Photos by Samantha Deitch/BFA.com
On Thursday November 4th, 2021, The Fragrance Foundation hosted the 21st annual Circle of Champions honoring Fashion Institute of Technology’s Virginia Bonofiglio, Assistant Professor and Head of the Bachelor of Science Program in Cosmetic and Fragrance Marketing; and Stephan Kanlian, Professor and Head of the Master’s Degree Program in Cosmetic and Fragrance Marketing and Management. The event was held at 583 Park Avenue, marked the first time that educators have been honored and included FIT students as guests.
The event featured remarks by Dr. Joyce F. Brown, president of FIT; and two FIT graduates: Tennille Kopiasz, global chief marketing officer, Fresh: LVMH, who received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from FIT’s cosmetic and fragrance programs and Crystal Sai, executive director, chief of staff, global online, Estée Lauder Companies, who received her master’s degree from the CFMM program.
Within weeks of launching #FragranceForwardTFF, The Fragrance Foundation announced breaking news last night at the Circle of Champions: a new scholarship program to benefit the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and students of diverse backgrounds interested in pursuing a career in fragrance. The Fragrance Foundation FIT Diversity Scholarship is a $100,000 academic award that will benefit FIT’s Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing programs on the undergraduate and graduate levels. Scholarships for both programs will be awarded based on application criteria for the desired program. The first of its kind, The Fragrance Foundation FIT Diversity Scholarship serves as an ongoing investment in the future of the industry, as well as a pillar of support in creating opportunities for more diverse students to pursue their passion for fragrance through a rigorous, industry-focused education at FIT.
“We are absolutely delighted to recognize and celebrate the contributions and achievements of FIT’s Virginia Bonofiglio and Stephan Kanlian, whose dedication to training and instructing future leaders in the fragrance industry through academic purpose and innovation is truly unparalleled” said Linda G. Levy, President of The Fragrance Foundation.
“FIT is honored to receive this timely and important support from The Fragrance Foundation that will help change the face of the fragrance industry,” says Dr. Joyce F. Brown, president, FIT. “With thanks to TFF, our students will have the benefit of exemplary teaching, involvement with current research, and exposure to industry best practices. This scholarship will transform our student lives and prepare them for executive ranks and leadership roles.”
The Fragrance Foundation FIT Diversity Scholarship is just one facet of #FragranceForwardTFF, a focused initiative that was created to open the doors of the fragrance industry to everyone. Having launched in October 2021 with an insightful webinar on Industry Perspectives on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion offering actionable next steps and best practices from pioneering industry leaders, the initiative also includes a series of career development workshops at colleges and universities nationwide. Spelman College, an Historically Black Institution in Atlanta, was the first in the workshop series. Other elements of #FragranceForwardTFF include dedicated resources towards education, mentorship, and recruitment, as well as a push for awareness and acceptance at all levels. TFF members have also committed to a signatory TFF DEI Pledge that calls for a commitment to being “fragrance forward” in hiring practices, advancement opportunities, mentorship, recruitment and inclusivity.
Among the 175+ attendees at The Circle of Champions event on November 4th were renowned artist and designer Rebecca Moses, an FIT alumna, and TFF Fragrance Day featured artist whose original drawings are being donated to FIT by The Fragrance Foundation; Chris Collins, owner World of Chris Collins fragrance brand; Rob Smith, LGBTQ+ advocate and founder, The Phluid Project; Linda Song, senior perfumer, Givaudan; top editors Linda Wells and Bridget Foley; designer Francisco Costa; philanthropists and luxury scent-makers Laura Slatkin, and several board members of The Fragrance Foundation, including: Kate Oldham, Saks Fifth Avenue; Emily Bond, Givaudan; Ann Gottlieb; Julie Walsh, Macy’s Inc.; Denis Ferenc, IFF; Birgit Benayoun, Mane; Belinda Pickford; Estee Lauder Companies.; Ron Rolleston, Revlon; Julien Gommichon, Diptyque & Byredo; Maria Dempsey, Nest New York; Pierre Wulff, Robertet; Nancy Berger, Hearst; and, Marc Blaison, Cosmo International Fragrances.