Women at IFF: Gladys Gabriel

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IFF is a company filled with remarkable women who have achieved great things in their careers. We hope you enjoy this profile of a true IFFer, Gladys Gabriel, Vice President, Global Procurement.

Gladys Gabriel is the first woman to have reached the level of a chief procurement officer among the top flavors and fragrances companies in the world. Gladys received her BS in Chemistry at American University of Beirut, Lebanon, and an MBA at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

She started her career as a research chemist at Unilever. For more than 25 years, she has progressed in various R&D, sales and marketing, procurement and supply chain leadership roles at Rhodia, Clorox and, during the past 15 years, at IFF. Gladys is the inventor of seven scientific patents.

In her current role, she drives procurement vision through her transformational management style, and aligns internal and external stakeholder processes to optimize efficiency, mitigate risks, and maintain sustainable sourcing. She focuses on developing the procurement talent pool and caliber to maintain IFF’s best practices and leadership for the long-term growth.

Together with her husband of 29 years, Gladys has raised four sons, young men now with their own professional career paths.

The Nancy Poulos Leadership Award

Recently, Gladys was honored with the Women in Flavor and Fragrance Commerce (WFFC) 2017 Nancy Poulos Leadership Award.

The WFFC was founded in 1982 by women in the U.S. flavor and fragrance industry to serve as center of education, engagement and empowerment. The award was presented at the WFFC Annual Recognition Dinner last month in Jersey City, New Jersey.

The award was established in 2015 as a tribute to Nancy Poulos Drevitson, past WFFC President and member of the board, who embodied what it means to be a leader, making substantial contributions and going above and beyond for an organization and an industry that was always close to her heart.

In their recap of the awards ceremony, Perfumer & Flavorist notes that Gladys is a “fiery, passionate, professional leader.”

We agree.

“It has been said that ‘a great woman never dreams of success, she works for it.’ This is especially true for Gladys as she is being honored with Nancy's Leadership award,” said Susana Suarez, EVP, Chief Human Resources Officer at IFF. “Gladys is a walking testament that a committed human being can transform this world one step at a time. Just like Nancy, Gladys doesn't settle for less and has pushed the envelope in and outside of our industry. We are so proud to have such role model at IFF. Congratulations, Gladys!”

Left to right: Amy Marks-McGee, President of the Women in Flavor and Fragrance Commerce (WFFC), Gladys Gabriel Vice President, Global Procurement at IFF, recipient of the WFFC 2017 Nancy Poulos Leadership Award her husband, Bob Gabriel.]
For Gladys, “It starts at home. My parents offered their daughters the same academic opportunities and self-confidence as their sons with the full aspiration of having a career and a family. We did not think we had to choose but rather how to compete, excel and provide the most for our children and community. Ambivalent of any limitations, I forged into the male-dominated fields of chemistry and pursued higher education in business administration and finance as an equal, never doubting what I can accomplish. I am lucky to have a husband who advised me throughout my career and our sons who cheered for me along the way. I am very grateful for that. The work ethics and the pursuit for continuous development are key to re-inventing one’s self to avoid obsolescence and complacency. I believe having the courage and integrity to stand for our values, being fair and caring for others underscores strong leadership without compromise.”

During the ceremony, Gladys shared how she “was blessed to be raised by a man of great wisdom and a woman of great courage… My father was a staple and visionary in our community- the leader of our congregation and an agent of change in people's lives. His generosity gave families peace amid the chaos of a civil War in Lebanon and his devotion strengthened their faith. He never set limits to how much we can achieve. He believed educating his daughters was critical in order to ride the challenges of what life might bring and be partners with our husbands to build our households rather than be dependent on them. My mother was the strong spine in his back and the undeniable influencer at home. She was a pioneer - a young spirit and a brave soul, who fought for a better future for her children.”

Gladys stays true to this pioneering legacy and embodies the spirit of IFF.

Please join us in recognizing Gladys’ pioneering leadership.

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