People of OH: Camilla Innes

Camilla Innes, OH’s Director of Insights and Strategy, took me by sweet surprise. In addition to her kind smile and gracious demeanor, Camilla is an extremely well-traveled, outspoken and fiercely hard-working woman. Camilla left me in awe with her innate humor and intense passion for life. I was especially taken with her tenacity for her career and her drive to continue learning. Camilla’s sound words of wisdom and confidence quips are something every young woman in business needs to hear. Here are the highlights from our 2-hour conversation over omelets and parfaits:

How long have you been with OH?
July 2018, so one year.

What does your day-to-day look like?
A lot of it is conducting research to help develop brand strategy, brand positioning and consumer targeting. It’s representing the voice of the consumer and articulating the brand’s essence. It’s a lot of reading about consumer and industry trends which help inform the brand strategy of our existing and new clients. It’s the combination of supporting current clients and helping OH win new business.

It’s also helping to illuminate the path for the creative team. It’s helping them to focus and not stifle them. It’s how to drive the conversation; otherwise, it’s just a big sea of information.

What is your favorite part of your job?
I love finding that perfect insight that will help the creative team develop a unique campaign that will speak to the consumer. It’s hard, but I love the challenge of it. I like being a problem solver and bringing creative solutions that drive ROI and ultimately improve client business metrics.

Being a woman in the corporate world, how do you feel about the landscape currently?
I have definitely seen a change. The younger women are a lot more confident which is great to see. I feel like it’s because my generation has paved the way, in a sense. I have always been involved with women’s issues. I was involved with “Take Your Daughter to Work Day” when that came about. I started the Professional Women’s Forum at Dial with another colleague of mine. We saw how the men in the industry had a built-in network of mentors with other men at all management levels and it helped them get ahead. As women, there were fewer women in senior leadership positions so we started a network to help with professional development and mentoring as well as community service. There was a woman who came to Dial from Proctor and Gamble and she was our sponsor.

Prior to Brad, we had a CEO who was very receptive and open to supporting our forum, as was Brad when he joined the company. The Professional Women’s Forum has now been around for 20+ years and was the catalyst for other resource groups at Henkel worldwide. OH is the first place I’ve worked that has more women than men. And the environment is so positive.

What was working at Dial like?
I started at Dial as a Market Research Manager in the Household Cleaning division and then I moved into Marketing. I was at Dial until my daughter was born. I ended up consulting for about two and a half years part-time. During that time, Henkel bought Dial and that’s when they brought in Brad Casper.

One of my colleagues was retiring so I had an opportunity to take her job as head of Consumer Insights for the Personal Care division with its flagship Dial brand. I had always wanted to work in the Personal Care division, so this was a great opportunity. I also worked in Shopper Marketing which is a liaison role between Sales and Brand Marketing. I was there until I joined OH.

We talked about how you have lived all over the world and about your incredible experiences. How do you feel like you’ve manifested these opportunities?
Yes, one thing has always led to another opportunity and as I look back, it was often networking although I didn’t realize it. My first job was as a cashier at a grocery store. That led to a job at a tennis center through one of my store customers. My first job in college was with IBM in Sweden and then the next summer while I was waiting to hear about my IBM internship, I started with a temp agency that led me to an analyst job at a pharmaceutical company.

By the time I graduated college, I hadn’t found a job yet, and I remember my dad saying to me, “Welcome to the School of Hard Knocks.” I went to New York and pounded the pavement with my resumé. I graduated Cum Laude with a double major, and everyone said, “That and 25 cents will buy you a cup of coffee.” Employers would ask me, “How fast can you type?” And I was like, seriously? That’s not what I want to do.

I was literally on my way to sign up for a typing class when I found out I got the credit analyst job. It was my only job offer, so I took it. It was a lot of getting out there and trying to find my ‘thing.’

What advice would you give your younger self?
I would say stand up for what you believe in. Don’t be afraid. I think earlier in my career, and especially in banking, it was very male-dominated. It was “know your place” a little bit. It was intimidating sometimes. With my daughter, I tell her, “Don’t be afraid to go for what you want, because you’re smart, and you deserve it.” It’s a competitive world but don’t second guess yourself and don’t hold yourself back.