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Women in Aesthetics
By: By Wendy Lewis
Diane Goostree is flourishing in a space she knows so well, and one look at her impressive CV explains why. She has done it all: from product development, R&D, new business development, sales and marketing, all the way to executive management. Having worked across industry segments—from drugs to cosmeceuticals, medical devices to injectable fillers—Diane has developed deep relationships in dermatology, plastic surgery, and medical spas. Her experience in start-ups has taught her that having a can-do attitude is a critical success factor. Known to be a strong leader who builds stellar management teams, she has steered Alastin Skincare in Carlsbad, CA to rank among the fastest growing physician-dispensed skincare ranges.
WL: Who were some of your mentors throughout your career?
Diane: I started in the pharmaceutical industry in R&D, marketing, and corporate development. Several of my mentors encouraged me to broaden my background by taking a lateral position into sales management to gain real-world experience “carrying the bag” and hear first-hand feedback from physicians.
I was fortunate to learn from several experienced chairmen and board members when I first got involved in start-ups. I worked with Alastin’s chairman Scott Glenn, and also one of our current board directors, Cam Garner, in multiple start-ups, including SkinMedica. They are “serial entrepreneurs,” and I learned an amazing amount from them. Being part of an entrepreneurial start-up is quite different than working in a large established corporate organization. You need to think creatively and wear multiple hats, while continually reassessing whether your strategies are working—and being prepared to shift course when necessary.
WL: How did you get your start in the aesthetics field?
Diane: In the late 1990s, I was leading a corporate development and licensing group for a specialty pharmaceutical company and we began looking at new therapeutic categories to expand our product portfolio. We undertook an analysis of the medical dermatology market and ended up acquiring a portfolio of products. We could see the potential of the nascent aesthetics market; I recognized that it was an exciting growth area with significant opportunity for companies with differentiated products. I had the good fortune to join SkinMedica at a very early start-up stage, which allowed me to learn how to rapidly build a company from the ground up. I started my career working for DuPont and worked for large public companies, so it was quite a different experience to walk into SkinMedica my first day and look around at fewer than 10 people who made up the whole company! It was a great opportunity to quickly learn to wear a number of different hats from day one.
WL: What advice do you have for Female rising stars?
Diane: Be flexible in your career to take on a variety of positions with different responsibilities. Recognize that some of those roles may be uncomfortable and challenging, since you may end up in a position that you don’t have much direct experience in. Learn as much as you can from others, and realize the value of looking at projects from a unique perspective due to your experience in other areas. Ask the questions that can help your team “think outside the box,” and consider different ways to achieve your goals. As you move to a higher level of responsibility, having a broader background will allow you to understand the functions and departments that may be reporting to you and bring diversity to the executive level.
WL: How would your colleagues describe your management style?
Diane: In such a fast-paced start-up environment, I believe in hiring experienced people who are flexible and team-oriented. I like to talk with the team at the beginning of a project and fine-tune our objectives together, then have them run with it. I am results-oriented, so I want to see analytics and an evaluation of outcomes of key initiatives. I encourage everyone to think through how we can tweak what we are doing to achieve even more success in the future. Some projects will be more successful than others so it’s critical to understand why that happened, build on the successes, and pull back on the less successful ones.
WL: Name a quote that best describes your philosophy
Diane: Here are a few: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”
“It’s not about ideas, it’s about making ideas happen.” n