Challenge Accepted: Jennifer Hessel on Overcoming Obstacles

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Jennifer Hessel never backs down from a challenge. Her vast experiences in different sectors in the beauty industry have given her a unique perspective that tackles problems holistically. Jennifer’s collaborative skills have helped her to transform beauty technologies to boost brand growth.

She recently was interviewed by CoolBrands People, to discuss some of the challenges throughout her career that she took head on.

Jennifer, your expertise lies in taking on ‘impossible’ challenges and uncovering solutions by viewing business differently. In today’s dynamic world environment, this is a quality every company wishes to have on its board. How would you apply this skill if you were to serve on a board, and why is it important?

“The ever changing business dynamic today requires out of the box thinking and flexibility when faced with business challenges. I bring multi-disciplinary experience in marketing, communication, retail, consumer research and technology innovation, which enables me to look at the total picture, identify new and different opportunities that move the needle and problem solve resources and execution challenges to achieve the company’s vision and goals. My experience at L’Oréal drove me to innovate and be entrepreneurial in a large corporation, create and navigate ‘the roads untraveled’ and pave the way for other brands and marketers.

“Most of the challenges I have faced in my professional career have been based on corporate challenges, innovation, relationship management, budget cuts and/or over spends. For example, one task I was faced with was developing, implementing, and rolling out a new retail software with the US as the lead country. Gaining alignment on the requirements from multiple disciplines in the US, and then globally, was creating mis-alignment, delays and cost increases. I excel in relationship management and was able to organize and strategize the US teams to work via a shared vision and toward a win-win outcome. This was half the battle won, the rest was global. We introduced global workshops in which each region was able to be a part of the processes — building onto the main platform, reducing future costs, benefitting from early bug solutions and so on. We were able to better the product for the US, and globally, in order to establish a new way of working within the retail technology space.

“Delivering innovation in a multi-million platform consumer engagement event was another challenge I faced. The budgets were set and everything was finalized. However, the concept was one-dimensional. My team and I took the foundation of the program with a limited budget increase, and were able to expand the concept across four categories. We were further able to refit revolutionary technology to be mobile and implement new beauty technologies to create greater engagement — all in the pre-established timeline.

“The success and ‘overcoming the obstacle’ was based on a strong foundation, incredible agency relationships, technology innovators, and a loyal team of beauty experts. It all came down to leadership, strong relationships, and out of the box thinking. We were very proud of the end result — in 35 days seven hundred and fifty thousand people were able to experience our product, and we sold more than an average Target store in a year.”

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