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Livio Vicco – Avon

Building a financial future, one step at a time

Livio Vicco remembers a painful experience from life on the road. He was conducting a trade visit during a freezing wet winter in Poland, far from the warmth of the sun-soaked home office in Colombia. Unprepared, he walked the slushy streets in his fancy leather shoes, soaking his feet and chilling them to the bone.

Not wanting to let people see his pain during a full day of appointments, he waited to rub his frozen feet with dry towels in a cab back to the hotel—and vowed never to come unprepared for anything ever again.

Livio Vicco – Avon The Vision Magazine

Experiences like that, Vicco says, helped shape his perspective of how to best help the salesforce at the fifth-largest beauty sales company in the world.

As the executive director of finance for Avon’s Andean cluster in Medellin, he is launching the appointment program called NOMBRA YA that, in combination with an intelligent credit allocation tool, could help millions of Latin America women develop successful sales protocols and creditworthiness to support themselves and their families.

“What is most important to me is helping to empower women,” Vicco says. “In some Latin America societies it was not always a woman’s right to earn money, but we are helping them make progress with our initiatives.”

By the numbers

The first order of business for independent contractors looking to partner with Avon is to get an individualized credit check through Avon’s application process. That score determines how much they can borrow from Avon for products for resale, or if they can borrow at all.

As Vicco explains, the difference in the new credit scoring system is that Avon uses available information from the credit bureaus, plus predictive information to assess the creditworthiness of a particular person. Previously, credit for sales representatives was analyzed in zones but did not account for an individual’s own credit record.

Now, the determination for who gets credit, and how much, is done for every individual. Not everyone qualifies, meaning some reps pay for product out of pocket initially. But after the first two orders, the creditworthiness of contractors is reassessed.

“It’s a graduated system and is offering those with credit problems a way to move forward,” he says. “We are not going to say no. … It’s a way to say business is open to everybody.”

So far, Vicco says the system is working well, with 98 percent of the new contractors being able to pay their bills.

While Colombia is the pilot, Avon is developing models in Peru and Ecuador as well. The initiative complements other training and coaching programs to help the female sales force.

“We have 200,000 reps in Colombia, and of course we’d like to have more,” Vicco says, noting Brazil is up to a million reps and Mexico even more than that. “Women earning money in these countries is creating powerful change.”

Life’s journey

As native of Argentina, Vicco attended the Universidad de Buenos Aires from 1990 to 1996 earning an M.Sc. (Licenciatura) in administration with a major in marketing. Building a course load heavy in accounting and administration, he was focused on giving himself a career advantage during his country’s economic crises of the ‘90s.

Diploma in hand, he began his international career as a semi/senior auditor at Price Waterhouse in Argentina from 1993 to 1996. In the ensuing six years, he occupied a variety of positions for Unilever Best Foods in Buenos Aires. Those experiences led to financial roles at Unilever Southern Cone over the course of 11 years, where he worked in the Netherlands, Puerto Rico and Paraguay.

“The challenge—and what’s kept it interesting—is working in different business environments and working with people in different cultures,” he says. “Every country has its different flavor.”

Coming to Avon in Colombia in 2015, he says, has been a rewarding with its rich, beautiful environment, low inflation and economic recovery from internal political frictions.

“We’re here to share the opportunity for empowerment that Avon gives to women, to know their real success stories and expand their capabilities,” Vicco says. “It is an industry that allows women to capture the benefits and build confidence.”

As for Vicco, he says he hopes to continue with meaningful projects within the company, which might take him to the United Kingdom. He looks forward to that, but most certainly will pack an umbrella.

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