Jafra exec outlines blueprint for diversity, success
Judith Sánchez López, the senior vice president and general manager at Thousand Oaks-based Jafra Cosmetics, has visited almost all of the Earth’s continents.
López, an international leader with more than 28 years in the beauty and cosmetics industry, has worked with people from various cultures and different modes of thinking. She has traveled to Morocco, Turkey and Thailand, just to name a few.
In Jakarta, she worked with women to understand the meaning of beauty in Asia. The architecture in Italy and Dubai were creative inspirations, she said during a Jan. 26 webinar hosted by California Lutheran University.
Something López said she has learned throughout her career is that understanding different cultures is key to create “profitable business and develop an industry that really works.”
As a Latina, López said she has faced discrimination during her career.
“I think it has been worth it because thank you to that — I can stand here today and tell you that when you have a big purpose, there are no limits,” she said. “People do not define you. You define yourself.”
López was the guest speaker at a webinar series hosted by the School of Management at Cal Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks. Her presentation, “Being Successful as a Latina in a German company in the United States,” covered a wide range of topics, including how to build an inclusive culture, the impact of cultural behaviors when doing business with Germans, Americans and Hispanics, as well as leadership insights.
Jafra is an international direct-selling cosmetics company with a presence in 16 countries around the globe and more than half a billion dollars in annual sales. Its headquarters is in Thousand Oaks, and it is owned by the German firm Vorwerk Group.
The first rule to working in a diverse environment, López said is “to know there are cultural differences, and you have to recognize it.”
Watching international films, taking academic courses abroad and traveling are helpful, López said. It’s a difficult time to travel right now, she said, but “please read. Make friends from other parts of the world.”
Another rule for working with a diverse team, López said, is finding “common purpose.”
“You have to have the same goal and the same values,” she said. “What we have in common are our values.”
Leadership, López said, is a matter of flexibility and adaptability. “We must understand that being a leader is not just being powerful,” she said.
In a competitive industry, it is not about having the “best product, but the best experience for the customer,” López said.
López has experience in launching and driving business growth in a variety of Latin American countries, and in North America and Asia.
“Beauty is completely different in Asia versus Brazil, versus America versus Mexico,” López said. “The product you create and the way you communicate, it’s completely different.”
López said that in this stage of life, her mission is to inspire others to reach their full potential and help create leaders.
“That’s what I want to do,” she said.