Perfetti Van Melle’s Buxton Tells WLG Attendees ‘Dare To Succeed’


Indiana Convention Center — Early yesterday morning more than 450 women and men participated in the Women’s Leadership Group (WLG) breakfast and roundtable discussions. 

The event kicked off with WLG Chair Shelly Clarey welcoming attendees and introducing Sylvia Buxton, president and CEO of Perfetti Van Melle North America, as the event’s keynote speaker. Buxton, the first and only woman on the Perfetti global executive team, shared with attendees: “We are women, we are sisters, and we are strong” and went on to explain what that meant.

For “We are women,” she explained that it’s important to recognize that women in leadership need to think differently. “You have a very narrow lane as a woman leader,” she pointed out. “If you are too strong you are considered overbearing and if you are, empathetic, you are seen as weak. You need to balance that while still being authentic.”

“We are sisters,” she continued, focuses on supporting one another and using your sisters at all levels of your career. “Throughout my career I made sure I reached out to other women in similar roles,” she said. 

She also stressed the importance of fostering sponsors within your company, which she described as individuals who “have a seat at the table” when it comes to promotions and opportunities that will speak on your behalf to help move your career forward.

Buxton said when it comes to being strong, she told attendees that she has had the most success in her career when she has accepted challenges. “Don’t put artificial barriers in your way and don’t let fear stop you. Dare to succeed,” she concluded. 

Following Buxton’s comments, the audience had the opportunity to participate in discussions centered around seven topics: Work/Life Balance; Mentorship; Setting up a Successful Mentorship; Unexpected Mentors; Leadership & Skills Building; The Art and Science of Negotiation; and Your Leadership Style. 

During the event, attendees also had the opportunity to take part in a special service project organized by the USO. The organization provided toiletries and participants assembled care packages for military service members.