Get To Know: Avon CMO Patricia Perez-Ayala
Amy Gesenhues on October 1, 2014
With more than 20 years experience managing business strategy, consumer marketing, and operations in leading markets around the world, Patricia Perez-Ayala serves as Avon’s Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, and Global Brand and Category President.
Perez-Ayala began her career in 1983 with Procter & Gamble Venezuela, holding a series of brand, marketing and strategy positions. She spent more than two decades with P&G in a variety of leadership roles, including Vice President and General Manager for Eastern Europe and Vice President and General Manager of North America Feminine Care and Global Strategic Planning for P&G’s Tampax brand.
Now based in New York City, Perez-Ayala leads Avon’s global brand and marketing initiatives, overseeing consumer insights and analytics, commercial marketing, digital marketing and product category strategy and execution, as well as research and development, new product development and packaging.
When she’s not managing one of the most recognized cosmetic brands in the world, Perez-Ayala likes spending time at Bari studio, the fitness facility founded by her daughter. “Each session gives every single muscle in my body an intense workout,” says Perez-Ayala.
Read on to find out Perez-Ayala’s favorite apps in and out of the office, the person who was most influential in her career and why she went into marketing.
What mobile device can you not live without?
Which apps do you use most often for work?
Uber – with so many meetings on the calendar, it is so great to have a car ready when it’s needed.
What social media network or website do you frequent most when you’re not working?
Daily Beast – it is the perfect one-stop destination for all my daily news.
What’s the first thing you check on your phone in the morning?
WhatsApp – it keeps me connected with my three daughters.
Take me through your typical workday.
I start early in the morning with emails and calls with our teams in Asia Pacific and Europe.
Every day, my calendar is filled with a diversity of meetings, ranging from reviewing business results with our markets, planning our innovation pipeline, sampling the latest and greatest products developed by our R&D, approving new creative executions for our ad campaign, and more.
I have such a natural curiosity for all parts of the marketing equation, so the scope of this position keeps me inspired and energized!
What has been the most exciting work development during the past year?
A year ago we launched our “You Make It Beautiful” campaign in all of our markets around the world.
We are so proud of this campaign – it is visually stunning and communicates such a positive message to our Avon Representatives and our customers that no one has the power to make life as beautiful as they do.
How many miles have you traveled in the last 12 months?
I’ve logged thousands of miles this past year traveling to countries around the world to meet with our Avon Marketing partners.
As part of my travels, I take time to meet with Avon Representatives – it is always a pleasure to meet them, and hear their incredible stories of success. While traveling, I also take time to meet consumers to develop a deeper understanding of the local market beauty trends.
A few of my favorite trips include India – where there are such deep economic divides in our consumer groups; Shanghai – where there is such emergence in global beauty brands; and Russia, a place I still consider to be one of my “homes” since I lived there for three years while working with P&G. I adore the culture and people.
What work challenge keeps you up at night?
Avon is leading global beauty brand with a 128 year history of empowering women; I feel tremendous sense of responsibility to continue fulfilling this mission by delivering the very best beauty brands for our consumers, and also the very best earnings opportunity for our Avon Representatives.
Can you tell us about a campaign or work project you’d like to do over?
There is no project that specifically comes to mind as one I’d like to do over, however, I will say that I am a firm believer in having a mentality of continuous improvement.
At Avon, we launch thousands of new products each year, and with every launch, we are continually improving – asking ourselves, “How can we best support our Representatives? How can we deliver the best quality to our customers?”
What does your desk look like?
The photo my three girls sits on my desk at all times – they are all so inspiring in their own ways.
Tell me about the people who have been most influential in your career.
I am fortunate to have worked with Susan Arnold, former President and Vice Chairman of Procter & Gamble. It is no surprise that she has appeared on the list of Fortune Magazine’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business, the Wall Street Journal’s 50 Women to Watch, and more.
Susan is a brilliant, inspiring leader, with such a rare blend of genuine empathy and assertiveness.
What traits does a person need to succeed in your position?
Given our global scale, it is incredibly important to have a strong connection with all of our colleagues around the world.
In order to succeed, one must have the ability to deeply understand the business in each market as if it is the only market to manage.
Can you tell us something about yourself that your team would be surprised to know?
When I graduated college, my dream was to have a career in Finance.
Why did you go into marketing?
After graduating college, I returned home to Venezuela and had an interview with the local P&G human resources manager. I immediately told him I wanted to pursue a career in Finance – and he wouldn’t allow it.
He said, “You are a marketing person.” He obviously saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. I accepted the marketing position they offered – and that ignited a passion in me that I still feel today.
What other career would you like to try and why?
In a different lifetime, I would love to explore the medical field – I love the science and analytics.
What’s the last business book you read?
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. It is a fascinating look into the impact human behavior has on our decision making.
Outside of your company’s efforts, what ad campaign or video caught your eye recently?
I like the Coca Cola spot that aired during the World Cup – it makes quite an emotional impact.
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