WBOC LEADING LADY: Jill Merluzzi Johnstone

By Jamie Jenson


Jill Merluzzi Johnstone hadn’t planned on becoming a consultant for Rodan+Fields, the billion-dollar skincare company developed by Drs. Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields, the same dermatologists who developed Proactiv in the 1990s, but once she used their products, she was hooked.


A physician assistant who has spent the majority of her career in surgery and orthopedic surgery, Jill said she started learning more about the company and its products after a friend of hers hosted a Facebook party for Rodan+Fields.


“The fact that the brand was created by female dermatologists struck with me,” Jill said. “They are clinically-tested, science-backed products that really do what they say they’re targeted to do, and it just fits along with my whole being as helping people.”


Jill was also impressed that the products came with a 60-day money back guarantee.


“You see things on television and you’re like, ‘Yeah, right,’ but no, it really is!” Jill said. “You send it back and you get credited your money, and I had never heard of that with any other products before.”


In February 2017, after using the products, Jill contacted her consultant friend not only to order more skincare products but to also find out what being an independent executive consultant with the company entailed. Unlike other brands, consultants do not stock their own inventory. All transactions are done in-person and over the phone, and consultants encourage their customers to call Rodan+Fields where they can discuss their skincare needs with a registered nurse without having to wait for a dermatology appointment.


Having a career with flexibility was another attraction for Jill, who had orthopedic challenges of her own. She was recovering from neck surgery and was concerned about the physical demands of her physician assistant job. There were also more exciting things happening in Jill’s life, too.


“Things in my life changed,” Jill said. “I wanted to start a family. My husband and I took in a couple of foster children and one was a newborn, so I needed to be out of work for at least eight weeks anyway. So at that time, that’s when I really started working the business full-time.”


While the flexibility is an added bonus — Jill says she can work wherever there is Wi-Fi — she said she also loves her consulting job for the same reason she loved being a physician assistant: she gets to both help and educate people.


“My goal now,” Jill said, “is to continue to educate people about the products and what they can do for them to solve their skin problems, as well as bring on other men and women to become skincare consultants and lead them on my team.”


Jill also uses her business to give back to local nonprofits and causes that she’s passionate about. She’s helped to fundraise for Francis House, an organization that provides a home for people with terminal illnesses, and most recently, the CNY Diaper Bank, which helps to distribute diapers to families in need.


Jill said making a career switch like hers as been easy because of the amazing people she’s met on her journey.


“The Rodan+Fields community is so supportive, and it has been very inspiring meeting other successful consultants. Rodan+Fields empowers women and men to be their best self; it is so much more than skincare,” she said.


For the past couple of the years, Jill has spent time as a member of the Women Business Opportunities Connection.  In WBOC, Jill said she has also found a supportive local community where she can network and meet new people.


While Jill said she still works part-time as a physician assistant, but her main focus is on her consultancy. Since going full-time, she hasn’t looked back.

“My only regret,” she said, “is not hearing about the brand years ago!”