Graduate journeys from beer to Burt’s Bees
By Josh Roselman
Published on Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Ask John Replogle '88 about his defining memory at Dartmouth, and he'll recount the words of then-Dean of Freshman Margaret Bonz to the newly inducted freshman class.
"She told us, 'Dartmouth is a smorgasbord. You should eat all that Dartmouth has to offer," Replogle said. "I took her words literally."
Replogle's involvements at the College do read like an extracurricular smorgasbord: crew, Ultimate Frisbee, theatre, Student Assembly, Social Council, the Dean's Committee on Residential Life, and Student Body President are only the top of an extensive list of achievements.
Now CEO of Burt's Bees, a personal care company famous for its ubiquitous lip balm, Replogle, 41, remembers his time at Dartmouth as a formative experience.
"I look back at Dartmouth as being the incontrovertible awakening of who I am today," he says. "I can't remember Dartmouth in a singular memory, but rather as a mosaic of 1,000 great days on campus."
Replogle's enduring love of the College is evident in his continued commitment. Repogle currently serves on his class council, interviews prospective students for admission and frequently returns to campus.
After Dartmouth, Replogle went on to spend five years at the Boston Consulting Group and later earned his MBA at Harvard Business School. He then went on to spend eight years working as president of Guinness Bass Import Co. and Guinness U.K.
It was after Replogle began raising a family, though, that he moved from alcoholic beverages to skin care, which he described as, "a better fit for a long-term career."
Now Replogle is at the helm of Burt's Bees, and loving it.
Working at a smaller corporation like Burt's Bees, Replogle said, "allows us freedom in innovation, the freedom to make our own choices, act quickly, and make a difference in the world and the lives of our customers."
Replogle said he feels a need to improve the world, through Burt's Bees and otherwise.
At Burt's, Replogle has led a corporation built on a business principle called "The Greater Good," wherein the company operates around the tenets of creating natural products, maintaining environmental sustainability and creating social well-being.
"It's all about making a social contract with our employees and customers," Replogle said.
Aside from their products, Burt's Bees works with Habitat for Humanity, participating in the ongoing creation of Hope Crossing, an environmental housing community of 32 houses, built "not only for the less fortunate, but also in a way that promotes sustainability," Replogle said.
Replogle also maintains an ongoing dialogue with College Provost Barry Scherr about improving the College's sustainability.
Under Replogle's leadership, Burt's Bees has seen an annual growth rate of 30 percent over the last two years. In the future, Replogle hopes to expand the company both nationally and internationally while still maintaining the same degree of environmental friendliness.
Replogle credits his alma mater as the source of his success.
"I could not do my job today had I not experienced the things I undertook at Dartmouth 20 years ago."