Breast Cancer Diagnosis Doesn't Stop Kimberly-Clark Employee From Helping New Moms

Breast Cancer Diagnosis Doesn't Stop Kimberly-Clark Employee From Helping New Moms

People
Rula by window
People

Thursday, October 28, 2021 - 9:00am

CAMPAIGN: Communities and People

CONTENT: Article

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Kimberly-Clark is shining a spotlight on Rula AlSholi Kimberly-Clark’s direct-to-consumer marketing manager based in Saudi Arabia who refused to let breast cancer stop her from helping 200,000 new mothers.

When Rula AlSholi joined Kimberly-Clark in 2019, opportunities for professional women in leadership positions in Saudi Arabia were few and far between. Her 20 years of experience in sales and marketing in the pharmaceutical industry was a strong foundation, but Rula would go on to exceed all expectations by starting Kimberly-Clark’s first hospital sampling program in the Middle East.

Through the hospital sampling program, Rula helps Kimberly-Clark reach new mothers in hospitals and introduces them to the benefits of Huggies® diapers and wipes while providing education on important topics such as bonding with newborns, healthy practices when changing diapers, breastfeeding, etc. To date, the sampling program has reached around 200,000 mothers in Saudi Arabia and helped new moms keep their newest additions clean, dry and healthy.

Kimberly-Clark's culture of care encourages employees to keep the diverse needs of their customers and consumers at the heart of what they do. For Rula, this means ensuring that new moms have what they need to care for their children.

Rula is proud of the program’s progress so far, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’ve managed to keep it running during one of the most challenging times, particularly considering that contact with patients was not allowed when COVID-19 first broke out,” she said.

Rula cites two factors for the success of the Huggies® sampling program. First, she maintained close working relationships with management, nurses and pediatricians at the hospital, who needed a lot of support during the pandemic. In partnership with them, Rula and her team ensured that moms continued to receive samples of Huggies® and engage in those important conversations. The second was that she drew from her own life experiences as a mother who spent a lot of time in the hospital when each of her four children were born.

In addition, as a result of her more recent experience as a hospital patient, she understood and empathised with the patient experience in a hospital environment that can often feel overwhelming. The same year she joined Kimberly-Clark, Rula was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. At the time, she didn't see how she could continue her work, so she submitted her resignation.

“My team leader and the general manager refused to accept it,” she recalled. “They said, 'We will work it out.' They supported me all the way. I continued to work as hard as I could and took time off for treatment when I needed to do so. The team really stepped in to keep things going for me and the program – and now I’m able to give 100% back!”

Rula’s energy is palpable, and it is transmitted over a conference call, in her communications, and in her personal interactions. Cancer-free for almost two years now, she uses her positive energy and story to inspire others – especially when they’re faced with personal and professional obstacles that may seem insurmountable.

“Work is my fuel. I get energized when I work, and I feel grateful to be at a company where I love what I do.”