Cheryl Kinnon
Field Sales Vice President, OTC
SoftSheen-Carson
Berkeley Heights, N.J.

Cheryl Kinnon has an innate ability to connect with others. It’s a skill she has leveraged to ascend the ranks of SoftSheen-Carson, a division of L’Oreal USA. “The biggest strength for any sales person is to build a relationship with your customer,” says Kinnon. “My success is that my customers have been able to look at me as an individual, rather than as a representative for SoftSheen-Carson.”

Since she joined the company in 1996 as a territory sales manager, Kinnon has taken on roles of increasing responsibility, leading to her current position of field sales vice president, responsible for 40 percent of the company’s sales in the United States and Canada. Relationships often are key to one’s career advancement, and Angela Guy, former SoftSheen-Carson general manager and senior vice president, had a significant impact on hers. “She went out on a limb for me because she believed in my ability to do the job,” says Kinnon, explaining that Guy promoted her even though she didn’t have a college degree. “I wanted to make sure I did more. I got to work early. I stayed later. I did all of the things to make sure I was achieving results.”

Driven by a desire to help others succeed, as she has been helped, Kinnon has participated in L’Oreal’s mentoring program for the past three years. She hopes to step into a human resources role sometime in the future in order to improve employee development and retention at the company. In preparation for such a role, Kinnon recently earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of Phoenix, at the age of 52. “I needed to prove to myself that I could,” says the wife and mother of six. “I also wanted to prove to my children that it’s never too late to pursue your dream.”

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