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‘What Makes a Good Leader?’

Every year, L’Oréal sends young leaders to the One Young World summit in order to create a better world, which is more responsible and has more effective leadership. These L’Oréal delegates are counselled by influential political, business and humanitarian leaders such as Justin Trudeau, Paul Polman and Meghan Markle, amongst many other global figures. This year more than 50 L’Oréal employees will be attending and from 16 different countries. We interviewed a few of our delegates to understand their vision of leadership today and their source of inspiration.

Hi, my name is Joey, and I’m the director of retail on the Redken DMI. I’m extremely committed to feminism and gender equality. I’m involved in this because in my personal life, I run a Feminist Book Club and a Queer Book Club with the goal of bringing like-minded people together through a love of reading. I’m inspired every day by people who believe in something and use their voice or their position of power to accomplish a goal. I’m currently very inspired by the actress Jameela Jamil who is using her fame to bring attention to body positivity in all forms. Her “I Weigh” campaign started as a hashtag to encourage people to weigh their value in something other than pounds and shares a consistent message of positivity.

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A good leader is someone who cares about their work and about the people who they work with. I think good leaders need to believe in the value of what they are doing and inspire the people around them to believe in it as well.

— Joey

I am that guy who loves helping people. My name is Arnold and I am currently a logistics officer at L’Oréal East Africa.

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A good leader is one who listens, one who is not afraid of correction, one who is visionary, focused and open to other people’s ideas and thought processes. A good leader is one who takes criticism positively and seeks to be a better person.

— Arnold

The beauty about L’Oréal is that you get to interact with many functions and get to realize where your heart lies and therefore in the course of my two year stay, I discovered that I could do more for the company if I played a role in brands. I expressed interest in joining the marketing team and in January 2020 I will be moving to the marketing department as a junior brand manager handling Kenya’s leading male brand — Versman.

I currently work in Mexico in charge of Vogue, a Colombian makeup brand bought by the L’Oréal group three years ago. Now I’m expanding it in all of Latin America with a low-cost business model and an opportunity of 65 million potential consumers.

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A good leader is a person that worries for people, that inspires and motivates their team by example and works back to back with the team.

— Nathalie

More than getting inspiration from great business and renowned leaders, I get pieces of inspiration from people I know and meet in my day to day. There is woman who cleans the office building which wakes up every day at 3 am to jump on a bus for 2 hours to get to work, and she always receives me with a smile every morning; the consumers I’ve met in focus groups that are single moms that work hard to give their kids and family the best they can; these are just some of the people I gain inspiration from each day.

A good leader should be like a football coach: providing the vision of the strategy, motivating the team to outperform themselves, developing personal talents and enhancing the diversity in everyone. Moreover, the modern leader should be at the service of its team — not vice versa like in the past — empowering people and focusing on their well-being, creating the environment to let them perform as high as possible.

— Laura

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When I started my job in La Roche-Posay, I was immediately involved in an international project to prevent melanoma, the only form of cancer visible to the naked eye. With the MySkinCheck project, we are offering thousands of free dermatological mole checks on an annual basis and we promote awareness on the importance of using sunscreen.

After seeing the big impacts of this campaign, I decided we could have a positive influence in many other markets. My team and I addressed the community of mums with children suffering from atopic dermatitis (1 in 5), creating a “National Day of Atopic Dermatitis”. On this day, a dermatologist, a paediatrician and a psychologist are available to the families for free consultations. Unlike the first initiative, this one is performed 100% online, so as to remove all the barriers.

Hi, I am Marketing Director for Giorgio Armani, Valentino, Designer Fragrances & Atelier Cologne in our Travel Retail Americas subsidiary. It all started more than 8 years ago with an internship in the Travel Retail Zone in Paris. I’ve done a lot of things in-between but I think all comes back to where it starts.

What makes a good leader? I hate this paternalistic, masculine figure of a leader. I try to discuss with my team as we were at the same level. I can give guidance and vision but in the discussion, we have together about it that drives mean.

— Gustavo

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I’m currently the product manager of Hair Care and Deodorant in Vichy. I have been working at L’Oréal for almost 8 years and my career was basically in Active Cosmetics Division in Brazil, where I could experience working within three different brands and teams and always with big challenges!

Two causes that interest me most are gender and race equality. Women and people of colour face inequalities in their daily life — and worst, in many occasions they suffer discrimination and violence. This is not only in my country but also in many countries around the world. I believe that each one of us can and should start a transformation, fighting against racism and sexism every day.

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For me the motivation to develop the team, not only the business, is what makes a good leader! Getting to know the people on the team, their differences and their passions enables the leader to build a complementary and highly motivated team.

— Luiza

Last month, two colleagues and I developed a project to promote racial diversity and inclusion in L’Oréal Brazil — in which we propose to create a co-mentoring program to accelerate the career development of black professionals and also to engage leadership on the cause of diversity. Another front of action is to educate and engage all the employees with workshops and internal campaigns about structural racism and unconscious bias so we can start a cultural change.

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My name is Tim, I’m 29 years old and am currently the Team Lead for Customer Care in the German Consumer Products Division. I never really had any contact with L’Oréal or its products. For that reason, I went to my interview without any expectations — and it completely blew me away. The spirit, the people, the freedom and a bit of mystery really caught me by surprise. One day later, I accepted the offer and have never regretted a single day since.

Having my baby girl born last year, I do think about the future in a different way than I had before, especially in terms of what kind of world we are leaving behind after I will be long gone. Although I value everyone’s personal effort to make the world a better place, for me it makes the most sense to focus on actions I can combine with my daily work. Working in L’Oréal operations/logistics, I can initiate projects in regards to climate change, CO2-reduction or waste management and have a far greater impact on our environment than I could possibly achieve alone.

I believe that there is no formula of what makes a good leader, as the perception of what is “good” varies greatly based on people’s preferences, local regions, current circumstances and many more aspects. Being a leader requires many noble characteristics: Integrity, vision, courage, honesty, directness and many more, which I probably couldn’t even name all in this interview.

— Tim

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Interested to know more about One Young World? Watch the live ceremony!

Inspired by the leadership visions of our young employees? Join our teams over the world:

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If you’re an impact seeking inventor, a driver of disruption, join us to lead the Beauty innovation to the next level www.careers.loreal.com

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