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Five tips from a successful businesswoman: Ann McBrien

Former Procter & Gamble executive shares her tips for success.

Story by Eddy Hoyle

Ann McBrien joined Procter & Gamble right after college, and her tenure there lasted 20 years. She not only worked her way up in the ranks to become Vice President Sales of Global Health Care, she earned the distinction of becoming the first female Vice President of Sales in the history of the company.

After leaving Procter & Gamble, McBrien acquired OT Over Time from Procter & Gamble and served as co-founder and CEO for the next five years.

In 2007 McBrien founded her own company, AM Marketing & Sales Concepts which helps businesses build capabilities in the areas of sales, marketing and business strategies and specializes in personal and business coaching.

She has served on the boards of Marriott International, NXT Nutritionals and Michelle’s Miracle Inc. McBrien originally hails from Champaign, Ill., and is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she earned a bachelor of science in finance.

Her ties to the Lowcountry started 40 years ago when she took a part-time summer job as a cocktail waitress with Pool Bar Jim at the Hilton Head Inn in 1980. “I was a cocktail waitress on the beach. It doesn’t get any better than that,” she said. “The island sure has changed since then,” she added.

A year ago, McBrien and her husband, Ed, built a permanent home in Sea Pines after being part-time residents for 20 years. “We always intended to end up here,” she said. She now has the time to enjoy tennis and golf, and she enjoys spending time with her two children who live in Atlanta. Her son, Matt, is getting his master’s degree at Georgia Tech, and her daughter, Katie, works for Coca-Cola United. Here are her tips for success.

Ann McBrien is shown with her children Katie and Matt after the Turkey Trot

Keys to Success

1. Love it or leave it. “Love what you do, and if you don’t, do something else,” McBrien said. “It’s your life, and work is a big part of it. You should be happy doing whatever you do.”

2. Remember what’s important. “Remember what is important today in your life,” she stated. “Take time to step back and regroup. Be aware and acknowledge what’s really important – whether in life or in business. What are your real priorities?”

3. Listen (it’s harder than you think). Successful people know how important it is to surround themselves with great people, McBrien explained. “But really listening to the great people you surround yourself with is what’s important,” she said. “This is hard. It’s hard to really listen – and hear – so you can understand intent and feedback.”

4. Laugh out loud. “We need to be able to laugh at ourselves,” McBrien said. We all make mistakes and humor is a way to acknowledge that, she explained. “It’s important to stay focused, but we should allow ourselves to laugh, too,” she said.

5. Love it or leave it. “Start and finish with that!” McBrien emphasized.