BiosBelow are some of the individuals at Tru Fragrance that will be working with you to build your fragrance and beauty strategy. Their seasoned brand-building expertise, strong fragrance experience and solid business savvy will help you build and maintain a thriving and growing fragrance and beauty business.
Monte Henige, Principal / Chief Executive OfficerLinkedIn Reveal Biography
Driven by the passion to create and grow brands and the internal desire to be in an exciting consumer business, Monte purchased Tru Fragrance (then Romane) in 2006. With its 40-year-old history in the fragrance business and sterling reputation for customer service, Monte saw the opportunity to create an environment of innovation and entrepreneurship. Today the company has over 80 brands in the marketplace and serves retailers in over 8,000 outlets nationwide. In addition to his role as CEO of Tru, Monte has been an investor, strategic advisor, board member and principal in several business enterprises across a broadspectrum of products and services for more than a decade.
Monte’s growth philosophy is both profound and simple at the same time: build extraordinary product, always be a partner, not an agent, in any business relationship and be transparent and forthcoming around both the pathway of success and the sometimes daunting challenges in bringing the right product to market on trend and on time. His daily mantra is succinct, “We keep our promises and create value for ourpartners.”
Prior to joining Tru Fragrance, Monte established himself in the financial industry working at Deloitte as an auditor and management consultant and then as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the Chicago Stock Exchange. He later served as President of O’Connor Specialists, a proprietary option-trading firm operating on the floor of the Chicago Board Options Exchange. Currently, Monte serves on the Board of Directors of Novaspect, a company that provides engineering solutions, control systems, and related technologies across numerous industries. He also serves on the board of MyFootpath, a company that helps students at colleges connect by matching goals, interest and needs with educational opportunities.
Monte earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Notre Dame (Go Irish!) and his Master of Business Management degree from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University (Go Cats!).
Eric Bilenko, Principal / Chief Operating OfficerLinkedIn Reveal Biography
Eric was a fragrance pioneer (at least at his junior high school) where he was the first to “borrow” his Dad’s favorite colognes, Grey Flannel and Calvin Klein Obsession. While his passion for fragrance continued to evolve, it took a slight detour as he graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in Actuarial Science, which demonstrated his other passion in life, mathematics. After passing a number of certifications in the actuary profession, Eric realized his need for excitement would not be served by this career and instead entered the field of investment banking.
Over 15 years, he developed from an apprentice financial analyst to a senior banker at the investment banks of Bank of America (f/k/a NationsBank), Robert W. Baird & Co. and BMO Capital Markets. At each of these firms, Eric was proud to be part of an entity that was endeavoring to re-create itself, a proposition that aligned well with his love of being part of an up-and-coming enterprise. While his tenure in investment banking honed his professional skill set, a particular opportunity helped shape his love of building businesses. His role in reshaping a toy manufacturer into a multi-channel, multi-offering, branded juvenile development company fueled Eric’s desire to become a principal in a business enterprise, where he could leverage his ability to problem-solve and create dynamic team environments.
As Chief Operating Officer of Tru Fragrance, Eric supports a team of industry leading professionals to provide our clients with thoughtful, creative solutions while providing each of our employee partners with career-building experiences that serve to guide their future development. The organizational focus at Tru is focused on transparency, team work and individual ownership of idea development and decision-making.
Between his work at Tru and his family at home, Eric feels blessed to be part of amazing teams. Eric lives in Hinsdale, Illinois with his three strapping, athletic sons and a beautiful wife who’s been rumored to look like Cameron Diaz. They recently built their first home together, and Eric has the domestic battle scars to prove it.
Tom Tompkins, Principal / EVP Business DevelopmentLinkedIn Reveal Biography
Tom views the world around him as an ongoing parade of business synergies waiting to be aligned and leveraged to create success stories, and his focus as a principal at Tru lies in uncovering opportunities where the company’s resources can create core value for brands, retailers and, ultimately, consumers.
