The CEOs of Birchbox and Bevel explain why it feels lonely at the top


Fast Company Innovation Festival

Melissa Golden for Fast Company

Katia Beauchamp and Tristan Walker.

When you've got the top job, things can get a little lonely.


In fact, 63% of CEOs polled by the Harris Interactive Service Bureau in 2012 said that they experienced feelings of loneliness in their role.

But this loneliness is often an executives' making, Birchbox CEO Katia Beauchamp told an audience earlier this week at Fast Company's Innovation Festival.

When an audience member asked a panel of CEOs, including Bevel's Tristan Walker and Beauchamp, if loneliness is part of life as a CEO, Beauchamp responded, "It's lonely, but you also have to understand that that's a little bit in your head."

Beauchamp, who heads a beauty-product sample subscription service, explains that because CEOs have an "insane capacity" to run their businesses by pulling all-nighters and doing whatever it takes - something the average employee might not understand - they can feel separated from everyone else.


But she says that there are always people who want to help and allow CEOs to unload some of their burden.

"If you feel alone, it's self-inflicted, because there is a right way to involve the people who love you, who love the vision, and who love the customer," Beauchamp says. "They can handle it, and your sense that they can't is in your head."

Walker, who founded a shaving brand that designs razors to reduce and prevent bumps, says that there's one caveat. Some people won't always tell the people at the top the truth, which can be hurtful to a CEO. His solution is to write and share what's going on in his company and to cherish the feedback that he gets in response to his posts.

NOW WATCH: The full story of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is much more awesome than you realize