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Susan S. Bloomfield, MBA ‘94 shares perspective on growing in the corporate world as she kicks off virtual speaker series

Susan S. Bloomfield speaking during the virtual event 'Graduates who mean business.'

On February 9, 2021, Susan S. Bloomfield, MBA ’94, joined Loyola University Maryland students, alumni, faculty, and staff to share her story and some practical advice she developed while rising through the ranks as a woman in the corporate world. This virtual event was the first in a series that will feature inspiring women graduates from the Sellinger School of Business and Management.

As the former General Manager of Neutrogena Corporation, which is part of the Johnson & Johnson group, Susan was responsible for over $1 billion in retail sales across 13 categories, in both consumer beauty and the professional dermatology markets. Some of her many responsibilities included leading the cross functional management board of Neutrogena, delivering profit and sales commitments, creating the strategic vision, operating plan, new product innovation strategies, advertising and marketing strategies, and developing talent and organizational culture.

During the virtual session, Susan explained that while it is important to have a vision for yourself and what you want to do, you also need to use your peripheral vision. She described this as being able to jump into opportunities that weren’t necessarily part of your original vision. To further this idea Susan presented the audience with three words to keep in mind – Love, Hate, and Tolerate. For her, this means that even if you have no idea what you want to do, it is important to understand what you love and hate and to use that knowledge to guide you in navigating your path. She also mentioned that it is important to understand what you will tolerate, because in order to find a career path that you love, you may need to tolerate some things along the way. Susan attributed this mindset to helping her discover her love of marketing and understanding the psychology of consumer behavior, as well as her interest in consumer packaged goods.

Susan’s career path started with an entry level sales position. Immediately, she knew this was not something she wanted to do, but she would tolerate it and use it as a steppingstone to further herself in her career. In her words, the real work experience this position showed her was invaluable—some of the sales techniques she learned have carried throughout her entire career. She also expressed that sometimes positions are open because they are positions that others don’t want to fill. Susan took the hard job that others passed up. She described this as having to “step down to step up.” She took the opportunity no one wanted and made it work for her.

Throughout her career, Susan maintained her vision while ebbing and flowing with the obstacles and opportunities that came her way—and it paid off. While she was working as the VP of Beauty, Susan was called into a meeting with her HR department. There, she was offered the General Manager position of Neutrogena in Los Angeles. While she was very excited about this new possibility, she also shared that she felt overwhelmed by the request to give a same day decision. Despite the initial apprehension, Susan accepted the General Manager position and to this day says it was the best job she ever had, and that it allowed her to grow both professionally and personally.

Susan also acknowledged the impact that earning her MBA at Loyola had on her career, specifically citing a class that she referred to as “life changing.” She recalled that “When I came to Loyola, I was focused on the end result…and then I had a class that I will say, just kind of stopped me.” According to Susan, the class, Seminars in Management, taught by Professor Tony Mento, helped her learn so much about herself and was “by far, the best class I’ve ever taken in undergrad, and in graduate school combined.” Susan also credits her Loyola MBA as being a critical factor in her move to Johnson & Johnson Consumer—she believes that without it, she never would have gotten the interview.

The Sellinger School is proud to celebrate Susan Bloomfield as a true example of the Sellinger Difference.  For more tips from Susan, visit our Instagram Stories—@loyolasellinger!

A recording of this event is available to the Loyola community through the Loyola library archives.

The next event in this series will be on April 13, at 6:30 PM ET, with Kathi Hyle ‘80 former COO of Constellation Energy and current chair of Bunge’s board of directors.