Being a CEO means you usually don’t have a manager to challenge your ideas, so I had to learn to constantly question my thoughts as well as tapping on my network to find mentors that guide me and serve ad sounding boards. This taught me to appreciate and source employees who are not afraid of challenging my decisions, as I believe we are all learning from one another, no matter where the ideas come from.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Diana Briceno, CEO of No B.S. Skin Care.
After getting her Industrial Engineering degree. Diana Briceno dove headfirst into corporate America taking her first job as Associate Brand Manager at Procter and Gamble. She spent 8 years at P&G, lived in 4 different countries and developed her passion for the beauty industry when working on developing the makeup and skin care line for Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci as Global Brand Manager. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, she oversaw conceptual product development, marketing, global expansion and celebrity relationships including Scarlett Johansson, Monica Bellucci and Felicity Jones. Under Diana’s marketing leadership Dolce & Gabbana beauty launched 230 SKUs in several countries including Russia, France, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Japan, Spain and USA.
The next step on Diana’s career was in the telecommunications world, where Diana sharpened her digital skill while creating marketing campaigns for multiple digital programs in partnership with Facebook, Deezer, Spotify and Netflix. The Tigo + free Facebook campaign developed under Diana’s leadership won 3 of the most prestigious advertising awards — The Cannes Lions.
Craving the entrepreneurial work, Diana went to Palladio Beauty — a mid-size American makeup line as VP of Marketing leading all innovation and commercial operations from product development, to QA/QC, marketing and sales. In 2017, Diana joined Volta Global as CEO for Volta Digital Brands managing a portfolio of brands focused on a digitally native, DTC business model.
Thank you for joining us! Can you tell us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I started my professional career as an R&D intern at Procter & Gamble. The HR manager quickly saw a different potential in me and offered me a marketing role. At that time I thought it would be a waste of my college degree, since I had just graduated as an Industrial Engineer and this role seemed way too far from my comfort zone in regard to what I had learned through college. However, I embraced the change and absolutely loved it. I quickly thrived doing marketing and did that for 12 years before becoming the No B.S. Skincare CEO. There’s no better school than working and learning on the job while conquering day to day challenges.
Can you share one of the major challenges you encountered when first leading the company? What lesson did you learn from that?
One major hurdle was finding the right team. A lot of people claim to be entrepreneurial but I find that in practice, most people are not, at least not in my definition of what it takes to be an entrepreneur, which includes 3 main elements on top of the traditional definition: 1) passion for the brand/business, owning your every move. 2) Enjoying wearing multiple hats, from being at a lead team meeting making important business decisions, to packing orders and doing customer service when needed and the most obvious one 3) Being resourceful and figuring things out on the go. Most of us are doing things we have never done before (and things that have never been done before), forcing us to continuously learn and become experts by acting and not reacting.
What are some of the factors that you believe led to your eventual success?
· Always having the customer’s interest as priority#1.
· Resilience and flexibility, the ability to adapt and accept change.
· Relentless trial and error.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO”? Please share a story or example for each.
1.It feels lonely at times, so you must find a support system. Being a CEO means you usually don’t have a manager to challenge your ideas, so I had to learn to constantly question my thoughts as well as tapping on my network to find mentors that guide me and serve ad sounding boards. This taught me to appreciate and source employees who are not afraid of challenging my decisions, as I believe we are all learning from one another, no matter where the ideas come from.
2. Being responsible for so many jobs is a heavy weight. It is the one thing that keeps me up at night, especially nowadays with the coronavirus crisis. On the other hand, it keeps me on my toes, and makes me try to find alternatives and solutions to problems where most people can’t. Like I said, resiliency is key.
3. You don’t have to be an expert on every part of the business. I remember I was hesitant at first because finance is not my strong suit so I enrolled in several Business Finance courses online and then I realized you just need to find support in your team and make sure to hire the people that do a great on the things you are not well versed.
