Jamie Castle, President, Obagi
Imagination is the most powerful tool a person can possess. Albert Einstein even once declared, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” That’s because a person with a great imagination can see solutions to problems that no one else has thought of before. They can not only envision a future that few others can dream of, but they can actually map out a plan to make that future a reality. They can alter how companies—or even entire industries—operate. To honor those people, PM360 created the new Imagination Award. And no person is more deserving of this inaugural achievement then Jamie Castle, President, Obagi.
Among the few female presidents in the medical aesthetics industry—and one of the youngest—Jaime has guided Obagi to unprecedented double-digit year-over-year revenue growth of 28% in a market that is growing at 5.6%. And she is doing it for a company that Valeant Pharmaceuticals (now Bausch Health) sold off to help reduce its debt.
Envisioning a New Company
Back in 2017, Jaime was serving as the National Sales Director and business unit head for Obagi Medical when Valeant was looking for ways to sell it as part of an overall debt reconciliation effort. But she saw the business’ potential to evolve into something great, so she took on an instrumental role in the divestiture of Obagi Medical Products from Valeant in order to ensure her vision would become reality. She led the team which identified Haitong International Zhonghua Finance Acquisition Fund I LP as a natural buyer that would help Obagi prosper in the future. And under Jaime’s leadership, Obagi Cosmeceuticals was able to be completely independent from Valeant within less than one year after the close of the sale.
Part of Jamie’s success was taking the company back to its roots. As one of the earliest brands to emerge in the nascent cosmeceutical market in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Obagi quickly became known for developing and distributing market-leading products for skin care and aging, but that heritage was abandoned with the previous parent company. Under Jamie, the company increased R&D spending and has launched more than nine new products into the medical channel within the last two years compared to only one launch in the two years prior to the sale.
Additionally, Jaime set out a plan to invest in other areas of the business in order to create a new Obagi built for the future. And she was the executive sponsor of a rebranding exercise which brought new life to Obagi with a new mission, vision, and purpose.
Encouraging Fearless Imagination
Jamie envisioned a “future fearless” Obagi dedicated to diversity and inclusion. As a member of CEO Action! For Diversity and Inclusion, Jamie is focused on increasing female leadership to nearly 80%. After all, if you are the market you know the market, and then you know how to deliver for the market. And part of having a future fearless culture is finding people who not only know how to deliver, but aren’t afraid to push boundaries.
Jamie helps to empower employees to make bold decisions by making bold decisions herself. She spearheaded the Obagi SKINCLUSION initiative, which is aimed at encouraging a dialogue about diversity and inclusivity, especially as it relates to skincare and skin tone. And now the company’s multichannel strategy is mission-focused on caring for every face, everywhere. The resulting efforts have led Obagi to re-launch into more than 54 countries around the world; expand into the U.S. spa channel through a major partnership with Massage Envy; and develop a unique line of products for a consumer segment not yet seeking medical care with the launch of Obagi Clinical into Sephora.
And when the company was working on improving its packaging, it led one team member to suggest putting braille on the boxes to be more inclusive of diversity beyond skin tone. And now the company is also developing educational assets for the hearing impaired. Jamie’s fearless imagination has proven to be contagious. And it has led to a thriving company that has found its voice in the skincare space as it continues to look for new ways to re-imagine the market moving forward.