Misha Euceph: Dustlight Productions Founder & CEO
Published March 27, 2023 by Nina Pearl in
Misha Euceph is a Pakistani-American writer, podcast host, and producer. She also happens to be the Founder & CEO of Dustlight Productions, the critically acclaimed podcast studio that has created podcasts with Spotify, Bruce Springsteen, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Rolling Stone, REI, Subaru, and many more. She’s also the creator and host of the podcast “Tell Them, I Am” – a series about the small defining moments in our lives—where the voices are all Muslim, but the stories are universal. The NY Times, LA Times, TIME, The Atlantic, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, and Huffington Post, have named it among their best podcasts. Misha is also frequently featured in The Wall Street Journal, IGTV, and McSweeney’s. Misha and Dustlight want to make mission-driven podcasts for and with awesome people—but they also train those who want to push the boundaries of audio and tell beautiful stories.
Misha got her Master’s in Journalism at Northwestern University and has taught as an adjunct professor at USC Annenberg and the Transom Radio Workshop. Misha started work in podcasting in 2017, at the dawn of the podcasting era, and has quickly become an important voice for today’s times, speaking on storytelling, identity, and ethical entrepreneurship. In a word, Misha is a podcast.
This insightful and entertaining conversation on identity and belonging comes from P&G Alumni Co-host Rajiv Satyal’s talk show “What Do You Bring To The Table” — where Rajiv spotlights prominent South Asian voices. Rajiv has spoken with Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Comedian Hasan Minhaj, author Deepak Chopra, influencer Lilly Singh, journalist Manu Raju, TV personality Tan France, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and many more. You can SEE lots more of Rajiv’s video conversations at WatchRajiv.com.
Charlotte Otto: P&G’s former Global External Relations Officer
Published March 17, 2023 by Nina Pearl in
Charlotte Otto served as P&G’s Global External Relations Officer for 13 years, and later as Senior Corporate Advisor to PR industry leader Weber Shandwick for six. At P&G, Charlotte led the company’s external relations activities worldwide—including media relations, employee and shareholder communications, government and community relations, and corporate contributions.
During Charlotte’s 33-year career at P&G, she rose through the ranks of Brand Management and Corporate Comms and was the trusted counselor to five P&G CEOs. In fact, Charlotte was P&G’s first female corporate officer. Charlotte has received numerous industry accolades—including being named Woman of the Year AND Corporate Woman of the Year by the Cincinnati Enquirer, as well as receiving the Matrix Award for Public Relations, and the prestigious Paladin award. Charlotte’s a proud Purdue Alum, where she received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees—and she even studied at the Culinary Institute of America.
In a great conversation about intention and serendipity, you’ll learn about the power of embracing a path never imagined, and removing our own blinders to be truly intellectually honest and objective about whatever situations we may face.
This episode originally aired in April 2021
Bob Gilbreath: 2x-exit Entrepreneur on Career Changes
Published March 13, 2023 by Nina Pearl in
Bob Gilbreath is a longtime friend of the pod, a career friend, and a mentor to many. He is also a 2x-exit entrepreneur and co-founder of Hearty, a curated matchmaking service that combines top software developers with early-stage, venture-backed startups. He recently wrote a post entitled “Thinking of a Career Change? Try the Minimum First” – so we decided to sit down with him to learn more.
You can read more of Bob’s writings at behearty.substack.com
Peg Wyant: P&G’s first female Brand Manager, Grandin Properties Founder & CEO
Published March 4, 2023 by Nina Pearl in
Peg Wyant is the Founder & CEO of Grandin Properties. But before that, Peg broke the glass ceiling at Procter & Gamble in 1967 – a decade before the phrase entered the lexicon. When the company tried to put her in the typing pool, she responded with, “All I can do is think, don’t you have a test for that.”
She rose through the ranks, becoming a serial “first female” including first brand manager and first direct report to then CEO John Smale as head of strategic planning and acquisitions. After leaving P&G to become an almost full-time mom, Peg sought other challenges — consulting for Fortune 500 CEOs, and founding a venture capital fund focused on women-led companies. Peg soon launched Grandin Properties, a real estate development and management company focusing on walkable urban neighborhoods in Cincinnati. Beyond her career, Peg helped found the P&G Alumni Network and the Women’s Capital Club. Peg’s new book is called One Red Shoe: The Story of Corporate America’s First Woman. Alongside her husband Jack, Peg has four children and nine grandchildren. You’ll enjoy this insightful conversation about what it takes to persevere when the odds may be against you and to challenge the status quo, outperform, and break through boundaries.
This episode originally aired in November 2021
Susan Baba Oguche, Cleveland Cavaliers, Chief Communication Officer
Published February 25, 2023 by Nina Pearl in
Susan Baba Oguche is the Cleveland Cavaliers EVP and Chief Communication Officer. For nearly two decades she has had the honor of leading communications and PR for some of the world’s most beloved companies and brands.
Previously Susan served as a Communications Director at Nike for three years. She also served in senior comms roles at Sleep Number Corporation, Home Chef, and Abbott. Susan got her start over eleven years at P&G in Communications working on brands like Gillette and Braun, as well as across Skincare and Homecare brands. Susan is driven by creative curiosity and a journalist’s heart for the story beneath the surface, helping companies identify and connect with their missions, navigate moments of crisis, and inspire the world with their unique story. Hailing from Nigeria as a child, Susan moved across major cities with her university professor’s parents and got her start at P&G through a youth organization called INRoads.org . Susan now returns to Ohio with her husband and two daughters. You’ll enjoy this candid conversation about speaking authentically, where your words have to follow your actions.
