Climbing the Leadership Ladder with L’Oréal Canada President and CEO An Verhulst-Santos – Canadian Business: How to Do Better Business

An Verhulst-Santos’ career in the beauty industry began 33 years ago, when she joined the Professional Products Division of L’Oréal Groupe in her home country of Belgium. Today, as President and CEO of L’Oréal Canada, she oversees a broad portfolio of 39 brands and leads a diverse team of 1,450 employees. “I am moved by a spirit that understands beauty as a universal aspiration with the power to move the world,” she says.

In 2021, when she joined the company’s Canadian headquarters in Montreal, Verhulst-Santos became the first woman to hold the position, bringing with her a wealth of knowledge and a visionary leadership style shaped by her global experience leading teams in the United States and France. and Brazil.

Joining us as resident leader in March, An sat down with C.B. to discuss the pillars of her professional growth, her leadership philosophy and what guiding principles will shape the future of Canada’s beauty industry.

What have been some of the biggest challenges you have faced in taking on leadership?

For me, key turning points in my career have involved embracing change and stepping out of my comfort zone. This meant leaving Europe and taking on the task of leading teams in Brazil and the United States. My international experiences were incredibly valuable as they exposed me to diverse consumer preferences and cultural nuances, shaping my leadership approach, which is not based specifically on my status as a woman, but rather on my experiences, knowledge and insights. professionals.

How do you prioritize and promote gender diversity and inclusion within L’Oréal Canada?

As the first female CEO of L’Oréal Canada, diversity and inclusion are paramount. Upon my arrival in Canada, I created the position of Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, currently held by Marie-Evelyne François. Under her leadership, a truly inclusive approach has been implemented, with the goal of educating our teams on a variety of important intersections to make our operations more inclusive. At L’Oréal, we are convinced that the more diverse and inclusive a team is, the more creative and ambitious it becomes. There is still a long way to go to ensure more women and BIPOC voices have leadership roles in all sectors. Getting there will require greater advocacy, partnerships, and education from people currently in those roles, who have the visibility and influence to promote real change.

What initiatives or programs has L’Oréal Canada implemented to support the professional development and advancement of women in the workplace?

At L’Oréal Canada, our ambition is to build a business with inclusion at the center, ensuring we are as diverse as the people we serve. This commitment is reflected in several programs across our ecosystem, a great example being the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science program. L’Oréal and UNESCO have worked together for 20 years in Canada to help empower more women scientists to achieve scientific excellence and participate equally in solving the great challenges facing humanity. Similarly, our Women 4 Climate program The program aims to support and guide women entrepreneurs in their journey towards sustainability.

What are some of your own beauty and fashion principles, and how do they influence your professional life?

Much more than just appearance, beauty is a search that shapes our identity, both individually and collectively. I believe in beauty that instills confidence and enhances self-expression, and in the notion that beauty exists everywhere. The desire for beauty is a universal aspiration that transcends time, borders and cultures.

In your opinion, how can the fashion and beauty industry play a more active role in empowering and uplifting women?

It’s an important question. Specifically, at L’Oréal Canada we want the world of tomorrow to be fair, diverse and inclusive, and we are committed to the role of women in shaping it. Drawing on their own history, values ​​and communities, our brands are playing their part in advancing causes that directly impact women. For example, YSL Beauty is taking a bold stance with its Abuse is not love program, a global program to fight and prevent intimate partner violence (IPV), the most common form of violence against women.

He has been in the company for more than thirty years. What has kept you motivated and inspired over the years?

There are so many proud achievements that have allowed me to be where I am today. You build your career step by step and can never fully plan for the future. It is important to take advantage of opportunities when they arise. For more than 115 years, the L’Oréal Group has been dedicated to beauty. I am extremely proud of our achievements and strong commitments to promoting sustainability and, of course, our focus on becoming a leader in beauty technology, making beauty more inclusive, responsible and personalized for everyone. That’s what keeps me motivated. At home here in Canada, where L’Oréal just celebrated its 65thth anniversary, I am focused on how our company can continue to shape a future with fair treatment, access, advancement and opportunity for all.

Leave a Comment