As the world focuses on hygiene, Dove’s Global Vice President of Cleaning, Marcela Melero, has had her work cut out due to the pandemic.
“I honestly didn’t know what to expect,” she said, “but when COVID[-19] arrived, we had a good trajectory.
Melero leads Dove’s cleaning business – “the biggest part of the personal care business”, she said – in all markets. “I’ve always been very lucky because it’s the crown jewel,” she continued. “It grew fantastically, like I don’t know how we got here. But you have a brand that people can emotionally connect with, and also a product that is an amazing, superior product.
Melero started her career at Unilever in Argentina, where she was born, working in research and development. “I had no idea I was going to end up in the American leader Dove, which is, for me, one of the most iconic and beautiful brands on the market. It was quite unexpected and very surprising to work in research and development and being offered the chance to start in marketing,” she said.
The brand was also an early pioneer of purpose, such as the CROWN Act and its continued focus on sustainability. Melero’s leadership style is about bringing that sense of purpose into the day-to-day.
“I look at my daughters and I want better beauty for them. I want beauty that has meaning, and when I think of meaning, there’s something about the aspect of purpose. It can’t just be superficial beauty, it has to be inclusive, and I want people to see things they can relate to and it doesn’t create stress,” she said. “We all had to adapt something.”
This sensitivity is what led her to think about mentorship in its many forms. “I do a lot of mentoring, informal and formal. There are times of hand in hand that are difficult, or setting a great example when someone is promoted and showing them to others as an example of what can be done,” she said. “Being Hispanic, I try to bring the voices of other women from minority groups to the table because everyone should have a seat at the table.”
She has also used her own challenges to define how she manages her team, with English being her second language. “English is not your first language, whereas English is the language of business, I can’t say how often people talk to me about my accent,” she said. “We work in a global organization, and we work a lot with Asia, and they might get more of what’s happening on trends, but feel inhibited from sharing in a meeting if their English isn’t perfect. . One of the biggest things that holds people back is not feeling good enough to share their thoughts or form an opinion.
Melero sees the future of beauty as equally inclusive. “I’m really hoping for that personalization,” she said. “There’s a lot more to come in 2023. We’re doing our part, trying to make this more personalized and serving the underserved.”
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