Meet “Unlikely Executive” Christine Geissler, from Reckitt

By Paul Batz, CEO and Founder, Good Leadership

The 102nd episode of the Good Leadership Breakfast was last Friday, April 14. The theme for this Spring Series is Winning with a Goodness Culture. The speaker was not a top-of-mind Minneapolis/St. Paul native. Christine Geissler built her career from an “unlikely executive,” with small assignments that honed her skills in leading people.  Then, she became the Global SVP, Human Resources of Reckitt. You might not know the name “Reckitt” – but you know their brands:

  • Airborne, Air Wick, Calgon, Clearasil, Durex, Enfamil, Gaviscon, K-Y, Lysol, Mucinex, Woolite,

Lysol got lots of attention during Covid. After all, who didn’t buy Lysol to fight back the virus?  And recently, the hot brand was Enfamil, forced by the massive and unprecedented recall of infant feeding formula.

Always something surprising

Guests come to the Good Leadership Breakfast for many reasons – one is to hear something surprising from their speaker. And Christine didn’t disappoint. She’s warm, funny and affable – and also determined, focused and courageous. She shared the inside story of leading and living through two crises:

“I lost my 11-year old son, Nicholas, unexpectedly,” she shared. “I don’t want anyone to leave here sad, or feeling sorry…I’m a better person now. I miss him dearly, but I wouldn’t change anything about my life. He taught me empathy – no one gets to claim their tragedy as any worse than anyone else.”  The guests were amazed with her vulnerability and grace.

The second crisis, was how the team at Reckitt responded when more than 50% of the infant formula in America was recalled suddenly. The President of the United States summoned her company to double their production overnight – which is impossible. “There was goodness everywhere,” she reflected when I asked her to describe the inside story. “We all came together, united by the image of babies, who for whatever reason, could not survive without formula. No one got greedy. We did not celebrate our competitors misfortune. We just doubled-down with all of our efforts to do the right thing.”

Thank you to Christine for an engaging conversation!

You can listen to the podcast about Christine’s appearance from last Friday here.

Next month, you have the opportunity to meet Glen Gunderson, the CEO of the YMCA of the North, who will help us round out the conversation about Winning with a Goodness Culture. Get your tickets here.

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Paul Batz

Paul Batz is CEO and Founder of Good Leadership Enterprises. He is an inspirational leadership coach, best selling author and professional speaker. His Good Leadership blog is recognized as one of the top leadership posts in America today.