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John Carola

North American Sales Director  

Katonah Chemicals

Member since: 2012

New York Chapter

What made you pursue a career in the cosmetics/personal care industry?

While in college, 17 years ago, I worked a seasonal job in loss prevention for Sephora. I was curious as to where all the products sold at Sephora came from and a friend of mine told me their company worked with a contract manufacturer that provided cosmetics and fragrances to these types of companies.  At the time, I didn’t know I could have a career in this field as it sounded like a different language to me, but now over a decade later it is a language that I am very familiar with.

What advice would you give your younger self who is just starting out in the industry? 
I would say that every career decision has affected your current position in your career. “You did not come this far, to only come this far” Jesse Itzler/Tom Brady.  Put yourself in a position so that you ‘have a seat at the table’ and your decisions will make an impact. Also, your perspective at a young age is valuable but often overlooked. 

And without a doubt, join SCC as a student member and get involved with your local chapter! Participate in the Future Chemist Workshop as the rewards, experience and networking is unmatched.

What is the favorite part of your job?

This industry, like most, is very dynamic and fast paced. What we knew last week can change this week. I appreciate that this job affords me a great amount of autonomy and trust in my decision-making. Following trends and watching raw materials formulate into final products on the shelf is also very rewarding.  I am also very fortunate to be surrounded by a strong team that is experienced, confident in their decisions, and not afraid to shift in a different direction.

What has been your most recent professional accomplishment?

Bringing together a new team, made up of multiple professionals with diverse experiences and skills sets. Each person is an expert in their segment so when everyone is working together the flow feels effortless. A good team that has strong communication can overcome most obstacles.

How has membership in the SCC been of value to you?

Not every industry has an organization focused on advancing and educating its members as our industry does. If your attending SCC events, it’s a great way to gain industry knowledge and insight. Or if you’re volunteering for one of the chapters, then you’ll gain valuable experience working on committees alongside other industry professionals and observing their approach and work ethic.

Being the Committee Chair for the NYSCC Future Chemist Workshop (FCW) these past few years has also been a gratifying and fulfilling endeavor. This program, which takes place during Suppliers’ Day in May at the Javits Center was created to give university students and young professionals from across the country insight on how to become a Cosmetic Chemist. FCW includes a practical workshop and challenge-based formulation exercise in a “real-time” lab set-up on the exhibit floor. Even during the pandemic we managed to bring hundreds of students together virtually and provide them with a survival kit during this most unusual time.

Many of the students who have participated in FCW, cite the experience as being an influential factor in their decision to pursue a career in cosmetic chemistry.

What is a fun fact about yourself, outside of the SCC and your professional life?

I am happily married with 3 little boys. So as a result, I have become very good at negotiating, building forts, and making chicken nuggets. Also, as a former marine I recently joined a local group in Hunterdon County that raises scholarship money for veterans and their children. Last year, we also donated 3 pallets of finished goods (mostly rinse off) from our industry for in patient veteran facilities around New Jersey.