Hobson aims to ‘delight’ Beauty Advisors


 Walgreens’ beauty team works diligently to please customers, but Michelle Hobson’s job as senior manager of beauty program development is to lead the charge for all training efforts and key strategic beauty programs for the company’s most precious assets — its Beauty Advisors.

Hobson’s enthusiasm for Walgreens’ ‘Go Big in Beauty’ mission is palpable and infectious — and that’s a good thing since she’s the coach, mentor and teacher for Walgreens’ network of 26,000-plus Beauty Advisors.

“My role is very unique and cool,” said Hobson, who joined Walgreens in 2001 and has held numerous positions across beauty/ personal care, including category management, business development and format innovation. She stepped into her current role last year, and brings forward true passion and inspiration. “I spend part of my day designing and delivering programs to help train and educate our teams, but I also dedicate a good portion of my time working with our supplier partners to help ensure their key programs are communicated and implemented properly.” She explains her role as a liaison between Shannon Curtin’s team and store operations in the field. “It is important to provide one voice” to ensure cohesive communications, she said. “At the end of the day, my ‘customers’ are our Beauty Advisors.”

GO BIG Beauty University: The only one of its kind in mass

Since one of Hobson’s biggest priorities is training and educating Beauty Advisors, Walgreens created and launched its Beauty University training program more than three years ago as a way to provide timely and relevant category and brand-specific information across all stores. “Beauty University is a really big deal for our company. It is a very special and unparalleled opportunity for us to connect with our Beauty Advisors, and for Walgreens to allow me to dedicate my time here speaks volumes,” she said. The Beauty U curriculum consists of live training twice per year in the spring and fall for the top-volume stores, supplemented with videos that reach the rest of the Beauty Advisors across the country. Beauty Advisors also receive training materials and kits throughout the year, along with a monthly newsletter focused on what’s new and trending and “need to know.” “We always strive to make sure our Beauty Advisors know they are mission critical in our efforts to Go Big in Beauty, and that they are valuable resources to help us become the world’s most shopped and loved beauty destination,” Hobson said.

GO BIG Beauty Advisor Awards: Honoring the very best

Three years ago, Walgreens had a big idea: to create a sales contest across their stores to recognize, reward and celebrate their top Beauty Advisors. Fast-forward to today, and this contest has become the “ultimate” opportunity and incentive for their Beauty Advisors, who work hard earning top sales and providing best-in-class customer care. In addition to the big awards night and a visit to their local flagship store, the event captures best practices across the winners, and these trade secrets are then cascaded across the entire company. The Awards dinner is attended by the winning Beauty Advisors and guests, along with Shannon Curtin’s team and executives from across the stores and corporate. And Walgreens takes the opportunity to formally honor their top beauty and personal care suppliers, as well. “We are so thrilled to be able to host this event each year — it is totally like planning a wedding! Our Beauty Advisor Awards are definitely a major ingredient in achieving our beauty mission,” Hobson said.    

There’s always something exciting brewing in beauty, and Hobson and her team are always cooking up opportunities and avenues to train and educate. “It is so rewarding to watch our beauty journey unfold, the future is very exciting,” she said.

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