Ed Rigaud, Founder, National Freedom Center
Published February 13, 2023 by Nina Pearl in
Ed Rigaud was the Founder & CEO of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, which pays tribute to all efforts to abolish human enslavement and secure freedom for all people.
At Procter & Gamble, Ed was P&G’s second-ever Black Vice President, spanning a 36-year career at the company in 1965 – during which he was the R&D Technical Brand Manager who helped create Pringles. Ed was later the first Black co-owner + lead investor of the Cincinnati Reds, as well as CEO of EnovaPremier, and CEO of Legacy Acquisition. Ed has served on numerous company boards and has received appointments from the Governor of Ohio and a sitting US President. He’s a husband, father, grandfather, accomplished artist, and guitar player.
In this candid conversation on race, work, and life—Ed shares his thoughts as a black man growing up in Louisiana, rising through the ranks of corporate America, and the current climate. Ed believes that his number one mission is to help those who have been consistently under-represented to achieve higher levels of freedom…especially in the areas of education, economic empowerment, and inclusion.
This episode originally aired in August 2020
Anne Sempowski Ward, CEO, Curio Brands
Published February 6, 2023 by Nina Pearl in
Anne Sempowski Ward is CEO & Board Director at CURiO Brands, a consumer goods company that manufactures and sells personal care and home fragrance products.
Prior to CURiO Brands, Anne served as CEO at Thymes from 2012 to 2016 when it merged with DPM Fragrance to become CURiO Brands. Anne was previously CEO and Co-founder of consulting firm The FORWARD Group, focused on growth strategies for mid-sized companies and key executives. Anne was also President and COO of Ebony, Jet & Fashion Fair Cosmetics, Johnson Publishing Company. Ann also served as Assistant Vice President of African-American Marketing for the Coca-Cola Company, and she got her start at P&G, where she rose through the ranks from plant engineer in FemCare to Associate Marketing Director in P&G Beauty integrating Clairol, helping reinvigorate brands like Herbal Essences and scaling multicultural marketing.
An active member of civic and business communities, Anne has been recognized as a YMCA Black Achiever, YWCA Rising Star, Top Black Executive in a Major Corporation as well as a Woman at the Top by EBONY magazine. She was also the youngest and first African-American trustee on the P&G Fund. Anne is a Detroit native and received her Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science from Duke University. She also earned a Global MBA degree from Duke University’s School of Business.
You’ll enjoy this candid conversation about finding your voice, evolving one’s communication style for effective leadership, and taking people on a journey with you.
Kirk Perry, IRI CEO, on Faith
Published January 27, 2023 by Nina Pearl in
Kirk Perry is CEO of IRI Worldwide and one of our first guests (his threepeat!), returning for another learnings “deep dive” where we go deeper into a topic folks are passionate about. For Kirk, that topic is his faith. In this authentic, vulnerable, and revealing conversation you’ll hear of the grounded humility of Kirk’s faith, and how it permeates into the leader he chooses to be.
Kirk Perry is CEO of IRI Worldwide, a company that deals in big data analytics and insights that power, action, and growth. Previously Kirk served at Google for eight years as the Global President of Brand Solutions. Prior to joining Google Kirk was at P&G for 23 years – in various roles across marketing and general management – including President of Global Family Care and six years in Asia with assignments in South Korea and Japan. Kirk serves on the boards of The J.M. Smucker Company and Chick-fil-A, having previously served on the board of e.l.f. Cosmetics. Growing up from humble beginnings, Kirk and his family are also very active in giving back. Kirk is a member of the Cincinnati Innovation District Advisory Council and has been active with many nonprofit organizations, including board affiliations with The Ronald McDonald House, The CityLink Foundation, City Team, The United Way Campaign Cabinet, March of Dimes (national and regional), the University of Cincinnati Foundation, and the University of Cincinnati’s Bicentennial Commission. Kirk has also coached youth sports for more than 20 years. He and his wife, Jacki, have been married for more than 30 years and have four beautiful children.
In this ranging conversation between Kirk and co-host Rajiv Satyal, you’ll appreciate the value of how two people from different faiths and backgrounds can find common ground in their similarities and differences.
James Veraldi, LOOP Co-founder & CEO—Accomplished Entrepreneur
Published January 20, 2023 by Nina Pearl in
James Veraldi is the CEO & Co-founder of Loop.co—a company focused on Improving the world’s social and mental health. So many of us—including the people we love and work with—have had struggles with mental health, and solving these challenges aligns with “touching lives, improving life.”
As an accomplished entrepreneur, James’ work embodies the very purpose, values, and principle-driven approach to work so many of us P&G’ers hold true. Mental and social health is especially a challenge for the younger millennial and Gen Z workforce today—which has a potentially massive impact on performance, productivity, and overall engagement and retention. If you’re a manager of people, an exec or HR stakeholder, you can learn more and sign up for a free 30-day trial for you and some of your colleagues—just visit Loop.co/work.
