Use It or Lose It

by Teyren Brown, MBA ’14 (10/15/13)

Teyren Brown, MBA ’14

Teyren Brown (MBA ’14) reflects on her role as Summer Associate for Johnson & Johnson and her brand assignment with Rogaine for Men.

As far back as I can remember I have been a firm believer in living life with purpose. Consequently, when I made the decision to pursue my MBA, I made a pact with myself to let this mantra guide my professional pursuits. For several years I pursued a marketing career while taking on side projects and volunteer activities that allowed me to quench my thirst for social impact. But with the once in a lifetime “reset” the MBA affords, I was determined to find a career that would allow me to marry both my personal and professional passions. After a lot of research and countless informational interviews, I set my eyes on Johnson & Johnson, a company with a proven passion and corresponding business model to engage those at the base of the economic pyramid.

My ultimate goal is to serve as Johnson & Johnson’s Director of Emerging Markets Strategy, providing vision and direction for the company’s sustainable innovation in emerging markets.  I knew that this would not be a position I could attain within the first few years of graduation, but I was content with paying my dues and bootstrapping myself to achieve my goals. I was confident that working for the world’s leading healthcare company in any capacity would give me the warm and fuzzy feeling of touching lives – a feeling that I yearned for daily.

Leading up to the start of my internship, there was a ton of buzz amongst the Summer Associates as we awaited our brand assignments. Nearly all of my fellow associates had a brand preference – but I approached my summer as brand agnostic with an open mind. I was so happy to be a part of the Johnson & Johnson family, I was ready to take on anything – or so I thought. When I received the call that I would be on the Rogaine brand my jaw dropped as I thought, “You’ve got to be kidding me – how can I find purpose in marketing hair regrowth foam to men!?” But I could not have been more incorrect.

In the ensuing three months, I was reminded that the customer is always at the core of successful marketing. And furthermore, a successful marketer is one who continually stretches herself to develop a deep intimacy with the consumer – always looking for ways to address his or her needs. For the Rogaine man, who I affectionately came to know as “Cool Hair Ryan,” hair loss was something that significantly affected his self-esteem, and consequently his ability to get the job and the girl. Rogaine wasn’t just a medicated hair mousse; it was a product that would empower him to be his best self and achieve his dreams. This was affirmed while on a commercial shoot, interviewing a “regular guy” who had been suffering from hair loss for several years. He shared the emotional impact his hair had on him and how grateful he was to Johnson & Johnson for providing him with a way to show up in a way that gave him a fighting chance. When he concluded his story, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. In these moments and in others, in which I was introduced to women such as Jane, a young woman who had battled cancer and relied on Rogaine to return her to a state of normalcy, I was proud, better yet honored, to spend my summer working on a life changing brand within an amazing company.

My parting advice would be to always keep an open mind, stay true to yourself and never forget that as long as you have passion, you can likely find purpose in the most unexpected places! Who would have thought that spending my summer as a Summer Associate Brand Manager on a personal care brand would give me the sense of changing the world?! (Just one scalp at a time)