Vice President Self Care,
After spending 12 years working cross-functionally at another healthcare company and a year-long career break traveling South Africa, South and Central America, and Asia, Carla began her career at Johnson & Johnson in 2015 as a Group Marketing Manager in Sydney, Australia. In this role, she was responsible for leading a team that focused on four categories – Skin Health, Baby, Feminine Care, and Oral Care. Since then she's had several different roles within Consumer Health and is now Senior Marketing Director, Self Care, Asia Pacific.
Read how Carla describes some of the most informative experiences of her time so far at J&J Consumer Health and how her career and professional development have accelerated as a result.
I think the power of moving cross-functionally is underrated. At certain points in my career I have moved laterally across different functions rather than moving “upwards,” but after that was able to accelerate my career because of the array of experience I gained while moving cross-functionally.
I try not to look at the title of a role, but more so the diversity and depth you can gain from the vast portfolios of our business. When you move from Skin Health to Oral Care to Baby, you really gain something new every time. It’s important to think about what you have learned from a role and the skillset you bring to your next position, not just the title gained.
I think the more cross-functional experience you have, the easier it is to put yourself in the shoes of the colleagues you are working with across functions. For example, I always tell marketers they should spend some time in sales. The skill of being able to sell a product can help immensely in a marketing role because you put yourself in the customer or consumers’ shoes, and you inherently try to make yourself or the brand relatable.
My biggest learning from moving cross-functionally is that when you think you know it all, it’s important to remember there is still so much to learn. I'm speaking about learning as a broad term here, not only the skills required to perform your current role, but the learning that comes with putting yourself in vulnerable positions throughout your career. I believe moving internationally and working in both developed and emerging markets really helped me with this. When you first step into a new country that you don’t know a lot about it’s important to listen to the people who work in those markets and who are the experts, then working out how you can complement their experience and ultimately add value.
My advice to others would be to take risks. Especially as an early-in-career employee, there’s an expectation and pressure that you have to move upward on the corporate ladder, but no one talks about how your goals can change or how sometimes you just need a reset. I quit my secure job to travel the world because it was a goal I always had. It was both one of the riskiest and best things I could have done in my career. It truly re-motivated and re-energized me, while helping me see a new perspective. So, take risks both personally and professionally because there will never be a “right time.”