When I was 16, I opened the first Versace franchise in the U.S., building what was then an unknown brand into the most successful Versace store worldwide and transforming Rodeo Drive into what it is today. 

In my 30s and 40s, I went on to lead teams at Hermés, Yves St. Laurent, Bulgari, and Gucci.

Here are 9 lessons for bold and driven leaders I wish I knew when I was hard-knuckling my way through most of my time as a corporate leader.

  1. Service, not people-pleasing, is the key to success.
  2. You’re not in the X, Y or Z business, you’re in the relationship business.
  3. Be the same person with the people above, below and next to you.
  4. Don’t believe the “core values” of the company — believe the culture.
  5. Don’t try to sell a product or service you wouldn’t buy yourself.
  6. Shine the light on your boss, CONSISTENTLY. 
  7. Don’t gossip about anyone, EVER.
  8. Be your word, ALWAYS.
  9. And finally… remember, you’re not the boss of you!