Executive Q&A: Mauro Schnaidman, President and CEO of JAFRA
We are having Mauro Schnaidman of JAFRA this week. After working for Sara Lee at various senior roles for 10 years, Mauro joined JAFRA in 2013. Since then, he has been leading the company as its President and CEO, based in California, USA, reporting directly to Vorwerk’s Executive Board. Mauro is a member of the WFDSA’s (World Federation Direct Selling Associations) CEO Council.
Could you tell us about your education?
I graduated from Maua Engineering University in Sao Paulo, Brazil as a mechanical engineer, and later attended several leadership and strategy programs at the Wharton School and IMD in Switzerland.
What was your childhood dream?
My dream was to travel the world and to be in a rock band! Perhaps in a rock band that travelled the world…
What were your past experiences before your current role at JAFRA?
I’ve held senior management positions at several global companies, including Unilever, Pepsico, Revlon and America Online, all while being positioned across several different countries in Latin America. Immediately prior to joining JAFRA, I was President and Chairman of the Board of Sara Lee, Southern Europe, based in Barcelona.
Now based in Westlake, California, I keep a global mindset and currently mentor several entrepreneurs around the world. I also have a seat on the board at Insynch Global and am an ambassador of the Barcelona Global Initiative in Los Angeles, CA.
What do you attribute your career success to most?
I’ve always had a positive attitude that has allowed me to cope with the challenges that come along with any career. I also always think big!
I’ve also really lucked out by having great bosses along the way, each who taught me many invaluable lessons that I’ve taken along with me. Having great teams underneath me has also attributed to the success I’ve had throughout my career.
What has been your most inspiring moment?
I truly wake up feeling inspired every day. However, if I have to give examples of moments of inspiration, I’ll give two: 1) When I was working for Sara Lee in Europe and we came in ahead of Nestle! 2) When I was able to help a best friend who was living through a life crisis.
Soccer, travelling, and reading psychology books.
How would you describe being a direct selling executive to an outsider?
Working in direct selling is just like working in any other industry; you must have a purpose and vision that is compelling to stakeholders and impact society in a positive manner. You must have a strategy to win, the capabilities to do so, and the team and processes to back that all up. However, if there is something critical and very unique – it is to have the passion for people, because this is a people business.
What is your biggest achievement at JAFRA?
We have built a terrific team here at JAFRA that is consistently delivering growth. We have truly elevated the brand to a different and much higher level, and have leveraged the power of innovation with our JAFRA Royal Jelly line. In addition to the product and growth of the company, we are currently making big and meaningful changes to our digital strategy, which I know will be a huge achievement for the business.
And your biggest challenge at a direct selling company executive role?
We tend to look at the inner working of the brand a lot, to our sales force, to our internal processes – when in reality, we need to look outside. We need to constantly challenge ourselves to evolve our model based on customer trends, and more importantly, to the newest technologies that open infinite possibilities for our industry, especially in the digital space.
What would be your best advice to those who are thinking of joining a direct sales company at a corporate position?
I always tell people that they need to do what they love, to stay true to who they are, and to who they want to be, to believe in themselves, and to pursue their dreams, and above all to make a positive difference. If all that is possible, it does not matter which industry you are in. It’s all about the individual and what they want to become and achieve, as well as how they can impact others and society positively.