Candace Matthews, CMO, Amway Corporation

Candace Matthews

The Trailblazer

By Brittani Banks

Candace Matthews is the youngest of 18 children and has an MBA from Stanford. She’s currently the chief global marketing officer for Amway Corporation, which has more than 14,000 employees and $9.2 billion in sales. Matthews says the lack of other minority women in executive level positions “continues to be the biggest obstacle” she faces in her career.

Before working for Amway, Matthews’ ultimate career goal was to become a division president by age 50. She achieved this by becoming the president of L’Oreal Soft Sheen Carson division at age 42. In 2007, Matthews became a pioneer as the first African American to receive the Achiever Award from Cosmetics Executive Women Organization.

Matthews says she is painfully aware that even though companies support and emphasize diversity, there are still few women in executive level positions. “As an African-American female in business, the higher you climb toward the C-suite, the less likely it is that people in your peer group may look like you.”

What motivated her to persevere? “I have been blessed to have strong mentors and role models at critical points in my career,” says Matthews. An important lesson learned from them has been: “Unto whom much of given, much is required.” Matthews says this is the mantra that keeps her striving ahead.

What’s next? “I am very aware of the necessity to continue to blaze the trail and be a strong example for others to follow. You never know whose career path you are impacting.”

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