4. The type of product and category matters. I ‘ve been working in the beauty industry for most of my career and I definitely love the category. I am a beauty junky myself and I also love how beauty products impact people’s confidence, mood and day-to-day life as a way of self-care. At some point in my career I took a job in the Telecommunication industry and I quickly realized that having passion for the business does matter and that I was not made to sell a commodity like data, SMS and minutes, the fact that I could not feel that “chemistry” with the product made my job much more difficult and less enjoyable.
5. Almost everything is negotiable, except values and principles. I used to take things “by the book” and since being a CEO I’ve found there are so many creatives ways to make things happen that usually involve leveraging personal interactions to find middle ground with vendors, suppliers, agencies and team members… as long as the core values and principles are never compromised.
What advice would you give to your colleagues to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Listen to your heart. Your job has to feel right. Nobody likes their job all the time, but I am a firm believer that you have to enjoy the majority of it, if you find a job where most days you look forward to it and you feel passion for it you are less likely to burn out. Secondly, I believe it is important to know when to take breaks, and not in the literal sense but as in anything that gives you a mental break and refuels the positive energy that you are made of from the job: hanging out with friends, a vacation, a phone call with mom, a family reunion, a walk in the part, a swim in the ocean, meditation, a yoga class, etc.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Absolutely, several people but the one I am most grateful for is Jerusa Moura, one of my former managers at P&G and a very close friend. The way she can make me believe in myself is miraculous, she is always on my speed dial and I will always be grateful to P&G for giving me the opportunity to work for her.
What are some of the goals you still have and are working to accomplish, both personally, and professionally?
Professionally, I want No BS Skin Care to be the next billion-dollar brand in the beauty industry. I would like No BS to grow globally and become not just a beauty brand, but a lifestyle curator. I’d like for our products to boost out client’s self-esteem, empower them, and elevate their everyday into an awesome and memorable experience.
On the personal side, I want to travel more and visit at least 2–3 new countries every year. Immersing in new cultures is one of the things that I enjoy the most and that I believe make me a better person because it gives so much perspective about everything, and I found the best way to do it is by traveling and engaging with the local culture, colors, aromas, and people as much as I can, wherever I can.
What do you hope to leave as your lasting legacy?
I don’t think I can pinpoint one thing I would like to leave as legacy. I live my life trying to focus as much as possible on the present moment and the best I can do for people in the present moment is sharing my genuine positive energy. I take is as a responsibility and duty to be as happy as I can because I was given some many privileges (a great education, an amazing family, health, etc.) that it is my responsibility to make the most out of it and enjoy it. Positive energy is contagious, and it can move mountains. It starts with the little things as saying hello in an elevator, smiling to strangers, being respectful and nice to your coworkers and all the way up to doing the more formal charity work like donating or taking part in the local charity activities,
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would enhance people’s lives in some way, what would it be? You never know what your idea can trigger!
As the name of my brand suggests (No BS skincare), I would like to start a movement to encourage people to get rid of BS in their lives, the brand’s mantra can give you some ideas on where to start:
If It’s Bullsh*t, Let it Go
Unhealthy relationships — Frenemies — fish egg miracle cream — Impossible Pinterest projects
Do You and Love Yourself
The $11 billion beauty industry was built on ads that highlight our insecurities. #fakenews, you’re perfect!
If It Seems Too Good to be True, It Probably Is.
Sorry, but the Fountain of Youth isn’t hidden in a $300 bottle of serum. Trust us, we’ve looked.
Fuck the Standards
The third date sex rule, the wait-for-him-to-text rule, and (of course) the wage gap. We’re done with it.
Be real. Do good
Tell your truth, pay it forward, be shameless. Always
Say No to Toxic Crap
questionable ingredients? Toxic. Shady friends? Toxic. All that shit will make you look and feel old before your time.
Don’t deny yourself the opportunity to get what you want. Tell your inner critic to shut the f*%# up.
Experience Life filter — free
Travel! It will leave you speechless and turn you into a storyteller
Join the Convo.
Share your passions and ingenuity Let’s inspire each other to do more. To be more and #LiveNoBS