My first job was with Procter & Gamble in 1983 as an assistant brand manager for Crest in Venezuela. At the time, I thought this was a complete 180 from the job I should be doing. I had graduated from Boston College with a degree in Business Administration and had my heart set on a position in finance. I was a serious numbers person—everything had to have a net present value!

I admit I didn’t know enough to appreciate the size and scope of P&G’s portfolio, but I did know that the company was doing international recruiting, and I wanted to return home to Venezuela. So I headed to Caracas for an interview with Mr. Campos, the P&G human resources manager for Venezuela. After 15 minutes of chatting, I told him I wanted a job in finance. “Absolutely not!” he responded. “You are a marketing person.” It wasn’t the answer I was expecting. I didn’t know anything about marketing outside of one course I had taken in school, and I didn’t think I had the creativity required for such a position. But I needed a job. I knew P&G was a well-regarded company, so I took the marketing position, thinking I would later work my way into the finance department.

I was hesitant about my ability to succeed, but that recruiter’s instincts were spot-on, and my analytic skills were actually perfect for the job. My serendipitous start ignited a passion in me for marketing and I learned some valuable lessons: Sometimes people see strengths in you that you don’t see in yourself. Have the courage to trust them. Don’t automatically reject unexpected pathways; instead, give them serious consideration. It’s up to you to take risks and make the best of what you have in front of you. In my new position at Avon, I get to focus on products that help women look and feel their best. And I market perhaps the ultimate enhancer: women’s empowerment. I’m still so passionate about marketing, and ever since my first job interview I have never rejected an alternate path without seriously considering it.

To access this article, click here to subscribe or to log in.

To Read the Full Article
SUBSCRIBE NOW

Tap into our Global Network

Of Industry Leaders and Designers

load comments
blog comments powered by Disqus