Friday, May 1, 2009

GEMS

I rarely blog about my job. After coming home and debriefing Jon on my day, the last thing I ever want to do is write about work; however, I think my most recent experience definitely deserves a post.

To give you a little background: I currently work on the global marketing team at Redken. This team concentrates on the development of brand strategy, products and concepts. In other words, this is the more creative side of marketing. Every country around the world that carries Redken has its own domestic marketing team that is in charge of taking what we (global marketing) develop and implementing and promoting the strategies/products in their respective market. Once a year all of the countries come to New York for an event called GEMS where global marketing presents their plan for the upcoming year to the domestic teams. GEMS is a huge event - it started on Sunday and went through Wednesday, and I worked long days from 7am to 11pm.

I work on the Color and Texture team. My boss and I oversee the development of our color collections (if you are a Redkenite Runway Reds or Mahogany Glam may sound familiar...past collections) and perms (Vector Plus, Creative Curl, anyone?? probably not). Lucky me being the lowest on the totem poll, I mostly manage our perms. I know, I know - perms are so twenty years ago. It's true! But believe it or not, there are some countries in this world that still use perms.

On Tuesday, I presented our 2010 plan for texture (I like to use this word rather than perms - it makes the product sounds a little more modern, right?). The countries were split into two groups, so I gave this presentation twice. The first presentation went really well. Everyone was on board with the strategy and thought it was a great plan for the tiny texture category.

The second presentation unfortunately didn't go as well. It wasn't a mistake that I made - I 'm completely comfortable presenting in front of big groups - rather, it was an important man in my audience that helped my second presentation become a little more dramatic. We'll just say he's much higher up on the totem pole than I am, and he has opinions (lots of them) about the texture category. Two minutes into my presentation I delivered my analysis concerning the current texture business and our opportunity for growth. This high totem-pole man in the audience started rolling his eyes, breathing audibly and finally threw his hands in the air, stood up and headed towards the door (I wish you could've been there - words can't explain what this man was doing). Granted, perms aren't a big generator of revenue in the countries that he oversees, however, he didn't even give me a chance and listen to the rest of my presentation. "C'mon...it's her first GEMS," everyone started saying, but he continued to walk out of the room. I paused, waited for him to exit, and then started right where I left off. I was so confused - I knew this guy was important and opinionated, so I was quite alarmed that he caused such a scene and left.

The rest of the presentation went smoothly, but on the inside I was so confused on how to react. After I finished I headed straight for the bathroom, shed a couple tears and came back to the end of the workshop. My high totem-pole friend immediately came up to me and apologized: "I was extremely disrespectful, I'm sorry. You see, I've been hearing about texture for 20 years now..." as he tried to explain his behavior. After three long days of working and weeks of late nights and preparation for this presentation, I was feeling all kinds of emotions. There I stood, tears running down my face, as this high on the totem-pole man tried to apologize for his inappropriate action...and all I could do was cry.

11 comments:

Shannon said...

Oh Jame I'm so sorry. Crying at work is the worst!!

I'm glad he at least apologized, but still...

Lauren said...

Oh Jamie! I feel so bad. Can I just say I have been there too. I have had my own run-in with High on the Totem Pole people too. It isn't too fun. But it sounds like you handled it well.

Karene said...

Sigh...know the feeling...Things will get better though, because you are amazing.

Stanton & Rubi Jones said...

aw doesn't he know perms are coming back?!

xaque said...

I hate totem poles.

Kyle and Lesley said...

7am to 11pm? Yikes. I'm sure they were all impressed that you just continued on despite his rudeness... and I'm positive that I would have been crying too.

Tara said...

That's horrible! That's always my reaction, too. I cry whenever I have any excuse at all to cry and then later I think of all the things that I should have said.

on perms, I was the perm-queen back in late elementary and jr. high school! It was bad!

Kristina said...

Jamie,

He just doesn't know how amazing you are! He didn't even listen for more than a minute. I know he missed out on a great presentation!

AmyCurtis said...

Sounds like this man is a real "gem". What a dork! I'm glad he appologized, but seriously, sounds like someone takes himself a little too seriously. Sorry you had to be the one to feel his gerk-ness.

Lee and Jane Curtis said...

Jamie--Look on the positive side--the first went so well and after he left the second did. You can't control others actions. Sounds like you did great and a few tears makes you real. They are so lucky to have you on any of their teams.

The Hansens said...

I'm sure you were awesome Jamie! Don't let one crazy guy get you down :). I bet you're the best "texture" marketer they have!