Q&A with ... Maria Dempsey, Weston EMT named new fragrance brand CEO
WESTON — After spending years climbing the ranks within the beauty industry, Weston resident Maria Dempsey has taken on her newest role as CEO of NEST fragrances, a luxury fragrance brand headquartered in New York City.
Dempsey, 54, began her beauty industry career in 1987 at L’Oreal, ultimately becoming vice president of marketing, facial skincare, sun, body and fragrances in 1997 for the company’s Lancome brand.
“I have had a very successful career in the beauty industry having spent 12 years at Lancome, three years at John Frieda hair care and nine years at Clarins,” she said. In addition, she created her own hair care company, which she ran from 2003 to 2008.
Dempsey grew up in Larchmont, N.Y., and went to college at SUNY Albany, where she studied French and business. It was her senior year spent abroad in Paris that motivated her to pursue a beauty career.
“Studying in Paris and writing my thesis while in Paris on ‘A comparison of the U.S. and French cosmetic markets’ inspired me to pursue a career at a Paris-based beauty company, L’Oreal. It was one of the best decisions of my life,” Dempsey said.
Though growing up and working in New York, Dempsey would later move to Greenwich and then Weston in 2002 with her husband Lou and two sons, Luke and Jack, now 21 and 19 respectively.
When she isn’t commuting to her new office in Manhattan, Dempsey finds time to volunteer in town, as well.
Dempsey recently spoke about her new job title and her involvement in the Weston community.
Q: How do you feel about your new role at NEST Frangrances?
A: I am thrilled to be a part of the NEST organization. I was drawn to the company because of the amazing quality products as well as the strong leadership of the founder, Laura Slatkin. In addition, I was eager to work closely with our investment partners at Eurazeo.
Q: What are your goals as CEO?
A: My goals are the strengthen and build the NEST brand and organization. We need to continue to launch innovative and quality products and to retain and recruit top talent.
Q: Are you from Weston originally? If not, what brought you here?
A: We moved to Weston from Greenwich in 2002. We moved here for the excellent schools, small town feel as well as the rural and beautiful country feel of the town.
Q: How are you involved in the Weston community?
I have been a volunteer EMT (emergency medical technician) for the past year and a half. My husband has been a volunteer firefighter for over 15 years. We love giving back to the community and being a part of this amazing town. I am also on the board of The Aspetuck Land Trust as I am passionate about protecting our land for the future.