Search past winners/finalists

H2O+ Beauty - Female Executive of the Year


Gold Stevie Award Winner 2016, Click to Enter The 2017 Stevie Awards for Women in Business

Company: H2O+ Beauty, San Francisco, CA
Entry Submitted By: Group Gordon
Company Description: H2O+ Beauty creates skincare formulas that harness the hydrating power of pure water. The company was founded in 1989 with the goal of putting beauty back in the hands of all women by empowering them to define beauty on their own terms. Today, it combines the simplest, yet most powerful compound on the planet with advanced skincare technology to help women feel confident in their own skin.
Nomination Category: Individual Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Female Executive of the Year – Consumer Products –11 to 2,500 Employees

Nomination Title: Joy Chen, CEO

Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated executive since the beginning of July last year (up to 525 words): Text Redacted For Publication

Joy Chen, CEO of H2O+ Beauty, has proven her skill as a businesswoman with a knack for tackling complex business challenges and turnarounds. As CEO of Yes To, for example, she helped turn around the brand and unlock its potential, quadrupling revenue in just four years. Now, in her role as CEO of H2O+ Beauty, Joy is putting her skills to the test with an assignment to revive this 27 year-old skincare brand that had steadily lost relevance over the last decade.

In her first few months on the job, Joy laid out a bold plan to transition away from the company’s original manufacturing model to focus on innovation. As part of this, she moved company headquarters from Chicago to San Francisco, facilitated the reimagining of the entire product line, and restructured the makeup and culture of the H2O+ Beauty team. All of this took place in just one short year, a comprehensive change that typically takes companies 3-7 years to accomplish. This achievement has captured the attention of the country’s most prominent beauty editors, business editors and retailers, and has already resulted in a 30% improvement in the company’s gross margin.

Joy brought this remarkable diligence and efficiency to reformulating 44 of H2O+ Beauty’s preexisting products with lightning speed, a major step toward modernizing the brand. She prioritized research into trends in the skincare industry, inspiring such innovative products as the Cleansing Stick, which has received significant attention for its clever delivery system. She also ensured that all products are now backed by clinical claims to guarantee effectiveness. She coordinated a redesign of product packaging that features hand-drawn, water-inspired illustrations to hearken to the company’s roots while updating its overall appearance.

In the office, Joy fostered an “entrepreneurial” culture among H2O+ Beauty’s new team. She made transparency and open-mindedness formal aspects of H2O+ Beauty’s company values, and established traditions to solidify them. For example, she introduced a Friday afternoon “winedown,” giving everyone an opportunity to gather over a glass of wine to discuss both personal and professional developments. This casual and safe space for discussion and brainstorming has led to some of the company’s best ideas. In addition, she created an award series to regularly reward employees who live these important values.

Joy also saw an opportunity to expand on H2O+ Beauty’s operations to not only meet consumers’ needs, but also to benefit the broader community. She spearheaded the launch of “Making Waves,” an initiative that devotes company time and financial resources to supporting local nonprofits whose missions align with another core value of the new H2O+ Beauty: to help underserved girls and women realize their own power through increasing access to quality education and employment advancement. H2O+ Beauty employees are allocated 1000 minutes per year to volunteer in H2O+ Beauty’s partner organizations, ensuring that the company lives its mission with more than just monetary support.

Joy is not just an expert in turning around businesses efficiently and comprehensively. Her tenure at H2O+ Beauty has shown that she is a great leader overall, as she guided the company on a swift path to success by listening to and caring for employees and consumers alike.
Provide a brief biography of the nominated executive (up to 125 words):

Prior to her role at H2O+ Beauty, Joy served as CEO of Yes To, Inc. overseeing the global natural skincare portfolio and catapulting the brand to the #2 ranking in the natural personal care category. Before joining Yes To, Joy spent 17 years at the Clorox Company, serving as Vice President and General Manager of the laundry business, a $1B+ business segment.

Joy was awarded Most Admired CEO of the Year 2012 and has been named the Most Influential Woman in the San Francisco Bay Area every year since 2013. She supports women entrepreneurs by coaching founders/CEOs in the San Francisco area. Specifically, she provides guidance to organic food company 18 Rabbits and sits on the board for Junior Achievement.

• Dean’s Speaker Series at Haas Business School:
• Entrepreneur byline:
• SF Biz Journal Influential Women 2016: Joy Chen
• Brand video – Link
• Company values – Click here:
• Photos of office, headquarters, outings, volunteering – Click Here:
• Fast Company article:
• Digiday article:
• InStyle Article:
• Allure article (Making Waves):