UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School


Deena Singleton (MBA '05) on the beauty of collaboration


Denna Singleton (MBA ’05) has some practical advice for anyone trying to ally the business world with the accelerating changes in the medical technology and medical care industry: communication and support.

 “Communication is crucial, knowing what works and doesn’t work,” Singleton said. “It is important to make sure everyone communicates effectively and efficiently with one another.”

 That’s advice that Singleton, the brand manager for Aveeno Facial Care with Johnson & Johnson, learned while pursuing her MBA from UNC Kenan-Flagler. She’s been with Johnson & Johnson, a global pharmaceutical, medical devices and consumer packaged goods corporation, for six years, and oversees everything from advertising and working with retail customers to budgeting and meeting annual sales goals.

Deena Singleton Profile

 Singleton knows how important close collaboration can be—especially when focused on new-product development and calculating which products to push toward launch.

 “R&D must remain a top focus for any company,” she said. “The reality in my business today is that it is important to focus on research and development in order to have the best products in the market. While increasing costs in this industry can be challenging, I figure out a way to get things done.”

 Singleton’s challenges include tracking the fast-changing world of product marketing, where the business landscape can be altered lightning-quick and consumers take in those changes just as quickly.

 “We have to constantly be abreast of the latest information,” she said. “I have to stay in touch with what consumers and magazines are talking about, what’s the buzz, how they are talking about my brand. I constantly check out the blogs and Facebook.”

 That emphasis on collaboration was what drew her to UNC Kenan-Flagler, as well as the support extended to her by professors and fellow students.

 “The culture and work environment at Johnson & Johnson is teamwork-oriented and very supportive,” she said. “You’re given responsibility and leadership opportunities from Day One, just like at UNC Kenan-Flagler, where I was in study teams with people from different parts of the world, and we had to figure out how to work together to achieve our goals.”

 Singleton loves her work because no two days are ever the same in the health and beauty products industry.

 “I like being challenged and learning every day,” she said. “You constantly have to want to learn more and have that curiosity of trying to educate yourself and the ability to adjust your priorities.

You have to learn how to deal with problems that are not in your control. What defines you as a business leader is your reaction to setbacks. That’s also key to life.”