Consumer-Centricity and Inclusion Through the Eyes of Leticia

At L’Oréal, we look for different kinds of personalities and backgrounds to do great things together. Those are the bright minds and eyes ;) anticipating the Next Big Thing — and better yet, leading the Next Big Thing. You would think that somebody who can only see 15% would not be up for a challenge. But not Leticia. She has got the mindset and ‘can do’ attitude we value most at L’Oréal. Learn how Leticia leads the change at L’Oréal every day.

1. Can you tell us more what you do at L’Oréal?

I am in charge of Diversity & Inclusion at L’Oréal Brazil. Before joining L’Oréal I worked for NGOs — culture projects and fair trade markets for South America.

2. How did you end up at L’Oréal?

I never thought about working for L’Oréal. I always thought that profiles like myself wasn’t a match for L’Oréal. I thought that L’Oréal is very marketing oriented and I didn’t think of myself as a marketing person. But talking to a friend of mine that works for L’Oréal changed the vision I had of L’Oréal.

3. What is the project that you are most proud of?

It’s very hard to choose one project, as I have got to work on a number of very interesting challenges. However, one thing that I am very proud of is that when I first started working in L’Oréal Brazil there was no concrete strategy for Diversity & Inclusion. We had a few people being involved but no one person leading the project. So, I had a chance to build a strategy from scratch while learning about the beauty market and the complex diversity context of Brazil. When I built the strategy I wanted it to be consumer, employee and people oriented. So, the major challenge was how to engage all these different players and key stakeholders. Now after almost three years we can see the first results, which is very rewarding.

4. In your opinion how is diversity a business driver for the L’Oréal group?

Diversity plays a key role at L’Oréal. For instance, knowing that 10% of the populations living with disability in the world, we cannot dis-consider this 10%.

In Brazil alone we have 6–8 million people with visual impairments, this is 6–8 million potential consumers that we want to say to we care about you and we want to do the most we can for you.

So, one of the things that we are working on in L’Oréal Brazil since we are accelerating digital innovations is the digital accessibility — working with our corporate as well as e-commerce and brand websites to get the sites accessible. This is to guarantee that everyone who wants to get in touch with one of our 32 international brands of L’Oréal will have the information needed. This is a huge collaborate team work with CMO, diversity and brands — to understand what we could do straight ahead and what we should study more and what we have to plan for the years ahead.

5. Any advice to help leaders nurture the feeling of belonging in their teams?

It is not just about leadership being inclusive. It’s about making sure your team has inclusive behaviors. And even if you do not have a team, you can lead by being inclusive towards your peers, your colleagues, your consumers. It is about making people feel they belong. It’s not just about respecting the differences of the team, but also valorizing and truly including what these differences can add to the team.

This is the major change — from respect to inclusion & belonging.

Leaders have to open the doors to diversity, because if you have the same profiles in your team nothing will happen. And if you have already different profiles in your team, truly understand, respect, but most of all make them feel they belong to the team.

7. How have you experienced inclusion and belonging in your everyday life at L’Oréal?

During my integration period at L’Oréal I connected with some wonderful people. One particularly special person is a makeup artist who has become a close friend of mine. The reason being — I asked him if he is up for a challenge to teach me how to use makeup. I told him my story that I am 28 and I had never put makeup by myself in all my life because I cannot see — I can only see 15% to 20%. He did some 5 workshops with me trying different techniques to see which one fits me best. During the last one he turned off the lights and invited me to put the makeup in dark because the mirror does not make any difference for me. And I did it! When he turned on the lights and took a picture of me, he said: “You are done for life! Challenge accepted and challenge completed.”

At that moment I felt so empowered by make-up. That gave me truly confidence I always needed and at that point I truly understood what does it mean when L’Oréal says — beauty has the power to change lives. I never believed that I would be able to do it. I did not have the tools and the confidence, but L’Oréal has empowered me in ways I never knew is possible.

8. What would be that one ultimate advice to somebody who would love to join L’Oréal?

Be transparent. Be confident.

It’s not who you are that holds you back. It’s who you think you are not.