James began this recent chapter while serving as an Entrepreneur-In-Residence at GGV Capital. Prior to that, he led product strategy at TikTok, which he joined in early 2017 prior to its 2018 acquisition and rebranding from ByteDance. Prior to TikTok, James led content strategy at Snapchat, which followed his work as a founding team member at one of Youtube’s earliest partners Fullscreen, which was acquired by Otter Media in 2014. James worked extensively with P&G, Danone, and many other top brands when he co-led a small digital content agency called The ZiZo Group, leading his team to the earliest forefront of branded content marketing. James also had early career experiences at Target, Viacom, and Accenture. He spends a lot of his time in the climate & conservation spaces, where he has done a number of angel investments in climate tech, and founded a popular platform and podcast called Animalia where he leads discussions on a number of climate and conservation solutions. James is a dog lover, beekeeper, and even rehabilitates the occasional squirrel or crow. You’ll enjoy this candid conversation about a career journey that led to a greater good—building meaningful solutions for the world of social and mental health—and you will hopefully be inspired on how you can make a difference.
Marlon Hernandez, Director of Innovation at Molson Coors Beverage Company
Published January 15, 2023 by Nina Pearl in
Marlon Hernandez is Director of Innovation at Molson Coors Beverage Company where he’s leading the creation and expansion of the company’s new non-alcoholic beverages division, a part of the company’s revitalization plan launched in 2019. Marlon has spent 6 years rising through the innovation ranks of Molson Coors, and another 10 years in the spirits industry working in innovation for companies like Corby Spirit & Wine, and Pernod Ricard.
Marlon actually got his start in Venezuela at 3M as an Operations Manager and made the jump to marketing at P&G in Fabric & Home Care Latin America. Marlon received his MBA from the IESA—School of Management in Caracas, Venezuela. And studied Production Engineering at University Simón Bolívar in Production Engineering, where he also received his master’s degree in Statistics. Marlon lives in Chicago with his wife and their twins. You’ll enjoy this conversation on the evolution from brand management to product management—and hearing Marlon’s fundamental belief that the launch of a product is not the finish line, it’s just the beginning.
This is hopefully the first of many conversations with leaders on the topic of Innovation. We wanted to dive deeper into how innovation is evolving in today’s rapidly changing world—by taking a “look under the hood” of some innovative companies. Joining our conversation is P&G Alumni Wayne Fisher, President of Rockdale Innovation—a consulting group that helps companies build their internal innovation capability that has hosted more than a few Innovation events for both P&G and P&G Alumni. Got a reco for an innovation story we should share on the pod (we know there are more than a few of you out there)? Reach out at email@example.com
Tackling Imposter Syndrome—P&G Alumni Coaching
Published January 6, 2023 by Nina Pearl in
With a new year comes a desire to get better—so we wanted to share a powerful conversation on tackling imposter syndrome AND the power of coaching. Research shows that 70% of people experience imposter feelings at some point in their careers. Recently, this important topic was discussed by several P&G Alumni Coaches: Carol Yang, Heidi Piper, Carol Fusek, and Ilhiana Rojas—all accomplished executives with global career experiences AND certified coaches from the P&G Alumni Women’s Leadership Forum.
Carol Yang spent 13 years at P&G, with 23 years of senior corporate experience across Asia Pacific and North America. As a coach, Carol has multiple certifications with a special focus on leadership mindset, behavior shifts, and positive intelligence. Carol is a firm believer that you are most successful when you lead from the core of who you are.
Heidi Piper spent 30 years at P&G, across the US, Belgium, and Germany. Currently, as a coach, she holds several certifications. Heidi believes we have our own innate wisdom and when we’re deeply listened to and really seen, heard, and accepted, we can achieve our full potential in work and in life.
Carol Fusek spent 26 years at P&G—starting in Cincinnati and then across Asia-Pacific in leadership roles, primarily in supply chain. As a coach, she is certified in the neuroscience of leadership and is a certified dementia practitioner. Carol believes that what makes leaders exceptional is their sense of people and ability to connect to the hearts and minds of the organization they lead.
Ilhiana Rojas started her career at P&G Mexico, after which she continued her career across different Fortune 500 companies in Mexico and in the US. As a coach, Ilhiana is focused on leadership development.
Over the new year, we’ll share more powerful coaching discussions with P&G Alumni Coaching—a recently launched program by the P&G Alumni Women’s Leadership Forum. Just as professional athletes have a coach to help them perform at their best, coaching can help you thrive in life. Coaching is for anyone willing to challenge themselves to go after their professional or personal aspirations through powerful questioning, exploration, and action planning. P&G Alumni can sign up for their first FREE coaching session on their website. Because unlocking your full potential is a great way to start the new year.
