In episode three of the Second in Command Podcast Cameron sat down with Rachel Pachivas, COO of Annmarie Skin Care.
When Rachel began working with the company in 2012, she was the third employee, meaning she has been with Annmarie virtually since the inception.
While traveling in Australia, Rachel discovered where her passions truly lie, and sparked who and where she is today. While there, Rachel learned about organic farming, permaculture, natural skin care, herbs, and natural medicine. During her mid to late twenties, she spent time as a political organizer working on food transparency issues. Today, she continues to work on projects around food serenity, toxic chemicals in the skin care industry, (and our everyday lives) which is why Annmarie Skin Care is the perfect fit for her.
Rachel first met Annmarie after purchasing their eye cream and arranging a meeting to get the product in her esthetician’s office. Annmarie met with her but it wasn’t until the second meeting where Kevin asked if she could work with them to help build the company. At first, she thought: “absolutely no way…I’m not working a nine to five job. I don’t want to do it”. After Kevin persisted, she finally came on board and has found a home within the company.
How is Annmarie Skin Care focusing on their products and consumer awareness?
Education is a very large focus and priority for the company. One part of their platform is educating consumers and customers about what’s going on, the use of herbs, and what they’re doing and/or can do. All of their products are “Made Safe” certified. Made Safe is a not-for-profit and are the first third-party verification system inspecting every single ingredient in the products. They verify anything from skin care, mattresses, baby products, toys etc…
Annmarie Skin care is also involved with a number of different acts and policies. For example, the Counteract Coalition, which has approximately 20 other cosmetic and personal care companies working together, to push for safer and cleaner products. They’re currently working on lobbying legislation into Congress to revise cosmetics acts.
The COO/CEO Relationship
Kevin and Rachel place a lot of importance on communication, so much so, that they have arranged for a two-hour meeting every Monday. Sometimes they will go for a walk, which is nice because when you’re walking, you’re already agreeing on things. You’re agreeing on walking. They also use Asana (an online business organization tool) to keep up to date on check-ins for smaller projects. At other times they hop on the phone to work out details and brainstorm. They talk about everything which is an essential part of working with your CEO, forming that bond, you trust each other. She fully trusts him and he can trust her to do any single task that’s needed at any time.
How has Rachel had to adapt as the company has grown, and how are they moving forward in the future?
Increasing their number of employees from 3 to 23 has required managing the team on a much greater level than Rachel thought she was prepared for, but she has quickly grown into the role. She faced a lot of challenges- but thanks COO Alliance for helping during that learning process. Moving from where they are now to where they want to be at the end of this year, or even five years from now – the challenges that Rachel faces are taking a step back and looking at the big picture and delegating more. Rachel feels she has always struggled at delegating and knows moving forward entrusting tasks to her coworkers is something she must continue to learn and adapt with.
What struggles has Rachel faced while taking a management role with Annmarie Skin Care?
For Rachel, one challenge she faces is balancing friendship inside and outside of work with her colleagues. It’s not that big of a struggle, more so that it’s something that she needs to regularly find balance with. They are such a close group that they easily all become such good friends. Often, they will find themselves hanging out on the weekends and finding the appropriate line for that can be difficult. Rachel is always happy to mingle with coworkers but defining that line on ‘how to be friends’ when they are out, and how to be ‘co-workers’ when working and still hold people accountable for things when they aren’t going properly. That’s been a challenge to find the happy medium there.
Rachel’s Advice to Other COOs
Rachel has great advice for other COO’s, especially about the importance of mindset. Firstly, when you are attending conferences or events, such as COO Alliance, go in with an open mind. You might be overwhelmed and you might even be scared. But go in with an open mind and like a sponge absorb everything you hear. Second, be vulnerable and talk to people about not only what’s going wrong with you but also help others with things that you are able to do. Thirdly, make friends and time to connect with people and to really open up. That’s one of the best things is making these connections and these friendships where you can call or shoot them an email and say, “Hey, I need your help. What would you do about this? Do you have any sort of system for this?”.
Those connections have proven invaluable and have helped her tremendously during this growing process.
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