Fragrance Notes Issue 2, 2018 - Page 8

to trust you. It is critical to understand the ‘big picture’ and to focus on the long term.” And he has found that achieving true collaboration takes discipline. “There are so many different points of view and ways to analyze situations that it is important to be open, to listen, to trust, if you want to hope to progress,” he says. “If people understand and believe that you will listen and evaluate their positions, it will serve you well.” He adds that both in business and in today’s ever-gridlocked political climate, it would be far easier to find common ground and come to agreement if “we would all discipline ourselves to first try to agree to a clear goal and then work out how to get there.” “I feel like I’m the opposite of a zero- sum person,” he says. “It’s really about doing things that help everybody. Help within the company, outside the company. And being very open to collaborating and working with people.” “I always want to feel that I am contributing to something according to my abilities,” he says. “Whether it is discovering something new, such as a better insect repellent or new fragrance ingredient, helping a non-profit; contributing to the success of our employees or customers; or working to help our industry through its associations, I find those things very satisfying.” He wonders if this way of thinking can be traced all the way back “ 8 | FRAGRANCENOTES.ORG | Issue 2, 2018 Our products are about making people feel better and helping them lead happier, healthier lives. Caring about their wellbeing is an integral part of this mission. to his grandmother, who helped out at an orphanage in Canada for Armenian orphans shortly after arriving there as a refugee herself, and to his father’s many contributions to the industry. “We all want to know that we made at least a small, positive difference for being here.” FIGHTING MISINFORMATION “It’s so easy to inspire fear.... and so hard to alleviate that fear.” That notion is what steered Bob toward the industry’s advocacy efforts, a desire to protect and promote the work that he holds dear. “One big misunderstanding [about Left to right: Bob’s son Matt, daughters- in-law Kristin and Annissa, son David, wife Gail, Bob, son Phil, and grandsons Cole, Max, and Blake “ FEATURE our industry is] that we aren’t properly concerned about the wellbeing of our customers,” he says. “Our products are about making people feel better and helping them lead happier, healthier lives. Caring about their wellbeing is an integral part of this mission. I’ve been involved with our safety programs for almost 30 years and I have never seen business prioritized over safety.” Even still, fear is a powerful tool. “It’s so easy to inspire fear in people,” he says, “and so hard to alleviate that fear… So, any time there is a scary message about fragrance, it will take a lot of repetition to make that fear go away, and facts alone don’t do it.” That’s why Bob stresses the importance of making information about our safety accessible. “We need to make our story very simple,” he says. “We know that we approach safety properly, by evaluating ‘risk.’ This takes both the physical hazards of materials and exposure to them into account. One factor alone is meaningless. But it is so much easier to look only at hazard, so we need to find a very short, simple way to explain how risk assessment works.” And then just keep repeating that message over and over again. As an organization, we also have to be able to connect at an emotional level with stakeholders, legislators, and the general public. “We need to be sure the public understands the benefit of our products to get a holistic view of who we are,” he says. “We understand this, but sometimes it is hard to put into words.” “You need the facts; you need the science; and I think we just need to constantly remind people of what we’re doing,” he says.