2022: A(nother) Year of Learnings from Leaders
Published January 2, 2023 by Nina Pearl in
As 2022 comes to a close, we compiled some of the year’s learnings…from leaders. So sit back with your beverage of choice and enjoy. And give us a gift—leave a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts—hearing from YOU, our fellow Alumni, makes a big difference for our team as we reflect on the year. THANK YOU for the continued support of our podcast and our amazing guests…
- Suzy Deering: Ford Motor Company CMO
- Claire Elvers, Wayfair’s Head of Global Brand Management & Insights
- Matthew McConaughey, Academy Award-winning actor and producer
- Nitin Gajria, Google’s Managing Director for Sub-Saharan Africa
- Christine Fisher, Possip Co-Founder & COO
- Marissa Solis, National Football League (NFL) SVP of Global Brand & Consumer Marketing
- Tristan Walker, Walker & Co, CEO & Co-Founder
- Sharon Hall, Walmart’s VP of Global Executive Recruiting
- Seaphes Miller, Founder & CEO of Fusion Integrated Solutions
- Andrew Tarvin & Raman Sehgal reflecting on 100+ episodes
- John Pepper & Qaisar Shareef on Understanding Ukraine & Russia
- Arianna Huffington, Thrive Global Founder & CEO
- Raj Rao, IBM’s GM for Blockchain Ventures
- Malcolm Gladwell, Author & Journalist
- Dian Alyan: GiveLight Foundation Founder & CEO
- Kevin Hochman, Kentucky Fried Chicken, President, Yum! Brands
- Ikdeep Singh, Mars Petcare President, North America
- Qaisar Shareef, P&G’s former head of Pakistan & Ukraine
- P&G Alumni Comedians: Greg Warren, Josh Sneed, Rajiv Satyal, Andrew Tarvin
- Mahzarin Banaji, Harvard Psychologist & ‘Blindspot’ Author
- Mike Shangkuan, Lingoda CEO
- Gary Vaynerchuk (VaynerX) & Bracken Darrell (Logitech): Masters of Digital Disruption
- Aftab Pureval, Cincinnati Mayor
- Kevin Shapiro, Coty SVP of US Marketing
- Julie Eddleman, DoubleVerify’s Global Chief Commercial Officer
- Jay Sethi: Diageo Beer Company CMO & SVP of Diageo Convenience
- Shelly McNamara: P&G’s Chief Equality & Inclusion Officer
- Guy Raz, NPR Producer & Journalist
- Jakub Kocinski, Digital Safety & Trust (P&G, Google, TikTok, Meta)
- Poliana Sousa, Latin America’s Coca-Cola™ Lead
- Vivek Sunder: Cuemath CEO
- Katie Couric, TV Journalist, Producer, & Author
- K Patrick Davis: Blue Buffalo VP & General Manager
- Ana Maria Henao, PepsiCo’s VP of Global Marketing Excellence
- TEDx Talks with P&G Alums: Drew, Ida, & Rajiv
- John Pepper & Ursula Burns’ (Xerox former CEO) on Race & Understanding
- Tom Asacker, P&G Trainer & Author
- David Youn, Master Lock, President
- Alonya Tkachenko, Nommi CEO & Co-founder
- Paul Polman, Unilever xCEO on “Net Positive”
- Kyle Schlegel, Weber’s VP Americas Marketing & DTC
- Judy Okten: The Power of Disconnecting
- Edward Norton – Actor, Director, Activist, Entrepreneur (from P&G’s “More Than Soap” Podcast)
- Jim Lafferty, Fine Hygienic Holding, CEO
- JOHN SMALE – John Pepper & David Taylor’s reflections on John Smale
- Chip Bergh, Levi’s CEO: Advocacy, Activism & John Smale
- Bob McDonald & Bob Gill’s reflections on John Smale
- Janet Reid & Gordon Brunner’s reflections on John Smale
- A.G. Lafley & Charlotte Otto’s reflections on John Smale
- Oya Canbas, Bayer Global Brand Director
- Vahe Ayvazian, Abbott Divisional Vice President of Marketing & Core Diagnostics
- Sudha Ranganathan, LinkedIn’s Director of Product Marketing
- David Taylor, P&G’s Former CEO & Chairman
Heard something you missed? Be sure to go back and check out each guest’s full episode.
Got a suggestion for a future episode? Send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org—we’d love to hear from you! Thanks for your continued support of our Learnings from Leaders podcast!
David Taylor, P&G’s Former CEO & Chairman
Published December 26, 2022 by Nina Pearl in
David Taylor served as P&G’s Chairman & CEO from 2015 to 2022—having worked at P&G for more than 40 years. Throughout his career, David held leadership roles within both operations and marketing, managing P&G manufacturing sites, and eventually leading various consumer brands across North America, Europe, and Asia. David reinvigorated P&G’s growth during his tenure, returning it to sustainable, balanced growth and value creation by simplifying the company’s management structure and empowering business leaders to drive operational excellence in their specific areas of responsibility. David also led the company during the COVID-19 pandemic, achieving both worker safety and supply chain resiliency. It goes without saying that David is among one of the great modern CEOs of P&G, steering the company through a trying time, and demonstrating the purpose, values, and principles that continue to make P&G not just the sustaining, successful business we know it to be, but also a culture of some of the best people in the business. You’ll enjoy this candid conversation covering not just the highlights of David’s storied career, but the reflections on his learnings along the way.
