Just two and a half months after joining Kimberly-Clark in 2019, Rula A., Kimberly-Clark’s direct-to-consumer marketing manager based in Dammam, Saudi Arabia was diagnosed with breast cancer, but she refused to let that stand in her way of success.
When opportunities for women in leadership roles were few in Saudi Arabia, Rula joined in with 20 years of experience in sales and marketing in the pharmaceutical industry. Her strong foundation helped Rula make the remarkable move of starting Kimberly-Clark’s first hospital sampling program in the Middle East. 
Through this hospital sampling program, Rula helps Kimberly-Clark reach out to new mothers in hospitals and introduce them to the benefits of Huggies® diapers and wipes while educating them on important topics such as bonding with newborns, breastfeeding and healthy practices when changing diapers. Currently, the sampling program has reached around 300,000 mothers in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and helped new moms keep their newest additions clean, dry and healthy.
Rula is proud of the program’s progress so far. “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 while recalling how she went ahead with program during the pandemic.
Rula says there are two reasons for the success of the Huggies® sampling program. First, she maintained close working relations with management, nurses and paediatricians at the hospitals, who needed a lot of support during the pandemic. Rula and her team ensured that moms continued to receive samples of Huggies® through them and engage in those important conversations. The second was that she drew inspiration from her own life experiences as a woman and mother of four who spent a lot of time in the hospital when each of her children were born. Additionally, her experience as a hospital patient made her understand and empathize with the patient experience in a hospital environment.
The same year Rula joined Kimberly-Clark, she was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. “I was sitting on the couch and watching T.V. when I noticed lumps”, she said. Unable to see how she would continue her work, Rula 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!”
“Don’t be late, speak up!” Rula says while talking about being aware of the need to get timely treatment of cancer. She also advises us to be vocal about the personal and professional challenges at the workplace and seek support from teammates. “Together we are stronger”, she mentioned. 
Rula’s palpable energy and positivity can be felt in her interactions and work, “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.”
While we focus on creating Better Care for a Better World with Rula on our team, we are in anticipation as Rula’s inspirational journey is about to reach a new milestone as she awaits being declared a Cancer Survivor in Summer 2024.