Diversity Woman Magazine

FAL 2017

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

Issue link: https://diversitywoman.epubxp.com/i/876458

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d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m Fa l l 2 0 1 7 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N 21 Ilham Kadri Clean Tech Power Suit By Katr ina Brown Hunt O ne of biggest challenges in Dr. Ilham Kadri's industry is that often you can't see the suc- cess. "e problem with 'clean' is that it's invisible—if you can see the dirt, it's too late," says Kadri, the president of food hygiene and cleaning company Diversey Care. "So we started thinking about how to make that invisibility visible." Kadri—who has a PhD in physics and chemistry from France—has been try- ing to advance both the technology of cleaning processes and the opportuni- ties for cleaning industry workers since she joined Diversey in 2013. One of the company's most recent in- novations is MoonBeam3, a system that uses ultraviolet technology to clean anything from oper- ating rooms to bathrooms. Before Diversey, Kadri worked in wa- ter processes and solutions for Dow Chemical Company in Dubai. She grew up in Casablanca, Morocco, as the grand- daughter of a cleaning woman. Diversey Care used to be a part of Sealed Air Cor- poration (the folks who make Bubble Wrap). In March 2017, it was bought by Bain Capital, with Kadri at the helm. Di- versity Woman spoke to Kadri about her grandmother, the future of cleaning, and the influence of a certain Greek goddess. We Mean Business > Diversity Woman: Who was your big- gest mentor growing up? Ilham Kadri: My first one was definitely my grandmother. I remember her tell- ing me that there are only two exits for girls in Casablanca: one is your husband's home, one is to your grave. But she used to tell me to find my third exit, which was education: the freedom to choose, to learn, to choose whom to marry. at was her dream, to reach prosperity through education, to be free to make my own choices. DW: What was your first job as a young person? IK: I did a lot of small jobs—my grand- mother was focusing on my education, and finding that third exit, so I had very little distraction. One of my first jobs was selling bracelets on the beach. When I counsel youth now, I tell them that get- ting down to earth in an early job is good for making some money, but when you reflect on those jobs later, you realize you also learned a lot and were exposed to customers. On the beach in Morocco, I had my first experiences with custom- ers. When I do multimillion-dollar deals, it's still so important that I keep the customer in mind. DW: How did you feel about cleaning as a profession, before you went into it on the corporate level? IK: For me, cleaning used to be a mop and a bucket, what you do at home. But then I discovered the wealth of challenges. I've been in kitchens and laundries to try to understand what the challenges are, and you become more sensitive. At the end of the day, if you don't see it, you take it for granted. But no restaurant or hotel wants to be on the front page of the newspaper for the wrong reason—you've damaged your brand. A cleaning industry CEO shares how new technolo- gy leads to cleaner rooms and satisfied employees

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