Luana Bumachar on How Being a Global Citizen has Impacted her Leadership

Tell us about yourself! How did you get started?

I was born and raised in a small town on the east coast of Brazil. I’ve lived and worked in Latin America, Southeast Asia and North America. I graduated from university with a degree in Journalism and worked in politics in the public sector before shifting my career into the CPG industry. Prior to joining Grove Collaborative in 2020, I spent 18 years as a marketing executive and brand builder at global consumer goods company, Unilever, working on multiple roles in various countries. I led the Innovation and Trends Lab where we designed consumer-centric brands and products (we made magic happen!) and was also the General Manager of Ecommerce and Digital marketing for the Beauty and Personal care category. In 2020, I joined Grove to re-define the CPG industry and prove that Home & Personal Care brands can be a positive force for human and environmental good while offering an uncompromised performance and consumer experience. I am married to an awesome husband and I’m a proud mom of two kids (one born in Singapore and the other in the US) and an adorable dog.

What does a typical day in life look like for you?

A typical day for me is insane, but awesome. I start at 5:30am most days when it is all quiet in my house. I do some strategic work, read some emails and take the dog on a quiet walk before getting the kids out of bed. Once the kids are off to school, I save 30 mins for a bit of exercise. From there, I spend most of my days on Zoom calls and while I would rather be doing all of these meetings in person, I appreciate my day is busy talking to different team members and work friends. I am a team person and the idea of working by myself, day in, day out is daunting. At night, I try as much as possible to have dinner with the kids. The last 30 minutes before they go to sleep is my favorite time of the day. After the chaos, I lay down in bed with them and we pray, express gratitude and do some kids guided meditation. Then it is wine time! I either work a bit more or stream a series on TV! True fact: there is always a bottle of wine in the fridge ready to be consumed.

How do you set yourself apart in an industry that's constantly changing and evolving?

I love change. I get bored quite easily and I am curious 110% of the time. I am passionate about the intersection of culture, innovation and technology and how they are increasingly shaping human behavior and transforming the world we live in for the better. My mind is always connecting these “random” dots and generating ideas. Plus, I truly believe there is a solution for everything even when it does not seem to be true. My daily purpose is to make the unreachable, reachable. And, while some people might think this can be exhausting, it drives me. Everything is possible and we just need to start “the better tomorrow”, today!

What's the biggest transition or change that you have had to make since the beginning of the pandemic?

Changing companies in the middle of a pandemic after 18 years was a big transition. I love change and it was a really exciting moment for me, but it was also quite a unique experience. Coming from a traditional CPG company with a very structured team to a fast-growing start up with an amazingly nimble, fast and furious team presented new challenges and new opportunities. Navigating uncharted territories via Zoom during a tough period for the world and society helped to further develop myself as a leader and a team collaborator. I was very lucky that Grove has such a welcoming team that embraced me and made me feel at home from day one.

You're the definition of a global citizen! How have your experiences across a multitude of cultures impacted your leadership style today?

It has defined who I am and how I see the world both personally and professionally. While I don’t think I can put into words the positive impact of living in multiple countries, there are a few leadership traits that are worth highlighting:

It made me feel comfortable to step out of my comfort zone: When you live in various countries and experience different cultures being outside of your comfort zone is the norm. Thus, at some point the uncomfortable became comfortable and I started enjoying and thriving on it.

It heightened my cultural awareness: Every culture has its own approach to work, relationships and family, and they are all right in their own way. There is not right or wrong, it is just different. Being aware of it made me not only more empathetic with different work and personality styles, but it turned into a great skill: building diverse teams. I believe that these differences in people’s backgrounds, cultures and styles are critical to building a high performance team and a true unfair advantage.

It turned me into a lifelong learner: Living and working with multiple cultures, my mindset was always open to new possibilities, experiences and learning opportunities. There is a huge world out there and I can learn everywhere and from everything that surrounds me. It required curiosity and an understanding of my learning style. I realized that I am not the “academic learning type” and love to “learn by doing”, so I just go out there and experience the world as much as I can.

As you know – we think community is everything. How has your community helped you navigate your personal and/or professional life?

My communities rock. After these 12+ years living abroad, I believe we can be part of many different communities and they all play a critical role in my life both professionally and personally. My immediate family is my foundation - living just the 5 of us, in a foreign country, is not always easy and we mainly rely on each other. We sometimes drive each other crazy but we always support one another. We become stronger every day. My family and friends back home support me unconditionally. I miss them dearly, and while we don’t connect on a daily basis, I know they are there for me when I need them. The friends I made around the world teach me every day . I don't know who I would be without them. We laugh and cry together and while it is not easy to say goodbyes - which happens more often than not- I am grateful for what I learn from each and every one of them. Last but not least, my invaluable work friends (yes! friends and not colleagues) because these relationships matter more than you can imagine when you don't have family around. They inspire me to be a better person professionally and more importantly personally every day.

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