As a part of our interview series called “Women Of The C-Suite” we had the pleasure of interviewing Susana Campanella.
Susana Campanella is the CEO of Gluteboost, a health and beauty eCommerce company that focuses on natural solutions for the so-desired Hourglass Figure among women. Susana has an academic background in science with a concentration in molecular biology and has been a serial entrepreneur for the last 10 years but is now adamant about the scientific necessity a good beauty, or health, product needs to offer to its customers that can provide real benefits and not adverse effects. She has extensive experience working with customers and employees from diverse industries and backgrounds and has now found an impelling desire to develop a company that not only offers great products but also a community of like-minded individuals that are willing to be inspired to a healthy and curve-enhancing journey.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
The beauty industry is appealing to most women, and I am no exception to that fact! Being a serial entrepreneur has been a fun ride. Yes, it’s had its highs and lows, but the adventure is always fun. In all the past projects, I have been able to gain significant experience in the operational side of a business and key factors to keeping good margins, as well as understanding customer behavior, and demands in market, to name a few. The industries that my executive team and I have tapped in has been the education industry, several insurance firms, property maintenance, and now eCommerce. All very different industries but with a common denominator: learning how to provide awesome customer service. In all previous ventures, I knew the products we were providing were great, but if we wanted real competitive advantage we had to go above and beyond customer service. And that made us stand out big time, which has made us extremely successful in every venture we’ve been in.
Well, time has passed and with all the experience I have gained as a CEO, I knew I was missing out on a lot by not implementing my scientific academic background towards our business endeavors. And what better way than in the health and beauty world! I personally am a beauty and health fanatic, and as a good millennial that I am, keeping up with the beauty industry and with a healthy lifestyle has not been hard at all. This is where Gluteboost has coalesced with my particular business indulgence. It is now the time to impact the beauty and health industry with something completely innovative.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
The most interesting story as the CEO has been learning about the feedback and demands of our customers. The feedback we have gotten from our customers have gone far and beyond my expectations. Our customers are loving how by taking care of themselves a little more they can actually see pleasing results. In a time and age where curves are a huge thing, Gluteboost can offer what no one has thought natural products could offer. I believe this is the most interesting story about the company; not that it relates to just a few, but rather the effect Gluteboost has been able to provide to continuing customers as a collective majority.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I believe I had a dumb mistake when I first started to lead the company, instead of a funny one, which was pretending to rely completely in the knowledge of all the creatives our old marketing vendor had for the company. Although I was fairly new to the eCommerce world but had strong operational and business expertise, as a CEO I knew I had to be constantly learning new things, and I had to adopt the fact that all the fundamental creatives and brand image had to come not from my marketing team, but from my head. Not understanding from the get-go that even though you will be surrounded by experts in their fields, as the CEO I still had to teach and redirect their philosophies and even their creative input. I think I slipped there as a CEO; you should always be able to develop a good philosophy for the company so that whoever jumps in the team is able to adopt it and still make the company move in the right direction, which it is the CEO the one that needs to establish.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I really don’t want to sound cheesy, but that person has been my husband. He is the best COO a company could ever have. This guy is all about getting your head in the game. His focus for the company’s operational demands supersedes any other! I feel truly grateful for everything I have learned from him as well as the support I ‘ve received from him.
I have to say a woman is limitless when she is believed in by the most influential people around her. The great thing about this particular story is that since I have been gratefully surrounded by the best executive team and have understood what it means to live a life motivated by the people around you, it is this what we want to accomplish with the women in our market. If we already know we have amazing products, why not redirect our focus as a company to make a positive impression in the lives of so many? Why not become the beauty and health company that its main focus is to inspire and motivate women to be better? If Gluteboost can accomplish that, then we are winners in this whole thing.
In my work, I often talk about how to release and relieve stress. As a busy leader, what do you do to prepare your mind and body before a stressful or high stakes meeting, talk, or decision? Can you share a story or some examples?