Sudha Ranganathan, LinkedIn, Director of Product Marketing
Published December 19, 2022 by Nina Pearl in
Sudha Ranganathan is LinkedIn’s Director of Product Marketing in the Talent Solutions business—helping employers worldwide hire and develop strong talent in the new world of work. Sudha’s advocacy of consumer-centric marketing comes from a career spanning consumer insights and product marketing. Prior to LinkedIn, Sudha worked at Paypal as Senior Manager, Strategic Customer Insight, as well as at Affinova as VP of Strategic Account Development. Sudha got her start at P&G in Consumer Insights where she spent 7+ years working across Asian markets. Sudha earned her MBA from the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore and her Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Mumbai. Sudha has a track record for developing high-performing, psychologically safe teams. As a trained CTI (Co-active Training Institute) coach, Sudha has a passion for unlocking the highest potential within individuals and teams. You’ll enjoy this candid conversation about the importance of emotional intelligence for modern leaders.
Oya Canbas, Bayer Global Brand Director
Published December 12, 2022 by Nina Pearl in
Oya Canbas is Global Brand Director and I&D Lead for Bayer Consumer Health—leading Bayer’s biggest nutritional brand, Elevit, globally—which has a purpose of giving every baby best start in life. She is also the global lead in Inclusion and Diversity. In her 8 years in Bayer Consumer Health, Oya held two GM roles in UK and Ireland, as well as in Turkey. Prior to Bayer, she established her career at Gillette and then in Procter and Gamble for 18 years in leadership roles across Turkey, the UK and Russia on brands like Pampers, Ariel, Fairy, Always, Head & Shoulders, Gillette and Oral-B. Born in South Africa, raised in Turkey, and now living in the UK, Oya is a passionate leader, brand builder, and a proud mother of two children. You’ll enjoy this candid conversation about being a passionate learner, developing high-performing teams, and bringing out the best in people.
Vahe Ayvazian, Abbott Divisional Vice President of Marketing & Core Diagnostics
Published December 6, 2022 by Nina Pearl in
Vahe Ayvazian is Abbott’s Divisional Vice President of Marketing & Core Diagnostics. Having served at Abbott for 8+ years, Vahe’s work is focused on delivering measurably better healthcare performance through innovation to the healthcare ecosystem. Vahe got his start at P&G, spending twelve years in marketing and category management roles, from Prilosec OTC to Pantene—where in haircare he helped turn around a decade of brand decline through simpler innovation and retailer understanding. Vahe earned his Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and International Business at Indiana University, and has received executive certifications from the CMO program and Big Data from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Business. A proud husband and father of two, Vahe is also on the board of a local school district educational foundation in the Chicago suburbs. Always curious, Vahe has honed his passion for building teams and organizational culture for sustainable growth. Through his early years in sports that greatly shaped his team player attitude, to the mentors at P&G that believed in him and demonstrated the importance of listening and being curious, Vahe pays it forward on the global teams he now leads through leadership, learning, and mentorship.
JOHN SMALE - A.G. Lafley & Charlotte Otto’s reflections on P&G’s former CEO
Published November 28, 2022 by Nina Pearl in
A.G. Lafley and Charlotte Otto return to our podcast — as two P&G Alumni whose career was directly and influenced by John Smale and his unique style of leadership. A.G. Lafley served P&G’s CEO & Chairman twice, from 2000-2009 and 2013-2015. Charlotte served as P&G’s Global External Relations Officer for thirteen years—the company’s first female corporate officer. Both have a lot to share about the purpose-inspired, caring, yet demanding and principled leader that was John Smale.
This episode is the last of our series featuring reflections from leaders on John Smale, P&G’s former Chairman & CEO, who led P&G from 1981-1990, and served as General Motors’ Chairman from 1992-1995. These conversions are in honor of the new book “Here Forever: The Timeless Impact of John Smale on Procter & Gamble, General Motors, and the Purpose and Practice of Business” by Rob Garver, available now. While John Smale passed away in 2011—he is arguably one the most influential leaders of the modern era, growing P&G more than six-fold in his tenure. And yet Smale is largely unknown to many leaders guiding American and global businesses today. John’s leadership in developing a vision for corporate purpose was decades ahead of its time. This was a book years in the making by not just the author, but many of some of the biggest leaders in business. “Here Forever” is a compelling and insightful read we’d highly recommend, and will make a great holiday gift for the admired, or aspiring leaders in your life. Pick up a copy wherever you get your favorite books!
JOHN SMALE - Bob McDonald & Bob Gill’s reflections on P&G’s former CEO
Published November 22, 2022 by Nina Pearl in
Janet Reid and Gordon Brunner are two P&G Alumni who had the privilege of coming up at the company during John Smale’s rise to leadership at P&G. Janet Reid is Founder, CEO, and Managing Partner of BRBS World, and spent 10 years as an early Brand Manager at P&G from 1980-1990. Gordon Brunner, a familiar guest on this podcast, was P&G’s former Chief Technical Officer, one of the company’s most renowned R&D executives, and the first R&D’er to sit on the company’s Board. Both have a lot to share about the purpose-driven, caring, demanding, and principled leader that was John Smale.
Throughout this month, we’ll be hearing reflections from leaders on John Smale, P&G’s former Chairman & CEO, who led P&G from 1981-1990, and served as General Motors’ Chairman from 1992-1995. These conversions are in honor of the new book “Here Forever: The Timeless Impact of John Smale on Procter & Gamble, General Motors, and the Purpose and Practice of Business” by Rob Garver, available now.
While John Smale passed away in 2011, he was arguably one the most influential leaders of the modern era, growing P&G more than six-fold during his tenure. And yet, Smale is largely unknown to many leaders guiding American and global businesses today. John’s leadership in developing a vision for corporate purpose was decades ahead of its time. This was a book years in the making by not just the author, but many of Pick up a copy wherever you get your favorite books.
