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Unilever's Cara Sabin Talks Her New Role, SheaMoisture's Amplified Social Mission And Purposed Working

The new President of Beauty & Wellbeing for Unilever North America weighs in on the current beauty landscape.

Growing up as a self-professed tomboy, Cara Sabin always thought the beauty industry was frivolous. Instead of pursuing something close to the traditionally female-dominated fields, she decided to go down a more practical route and leaned toward her interest in business. Ironically though, while pursuing her MBA, she learned the beauty industry was more aligned with her passion than she thought.

“As I entered the workforce, about five years after business school, is when I had my first beauty assignment at L’Oreal,” the Duke University graduate shared with ESSENCE. “And once I entered the industry, I just completely fell in love. It’s just everything from how fast-paced and how competitive the environment. And more than anything, you can use creativity to really change the world.”

Sabin built her career leading global marketing strategy with companies like Clinique and NARS, eventually landing at Sundial Brands as their CEO in 2019. The leading company owns Black-founded SheaMoisture, Nubian Heritage, Madam C.J. Walker and Nyakio.

Then in July of this year, she was tapped as the President of Beauty & Wellbeing at Unilever North America after they acquired Sundial in November of 2017, where she’s charged with amplifying consumer investment, namely SheaMoisture., where she’s charged with amplifying consumer investment, namely SheaMoisture. The brand has been a pivotal player in the Black haircare space for more than two decades and continuously makes efforts to invest in the community it serves.

But before executing her vision for the future as she acclimates to the new role, Sabin said it’s important to take a look back first.

“We are incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved, and that’s all outlined in our latest impact report,” Sabin said in reference to the exclusive preview shared with ESSENCE.

A few key highlights include $10 million being invested into Black communities, including $1 million in COVID-19 relief provided to Black-owned businesses and another $1 million pledged for community resilience; 50,000 hours of education to Black entrepreneurs; 250 Black-owned small businesses invested in and 53,000 West African women receiving fair wages in our shea butter supply chain.

“Strong commitment to community is, and always will be, the heritage of this
brand,” Sabin said in a note within the report. “As the CEO of Sundial Brands, makers of SheaMoisture, I’m honored to continue this legacy of ingredient-led products, deep entrepreneurial spirit, and investments that truly make a difference. There aren’t many Black-founded businesses that have been acquired by a major multinational corporation, and have continued to grow and thrive. I hope that by demonstrating our success and our growing reinvestment in communities, we can be a beacon showing what that path can look like for the next SheaMoistures in the world. I’m excited to share the story of our journey and positive impact as we work towards our goal to become a $1B brand, multiplying our capacity for reinvestment in our community. Thank you for supporting us.”

The full impact report can be accessed after registering at bit.ly/sheamoistureimpact2022.