Finding new opportunities as Tru has evolved over the last seven years, Tom has been instrumental in Tru’s evolution and nine-fold growth. Identifying and developing such opportunities has fueled significant energy for Tom, the company and our clients. Tom’s ethos is quite simple: “Solve for value.” Prior to Tru, Tom played a similar role for companies in software and technology services and advised a variety of mid-sized companies as a management consultant for Ernst and Young.
Tom holds a BS in Engineering from the University of Tulsa and a Masters in Business Management from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.
Tom lives with his family in Boulder, CO where they enjoy all the outdoor recreation they possibly can.
MarieAnna Ferdinand, VP of Fragrance DevelopmentLinkedIn Reveal Biography
MarieAnna’s passion for fragrance stems from a deep understanding of the category’s ability to tap into the heart of emotion, memory and personality. In her 10 years at Tru, MarieAnna’s international olfactive training, design instinct, and boundless curiosity about consumers’ connection to scent has been the foundation for over 100 fragrance launches.
A former luxury personal shopper, MarieAnna’s ability to express the essence of lifestyle and apparel brands through fragrance has been core to Tru’s growth. Her history of leadership at Tru includes the creation of the St. John Knits fragrance brand as well as the development of a fragrance portfolio that has generated over $140M for a single retail account.
MarieAnna was a founder of Tru’s New York office where she developed both our core team and anexpensive taste for niche fragrance that never ceases to astound her husband. She now lives in theChicago area with her family, where she enjoys seeing the world through the eyes of her three young children.
Reagan Heidelberg, VP of Category DevelopmentLinkedIn Reveal Biography
As the youngest national account manager in the history of L’Oreal Paris, Reagan formerly led the $150MM CVS cosmetic business as Category Captain for the brand, working on the ideation of initiatives including the ExtraCare Beauty Rewards loyalty program and beauty advisor training.
As VP of Category Management at Tru, Reagan has developed account relationships founded on trust, integrity and deep industry knowledge, averaging consistent growth rates in the double digit range over several years for retailers including Buckle and Charlotte Russe. Her strategic insight has helped spearhead the growth of fragrance and beauty in red-hot national chain stores including Charming Charlie and Francesca’s.
Reagan consistently leverages her natural relationship building skills and her 12 years in beauty to develop future leaders both within Tru and at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she is a mentor for the school’s Cosmetic & Fragrance program.
An FIT certified Image Consultant, Reagan brings a renewed eye for fashion trends to her accounts. She lives in Hoboken with her husband and toddler son. She is a ballet and pilates devotee – just don’t ask her about hip hop dance.
Ann Somma, VP of Product DevelopmentLinkedIn Reveal Biography
With 10 years experience in beauty innovation, Ann began her career in beauty at Estée Lauder before going on to develop private label personal care brands and beauty giftables for retailers including Target, Kohl’s, Kmart, and Sears.
An inventor at heart, Ann was the lead product developer on the small team that created the innovative EOS beauty brand, and a driving force on trend-setting projects including Real Techniques (Ulta, Boot’s), the first mass market beauty brand to leverage a blogger spokeswoman.
A rich understanding of digital culture and trend forecasting led to the creation of the website Cult of Pretty, now a leading beauty blog with over 400,000 followers. As a beauty and trend expert, Ann frequently collaborates with publications including Vogue, Lucky Magazine, and Ladies’ Home Journal.
Ann lives in New York City with a coterie of advisors also known as her family, which includes a lawyer, a guard dog, and a very skeptical preschooler.
Jake Nagle, Senior Creative DirectorLinkedIn Reveal Biography
A dynamic, passionate and strategic brand designer, Jake has spent over 10 years collaborating with the world’s most influential beauty brands. Jake began his career at the global fragrance house Firmenich where he worked alongside top fragrance marketers, creatives, and design agencies, supporting the creative vision for brands including Estee Lauder, Ralph Lauren, Bath & Body Works, Abercrombie & Fitch and Coty. Always with an eye toward innovation, Jake directed a full scope of design solutions ranging from concept and bottle creative, extending through launch collateral and strategic brand extensions.