The entrepreneurial world can be so stressful. Not just being the boss, but anytime you have to lead a group there is a lot of weight on your shoulders, and I think I have been able to espouse a solution to get rid of this kind of stress (because there are still so many other stress producing factors in a company). Only when it relates to the company team, we tend to bring down the formality that was accustomed in past business settings like the tie and suit, or the rigid and normative behavior seen in previous decades from the CEOs toward their employees. As a team we have been able to understand that professionalism and success goes far beyond appearances or rigid management, we maintain a model of being truthful and constantly caring for one another, and this includes me, too. If the focus is to care for that other individual thus adopting a mentality of genuinely wanting to care for one another, any tough meeting or decision is taken a lot better. So, if I could summarize the answer for this question, it would be that there is a positive impact on the degree of stress an individual can hold in any company by feeling that he or she belongs to a team that genuinely cares for them. Therefore, if my team can see this exemplified by me, then I know it will be reciprocal and the level of stress is minimized.
As you know, the United States is currently facing a very important self-reckoning about race, diversity, equality and inclusion. This may be obvious to you, but it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you articulate to our readers a few reasons why it is so important for a business or organization to have a diverse executive team?
Yes, these are all a very existential reality. But I do believe that if a company acquiesces a genuine prerogative for wellness towards any other human being, then diversity, equality and inclusivity become inherent in the DNA of that company, and this starts at the top. If CEOs and their executive teams are able to adopt this mentality then it will trickle down, and I firmly believe that ultimately everyone profits from a model like this.
As a business leader, can you please share a few steps we must take to truly create an inclusive, representative, and equitable society? Kindly share a story or example for each.
The most important thing to know when referring to this issue is to understand everyone’s potential for success. Some individuals are adamant to reach success, aside their race, ethnicity, age, or gender, and others are not. If the company or organization has the capacity to conspicuously discern this from other individuals, then becoming inclusive, diverse, and equitable, is inapplicable. The first thing companies should see in individuals is their desire to learn more and be better every time, regardless of their education level. When we focus on the potential any individual has, instead of their race, ethnicity, age, or gender, we are tearing down any subjective obstacle that should not have been there in the first place. The currency here is not what the eyes can see, but that with which our eyes cannot see. If a company, or society, sees the value in individuals this way, the company or society’s potential becomes endless.
Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. Most of our readers — in fact, most people — think they have a pretty good idea of what a CEO or executive does. But in just a few words can you explain what an executive does that is different from the responsibilities of the other leaders?
I think this is a great question because the role of a CEO is somewhat dubious. By a collective majority, CEOs are understood to be the head of companies at the very top that have learned to make good decisions for a company. But this is not all — CEOs ought to be the infinite-minded individuals that ensure the decisions made stay on the path of the vision of the company. And not everyone can be a good visionary, just how not everyone can be a good CMO, for example. This is why the roles exist, because it is in the expertise of each that a company can excel and continue to have a steep growth. CEOs are the visionaries of a company, and if there is no vision in the CEO then perhaps the company might do well in maintaining the business but there will be no growth.
What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a CEO or executive. Can you explain what you mean?
Well, being a woman CEO certainly has many myths that accompanies the tittle. Not being bold enough, articulate enough, knowledgeable enough, and unable to raise a family because it’s a man’s job. I think what society is missing when spelling these fallacies toward women, is not what they lack doing but actually not understanding what a company lacks without the input and insight of a woman executive figure.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by women executives that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?
This is a comical question for me because the dichotomy should be phrased backwards: what are the challenges men executives have that aren’t typically faced by women. I guess with this perspective you can discern my strong stand for women inclusivity within executive roles, and this is because women have certain attributes and insights very different from men that could ultimately bring greater profit to an “all-man” company. Yes, women still face certain direct and indirect rejection from male counterparts, but this should not be considered an obstacle for success. Instead, women should feel inspired to accomplish their dreams, be educated, do different, and know that anyone can make a greater impact in this world.
What is the most striking difference between your actual job and how you thought the job would be?
I wouldn’t call this a striking difference, but I believe I took for granted the artistic and creative side that this job demands. It might seem as relativistic to others, but if that component is missing and you are not able to relate to your market then there will be a gap from a six-figure startup beauty company to an 8-figure beauty and health company. This is where we are revamping our image right now; we are turning our gears to become more mainstream — and we have the best team to accomplish this.
Certainly, not everyone is cut out to be an executive. In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful executive and what type of person should avoid aspiring to be an executive? Can you explain what you mean?
