Updated: Sep 7, 2019
Today, I'm taking a small break from the industry content to give you some background about myself! This way you have have some context as to where my information comes from, what companies I've worked for, and what roles I've had. For even more information, I've set up an About page on the site that has a summary of my experience in resume format. There's also a shortcut to my LinkedIn profile in the right hand corner of the Home page.
I got my start in the cosmetics industry back in 2010. I was working towards my master's degree and needed to find a summer internship as part of the program requirements. I took advantage my school's extensive alumni database to schedule informational interviews with anyone who was working in cosmetics and personal care. Through those networking calls, I was able to set up an interview and be hired as a summer intern at Burt's Bees in Durham, North Carolina. I worked in the Purchasing Department and spent the summer contacting suppliers about their sustainability practices. I asked questions ranging from what recycling programs they had in place at their facilities, to where they sourced raw materials from, to whether they had low-flow toilets in their offices. I also provided a handbook of best practices for a variety of sustainability initiatives that could be used to make improvements within their organizations. It was a great introduction to a brand that really cares about sustainability throughout its entire supply chain.
After graduation, I accepted a full-time position with Burt's Bees in the Supply Planning department. Typically, supply planners take the demand plan that is created based on historical sales and input from customers and translate that into a manufacturing plan for the production team. My role was a little different, as I handled the deviations from the normal process. Any changes that were being made to the packaging, formula, or some combination of the two required coordination. For example, if a label on a lip balm was being replaced, I would make sure we ran out of the old label and started production with the new label in coordination with the timing communicated to the customer. Over time, I took on additional responsibilities and did some traditional supply planning work for our bottle lines.
After two years in that role, an opening came available in the Research & Development department. It was the position I had imagined for myself when I decided to major in chemical engineering. I was extremely excited to work in the laboratory and focus on new product launches! I spent a year as a process development scientist and had a great time learning about formulation, working with external manufacturers as well as our internal Compounding department, and collaborating with Marketing and raw material vendors on ideas for future development. I worked on lip shimmer shade extensions, sheer body lotions, shampoos and conditioners, a cream-to-powder baby product, medicated lip balm, and more.
In 2014, I decided to move out to Los Angeles for personal reasons. I was recruited by a company in a different field and decided to give it a try. I spent a year working for McMaster-Carr Supply Company, a privately-owned warehousing company that sells industrial supplies. You may be familiar with their famous giant yellow catalog. I had the opportunity to supervise a team of 40 people. It was completely different from my prior work experience on small teams at Burt's Bees. I enjoyed getting to know my team, giving monthly performance reviews, and coordinating training and development opportunities. After a year, I decided to leave to get back into the cosmetic industry.
I was contacted by a recruiter who found my resume online and was looking for a process engineer for a contract position at Neutrogena, which is owned by Johnson & Johnson. I joined the Support of Marketed Products team, a subset of the R&D organization. I worked on site transfers of existing products from contract manufacturers to the Los Angeles manufacturing plant. After six months, a permanent position came available within the department to lead investigations. For over two years, I owned root cause analysis investigations and corrective and preventative actions for out-of-specification analytical testing results for all products made in Los Angeles. I also supported investigations led by other functions as the technical expert for any potential impact to the formula or manufacturing process. I got to know all the products made in the plant very well, including chemical and physical sunscreens, salicylic acid acne treatments, coal tar anti-dandruff shampoos, anti-aging lotions with retinol, surfactant blend washes, lotions, bar soaps, and baby products.
In early 2018, my responsibilities transitioned from investigations to new product introductions. I was the SMP representative on projects and the new position was very similar to the work I had done back in my Burt's Bees' days. The projects I worked on included reformulations of existing products as well as launches of new formulas or packaging configurations. It was rewarding to apply my experience with all aspects of manufacturing as well as my knowledge of all the formulas made in the plant from my investigation role.
This brings us up to today! I left Neutrogena in July 2019 and am working on this blog while I plan out my next steps in my career. Thanks for reading about my journey!
To close, last year I was honored to be profiled by the local chapter of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists as a new member. I've attached the interview below and also included a link to the CaliSCC website. Thanks for checking out my post today! As always, let me know if you have any questions or suggestions in the comments section below!
California Society of Cosmetic Chemists Spotlight
Interview from California Society of Cosmetic Chemists Cosmegram
October 2018 Vol 48 Issue 7 Page 14