Discern Your Purpose 

Jason Harcup says it provides an invaluable reference point for confronting critical career decisions
Jason Harcup, Global Vice President, Skin Care Research & Development, Unilever
Jason Harcup, Global Vice President, Skin Care Research & Development, Unilever

Dr. Jason Harcup is Global Vice President for Skin Care R&D, leading end-to-end delivery from innovation to market in 89 countries, and several billion Euros of turnover.  He is also Global VP for the billion Euro Prestige Division. He leads several hundred PhDs globally across a dozen worldwide laboratories, landing billions of euros of marketed innovation. 

He is a Cambridge University Natural Scientist, Fellow of The Royal Society of Biology, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. He is Judge for the RSC Emerging Technologies Initiative, co-convenor of the Asian Dermatological Forum, having grown and headed up a $60m R&D facility in Shanghai, Founder of the US Melanin Science Movement to advance Black innovator-entrepreneurs, Industry co-chair of the UK Black and Minority Ethnic STEM talent working group, Faculty for Health and Beauty America, and Beauty Disruptor with the CEW network. He frequently authors keynote talks and articles. 

Finishing my PhD, I began my career 25 years ago. Back then, I would never have believed that ahead of me lay such stimulation, education and fulfilment from all the people and places I would encounter. 

What enabled that quarter century of life experiences for me? 

Well, first of all, many of the factors were outside my control. No one should ever discount the huge part that simple fortunate circumstances play in achievements we might otherwise delude ourselves to be ours alone. But when the winds of good fortune eventually blow, how do we best set our sails? 

The one consistent compass I have found I can trust: Always follow my purpose. 

It took me time to bring my own purpose into focus – I think it might for many - but after a while I saw the pattern in what got me across stormier seas: I want to change life for the better by unlocking science, technology and understanding. Once I had a reference point in place, it gave me direction, and made me faster. I had a North Star to direct my energy in the right way in response to every opportunity, threat, strength and weakness I confronted.  It has never let me down.  

So… What’s your purpose?

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of their employer or the American Chemical Society.

Related Content