Most recently Jake supported Firmenich’s New Business division – identifying, developing and linking untapped brands and equities with existing fragrance distributors to achieve immediate market success. His insight and direction in 2012 led to collaborations accounting for over $40 Million in retail sales at counter, including launches with Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj and the upcoming launch of One Direction’s signature scent.
With a degree in studio art, coupled with a background in economics and a masters in marketing, Jake creates a perfect balance between right brain creativity and left brain analysis. As the director of TRU’s design department, Jake guides his dynamic team to create a similar balance of innovative, on-brand creative execution woven with insightful strategic vision.
Jake lives in Lyndhurst, New Jersey with his wife and two young daughters. A passionate follower of all things athletic, Jake can often be found on the soccer field coaching his daughter on the proper pitch in which how to shout GOAL!
Nicki Steinborn, Manager of Category DevelopmentLinkedIn Reveal Biography
A University of Iowa graduate, Nicki recently re-located back to Chicago after spending the past seven years in Los Angeles. She joins us with over ten years experience in the fashion and beauty world; both on the merchant and manufacturer side. She has executed product and retail launches at all stages and has proven successful marketing, press, and sales plans; the majority with minimal prior brand exposure in the marketplace.
Nicki was instrumental in the launch and continued growth of fashion label L’AGENCE where she was the director of sales and marketing. In her tenure with L’AGENCE she grew the North American business exponentially and established key partnerships with top retailers including Barney’s New York, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Ron Herman. In addition, Nicki was successful in launching a full accessories collection under the L’AGENCE umbrella as well as the development of a diffusion ready to wear line; opening the doors for a new distribution model which included Bloomingdales and Shopbop.com.
Nicki’s credibility and vast knowledge of the industry has built long standing relationships with retail partners throughout the globe. She has initaited associate training programs and worked one on one with retail executives to achieve significant growth in the business season to season. In addition to her strong retail ties, she has collaborated with goop.com, Chateau Marmont Hotel, and Fashion Girls for Humanity.
Nicki lives in Chicago and spends her free time traveling and exploring new cities or jetting back to Socal to enjoy the beach.
Mark Magliaro, Vice President of Business DevelopmentLinkedIn Reveal Biography
Mark is a fragrance & beauty executive with over 25 years of experience in designing business development strategies to meet company’s financial objectives. He has extensive experience in strategic planning, account analysis, organizational development and securing new client partnerships.
Prior to joining Tru, Mark served as President of Fragrance for Ungerer & Co. where he successfully built cross-functional teams and re-positioned Ungerer & Co. in the marketplace. He oversaw commercial responsibilities that included sales, marketing, market research, perfumery, evaluation, customer care and technology. During his tenure at Ungerer, execution of his comprehensive marketing and business strategies resulted in increased brand awareness, expanded customer reach, higher customer satisfaction and increased revenue. Prior to Ungerer, Mark served as President of Fragrances for Fragrance Resources.
Mark’s primary responsibility will be to identify, develop and secure new client partnerships for Tru across a wide variety of distribution channels, while working with Tru’s client, product development and creative teams in New York and Chicago.
Mark earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Rutgers University (Go Scarlet Knights). Mark lives in New Jersey with his wife Denise, two sons Gianni and Christian and dog Remi. When Mark isn’t working he enjoys cooking, sporting activities, and spending time with his family.
Mark Saviski, Chief Administrative Officer / VP of Independent Channel DevelopmentLinkedIn Reveal Biography
Mark’s career path to success is not typical as his varied experience has allowed him to use his analytical roots to help customers create a new revenue source for their business through fragrance. Mark is Vice President of Independent Channel Development; successfully growing Tru’s own brands as well as brands licensed by some very well-known companies and organizations.
