creates comprehensive, custom programs, small or large, with and without budgets.
Born and raised in Brussels, Belgium, Tanya is the daughter of an American-born musical conductor and German-Belgian painter. She moved to the US and was soon accepted to The Juilliard School’s Drama Division. A mother of two, Tanya first worked in entertainment, later capitalizing on her relationships with celebrities and began to manage projects, events and personal publicity for several high-profile clients.
She eventually joined public relations and event agencies, which then led to her first foray into the corporate world and worked for LVMH as Cultural and Philanthropic Director for the newly created Sephora in the States. Tanya went on to roles at L’Oreal, followed by Barnes & Noble before joining Clarins in 2006. In 2015, Tanya joined Nestle Skin Health as Head of Communications, tasked with conceiving and initiating a strategic plan for the new venture to launch 10 global innovation and educations hubs to advance skin health. She has much knowledge to impart, so I tapped her for her 5 Rules For Life. Here they are, in her own words.
1. Find your passion. Years ago, while part of the initial core team at Sephora, I was asked to create the first philanthropic initiative for the company. I had no idea what I was doing, took a deep dive in and soon discovered that touching peoples’ lives and hearts, often helping in ways that would change their journeys, was utterly transformative for me. From then on, I always managed to add philanthropy to my PR titles, as it became a passion I would never let go of. That passion has continued to grow and morph into what I now do as a consultant. I’ve seen starving children eat their first meal in days, have visited third-world countries where water and electricity are a luxury, and have witnessed poverty unlike anything imaginable. And every time, I have been moved to do more. There is nothing more fulfilling and empowering than knowing you have made an impact, however great or small. Finding this passion early on shaped so much of my life. Find a passion to follow, to blossom and to grow with.
2. Respond to emails. Period. Oh and texts. Yes, we are all busy, too busy, but it really only takes a minute to respond with a few words. Rudeness, disrespect and the lack of manners have infiltrated our society in ways that are destructive to relationships, personal and professional. I have held high-profile, powerful jobs in my life where the average daily influx of emails was 200+ and yet, I have never, ever, ever not answered an email, except if it was spam or a sales pitch. Find the time to be polite, even if you’re telling someone they didn’t get the job. Don’t ghost. It’s become the standard of behavior and acceptable. It’s not. Ever.
3. Offer (unconditional) help, kindness, compassion and generosity. “Let me know if you need anything” has got to be the most deflating comment to say to someone who really needs your help. If a friend has just come home from surgery, don’t ask. Just do. Bring a meal or two or three. Check in on them once a day (in person, by phone, text, anything). Think for a minute what you would want from others if this were you and then do the same for them. If a friend has lost her/his job, offer to sit down and go through your contacts to make introductions. Take them out for a drink. Don’t just say, “If one door closes, another will open,” or “it wasn’t meant to be.” Just as deflating. I don’t for a second say you have to give up your sense of self and get lost in a sea of generosity to your detriment. It’s a balance to achieve, but really not all that difficult.
4. Cleanse your house. What do I mean? Back to Rule #2 and #3. If a friend or even an acquaintance disappoints you by not being there for you or unresponsive to an invitation to get together and you’re just not feeling the love… let go. I have found myself in quite a few situations, even now, where I’m holding on to someone or a group of people I thought I wanted to be a part of… but wtf is that about? That is so childish, yet I have a feeling insecurity lies in all of us in some way. Surround yourself with those who actually really like you and want to be with you. Stop wanting to belong. Cherish and nurture the relationships that do matter. Just like with love, you need to water the garden of friendships every day.
5. Love more. Love deeper. It took me many boyfriends, a long marriage, two (incredible) children to finally find the love of my life. Sometimes, it takes that long. I look at the incredible man I wake up to every day and can’t believe how I didn’t pay attention to my true self all the years before. Maybe I operated out of fear and chose the wrong ones. Maybe I stayed with someone because I didn’t want to be alone. At one point during my last failed relationship, my son turned to me and said “Mom, you’ve lost your essence.” It doesn’t get more powerful than that. I finally learned to stop making the same mistakes over and over again. I made a pact with myself to stay true to my inner core. To practice self-love and get what I deserved. And now, I am with a man who everyday asks me first thing in the morning, what can he do to make my day a happy one. Like I said before, water the garden everyday. In the end, it’s not about your accomplishments and accolades or the high salary you commanded, it’s about how you loved. It’s about the mark you left on others. Speaking of leaving a mark…I wonder what kind of legacy I will leave my kids?
Don’t dress your age.
LAUGH. LAUGH. LAUGH and LAUGH some more.
Thanks, Tanya! Stay tuned for more Five Rules installments.
“Five Rules,” is a series on Rouge18 in which I ask others to share their five rules for life about anything and everything. You can learn a lot about a person by reading which five things govern their actions, no?