I believe a great executive is a great visionary, is an optimist, and can make bold decisions aligned to the path of the vision. That executive needs to own the vision and be able to articulate it well, be knowledgeable, and also be passionate about what they believe so others can love what they love. It is not just about good operations (which is essentially important), but a more transcendental philosophy that the company needs to address and adopt regarding why they are doing what they are doing. I believe the CEO, in comparison to their Chief Officer counterparts, are the ones truly seeing far beyond the day’s operations. The CEO goes hand in hand with the team of Chief Officers to ensure the boat is moving in the right direction.
People not trained in at least one specific field, or not knowledgeable enough about business operations, not understanding the market it is performing in, or not being able to articulate a cogent vision for the company should maybe resist of having this kind of responsibility.
What advice would you give to other women leaders to help their team to thrive?
I would advise other women leaders to advocate for healthy business relationships within their team and be constantly encouraging and cheering them up to their fullest potential. At the end, you employed them because you saw the potential they could bring to the company; it is in the CEO that everyone should feel they are being empowered and incited to do better every single time. Positive reinforcement and positively changing unwanted behaviors should be the bread and butter of a healthy team.
Having your team fall in love with the vision of the company is also a determining factor. They must be able to thoroughly understand why they are all moving in the direction you want them to move. If any team member doesn’t align with that mentality, then they are sailing in the wrong boat.
How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
At Gluteboost, we are still working strenuously on this in several ways. We are working to become a 100% green company because we want to give back to our wonderful planet. We have been in the process of changing our company image and branding and that includes promoting a model to all the women out there to do different, and do better. We also want to be known as a company that empowers and inspires women to take care of themselves in a healthy way, and that having your curves enhanced is more possible than expected without having to go under the knife or with extreme exercise. We believe that women want to excel, be more noticeable, look more stunning, be successful and feel inspired. Women yearn to be inspired. We want to project that no matter where you are right now, embrace it, love your now, but do different. That it’s not about income inequality, or the priorities you have right now, or that is impossible for you to get that job position, or that because you’re a woman you will have disadvantages. Just choose to do different. Be inspired; if you’re alive, you can make a difference and make history.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)
- ECommerce is harder to do than ‘brick and mortar’. Somehow thinking that doing business online would bring a sense of ease and effortlessness. Well, I would say it is actually harder and more time consuming. Your business stats are a finger away; your phone becomes your true virtual assistant that wants to inform you of every minute move the company has. If sales and revenue doesn’t sleep, then it becomes more difficult not to keep up with this kind of activity.
- Do not rely 100% on your marketing team. I did the opposite. I tend to put a lot of trust on people, but we never stop learning and becoming better. A good CEO needs to have good knowledge on everything that relates to the company. You don’t need to be an expert at it, but good, overall plans to what is trying to be accomplished should be articulated. This way, the company is continuously on-track to pursuing the vision.
- Shipping logistics needs special attention. Dealing with shipping carries can be a hassle; but great interpersonal relationships with the representatives of every company, as well as staying ahead of the game can bring ease to this concern.
- Staff passionate people about your brand. There is the people that want to succeed in life, and there is the people that want to succeed in life but fall in love with your product and the company vision. The latter will catalyze your results unimaginably.
- This industry brings a continual excitement. I honestly thought I was in for another business venture fun, but I was so wrong! The level of excitement this industry brings, exceeds my expectations. Knowing that you are offering an innovative, health-boosting, amazing-result product, and seeing our customer’s feedback, excites me every time. Being a company conducive of self-awareness and self-love incites us to make a greater impact in the lives of our customers.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
This is an amazing question — but I’m going to have to hold-on to this one. We actually have in the works something that is very similar to what you have just asked, and I don’t want to give it away! But with what I have mentioned about our core value I believe you can have a pretty good idea about what we are into. One thing for sure, is the fact that Gluteboost is not just about bigger curves (which we do that well!), we have an ambitious goal and that is to make history in the lives of women.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“The best investment you can make, is an investment in yourself… the more you learn, the more you’ll earn.” By Warren Buffet. This quote has made a significant impression in my life, and it has corroborated to the mentality of a student I have learned I should always maintain. And for that, as Buffet suggests, we ought to be constantly investing in ourselves and our knowledge.
We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them
This is a tough question because I have a few people I could learn so much from, including Beth Mooney from KeyBank. There is a lot I could learn from her especially her voracious ambition to become a top executive of a top 20 U.S. bank. But I think I would really love to meet with either Kylie Jenner or Chris Jenner. I have high regards for their business ethics and since they are in the same industry, I believe I could learn so much from a small chat.