A graduate of the University of Illinois with a B.S.in Accountancy and a CPA, Mark’s career has spanned several industries, departments, states and two countries. Mark began his career at Price Waterhouse in Houston, TX and then moved to McDonald’s Corporation. Mark worked his way up the ranks; first as a senior accountant for the company-owned stores in the St. Louis region, then to Los Angeles as the Regional Controller.
Mark moved back to Chicago and joined Chase Elastomer Corp as a principal running the Chicago subsidiary. Because of his success in Chicago, he was asked to move to England to turn around the UK operation just outside of Manchester, England. Chase was sold to M.A. Hanna, where Mark was promoted to National Account Manager; managing and growing large automotive accounts such as DuPont, Dayco, and Freudenberg. Mark was salesperson of the year his first year.
Wanting to spend less time traveling and more time with his two young children, Mark became the Chief Operations Officer at Stockyards Packing, a Chicago based purveyor of USDA prime steaks. He was able to continue calling on large customers such as Morton’s and Caesar’s Palace, while helping to improve the operations of this 110 year old company.
Mark began at Tru as the Chief Financial Officer, where he ran the financial side of things for six years. Mark wanted to get back into sales and assumed his current role and has thoroughly enjoyed the success of creating value for his customers.
Mark is an avid runner, biker and swimmer who also plays a bit of golf when time allows.
Dan Howe, VP of OperationsLinkedIn Reveal Biography
Dan is a seasoned Senior Executive with an extensive background in all assets of organizational functions. His early experiences with back office transactions laid a solid foundation for future technical and operational roles. These roles involved leading corporate strategy, M&A activity, product development, customer satisfaction, corporate security and running program management divisions for global B2B and retail activities.
This multifunctional background has allowed Dan to seamlessly migrate into his current role at TruFragrance & Beauty as Vice President of Operations where he has oversight into all customer care and quality assurance functions, production, and vendor relations. Dan has been with Tru since 2009 in hiscurrent role.
Prior to joining Tru Fragrance, Dan spent the better part of 26 years in the banking and brokerage industry. He obtained high level roles including Senior VP of Strategy at the Chicago Stock Exchange, Director of Branch Sales and Relationship Management at the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation, and he was the EVP of Retail at E*TRADE Financial where he oversaw brokerage and bank product development, trade execution services, and data security. Dan also obtained the role of CAO for the Brokerage Arm. Along with these high prestige roles, he has served on various boards including the Midwest Securities Transfer Association and the Regional Municipal Operations Association.
Dan received his undergraduate and Master’s in Business Administration from Central Michigan University (Go Chips) and holds various brokerage licenses and operational certificates. When Dan isn’t working he enjoys his spending time with his family, tuning into college football and relaxing days spent strolling along the Morton Arboretum enjoying nature.
Brad Wallace, Chief Financial OfficerLinkedIn Reveal Biography
A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Brad got his start on Wall Street as an Analyst in the Healthcare Investment Banking group of Oppenheimer & Co. (formerly CIBC World Markets). While with Oppenheimer, Brad spent the majority of his time working with health insurers, biotech companies and healthcare information technology firms, raising money through equity offerings and advising on M&A deals. His experience in investment banking taught Brad the ins and outs of corporate finance, and more importantly, the traits that set successful companies apart from their peers.
Brad left New York to return to the Midwest, moving to Chicago in 2009, and started with Tru Fragrance& Beauty shortly thereafter. Brad’s day-to-day responsibilities at Tru include managing the Accounting and Finance departments, creating annual budgets / forecasts, designing financial models for new opportunities, and planning and executing all company parties and at least one happy hour per month. His best trait clearly lies in his ability to pick out the perfect $10 bottle of wine for any occasion.
Brad currently lives in Chicago with his wife Samantha, who helps keep him up to date on retail trends, of which she is a key driver. Brad enjoys playing golf and the guitar, and has been wearing the same style of shoe since 2002 (Adidas Superstar 2G), clearly demonstrating that he belongs in the fast-paced world of fashion and beauty.