School News

This Trailblazing Michigan Ross Alum Teaches Women to Achieve Their Own Business Success and Personal Fulfillment

Tags: Alumni, LGBTQ+

Denice Torres, MBA ‘90, led one of the most successful transformations in Johnson & Johnson history, as was recently highlighted by AL DÍA News. After 30 years in corporate America, Torres is described as an “executive turned entrepreneur,” using her knowledge to help women accelerate their success and thrive in meaningful careers. 

Torres told AL DÍA News her accomplishments are “smooth on paper,” but her success was not fed to her by silver spoon. She grew up in Gary, Indiana where her first three jobs were janitorial positions. Motivated by tough lessons and a lot of hard work, Torres remained committed to her goals and went to college despite being told that she wasn’t college material by teachers along the way. 

“As a Hispanic, gay, woman from Gary, I wasn’t expected by some to make it to an executive level,” Torres said in an interview with AL DÍA News Media. “Along the way, I felt isolated and alone. It was a tough journey.”

Three degrees later, there is no doubt that her MBA in marketing and corporate strategy from the Ross School of Business has been put to good use. Torres worked for pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Company, and later joined Johnson & Johnson where she worked resiliently to become chief strategy and business transformation officer.

Torres shared with AL DÍA that during her time at Johnson & Johnson, the company faced quality and manufacturing issues that impacted major brands like Tylenol. When tasked with leading the transformation and restructuring of the company’s global medical device business, she rose to the occasion and developed her own personal leadership style along the way.

After several learning curves and much trial and error, Torres used her wisdom and experience to create The Mentoring Place, a community-based platform that helps women achieve success, career goals, confidence, and personal fulfilment.

“Over the years I discovered the importance of  sponsorship, mentorship, leadership, and many more ‘ships,’” said Torres. “I learned how to lead, be a change agent, thrive in really tough situations, and get the jobs I wanted,” she continued. 

Torres believes that mentorship is critical to success, satisfaction, and sponsorship. Her organization gives “the inside scoop” on the world of business for women to increase confidence, efficiency, and effectiveness.

She recently added another endeavor to her portfolio – Flip the Tortilla the Podcast – an “inspirational, insightful, funny, and sometimes irreverent look at the wacky and wonderful working world for women,” launching this month.

Undoubtedly, Torres has beat the odds and come a long way from Gary, Indiana. Her drive to give back and help others is a true testament to the mission of Michigan Ross and making a positive impact.

“I have the opportunity to change the trajectory of a person’s career and life,” Torres told AL DÍA.