Dr. Marija Heibel grew up in Slovenia, where she completed her undergraduate education in Chemical Engineering and Master of Chemistry at the University of Ljubljana. Her interest in development and evaluation of catalysts for oxidation of chemical pollutants in waste waters led her also to the Max-Planck Institute for Irradiation Chemistry (now Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry), where she collaborated with the team studying photocatalytic cyclization of terpenes. After completing her PhD in Chemistry while researching chemistry of cyanogels at Princeton University, she joined the Colgate-Palmolive company at the Global Technology Center in Piscataway, NJ. Her first research project at Colgate-Palmolive was an evaluation of the benefit of using fabric softener on various textile fibers, in collaboration with the Textile Research Institute.
During her 25-year tenure at Colgate-Palmolive, Marija first led the Home Care teams in early research, product development and product implementation within the Research and Development organization. She developed, patented, and enabled the launch of new technologies for fabric care, and established new evaluation and claim support methodologies, enabling a tremendous growth for this product category globally. She is an expert Facilitator and in her role as an Innovation Coach in External Innovation team she trained global cross functional teams identify new product opportunities at the front end of innovation, focusing on consumer insights. During her last 10 years she joined the commercial organization side of the company, where she developed and led the Procurement Innovation team, which spearheaded productive collaboration and strategic partnerships between Colgate-Palmolive teams and suppliers – spanning from the largest chemical companies in the world to small star-ups. She was responsible for development and implementation of all new products requiring new raw materials across all product categories globally.
Marija loved the opportunities that living in New Jersey and working for the multinational company afforded her, as she enjoys traveling, cooking, and enjoying amazing international cuisine and friendships with people from all around the world.