Ross: Tell me a bit about yourself?
I was a stay home mom bored, and I decided it was time to get back to work. I began searching for job listings in Pharmaceutical Sales, which led to me applying and working for SkinMedica as a Territory Manager for eight and a half years. In 2014 a friend contacted me about a job for Merz, where I worked for a couple of years, and then in 2016 I had the opportunity to return being a national director, another friend contacted me about a role as National Sale Director, getting me back to a director level career.
In 2018 Hydrafacial came calling and I couldn’t resist. I had been following them on LinkedIn and saw some great hires such as Joanna Ebbers, who I worked with at SkinMedica. One of the recruiters in the industry called me and brought up an opening at HydraFacial. After accepting the offer, I started working here towards the end of 2018. I was the Regional Sales Director in New England and half of Canada, which allowed me to flex my international muscle. I also managed both distributor and direct. Three years later, I found myself on London as VP Sales Performance EMEA.
What do you do?
My role consists of working with the heads of direct markets and sales directors who manage the distributor partners. Sales Performance means that I work collaborate to deliver the regions number and I dive in similar to a specialist and dive into countries when they have specific sales performance issues.
Throughout your career moves and changes as Territory Manager to National Sales Director and US to EMEA. What has been the biggest learning curve?
I would say the move from US to EMEA. In the 90’s I was a director of a manufacturing company. I had seven divisions reporting to me and decided I’d have a baby. My husband & I decided we were in a place where I could say, I’m going to stop working, so I did for eight and a half years.
Whilst being a stay at home mom, I kept myself extra busy with my own at-home party sales business. One of the most important things as a mom was to make sure I always had time for my daughter and keep my career going.
She’s 25 now and I would say a happy successful professional herself. I consider this my greatest achievement.
Talk me through the operation that you lead with today at HydraFacial and the size of the business?
EMEA Hydrafacial has four markets – UK, Germany, Spain and France. We’re also in 35 other countries which are distributor based. Some of our Distributor partners have multiple countries and some are single countries.
I’ve been able to share a lot of the successful practices from the US to EMEA which led us to a phenomenal year last year. We grew 46% year over year even with the Russia Ukraine war.
We don’t report individual markets, but we are certainly growing. Every year you can hear in our earning calls and specifics. It was a great year last and we plan on making this one even better.
From a non-financial point performance perspective, what is the mission you’re all collectively in?
If you have skin, you’re in. We have a fabulous omni-channel approach and statistics that say people will go to three different places to get a HydraFacial. The most common are Doctor’s office, the MedSpa and when on vacation.
We want to help customers see more faces. We now have HydraBooty and HydraBody. So now it’s not just all about faces. Hydrafacial is a completely bespoke experience for every client.
We’re well known as a company in our industry we still have a lot of opportunity to drive our brand awareness. We have a fabulous product, a fabulous treatment and great marketing behind it.
I met a couple at a restaurant in London and it turns out her fiancé has HydraFacial stocked in his clients’ portfolios. They said it’s amazing and love it, and that’s the power of HydraFacial.
What were your beginnings in life and important milestones?
My Dad was a huge influence in my life. He was a Division Manager for RJR Tobacco. I was able to work with him during college. Seeing him at work was amazing. He was a compassionate leader and cared about his team, but he also drove their performance and was always a top performer.
When he passed away, his representatives from years ago had a story about my dad and how he influenced them and would help them which is a big part of forming who I am and me, becoming a salesperson and eventually a leader.
Even today something good happens at work, I think how proud he would be and it motivates me to do more.
After university, I joined the management training program at Footlocker. I realised I wouldn’t have much of a life working in retail, so I moved to Direct Marketing and got a taste of corporate America. I had the opportunity to travel and go to trade shows.
I worked at The Beekley Corporation and met some amazing leaders. Ayn LaPlant is brilliant. The company had a great mindset of 15% of everyone’s time was reinvested into continuous learning and I still use so much of what I learned there.
I mentioned the friend from Merz earlier on in this interview, we were sorority sisters together at university. She just started working at Hydrafacial two weeks ago. Welcome Kerry Guiney!
At the time, I was a young manager but wasn’t a compassionate leader. The continuous learning was a great experience for me. I learned from the Phoenix Program by Brian Tracy and the Dale Carnegie Management Program. I learned SPIN Selling and became and Administrator of the Predictive Index which I use as a reference to this very day.
So, what interested you and motivated you to get where you are today?
Going back to work, when my daughter was 8 years old, I knew I couldn’t have people responsibility and couldn’t travel so the territory management role was appealing to me.
The medical device manufacturing company in the 90s was a good space to be in. I had no idea how incredibly fun and passionate you can be about aesthetics until I got into the industry,
My first interview was over the phone for SkinMedica and was with someone named Deb Neilan. We were on the phone at 9pm but she was so engaging and passionate about the brand, customers and what they were achieving at SkinMedica, I desperately wanted the job.
People make a huge difference when you interview, if they’re passionate and excited about their company, the interviewee can feel the same.
What words of wisdom do you live by in your professional life?
