Jamie Kern Lima and Paolo Lima
You met in a statistics class at Columbia Business School and became partners in work and in life, launching IT Cosmetics from your California apartment in 2008, with a business plan hatched on your honeymoon. IT Cosmetics, grounded in Innovative Technology, is now a global brand, available at major retailers around the world and a top seller on QVC, the home shopping television channel. Annual sales hit $182 million before it was acquired by L’Oréal in 2016 for $1.2 billion. Jamie is the first woman to be Chief Executive Officer of a L’Oréal brand, and Paulo is Co-Founder and Co-CEO. Like countless entrepreneurs before you, upon receiving your degrees in the spring of 2004, you began careers in one profession only to achieve extraordinary success in another. Jamie, after writing for the Columbia Business School student newspaper, The Bottom Line, pursued a career in journalism, returning to your home state of Washington to be a television news reporter. Paulo became an investment banker on Wall Street. Then, inspired by a personal experience, you came together to begin the venture of IT Cosmetics. You worked 100-hour weeks and faced repeated rejection as you tried to build and promote your brand. For three years, you did not take a salary. But you had a vision: to provide women with cosmetics that would boost their self-confidence while improving their skin. You worked with board-certified dermatologists and plastic surgeons to ensure your products met the highest standards of quality. Your success inspired you to give back, by donating more than $20 million in products to the American Cancer Society’s “Look Good Feel Better” program for women suffering from cancer, as well as millions more to other philanthropies devoted to empowering women. You also give back to Columbia, returning to campus often to share your time, energy, and knowledge. Your drive, dedication, and commitment to innovation make Columbia proud to count you among its graduates, and to honor you with the University Medal for Excellence.