We are having Angela Cretu of Avon at the Executive Q&A this time. Since she joined Avon in 1998 as an Area Manager in Romania, Angela has held increasingly important roles at the company. Angela’s previous two positions before being promoted to CEO post were GVP Turkey, Middle East & Africa (2014-2016), and GVP Central Europe, (2016-2020). She was appointed as the CEO in January 2020. Angela got her MS degree in Economic Cybernetics, Statistics and Informatics in Bucharest, Romania and had Executive Education at the London Business School.
I have the pleasure of personally knowing Angela for several years, and now I am more than delighted to have her on our blog.
Could you tell us about your education?
For me there is an ongoing process of learning with every new interaction, with every new experience, both from failure and success. I keep myself fit by updating my knowledge with new information every day. My formal education is in economic cybernetics and management postgraduate studies.
What was your childhood dream?
I had many dreams, they kept me learning, kept me moving ahead. I grew up in communism, a pretty restrictive environment, therefore my first dreams were around being free to travel and later I was aspiring to being free to express myself, to create and share value under a strong purpose. With every new chapter of my life, my dreams evolved from very tangible to more intangible goals.
What were your past experiences before your current role at Avon?
I am an experienced global executive, leader of emerging and developed markets cross four continents and enabler of multiple end-to end business transformations and digital social selling innovations at global scale. I worked in direct sales for more than 20 years, starting from being a area sales manager to opening new markets, from leading one country to managing regional and then global portfolio of countries.
What do you attribute your career success to most?
What success is for you? Is it a year of amazing career plan achievements or is it living feeling fully engaged with your life? To me success means being happy with my everyday life, having a strong sense of purpose, having a compass. Luckily enough, I learned quite early to never take my business card title as my goal or even worst, as my identity.
I take and share energy from being an enabler, connector and multiplier to my stakeholders. I am a keen advocate of empowering women and I have had a fascinating, rewarding life experience so far. If you would agree that success means living with intensity and enjoying every moment with those around you, then I had been already successful for a long time before getting any business titles, and I owe this freedom of mind to all the inspirational women I’ve met, from Africa to Middle East, from Asia to Americas.
What has been your most inspiring moment?
I have been through many life intense experiences that have enriched my gratitude, humility and sense of purpose. From witnessing women thriving through outstandingly difficult conditions, cheering for others gaining their financial independence, to holding hands, praying together with breast cancer survivors, I understood that so many of us we waste critical energy on trivial things. Life is gently guiding us to see our meaning, hopefully earlier than too late. The most exciting moment though was personally helping a domestic violence survivor to redefine her life in her own terms.
Learning, skiing, weightlifting, silly, funny chats with my family and friends
How would you describe being a direct selling executive to an outsider?
High touch shopping experience for customers, meaningful earning experience for the advisors/promoters – a truly relationship selling model – the past and future of commerce.
What is your biggest achievement at Avon?
Enabling people achieving their potential and maximizing their impact.
And your biggest challenge at a direct selling company executive role?
Keeping the speed in the evolution of the business model to retain high-tech/high touch/high impact.
What would be your best advice to those who are thinking of joining a direct sales company at a corporate position?
Keep humble and curious, connect to people and learn from them every day. People are the most precious enablers of success. They are not human resources executing guidance, they are multipliers of the purpose they believe in.
Click here to read about the executives previously appeared on The World of Direct Selling.
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