Three Women Leaders
Driving The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’re highlighting the women working every day to bring our guiding blueprint to life.
As a company, we’ve got lots of goals, from improving health to reducing our environmental impact, all while enhancing livelihoods. It’s all a part of our ambitious blueprint, the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, and it would all be impossible without the people who help us bring this plan to life.
This month for International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating all women leaders, but especially this trio of Unilever employees who are making this plan a reality in Midwestern fields, faraway deserts, and bathroom cabinets across the country:
Sharing The Power Of Healing
As a Director of the Vaseline brand, Kathleen Dunlop saw an interesting article by dermatologists who visited a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan in 2014. Over and over in that article, they mentioned Vaseline® as something we all take for granted, but that was critically important. Kathleen and her team jumped at the opportunity to get involved and so the Vaseline® Healing Project was born.
People living in crises and emergencies need food, shelter, water and medical care. It may come as a surprise, but many of the health issues that these people face are skin conditions due to exposure, harsh living conditions, crowding and lack of water for regular washing.
Partnering with Direct Relief, the Vaseline® brand is donating Vaseline products, sponsoring dermatologists and developing a training curriculum for community healthcare workers in an effort to help heal the skin of 5 million people by 2020. Throughout this humanitarian work, Kathleen says her kids motivate her to do even more:
“With three kids it’s tempting to say ‘they need me at home’. But two of those children are daughters, and I want to be a good role model for them. I want them to dream and achieve their dreams, so I feel like I’d be a bit of a hypocrite if I weren’t doing something that I love every day.”
She’s used this motivation to make sure our brands help people in need all over the globe, and wants a similarly fulfilling future for her daughters:
One Mom-To-Be Transforms Farming
Growing up in a farming community in Iowa, Stefani Grant jumped at the opportunity to return to her roots and lead a sustainable agriculture program there: “My dad always made sure I always spent a few weeks on my aunt and uncle’s farm because he wanted me to ‘know where I came from’.”
Now as Senior Manager, External Affairs and Sustainability for Unilever, she’s helped vastly expand the Hellmann’s® sustainable soybean operation there by adding family farmers and fostering sustainable practices like using less fertilizer. Her work has gone from a project to a passion, which Stefani finds especially important as an expectant mother:
Parenting and Packaging Improvements
Historically, product packaging was designed only for functionality without considering its disposal. It’s Julie Zaniewski’s mission to change that as our Packaging Sustainability Manager.
Each package redesign has the potential to save resources, like the latest Noxzema® jar which uses 45% less plastic. But that’s not all that motivates Julie:
“My children understand how my work can improve life for future generations, so they enjoy learning about sustainability…This continues to be a journey I can take them on and that is pure motivation,” she says.
Her daughter and son are also able to “readily identify what they want to improve for their generation,” and Julie thinks everyone can follow this lead in working towards gender equality:
Equality For All
We rely on these women, and countless others, to achieve our sustainability and social impact goals. On International Women’s Day, we thank each these women for their amazing work. We also encourage you to take the pledge for gender equality, and remember the amazing contributions women are making in the business world -- and everywhere else – every day.