Integrative Skin Care for Overall Well-Being – with Lori Bush

Is the health of your skin connected to your mindfulness and well being? No one would be a higher authority on the subject than someone who has spent their career in senior-level leadership in the beauty and skincare industry. My guest today shares what she’s learned about integrative beauty and skincare, and how a personal health scare led her to an unexpected new endeavor.

It’s been said that Lori Bush shines from a mile away, and not just because of her fabulous skin. During her tenure as president and CEO of Rodan and Fields, Lori took revenue from zero to one billion. She also served as president of Nu Skin, Worldwide Executive Director of Skincare Ventures at Johnson & Johnson, and VP of Marketing for Neutrogena. She went on to become Chairwoman of the Board at Avon. Now, calling on her 30+ years of expertise in beauty and skincare, Lori’s latest venture, Solvasa, is an integrative beauty line dedicated to empowering everyone to live long and beautifully by caring for their whole selves. In addition to her legendary career, Lori is also a bestselling author of a beauty wellness book called Write Your Skin a Prescription for Change. She also helps young female entrepreneurs through seed funding. In this episode, Lori and I discuss her path to the C – suite and how she was able to grow her business so quickly, why she left, and how she was able to scale her startup to become the #1 largest independent premium skincare brand. She also explains why well being and the joy of missing out are critical to leadership success. 

Breaking into the C-Suite

It turned out that Lori was the keeper of all pet projects that a CEO or owner wanted to be done, but no one else wanted to touch. Because she loved the challenge, these projects always ended up in her lap. She went through a time when she wasn’t getting higher-level promotions, and she was operating in autonomous areas, which led her on the journey to ultimate leadership positions. When she became frustrated with her lack of promotions, she was told that she didn’t have a promotable resume because she had spent her time focusing on doing the things she loved. After a long career path, it was in the early 2000s that Lori finally found herself in the C – suite with Rodan and Fields.

A breakout experience

Before Lori’s opportunity opened up with Rodan and Fields, she accepted the position of president at NuSkin, where she explored the direct – selling model of business and found it an outlet for much innovation. She took on a chief marketing role and had an amazing experience that became a breakout role for her. She joined her first board of directors and got boardroom experience that prepared her for higher leadership.

Feeling the conflict

For almost everyone with a long career in business, they have experienced the conflict in leaving one job for another. Lori had a vision, but she found that NuSkin was going in a different direction. She even questioned whether she had value any longer in the company. She didn’t agree with the approach they were taking in international expansion and the interface between different aspects of the business. Lori threw what she calls a little bit of a tantrum at a male-dominated meeting. She felt like she and the company were strategically misaligned, and she knew that it was the beginning of the end. Looking back, she calls it a happy firing.

Opportunities and revenue growth

When Lori joined Rodan and Fields, the company was already established as a brand and had been acquired by Estee Lauder. Lori had discussed with Rodan and Fields the possibility of making their company part of Johnson & Johnson. As they decided to pivot into direct selling, Lori was asked to run this new aspect of the business from the ground floor. Lori calls it an exercise in agility, as they began with an idea and recognized the power of word-of-mouth. Things came together at just the right time to be profitable as the timing of the economy and the product – value proposition combined with the social media effect to explode the business.

How business helped Lori beat cancer

As the leader of a company, your values are practiced, promoted, and rewarded. Lori had aspects of wellness that were missing in her life, and she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Lori stepped down from active management in 2016 at the same time she discovered a lump that had been missed by mammography. She admits that she used to think that meditation was for those who had nothing better to do with their time, but she feels very different now. A new opportunity opened up for Lori through her reconstructive surgeon and his skincare products. Together they identified stress management and mindfulness as missing elements in the skincare world, and their new company, Solvasa Integrative Beauty, was born. 

Highlights of this episode:

  • 9:33 – Breaking into the C-suite
  • 14:43 – Lori’s breakout experience
  • 20:15 – The conflict in leaving one job for another
  • 29:07 – The Rodan and Fields opportunity
  • 36:39 – How business helped Lori beat cancer
  • 48:23 – Fem Five

Resources mentioned:

Fem Five: 

1. Favorite book to recommend for women?

  • Hardball for Women: Winning at the Game of Business by Pat Heim and Susan K. Golant

2. Favorite self-care hack? Intermittent fasting.

3. Best piece of advice and who gave it to you?

  • “The head of business development at Johnson & Johnson told me that at some point in my life, I would need to start my own business.”

4. Female CEO or thought leader you’re into right now?

  • “I want to honor collectively all the micro-entrepreneurs who are the CEOs of Rodan and Fields.”

5. One piece of advice you’d give your five years younger self?

  • “Take a little time out to be more in control, mindful, and productive.”

Last Time on The NextFem Podcast

Let Go of Your Masks to Connect Authentically – with Stacy Raske

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