Every time Martina Poulopati Gerhard, global marketing and communications director at Essity, has taken on a new role it has meant moving countries.
Her career began at McCann Erickson in Athens as an account executive, before a trans-Atlantic switch to McCann in San Francisco. Poulopati Gerhard describes her decision to work in the US as a “life-changing move” as it opened her eyes to the diversity of different cultures and “liberal, open-minded ideologies”.
“The work-life balance in California was significantly better, the agency was well staffed, the scope was smaller, but richer from a content and quality point of view, and the overall spirit was very fun, positive and collaborative – which was a big change,” she explains.
After three years in the US, Poulopati Gerhard moved to Madrid to work for web startup Gluly. It was a big shift going from a 600-person agency to a five-person business, although moving back to Europe felt like coming home.
Her next stop was Amsterdam to work for electronics giant Philips, before moving to Munich four years later to take on her current role at Essity, the brand behind Bodyform. She does not see herself as working in the German market, however, because Essity employs such a wide variety of nationalities and is strongly influenced by its Swedish heritage.
While it was challenging from a personal perspective to build a new life from scratch over and over again, working across five different countries has helped Poulopati Gerhard better manage the art of global business.
She adds: “I have learned to appreciate and leverage the commonalities and differences in cultures, to be adaptable and flexible in my communication and management, and hone my influencing skills, which are so important in our industry.”
Martina Poulopati Gerhard’s CV
Global marketing and communications director, Essity (2019-present)
Global brand communications manager, Essity (2015-2019)
Team lead, global comms assets and content production, Philips (2013-2014)
Global campaign manager, integrated marketing communications, Philips (2011-2013)
Global marketing and business development manager, Gluly Espana (2010)
Global account supervisor, McCann Worldgroup SF (2006-2009)
Account supervisor, McCann Erickson Athens (2001-2006)