I often say catchphrases such as ‘eh, what’s the worst that could happen?’ but I tend to question what is possible. What can we do? Where can we go? What haven’t we thought of?
One quote I keep in mind is Teddy Roosevelt’s “believe you can, and you’re halfway there”. It describes most of my life, manifesting your destiny and saying this is where I am, and this is where I’m going and this is what I’m going to do.
RoAre there any rituals that you live by in your personal life?
A huge change I’ve made in my life is taking care of my health. I was at a point where I was overweight diagnosed with high blood pressure and my chances of diabetes began to increase. I wanted to build a career and I work in an appearance-centric industry, so I knew I had to make changes. I started eating healthy and working with a physician to create a meal plan.
I began drinking protein drinks and taking vitamins. I’ve changed everything about my life. The biggest change came in 2021 when I worked with a personal trainer, Kris Wolff.
I now go to the gym first thing every morning. I see a Pilates instructor once a week, I’d like to train twice a week, but I travel so much which makes it challenging. I’ve also learned I don’t need 9-10 hours of sleep I need 6.5. I’ve changed my health, appearance and how I live. I received a message from someone last night that I’ve inspired them by living my best life in London!
What are the key ingredients or values that are involved in successful leadership for high performance and a winning mindset in business?
In business in general, I mentioned in the 90s I went through a lot of different continuous learning like Brian Tracy, Stephen Covey, and Dale Carnegie. At the time I thought I was applying all I was learning, but in hindsight I realised I probably wasn't doing any of it! I think first off, great leadership is about being tough and compassionate. You can't just understand or empathize, you have to help people. For me, my goal is to help people achieve more than they ever thought they could. It's figuring out how to manage them, how to lead them, how to develop them the way they need to be. As a sales leader, if you are successful at this, then your team will be successful.
I'll give an example, when I came to Hydrafacial, there was a capital sales manager who had been with HydraFacial for quite some time and she was a consistent President's Club winner and a 'Mrs. December' where she would bring in 30% of her number in the last month of the year. I started my role at the annual Global Sales meeting. She came up to me and introduced herself and said, "Hi, I just want to let you know I sold x devices last month. Just so you know, in January I don't ever sell any devices but you don't have anything to worry about because by the end of the quarter, I will be at or over my goal" and I said, “Great, thanks for that. I appreciate knowing that but for this January, just sell one device and break the chain.” That’s exactly what she did, and it turned out to be her most successful year after 10 years at HydraFacial. I'm not taking credit for her achievement, what I did was help her be more successful than she believed she could be. Overall, I think successful leadership comes from knowing how to motivate, inspire and lead people to their success. Then their success becomes yours.
As there is no real blueprint or definitive answer which creates successful leadership, What does being a great leader mean to you?
This is going to seem random but stay with me. It's an incredibly humbling experience raising a child. I learned more about how to be a leader as a mother than I did with most of the management books and programs I’ve completed. I am blessed, my daughter is healthy, happy, kind, considerate and hard working. She's a nurse in the US, works in an emergency room and sees the worst of everything. Being a parent, seeing where she is today, it’s mostly down to her hard work- but it relates to what I said before about helping guide, motivate, inspire to get her there. Being a great leader is this - focusing on helping others be successful. Everyone will need something different; a great leader recognizes this and leads accordingly.
What specific experience or period of time has been the biggest challenge or defining turning point in your career or life in general?
So, HydraFacial is a really unique company and everyone says 'a day at HydraFacial is like a year anywhere else'. In October 2019 I had been with HydraFacial about 10 months and we were at a show in Vegas called iSpa, we were out for dinner with a lot of colleagues and talking about bucket lists and what you wanted to accomplish before you died. I've always wanted to live and work abroad, somewhere in Europe preferably but I thought at that time I had missed the boat at this point in my career and didn't think I'd ever get round to doing that. Fast forward to January of 2021, we have a virtual Global Sales Meeting. There’s a recording of Clint Carnell, our CEO at the time, doing his inspirational speech to the team. He says, “we are going to buy some of our top distributor markets to be the truly global brand that we know HydraFacial can be”. I know it was a prerecorded video, but it felt like he was looking at me and talking to me and I thought, I am going to move and work in Europe. Matthew Norwood, who was my boss at the time and a great veteran in our industry, put me in touch with Kate Gilbert who was running the show over here at the time. I had 2 conversations with her and the leadership team in the US thought it would be a good idea for me to come to here for a month as a sort of cultural ambassador. I landed in the UK on a Friday at 11 o'clock at night Walked out the door of the hotel at 10am the next day to explore and master the Tube. In the moment I stepped out that door, I fell in love with London. In January 2022 I moved to London permanently. Making that call to Matt, raising my hand to work in EMEA - that was a defining moment in my career and my life.
Who were the people that you feel have played a pivotal role and learned from the most in you reaching where you are today ?
