Global Brand Director


You are the Global Brand Director (Intimate Wellness) at Reckitt. What does that role involve?

I am working on the Durex brand where I am responsible for the portfolio and innovation strategy globally. Aside from this, I also have the huge privilege to be the global lead of our LGBTQ+@Reckitt Employee Resource Group whose aim is to ensure that every LGBTQ+ person at Reckitt can bring their whole self to work. 

What is your background both personally and professionally?

I was born and raised in Austria by a single mum who taught me to work hard and never give up. After graduating high school, I got a scholarship to study business and economics in France which led me into starting a career in local and global marketing with a big beauty brand. I joined Reckitt in November 2015 and came out at work in 2017 which was a life-changing experience. I said yes to my wife Jen in 2018 and we welcomed our daughter to the world at the end of 2020. This year we will be growing our family as I am expecting baby number two in May. 

How important do you think it is for an LGBTQ+ individual – on a personal and professional level – to come out? And what are the advantages of coming out?

I spent the first 10 years of my career in the closet and was only out to handful of friends for a very long time. This experience was draining, exhausting, and led to lots of personal and professional unhappiness.

Coming out lifted a weight off my shoulders in the sense that I felt freer to be my true self, worried less about what other people may think and was able to channel all the energy I spent hiding into more positive and fulfilling things. It taught me as well the value of true friendship and helped me set healthier boundaries both personally and professionally. 

If you were to meet an LGBTQ+ person questioning their identity, what would you tell them?

I would tell them to be kind to themselves, take time and ensure they are doing everything on their own terms. While coming out took me a while, I don’t have any regrets as I think I came out when the time was right for me and when I felt emotionally and physically safe to do so. 

I would also tell them to cut off as many toxic relationships as they can and try and spend as much time as possible in judgement-free and open environments where they can just be themselves. This is why the role of workplaces is so important for me. We spend one third of our lives at work so it is critical that workplaces become inclusive spaces for LGBTQ+ people. 

It’s 2022. Surely homophobia no longer exists in the workplace – or does it? And how does that homophobia articulate itself – and what can LGBTQ+ people and their allies do to challenge it?

I wish homophobia, biphobia and transphobia would no longer exist in the workplace in 2022, but unfortunately, they still do. While thankfully overt hate and hate speech towards the LGBTQ+ community is becoming rarer and less and less tolerated, we are still witnessing lots of micro-aggressions and unconscious biases that are creating difficult environments for the LGBTQ+ community. 

Within our Employee Resource Group, which has a huge ally membership, we are trying to tackle and challenge this in three ways. First, we need to ensure that our house is in order and by this I mean that the right policies, benefits and protection are in place for LGBTQ+ people. In that context it is as well very important that Senior Leadership makes their allyship visible. 

Secondly, we raise awareness across the organisation. We have lunch and learns with external speakers, town halls where employees share their stories and more informal mixed media clubs that invite for an open discussion.With a spirit of sharing and learning is a great way to create inclusion and kindness. Those events have proven very popular and contribute to a shift in a more open culture. 

Lastly, we are a strong believer that allyship starts from within. The L and G need to be great allies to the B, T and Q+ and broader as a community we need to work closely with the other Employee Resource Groups in the organisation to bring intersectionality into the discussion and shape fully inclusive work environments. 

On a personal, and on a professional level, what achievements are you proudest of?

On a professional level, I am the proudest of how far our Employee Resource Group has come in one year. We grew our membership from 68 people to over 580, have helped revise and create multiple policies, organise events that drove long lasting positive change and established ourselves as a critical friend to our Global Executive Committee. 

We’ve also had recognition for this progress externally – via Stonewall and the HRC in the US – benchmarking our progress is important to spot the opportunities and celebrate the success.

On a personal level, I am proud of how far I have come on my own journey in accepting and loving myself for who I am. Today, I hope that I can use my voice and privilege to further advance LGBTQ+ rights, especially the rights of people in our community that face disproportional discrimination like the trans community. 

What is a typical day in your life?

I am getting up at around 7am and after a little family breakfast we drop our little one off at nursery. After a short mind-clearing walk, I start work at around 8.30am mainly for calls with our R&D team who is based in Thailand. It then generally continues quite fast paced through until 6pm when my daughter gets back from nursery. The next hour is then spent playing, bathing, and reading her a bedtime story. After dinner, Ilog back on to finish some work either for my day job or the Employee Resource Group before relaxing to watch a series, the news or read a book. 

Ten years in the future – where would you like the LGBTQ+ community and our allies to be?

I hope that in society and in the workplace, we keep making progress. I hope that the most marginalised members of our community finally get given the same rights we enjoy today and that every LGBTQ+ person globally has the freedom to be their true self. 

Ideally in 10 years from now our society and our workplaces will be fully inclusive and equitable. And to achieve this, we still have a long way to go and lots of important battles to fight. 

Describe yourself in three words.

Honest, courageous and purpose driven.