Christiane Paul

This entry is part 42 of 69 in the series

Christiane Paul, UnileverChristiane Paul

Senior Marketing Director – US Spreads

Years with company:  16 years

Education degrees and professional/volunteer organizations:
M.B.A., Columbia University; B.B.A., William and Mary; Membership in Network of Executive Women; Co-chair for the Women’s Interactive Network at Unilever; Member of volunteer ministry, Notre Dame Church

Mentors and how have they assisted you in your career:
Mentors, both formal and informal, have played a crucial role in my life.  They’re an important part of my own personal “board of directors,” giving me perspective, encouragement and guidance.  Conversations with mentors have helped keep me grounded as I’ve made big business, career and personal decisions.

What are you most proud of in your career achievements? Do you have a defining moment of your career to date?
Moments in my career where I’ve been proudest have been when I watch teams transform and then watch the business transform.   I’ve been fortunate enough to see that twice in my career – as I’ve navigated difficult issues on two big business, Hellmann’s and then more recently on our Unilever Margarine portfolio.  When the right team is galvanized against the right purpose, it’s an amazing transformation!

Most challenging part of your job:
The most challenging aspect of my job is bringing the right kind of guidance and leadership to my business in a world of increased ambiguity.   It requires a fine balance of flexibility, strength of purpose, but most of all a sense of authenticity to yourself and those you lead.  When the ground is always shifting under your feet, it’s not always an easy task!

Advice for upcoming younger executives:
As I think about advice I would offer a younger executive, I would encourage them to be self-aware and reflective, understanding the points in their life where they performed their best and felt most fulfilled — or when they had significant challenges.  It not only helps you identify where you can add the most value to an organization, but it also crystallizes your passion and the kind of work that will give you the most fulfillment.

My husband, daughter,  and myself have developed a shared love of mixed martial arts and train several times a week.  I’ve also played classical piano most of my life and find it a wonderful way to relax.