Fragrance Notes Issue 2, 2019 - Page 12

FEATURE Ken biking at Squaw Peak in Provo, Utah Here and at right: Ken competing in an Ironman in Lake Placid, New York SOLVE PROBLEMS & TELL THE TRUTH “My performance in the job doubled or tripled, because… I was happy.” All of this change was more than life changing, but also career changing. “My job performance doubled or tripled, because… I was happy,” he says. “It’s amazing how that can change your professional life.” Thankfully, his boss Dan was still flexible and accommodating, giving Ken his blessing to move and work from across the country, and trusting him to become an even better fragrance salesman. “He had to take the initial risk, but it’s paying off now.” Ken had already cultivated some accounts in Utah, which became strong accounts for Intarome, and has expanded some other business in the West. As it turns out, his life change was good for business, too. In his nearly 12 years with the company and more than 40 years in the chemical 12 | FRAGRANCENOTES.ORG | Issue 2, 2019 industry, Ken has learned a lot about the business but also what it takes to be a successful leader and performer. He prides himself on his penchant for problem solving. “After five years of engineering school, you’re really good at looking at problems and figuring out how to solve them,” he says. “That skill is applicable to every aspect of life. I think that’s one of the things that I took into my career that really has helped me. Some of the best advice I’ve ever received is that you can always sell somebody something. But, if you solve a problem for somebody, they’ll remember you forever.” “A lot of times when I go into customers, I’ll tell them, ‘Look, I can sell you fragrances like every other fragrance sales person, but if you have some problems, let me know,” he says. Inevitably, he’ll get a phone call few days or weeks later, saying “‘We’ve got this base turning colors, and every fragrance changes it, and doesn’t hold up in it. You think there’s anything you can do?’ And I’m like, “Great. Let me work on that.” The other meaningful advice he’s gleaned is to always tell the truth, even if it hurts. Because, “we all have problems and production issues,” he says. “We all have things like that. Talk to the customer, tell them the truth. Let the chips fall, and then figure out how to deal with them, rather than try to hide it, paint over it, or things like that.” He credits his success to the support of his team and company leadership. “I can’t do what I do without a great team of perfumers, lab techs, customer service, production, and quality control, regulatory professionals. All those pieces, combined with support from the top, give me the freedom to experiment and try to do things a little differently than others may do.” In his view, a good entrepreneur and a good manager hires to his or her weaknesses and understands what drives each person on the team—someone