Becky Verano-Luri, Global Category Director, Dettol and Veet, has worked for RB since 2006. Here she talks about the importance of responsibility, focusing on the bigger picture and the need to tackle the dramatic rise of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in Spain – in her previous role she was regional director Iberia for Health, based in Barcelona.
I learn more from a day on the road with one of our reps than I do from weeks sitting in the office, so in 2019 I will be trying to spend a day a month out with reps or customers. It's so important that as a management team we see what it's like for ourselves and get input from the people on the ground.
I would say my role is to lead and inspire. I'm very open and informal – that's critical to get the best out of teams. I'm clear that I'm a mum of three girls first and a manager second. As a leader, my job is to instil confidence, create a vision and really push for brave and bold decisions – and in the field of health, we need to ensure they're right for the longer term.
As a manager and a mum, I feel a deep responsibility to improve awareness of sexual health. Condom usage is falling dramatically in Spain, largely due to lack of knowledge and because people don't fear contracting AIDS as they once did. One-in-four 18-year-olds leave school with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) – in fact, some STIs are up by 400 per cent. That scares the hell out of me. As leader in the market we have an obligation to do something about it – and we might have to shake a few cages, especially in a Catholic country like Spain. Our main brand is Durex and we have a massive market share. Our focus is to grow the market by driving awareness of STIs by talking about condoms and educating on how best to use them. We've been working with the Spanish government to tackle this issue and encouraging supermarkets to be more open so that condoms and lubricants are no longer taboo with customers. This requires a huge amount of effort and resources. We need to be consistent with our focus and messaging – it will take years to change mindsets.
I'm determined to show people how our business can make a difference. Our campaign with Durex will impact on consumers' lives in a positive way – so when we talk about 'company values' it's not about selling more products, but about working for a company that's doing something for the common good.
Values are especially important to our younger employees – you see their eyes light up when we talk about responsibility and what we can achieve. Ultimately, we are a company selling chemicals and medicines, but as a market leader we can be so much more by helping people to be healthier and to live better.
I think ownership is inherent in everyone's role at RB. It's an extremely lean organisation and we demand a lot from employees. They need to take ownership from the start. This freedom is one of the reasons I value working at RB – I've never experienced it with any other company.