Q - How long have you been in the industry, and what is your current job title ?
I’ve been with Procter & Gamble for almost 20 years, and am currently Director of Consumer Research. But I’ve worked in leadership positions in both research and finance functions in several multi-billion dollar business units and in several P&G offices across the U.S. I’m also a trainer in P&G training colleges for leadership and communications.
Prior to P&G, I was a consultant for Arthur Andersen & Company. I’m also a keynote speaker for corporate clients, and a lecturer in the MBA programs at Xavier University and the University of Cincinnati.
Q - Did you have a mentor and, if so, who ?
Yes, several. Probably my best coach and mentor (the one that pushed me to deliver my best performance) was Sara Mathew. At the time she was Vice President of Finance at P&G. Today she is the CEO of Dun & Bradstreet.
Q - Are you by nature a pessimist or an optimist ?
Definitely an optimist. I don’t have the stomach to be a pessimist. Plus, I’ve lived long enough to see many of my life’s goals--that I once thought were a pipe dream--come true. I’m fond of Margaret Mead’s advice to 'Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has'. Anything is possible.
Q - Which business leader do you most admire and why?
John Pepper, former CEO of Procter & Gamble – a leader so effective he was asked to serve as CEO of P&G not once, but twice. And one of the most honest, caring, and genuine men you’ll ever meet – a rare combination in today’s C-suite crowd.
Q - What's the biggest lesson you have learned in your career to date ?
That you can be a good leader by sticking to the corporate script. But to be a great leader, you have to tell a few stories.
Q - What's your favourite business quotation or life motto ?
In addition to the Margaret Mead quote above, I really like this one: 'There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you'. -Maya Angelou. It helps me answer the question I get from people at the end of one of my training courses on story-telling. They ask, 'How will I know when I’ve become a good storyteller ?'
Q - What's the best business book you've ever read?
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. That book changed the way I think about communicating. It also started me on my journey to understand storytelling better and the role it played in leadership, which lead me to the 2 years of research that resulted in my book, Lead with a Story.