JOHN SMALE - Bob McDonald & Bob Gill’s reflections on P&G’s former CEO
Published November 13, 2022 by Nina Pearl in
Bob McDonald & Bob Gill are two P&G Alumni who share many things in common, least of which is their first name. The first is no stranger to this podcast — Bob McDonald, who served as P&G’s former CEO from 2009-2013, and was the United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs from 2014-2017. And our second guest is another well known Alum to many P&G Executives — Bob GIll – who served at P&G for 28 years in many senior leadership positions – from 1974 to 2002, where he had more than a few interactions with John Smale. Both of this episode’s Bobs – McDonald and Gill — have a lot to share about the purpose-inspired, caring, yet demanding and principled leader that was John Smale.
For this month’s podcasts, we’ll be hearing reflections from leaders on John Smale, P&G’s former Chairman & CEO, who led P&G from 1981-1990, and served as General Motors’ Chairman from 1992-1995. These conversions are in honor o f the new book “Here Forever: The Timeless Impact of John Smale on Procter & Gamble, General Motors, and the Purpose and Practice of Business” (by Rob Garver), available now. While John Smale passed away in 2011 – he is arguably one the most influential leaders of the modern era, growing P&G more than six-fold in his tenure. And yet, Smale is largely unknown to many leaders guiding American and global businesses today. John’s leadership in developing a vision for corporate purpose was decades ahead of its time. This was a book years in the making by not just the author, but many of some of the biggest leaders in business. “Here Forever” is a compelling and insightful read we’d highly recommend, and will make a great holiday gift for the admired, or aspiring leaders in your life. Pick up a copy wherever you get your favorite books
Chip Bergh, Levi’s CEO: Advocacy, Activism & John Smale
Published November 6, 2022 by Nina Pearl in
Chip Bergh is President & CEO of Levi Strauss & Company—and a returning podcast guest (2020). Chip spent 28 years at P&G in leadership roles from Folgers to Swiffer, from Asia to Gillette and Old Spice. He got his start in the US Army as a paratrooper, rising to the rank of Captain.
Chip came back on the pod to talk about something he’s passionate about: the evolving role of the CEO—going beyond the P&L to advocacy and activism. Chip learned the idea of “the Responsible CEO” from P&G’s former CEO John Smale (1981-1990), arguably one of the most influential leaders of the modern era. Chip shares his thoughts from the new book about John Smale “Here Forever: The Timeless Impact of John Smale on Procter & Gamble, General Motors and the Purpose and Practice of Business.” Chip also discusses the issues he and Levi’s are active in: voter registration, women’s rights, ending gun violence and climate change. While many of us have strong beliefs on these topics, the goal of this discussion was not to push an agenda, but rather to focus on the nonpartisan business reasons for taking a stand on certain issues. Chip shares stories of not just his own style of values-driven leadership, but also how he’s continued, through humility and humor, Levi’s tradition of social activism.
JOHN SMALE - John Pepper & David Taylor’s reflections on P&G’s former CEO
Published October 30, 2022 by Nina Pearl in
For this month’s podcasts, we’ll be hearing reflections from leaders on John Smale, P&G’s former Chairman & CEO, who led P&G from 1981-1990, and served as General Motors’ Chairman from 1992-1995. These conversions are in honor o f the new book “Here Forever: The Timeless Impact of John Smale on Procter & Gamble, General Motors, and the Purpose and Practice of Business” (by Rob Garver), available now.
While John Smale passed away in 2011 – he is arguably one the most influential leaders of the modern era, growing P&G more than six-fold in his tenure. And yet, Smale is largely unknown to many leaders guiding American and global businesses today. John’s leadership in developing a vision for corporate purpose was decades ahead of its time. This was a book years in the making by not just the author, but many of some of the biggest leaders in business.
John Pepper and David Taylor — two of P&G’s former Chairmen & CEO – sat down with Dorion Positano on P&G’s More Than Soap podcast (GetMoreThanSoap.com). Both David Taylor and John Pepper have a lot to share about the purpose-inspired, caring, yet demanding and principled leader that was John Smale.
“Here Forever” is a compelling and insightful read we’d highly recommend, and will make a great holiday gift for the admired, or aspiring leaders in your life. Pick up a copy wherever you get your favorite books
Jim Lafferty, Fine Hygienic Holding, CEO
Published by Nina Pearl in
James Michael Lafferty is a returning guest to the podcast — rejoining us for an open and honest conversation about making mistakes, and owning up to them. Jim is the CEO of Fine Hygienic Holding – a leading CPG company across the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, and USA – as well as an accomplished writer, coach, and athlete. Jim is an internationally-tenured leader whose career spans 3 decades and 5 continents. Jim served as CEO of British American Tobacco in the Philippines and Coca-Cola in Nigeria. He led a distinguished 24-year career at P&G, leading the company in both the Philippines and Poland, rising through the ranks in senior roles across Western Europe, Northern Africa, and the Middle East. Beyond being a dedicated husband and father of 5, Jim is also an accomplished coach and athlete – serving as a Coach of the Philippines Olympic Athletics team at the 2016 Rio Games, having run 30+ marathons, and was the 2017 Philippines National Champion in Powerlifting. Jim’s consulted with numerous Fortune 500 companies, and his many talks and lessons have inspired brand managers around the world. He currently lives in the United Arab Emirates. In a world of projections, you’ll appreciate Jim’s vulnerabile, candid conversation.
