We are incredibly saddened to report that Shelley Haus, chief marketing officer of Ulta Beauty and one of Women in Retail’s 2022 Top Women in Retail, died earlier this week after a battle with cancer. Haus was an industry force responsible for many of the cosmetic giant’s recent successful brand initiatives. She was 49.
“We are heartbroken and forever grateful for the time we had with Shelley and the gifts she shared with us,” Ulta said in a statement emailed to Women in Retail Leadership Circle. “She was one of a kind, made us better, and filled our world with so much love. Our love, prayers and unconditional support are with Shelley’s family.”
Haus spent nearly a decade in marketing at Ulta. She was named CMO in December 2019 after having served as senior vice president of brand marketing since 2017. She joined Ulta as its vice president of brand marketing in 2014. Prior to Ulta, Haus was executive vice president of consulting, market opportunity and innovation at GfK, after having worked in variety marketing leadership roles at P&G, PepsiCo, and the Kellogg Company. Shelley also served on the board of directors for Youth Guidance, a nonprofit that offers support for children in schools and communities.
Haus was also an advocate for diversity. She was instrumental in Ulta’s joining the Fifteen Percent Pledge to give more store shelf space to Black-owned businesses, according to Ad Age. And when asked about her proudest professional accomplishment of the past year in our Top Women report, she said at the top of the list was “having announced [Ulta’s] 2021 commitments to continue driving diversity, equity and inclusion. Our efforts as a company included the launch of MUSE, a platform to celebrate black voices in beauty. I’m so proud of our team for working tirelessly to lead the way and to make a true, tangible impact.”
My favorite part of Haus’ interview, however, was when she discussed how she motivated and inspired her team. Here, she said, “Motivation and inspiration are the most important priorities. There’s really nothing more important and they manifest on two levels — the grand and the everyday. The ‘grand’ comes to life in setting big, clear, aspirational, future-forward visions that everyone can understand and embrace as a team. The ‘everyday’ is about pushing the thinking and the work with individuals and teams alike. Grand and everyday moments each spark creativity and push big thinking. I hope I make everyone feel like I bring out the best in them and in our work.”
Apparently she did. In its statement, Ulta went on to say that “those who knew Shelley understood how special she was and the incredible impact she had on our industry, our brand and, most importantly, our teams. Shelley was a force whose passion and compassion were equally matched. She was an innovative marketer, creative storyteller and a people-first leader who saw beautiful possibilities in everything and everyone.”
She will always be in our thoughts.