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A Beautiful Business

You’ll need brains to brand beauty.

Named a “Woman to Watch” by Advertising Age, Gina Boswell (’84) is executive vice president of North American personal care at Unilever. She leads a $5 billion portfolio of more than 20 hair, skin care, and deodorant brands in a highly competitive market. If you want her job, you’ll have to:

Become a master strategist To use a hockey analogy, learn how not to worry about where the puck is now, but where it is going. Read about what innovative companies are doing, and choose positions that are fast-moving with bosses who are strategic and visionary thinkers—you pick up a lot on the job.

Choose your boss Pick the people you work with more than the positions because positions come and go, but people last. The people you report to will take you places that you didn’t think you could go.

Build a winning team Over time, I’ve realized that I don’t have to go to every event; I just need to nurture a team that can accomplish with me what none of us can do alone.

Treat the whole person I focus at least 20 percent of my time on the people side of our business. I treat the whole person as opposed to just the work person, and I try to understand where my employees want to go and how I can help them get there.

Focus, focus, focus I set three annual goals. At the end of each day, I’ll see if my activities link up to them, or if I am distracted by the myriad other things that may be my passion but not directly related to my work.

Don’t sweat the small stuff As a recovering perfectionist, I had trouble not getting everything right. But I’ve learned that the only things that really matter are your health, your family, and your friends—the relationships that make life worth living.