At every point in my career there was always somebody that I worked with who had an impact on who I was and who I would become. I mentioned before Ayn LaPlant the CEO of Beekley Medical in Bristol, Connecticut, she taught me to embrace continuous learning, to “dress to the position that you aspire to”. Roegena Dunavant, was the director of sales at SkinMedica Inc., An Allergan Company when I started - she's a Texan with a fabulous Texas accent which I love, she had sayings such as 'They're eating their soup with a fork instead of a spoon”. I still use that expression - it’s so descriptive! I became great friends with Roxann Paulson who worked for Dr. BRANDT and Philips. We worked together in 2016. At Phillips, she did the expat thing living in Amsterdam. One of the things she said to me when I relocated for work was that I would still be a tourist and to use the weekend for travel and to explore rather than worrying about saving money. She stressed to me that this is an amazing opportunity, go out and see what the world has to offer and enjoy every moment. That was really good advice that I got from her probably more on a personal level.
The whole Executive Team at Hydrafacial are brilliant! In prior companies, when I was in a meeting with a leadership group, I would feel confident that I could hold my own, be as intelligent as anybody else at the table. I don’t mean that to sound conceited or lacking EQ. I never think I am the smartest person in the room or that I can’t learn from others. It’s simply that at HydraFacial, I'm surrounded by people are truly brilliant with so many stories and experiences I can learn from. When you're surrounded by great and successful people, you learn so much and it helps direct your career to progress in so many ways.
What does 2023 and beyond hold for Hydrafacial, what exciting things are coming up?
For Hydrafacial EMEA it’s the launch of Syndeo. It is a massive leap forward in terms of design functionality and the US launched it last year. We did a controlled, phased global strategic launch and now it’s our turn - I am very excited! The original HydraFacial device has not changed that much in appearance from when it first launched in 2005 but Syndeo is sleek, smart, effortless, personalised and it's connected. It's the first device of its kind in the aesthetic space. It's LED backlit and very intelligent. For example, the old HydraFacial device you'd have to toggle on and off your serums whereas this one is smart and it knows when to do that. It's effortless. It's a gesture controlled, no touching the device during a treatment. It's lightweight and easy to use. There's a protocol for every treatment in it. I don't think a lot of people understand how personalised it is until they actually use it.
Think about the personalization aspect. Consumers, patients whatever you call them want an experience that is unique to their skin. Our serums, the LED light therapy, the lymphatic drainage, three different levels of chemical peel, different tips for different levels of exfoliation; everything from a normal aggression of exfoliation to an advanced level, to a wet diamond tip. The partnerships that we have the NassifMD®, Alastin, ZO Skin Health, Inc., Circadia by Dr. Pugliese, Murad, we partner with the best! In the fall, the JLO booster launched in the US, it was our most successful boost launch ever. We will be launching this booster in EMEA very soon!! With all this, you could do 20 Hydrafacials a day in your practice and every single one would be different based on what your client needs. There is no other device that can do that for you. I haven’t even discussed the support of our Business Development Managers, our Education and Marketing support. There's just so much that we offer!
Do you have any sources or recommendations of books or podcasts that you insist people should discover?
Ok, I know this is probably taboo to admit, I don't do podcasts. If my headphones are in for a walk or a gym session, I listen to music. There are songs that I play over and over again that motivate and inspire me. I love a range of genres; 90s rap music, Britney Spears, Beyonce and girl power songs. When my earbuds are in I am jamming and it is music all the time, but I do love to read. One of my favourites which I highly recommend is 'Seven Habits of Highly Effective People' by Stephen M. R. Covey and anybody who's worked with me in the last however many years knows just how many times I've quoted this book.
Another gentleman named John Rosemond, who's a child psychologist, I read a lot of his work before I had my daughter. One of the things he said that always stuck with me is that 'until a child is two years old, you live for them but the day they turn two they live for you'. I've shared that with people because it's really powerful to think you need to start very early to teach your children expectations of behaviour. Other books such as 'The Art of Leadership' by Max Depree and 'The Heart of Business' by Hubert Joy these are really insightful and feel I can read them over and over again. There is also the 'Golden Book' by Dale Carnegie; do not criticize or complain. Give honest and genuine recognition. You are really interested in other people. Remember and refer to people.
What's your agenda for HydraFacial in terms of exhibitions or shows that people should know about or start attending to get good value?
Our two big global shows that are here in EMEA are IMCAS and AMWC. We’ve exhibited at 'Beauty Through Science' in Stockholm, Sweden which is fantastic as it is not as big and busy but you still get to spend quality time and connect one-on-one with some great KOLs. There's 5CC Dr. Michael Gold’s congress in EMEA. We did that in Barcelona last year. We hosted a KOL lunch and reception where Dr. Ted Lain, Dr. David Goldberg and Wendy Lewis amongst others joined us. We also do a lot of regional congresses. There's so many in EMEA! In the UK we have FACE and CCR coming. I just love trade shows and HydraFacial has a consistent buzz about our booth at every show. We have a brilliant marketing team that delivers an amazing experience at every congress. At AMWC we owned the Terrace with a hydration station, Champagne happy hour and video booth. Check out our posts on Linkedin!
Overall I firmly believe that most trade shows can return good value as long as you take time to connect with the right people and fully commit yourself to it.