Since your youngest child is now 17 and it’s been a while since you’ve needed Graco products, what changes in baby gear were the most surprising to you?
There are so many changes in baby gear over the last 15 years- probably the best changes are all the conveniences (like travel systems) that were obviously well thought-through for parents and didn’t even exist 15 years ago. The industry has made these products easier for parents to use.
The second thing I realized, after a visit to a Babies r Us, was the sheer number of choices that parents have today. On fashion for instance, I can remember stroller shopping and having only 1 or 2 choices in a given price range – if you didn’t like the fabric, you were just out of luck! Now, with the huge selection, there is truly something for everybody.
Oh and the registry – that would have been great for baby products! We registered for our wedding, but baby registries didn’t exist. I like the idea of – hey- if you’re going to buy me a car seat, I like this one!
What are you most excited about in coming to Newell Rubbermaid/Graco Children’s Products?
I think one of the things that excites me the most is the strength of the Graco brand name. When people ask me where I’m working now and I tell them I am working on the Graco brand, there isn’t one parent who doesn’t have a story about their experience with at least one Graco product.
With the strength of the Graco brand name, combined with quality products, there is almost no limit to what we can do as a company. This growth potential is particularly exciting when you look at the opportunities outside of the U.S.
After being at Procter and Gamble for over 25 years and spending a majority of that time, working on the Baby Care business, what will you bring to the Graco business?
Within the baby products industry, and it’s true for the brands I worked on at P&G, there is such consumer interest in the products we work on. Sometimes the consumer will love you and sometimes they’ll be mad at you, but they will always care. That kind of passion is what I enjoy being a part of. Reaching moms and moms-to-be, listening to their needs, developing products that makes their lives easier, building brands…all that was as critical in P&G’s Baby Care business (Pampers and Luvs) as it is at Graco.
The other thing that’s very important to me, both personally and professionally, are the corporate values and culture. Newell Rubbermaid’s drive to deliver best-in-class results by developing our people and building “Brands that Matter” is something I believe in and will certainly help drive.
As a father of 3, 2 in college and one getting ready to head-off, what advice can you give to new parents just getting started on their parenting journey?
“Enjoy it while it lasts!” Actually, I don’t think I have any incredible insight to share with parents, but the one thing I’m recognizing now is that all of the time and effort that my wife and I put into parenting when our children were young, is paying back ten-fold now. Just spending quality time with your young children, pays huge dividends – it’s a far better use of time than reading a “how-to” book on parenting, in terms of the relationship you will build with them.
And I think for 1st time expectant parents, it’s really just recognizing that while having a new baby is obviously a life-changing event (and it’s one for which most of us feel totally unqualified!), you will do fine…millions and millions of us have gotten through it. You will too.