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Women you want to know ~ my conversation with global beauty guru Juliana Rochelle

If you buy hair care products from one of the largest beauty companies in the business, then there is a good chance that you’ve encountered the work of this inspiring lady.

In today’s interview, we talk about what it takes to be a successful female leader, why a personal brand is critical to your success, and how the beauty industry is changing. Read on for our full conversation below.

My goal with this blog is to create an online world that reflects the relationships I have with other women IRL. This blog is a place where I share some of my best professional advice with you as your brand adviser. It’s also a platform for me to share real conversations that reflect the conversations I have with my friends, family, colleagues and clients in my day to day life. No BS, just the truth about what it takes to achieve brand success, how to build and protect a meaningful brand (name) for yourself; and the challenges that come with sustaining your success over time.

Some of this advice is tactical, some of it is aspirational, and sometimes I just want to inspire you by sharing the success stories of women whom I admire.

Today’s post is the first in a series I’ve created for you. I’ve interviewed women who are kicking butt in their careers to talk about their experiences, professional challenges, and how they have achieved their version of success.

People rarely talk openly about the downside of professional success. This downside is often an uptick in social isolation. As people advance in their careers, they are often surprised to find colleagues they once thought of as friends suddenly grow more distant. Perhaps they become subordinates, or even competition. This can be especially isolating for women because there are unfortunately fewer female executives in corporations, and just as few female leaders in the science, medicine and engineering fields.

It is my hope that in sharing our professional challenges and triumphs with each other, that we can push each other to be the best versions of ourselves; and hopefully feel less alone in the process.

Today’s interview features one of my favorite people, who happens to be a very talented brand marketer and product developer, Juliana Rochelle. Keep reading to learn how she has overcome obstacles in her career, where she finds inspiration, and what personal branding means to her.  

Hi Juliana, thanks so much for joining me today. Will you tell our readers a little more about yourself?

I am originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I currently live in Mexico City, Mexico.

I know that your job takes you all around the world and you’re living in Mexico City now because of your work. Will you tell us a little more about your job?

I work for a global beauty company where I´m the head of new product development for LATAM & the Mexico region.

Your job is so interesting; you know I love to hear about the different products that you’re developing! What is your favorite part of the work you do?

I get to study consumer behavior and translate these trends into tangible beauty products. I just love giving life to their desires.

What is the most challenging thing about the work you do?

The complexity that is involved in running a global brand with a transversal vision while remaining relevant in each local market. Today consumers want customization more than ever before, so it’s really hard for global brands right now.

That’s such a great point. Consumers really do expect customization on a very personal level, I know that I do. And yet I still often turn to my go-to global brands like yours for the products I need most. That is a real challenge for large companies serving such diverse markets.

Can you share a challenge that you have overcome that you are proud of?

When we started targeting men in the beauty market. That was hard! They´re driven by completely different archetypes and a very different tone of voice. I still remember my first consumer study where they laughed at my insight and said, “a woman wrote this, right?” You can´t take it to heart, you need to understand where the tension is coming from and work from there. But the challenge of learning from zero and getting to a point where you become relevant to them, is what drives me.

That’s funny, but I also can see that being very intimidating. Having to admit you don’t know your target consumer and really start from the beginning to build that knowledge is not an easy task. But it’s a valuable lesson to apply in so many aspects of our professional lives. I’ve always admired your passion and knowledge of the products you create, even before you were creating them. I have no doubt you overcame that hurdle too.

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work?

Travel and explore all the natural beauty this world offers us.

Yes, my favorite pass time too, as you know! Tell me something about yourself that people would be surprised to know.

I have serious stage fright. Everyone assumes I´m so good at it because I´m outgoing and very social, but it’s my biggest challenge nowadays. I panic when I have to present to a big audience.

And all in English, which, if I might add is not your first language. That is not an easy task! But your passion really comes through and outshines any signs of stage fright. You’re a natural, but you’re not alone. A lot of people get nervous before presenting to a large audience.

What do you think are the biggest challenges women face in your job field and/or industry? 

I think the lack of representation can be grueling. I struggled a lot in the beginning to understand how to find my voice and how to be perceived as a strong and capable leader without running into the cliché of aggressiveness to get my point across.

That’s a tough one, women really don’t have enough role models in senior leadership. It’s a shame that we’re still figuring it out ourselves. Let’s talk about personal branding. What does personal branding mean to you?

Personal branding to me is the mark I´ll leave behind. It’s what people will remember me by. Not just in the long run, but the main impressions I leave on the people that are with me on a day to day basis.

How have you used it to achieve your goals personally and/or professionally? 

By staying true to who I am and to those around me I was able to build a very trusting environment. This, in turn, has allowed us to take risks because we know we have each other’s backs. This environment ended up propelling a lot of innovation and worked to our advantage. I truly believe that innovation only happens when you have a trusting environment, when you´re allowed to take risks without the fear of losing your job if it doesn’t pan out like you had hoped for.

That’s such a great point that you just brought up. I don’t think that companies put enough focus on the value of the quality of the relationships of their employees, especially those that are working to drive innovation and profit and propel the company forward. Without open communication and authenticity, there is no trust. You’ve put it beautifully.

Along those same lines, what is the worst mistake you have seen someone make with their personal brand?

Pleasing someone else by trying to match their perception of a strong leader or good employee – even if it is not linked to your beliefs and natural ways.

Name someone who you think has a great personal brand and why.

Michelle Obama. Sorry, I know its cliché, but it’s true. She´s always been a strong woman, and even when it felt like the whole world was expecting a certain personality from her, she stayed true to who she was. That authenticity has allowed her to form a strong bond with people. Nowadays, with so much propaganda coming at us, authenticity is one of the strongest assets to your personal brand.

Totally not a cliché, you’re so right. Authenticity is so important to your brand, and Michelle Obama was really a trend setter in that way amongst public personalities.

What is your best professional advice for other women?

Find mentors. It doesn´t have to be a person you know; it can be through books or following strong female personalities. I truly believe it’s part of our nature as women to question ourselves. So there´s true power in listening to other women (that have already established themselves) talking about the same struggles you face and sharing their stories on how they pushed through it.

I couldn’t agree more! As an established, successful professional, what advice would you give your younger self?

BE YOU. Be true to who you are. That’s your power. Period. And if where you are right now is not being appreciated, look elsewhere. Somewhere it’s gonna fit.  

What other female professionals do you admire? Why?

So many! I am blessed to work with very strong and incredibly smart women who inspire me daily. But one person that really impacts me is Sara Blakely. She´s the CEO of Spanx and I love how vulnerable and transparent she is on her platforms. She often talks about what “smart” looks like and offers inspiration on achieving what you want by being exactly who you are…without the need to check the pre-established boxes laid out for us on what success looks like. Success doesn´t have to be you in a black power suit, success can be you, being goofy and funny.

Great answer, I love that message.

Last question, what is your favorite fashion or beauty trend right now?

Clean beauty. I love how consumers have impacted the industry by asking for what they want and inventing ways to get it when the industry didn´t react fast enough. It truly shows our power to create the reality we want in the world.

What an inspiring way to end our interview. Thank you, Juliana, for sharing your experiences with our readers.

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