Fragrance Notes ISSUE 1, 2018 - Page 21

FEATURE A Start in Soaps People Matter “I’m a long way from arms trading.” “If you want to do things differently, you have to build trust.” Raised in Mexborough, a small mining town in South Yorkshire, England, Ireland earned a degree in Economics & Geography from The University of Birmingham and, shortly after, received two job offers. One was at a company involved in weaponry system components; the other was for a major British manufacturer of personal healthcare and consumer goods as a purchasing manager. He was 21 years old and recalls calling his mother on his way home to discuss, telling her, “Look, I could take a job as a soap buyer or I can buy these really cool systems for guiding missiles.” She didn’t mince words: “No son of mine will be an arms trader or arms dealer.” That witty-yet-stern statement from his mother pushed him into the world of suds and soap. Ireland laughs imagining what his life would look like today as an arms trader. Of course, he took the purchasing manager position, where he “spent 7 years smelling towels.” After that, he moved on to a large fragrance house before ultimately joining Takasago. He notes, “I’m a long way from arms trading.” The Fragrance Diplomat “It’s okay to be nice to people, to be supportive and understanding.” As he’s progressed through leadership over the past 25 years, Ireland has repeatedly returned to some wise words passed down from his father, “It’s okay to be nice to people, to be supportive and understanding.” He’s applied this belief through his life, especially in his current role at Takasago. “For 30 to 40 years, Takasago was emerging from Tokyo and trying to understand how to work with several multinational consumer goods companies,” he says. “The predominantly Japanese leadership within Takasago understood the importance of deep relationships and this human side.” When Ireland joined Takasago, they were looking for an intermediary, someone to engage with, listen to, and go back and forth on negotiations with these multinational companies; a relationship bridge builder, if you will. And so, he became their diplomat. Takasago’s values include honor, loyalty, and respect. These align well with Ireland’s, and eventually it becomes difficult to distinguish what originated where or from whom. “Ten or 15 years ago, we went on this mission to bring this Japanese philosophy of partnership to the western world and to communicate these types of principles to the West,” he says. “If you want to do things differently, you have to build trust.” In his mastery of “people skills,” Ireland sees traces of his father, who he feels he is most like. As a government employee, his father excelled at working with others and had great rules to live by, such as, “Whatever in life you do, make sure you have five people you’re working with that you love, that will have your back, and that will give you everything.” And if you find that you don’t have those five key people, you’re in the wrong company. Ireland has sought to carry out this “rule of five” in every organization he has been a part of. Of course, in leadership, it’s easy to confuse kindness and understanding with vulnerability. Ireland recalls a cautionary tale from a previous supervisor, that even your favorite pet could bite you at some point. “You can have a dog that is playful and does whatever it is told, but he can still bite you,” he says. In essence, even leaders who take a softer approach to people management need to be able to respond with and assert their strength when n V6W76'WFVF6G62'FBw&VFVBV&pBFrFR&W7V7BbFW'2F2W762&W6FV@B^( 276VBBrFFW'2^( 2vVB( ĖFRVBVRGFW"'WBbRVVBFR6VB66RW"( &FR( &vBBB'W6RW"&ƗFW2( R6VBVFW&W7FFPFR6RwWRFG2( vVR2WBv7BvRv6R&6BfvBvFG&VVFW2Vff'B( ФW66rF6vG26VG0( ĒƖRF7W'&VBח6VbvFVR'WB67F&V6FRV6( ХFW66Rg&FR7G&W76W2bv&B6F&R&P&GV7FfRB&VBW'6W26VbFFR&FЦbW6>( F27666RRv2bV'2BR067FFǒG'rWBWr&G2B'VFrW'6Ɨ7G0FBF62BGFVFrF7&VFRV7BRWpRV6F( ĒƖRWfW'Frg&&VBF6VF0ƖR6wW",;72&vBF&VvFR6֗F2BWfW'Fpe$u$4TDU2$p#