Fashion Forward - Maria Dempsey - French Connection

Maria Dempsey, B.A.’87

French Connection

By Jim Sciancalepore, M.A.’93

Maria Dempsey, executive vice president, Marketing, for Clarins

From the time Maria Dempsey took her first high school French class, she knew she had found her passion – for the language, culture and all things related to France. This love ultimately led her to UAlbany … and her current position as executive vice president, Marketing, for Clarins, a leader in skin care and makeup.

In a decision she calls “the best deal of my life,” Dempsey chose UAlbany because it offered a degree in French and business and the ability to study abroad as part of the curriculum. She ended up spending 14 months in Paris, an experience that would
forever shape her career.

“Studying in Paris took me out of my comfort zone and taught me how to adapt,” Dempsey explained. “It was one of many ways that my UAlbany degree helped me find and define what I love to do.”

After graduation, Dempsey worked her way up to vice president of Marketing for the Lancome Division of L’Oreal USA and, later, to vice president of Marketing
for John Frieda.

In her current role at Clarins, she oversees the company’s advertising, marketing, promotions, Internet and customer relationship management (CRM) efforts in the United States – helping Europe’s No. 1 cosmetics brand grow its American market share.

Dempsey works in Manhattan, but she travels several times a year to the company’s headquarters in Paris – a trip she doesn’t mind at all.