As Global Manager Director, Strategic Partnerships and Lead Auctioneer at Christie’s Auction House, Lydia Fenet certainly has a big job. As one of the most sought after auctioneers in the world, she’s raised over half a billion dollars for nonprofit organizations. She’s shared her know-how of commanding a room in her book, The Most Powerful Woman in the Room is You, and as this week’s Meet a Mom, the NYC-based mother of three (she has Beatrice, 7, Henry 5, and Eloise, 3) is sharing more of her story.
How would you describe The Most Powerful Woman in the Room?
The Most Powerful Woman in the Room teaches women how to get comfortable selling their business, their vision and, most importantly themselves. The book is based on my 20 year auctioneering career at Christie’s where I had to learn to find my voice in a career where my only role models were guys. I wrote the book to inspire women to go after their goals in life, and to give them the confidence to do it.
Why is being a great salesperson a great life skill—as an employee, entrepreneur, and/or mom?
Being comfortable selling anything is key in life. Selling is really just being effective sharing your point of view. As a mom I am constantly selling and negotiating with both my kids and husband about all aspects of our life. In my personal life, I constantly find myself selling my point of view to bring people along in a conversation.
What is a “strike method”?
The strike method is what I call the moment that I am focusing before I walk onstage and slam down my gavel onto a podium to get the attention of a crowded room. I encourage women to think of something that they can do anytime they are going into a meeting or a difficult conversation that will help focus their mind and help them come from a point of strength. It can be something physical like putting your hands firmly on either side of the table or a mantra that you repeatedly a few times before you walk in the room. The key is to find something that makes you feel rock solid, and never look back.
Why should women not be afraid to ask for what they want?
Because you have nothing to lose. The worst thing someone can say is no, and there is something worse than that. Never asking in the first place.
You’ve raised over half a billion dollars as a charity auctioneer…What have been some highlights over the years for you?
I have had the most rewarding moments of my life onstage raising money for charity. When a nonprofit sets a goal that will help fundamentally change the trajectory of the people benefitting from their services, it is hard for me to get off the stage unless I hit that goal. It becomes personal, and most of time very emotional when we surpass a goal. Highlights include getting $150,000 for a dinner party to support Cookies for a kids Cancer and auctioning off a dance lesson with Madonna.
How do you deal with working mom guilt?
Mom guilt is real. There is no getting around it. But I always try to make decisions that allow me to spend as much time with my kids as possible That way when I am at work I can give it my all knowing that I am not squandering my time.
You have spoken about the importance of not micromanaging your spouse. Why is that important?
My husband is an intelligent man and a wonderful dad. He may do things differently, but they still get done. It does nothing but drive us both crazy when I start to micromanage him; I feel annoyed that he isn’t doing something my way, and he gets annoyed because I have asked him to do something and then make him feel like he can’t handle it by stepping into the process. A waste of time on all fronts. Make decisions as a couple about who takes on what responsibility and let the other person handle it.
What products do you use for a quick makeup routine?
My whole routine takes about five minutes in total which is helpful when I have to do a quick turnaround from work back out to hit the stage. Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer, Laura Mercier Bronzer, NARS blush, Charlotte Tilsbury eyeshadow and glossier mascara. Lipstick is MAC Iris
Anything else you’d like to share?
I give so many speeches to moms/working moms/stay at home moms and every mom in between and I always say the same thing. Help each other. We are all in this together.
We love supporting local businesses. Would you please share your favorite places in your Tribeca neighborhood to:
Get your hair/nails done
Glamsquad for my hair always – such a great service when I need to look 100%. I get my nails done at VIP nails on Reade Street.
Go for date night
Marc Forgione or Locanda Verde
Go for dinner as a family
Go to have fun as a family
The Wonder, the mini golf course or park on Pier 26 – or anywhere on Hudson River Park
Shop for yourself
The West Village. I love popping in and out of the stores on Bleecker.
Shop for the kids
Jacadi and Lively—both are on Reade Street.