Edward Norton - Actor, Director, Activist, Entrepreneur (from P&G’s “More Than Soap” Podcast)
Published by Nina Pearl in
Edward Norton is an actor, filmmaker, and activist. He has been nominated for three Academy Awards for his work in Primal Fear, American History X, and Birdman and has starred in several other acclaimed films including Fight Club, The Illusionist, and Moonrise Kingdom. Edward is also a UN Ambassador for Biodiversity, a successful investor (Uber, CrowdRise, and Kensho — acquired by SAP for $550 million), and deeply involved in wilderness conservation. In 2015, Edward co-founded EDO with PhD economist, poet, and entrepreneur Daniel Nadler. EDO is a leading TV outcomes company that works with top brands, networks, and hollywood studios — from AT&T and Disney, to Univision, and of course P&G — using cutting edge data science to predictively power the success of marketing, research, and creative professionals. In a candid conversation ranging from David Bowie to data science, you’ll enjoy hearing about stretching your limits beyond what’s expected of you — across many paths of creativity, business, and entrepreneurship. If you’re ever driven to do something more than your day job, or what the world expects of you – AND you happen to be a bit of a nerd about marketing and tech – this is the podcast episode for you.
But Edward Norton is not exactly a P&G Alumni, so what’s the deal? Alongside our partners at P&G, we’re thrilled to share another episode of P&G’s “More Than Soap” podcast – available exclusively each week to P&G Employees at GetMoreThanSoap.com. On “More Than Soap,” P&G shares weekly conversations with Inspiring guests, unique perspectives, and unconventional ideas. “More Than Soap” is P&G’s official internal podcast – available to all 100,000 P&G employees worldwide, and hosted by Dorion Positano, P&G’s Director of New Business and Content Innovation. Interested in learning more about P&G’s “More Than Soap” podcast, or P&G Studios, can reach out directly to Dorion on LinkedIn. GetMoreThanSoap.com
Judy Okten: The Power of Disconnecting
Published October 10, 2022 by Nina Pearl in
This week we’re sharing a talk on “The Power of Disconnecting in the Digital Era” by P&G Alumni Judy Okten – given at P&G Alumni Global Conference Madrid in 2019. It’s a topic that’s becoming more relevant as we become more and more connected every day. Judy Okten is the Co-Founder & CEO of Burgeon Labs, a science-based learning company. that empowers healthcare practitioners and innovators to develop the most effective solutions to preventative and personalized medicine through data science. Judy is also the Co-founder of Vitality Food Lab where she launched BonJu, the first fresh green smoothie brand in Switzerland to make it easier for busy people to eat healthy. And of course Judy spent a large part of her career at P&G – leading marketing teams in Geneva and Toronto across haircare and homecare brands. She also spent 4 years in brand management at KAO Brands in Canada, and 2 years as a business analyst at CIBC.
The message of finding more space to create – not just consume – is of particular relevance, now more than ever.
Every 2 years the P&G Alumni Network convenes top thought leaders from the Alumni Community and beyond. The next one will be in Washington DC in 2023, so make sure you’re signed up for updates on pgalums.com and all of the P&G Alumni Network’s social channels so you’re the first to know.
Got a recommendation for a future speaker or guest? Be sure to send us a note – email@example.com.
Kyle Schlegel, Weber, VP Americas Marketing & DTC
Published September 28, 2022 by Nina Pearl in
Kyle Schlegel, is Weber Inc’s VP of Americas Marketing and Direct-to-Consumer, where he helps bring to life the most innovative, legendary grills in the world. Prior to Weber, Kyle spent three years at Louisville Slugger before its acquisition by Wilson Sporting Goods, leading all marketing strategy and execution across the Wilson Racquet Sports portfolio—the #1 iconic name in tennis.
Kyle spent thirteen years at P&G in brand management on brands like Herbal Essences, Old Spice, Aussie, and Wella, and is also the recipient of the CMO Club’s Rising Star Award and AdAge’s 40 Under 40. Kyle now lives just outside of Chicago with his wife, daughter, and pub. While sports plays a different role in life today, Schlegel still fits it in wherever he can among other priorities in life, such as friends, family, faith and serving others.
You’ll enjoy this candid, vulnerable, and insightful conversation about Kyle’s journey from Kentucky farmboy to Chicago professional.
Paul Polman, Unilever Former CEO on “Net Positive”
Published September 26, 2022 by Nina Pearl in
Paul Polman, one of our most prominent and vocal P&G Alumni, also happens to be the former CEO of Unilever. In this talk from 2021 P&G Alumni Global Conference Paul talks about a book he co-authored called “Net Positive: How Courageous Companies Thrive by Giving More Than They Take.” Declared one of the “standout CEOs of the past decade” by The Financial Times, Paul is a leading proponent that business should be a force for good. The Economist declared Paul “An advocate of sustainable capitalism who explains how it’s done.”
