My career in Product Development – Christine Steiro
Read about Christine's career in poduct development.
Tell us briefly about the job you do and in which company
I am Development Manager for personal hygiene products (formulation) at Lilleborg, which means that I head the group of product developers in Lilleborg’s Development Department who work with personal care products. We are responsible for a number of important brands, such as Lano, Dr Greve, AquaDerma, Define, Sterilan, Lypsyl and Solidox.
What is your educational background?
I have a master’s (Cand. Scient.) in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Oslo.
Tell us a little about yourself
In my job I have to be very systematic and thorough, but at the same time creative and inquiring. I think these characteristics also describe me as a person. Being a chemist can sometimes being rather dull, but I’m also able to use my creative skills in my leisure time, for instance by doing various types of arts and crafts. But my main interest besides my job is naturally my three children!
Tell us about your career at Orkla, from day 1 to where you are today
After finishing my studies, I worked at GE Healthcare AS for three years, first at Lindesnes Fabrikker and later at the research department in Oslo. When I joined Lilleborg in 2006, I was employed as Product Developer for dishwashing products. I was also responsible for quality systems and non-conformity monitoring at the head office across product categories. Since then, I’ve worked with developing products in a number of other product categories, including hair care, deodorants, oral hygiene and skin care. I also built up broad experience through my work with various quality-related issues. This experience proved to be valuable when I became head of the hygiene team in the Development Department a while ago.
Why did you choose this position?
It’s inspiring to work with products that people use every day, and that so many people have an opinion on. That’s not automatically the case for us chemists! In addition, Lilleborg manages its entire value chain itself, and we work in interdisciplinary project teams, which gives us a unique opportunity to acquire broad-based experience.
Why did you want to work at Orkla?
To me, Orkla represents reliability and security, at the same time as it’s an exciting employer that challenges and demands a lot from me!
What is a typical working day for you?
The typical working day is the one that doesn’t turn out exactly as you have planned! This is a dynamic workplace where things have to happen fast. At the same time, there are processes in our project work that have to be carried out to ensure the quality of the products we’re going to launch. It’s a very fine balance that demands a great deal from my team and me.
What does it take to succeed in your job?
In order to succeed, you have to have the right balance between qualities that can at times seem contradictory, such as thorough vs efficient, creative vs reliable and independence vs ability to cooperate.
What’s the best thing about your profession and what, if anything, do you dislike?
The best part about my job is working in an environment where everyone is dedicated and gives their all to achieve a common goal, namely successful launches of high-quality products. Everyone in the teams has their own unique competence, at the same time as no one can manage without the support of the other functions. When we work together in this way, it gives us an exceptional opportunity to gain an insight into the entire innovation process, from idea to product launch. The disadvantage is that at times there can be a lot of meetings.
Orkla’s new vision is “Your friend in everyday life”, supported by the values “Brave”, “Trustworthy” and “Inspiring”. How do you relate to the new vision and values in your job?
Orkla’s values help me as manager to express in words what I expect of myself and my team, and they are the basis for many good discussions.
Are there any special requirements for working in a job like yours (personality, academic qualifications, fields of study, etc.)?
To work with formulations in Lilleborg’s Development Department, you have to have a scientific background, preferably in chemistry or pharmaceuticals. You have to be thorough by nature and be able to take independent responsibility for your tasks and projects, but also to be flexible and enjoy working with other people.