Paul Polman is the co-founder of IMAGINE, where he is mobilizing businesses to tackle climate change and global inequality. Paul also served as the CEO of Unilever from 2009-2018, where he created—and proved—a long-term approach to global problems can also drive business performance. Prior to Unilever, he was Nestle’s CFO & Head of Americas. And of course, Paul got his start at P&G, where he spent 27 years rising through the ranks ultimately leading Europe for P&G. Paul continues to be active on the world stage, bridging the private/public sectors. Alongside the UN Secretary General, he helped develop the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Paul is chair of the International Chamber of Commerce, The B Team, Saïd Business School and Vice-Chair of the UN Global Compact.
You’ll enjoy this very frank, compelling, and action-oriented talk about what we can all be doing as business and community leaders to face the challenges we have in front of us, and to be a force for good.
Alonya Tkachenko, Nommi, CEO & Co-founder (Leaders Under 40)
Published September 19, 2022 by Nina Pearl in
Alyona Tkachenko is the CEO and cofounder of Nommi, a mobile WiFi hotspot that provides LTE data in over 100 countries. She also serves as the VP of Global Markets at Sergek Development. Prior to founding Nommi, Alyona was the head of marketing for Love to Code, a coding school for children in Kazakhstan. Alyona started her career at Procter & Gamble, working in CMK for sales and eCommerce.
Alyona is a Forbes Asia 30 Under 30 for Consumer Technology and also a P&G Alumni Network’s Leader Under 40. She continues to focus on improving the quality of Computer Science education and digital literacy of Kazakhstani school children through the NGO StudyCS. Alyona graduated with a degree in Business Administration from Kazakh State University. You’ll enjoy this candid conversation about doing what feels right in the moment, and owning those decisions for success.
David Youn, Master Lock, President
Published September 12, 2022 by Nina Pearl in
David Youn is President of Master Lock, the 100-year-old American company that is the leader in manufacturing & sales of locks, safes, and commercial security equipment. David started as a management consultant but learned that he enjoyed running businesses more than analyzing them. At the helm of Master Lock, David has delivered all time records in sales & profit, and throughout his career has maintained a focus on people through mentorship and teaching.
David worked with P&G for nearly 10 years, working with top brands such as Cascade, Dawn Dish Care, Pampers, and Crest/Oral-B Oral Care. He helped execute the largest total brand re-stage in Cascade history and was awarded the Global Home Care President’s Award in 2008.
David’s journey from entrepreneurship to corporate, and from living in the US to an expat in Korea working for Samsung, is a testament to his motto of living boldly and constantly evolving. His diverse range of hobbies – whether it be flying planes, playing music, or instructing dance classes – further illustrates this point. You’ll enjoy this great conversation about how our upbringings affect our work and life choices, taking a non-traditional career path by moving around and living boldly, and the importance of finding commonalities amongst each other – no matter the situation.
Tom Asacker, P&G Trainer & Author (from P&G’s “More Than Soap” podcast)
Published September 6, 2022 by Nina Pearl in
Tom Asacker is a longstanding strategist, speaker, and trainer — well known to many P&G executives. Tom is a writer, former GE executive, past owner of a high precision electronics firm and Founder & CEO of a medical device company. Tom holds medical patents and product design awards – and is recognized by Inc Magazine, MIT, and YE’s “Birthing of Giants” entrepreneurial executive leadership program. The author of several critically acclaimed books, including “The Business of Belief.” Tom’s a painter, magician, philosopher and screenwriter.
But while Tom IS known to many P&G’ers – he’s not exactly a P&G Alumni, so what’s the deal? Alongside our partners at P&G, we’re thrilled to share another episode of P&G’s “More Than Soap” podcast – available exclusively each week to P&G Employees at GetMoreThanSoap.com. On “More Than Soap,” P&G shares weekly conversations with Inspiring guests, unique perspectives, and unconventional ideas. “More Than Soap” is P&G’s official internal podcast – available to all 100,000 P&G employees worldwide, and hosted by Dorion Positano, P&G’s Director of New Business and Content Innovation. Interested in learning more about P&G’s “More Than Soap” podcast, or P&G Studios, can reach out directly to Dorion on LinkedIn. GetMoreThanSoap.com
John Pepper & Ursula Burns: A Conversation on Race & Understanding
Published August 29, 2022 by Nina Pearl in
John Pepper, P&G’s former CEO, and Ursula Burns, Xerox’s former CEO, sit down for a candid conversation on race, understanding and our discourse with each other. This is a conversation the two longtime friends have been having for years – alongside many of us. While John needs no introduction to many, Ursula’s impressive career is worth sharing:
Ursula M. Burns is the Retired Chairman and CEO of Xerox Corporation and VEON Limited — and among the first Black women to become CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Ursula is also a founding partner of Integrum Holdings, Non-Executive Chairman of Teneo Holdings LLC, and the Executive Chairman of Plum Acquisition Corp. At Xerox, Ursula served from 2009-2017, having joined as a summer intern in 1980, after which she rose through the ranks across corporate services, manufacturing and product development.
From 2009-2016, President Barack Obama appointed Ursula to lead the White House national program on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Ursula also led the President’s Export Council from 2010 – 2016.
Originally recorded on February 25, 2022, this is an important conversation we hope will make many think and feel more deeply. While each of our guests are part of some great organizations who support the sharing of our views, these are the views of our guests alone. Got ideas for future deep dive topics with past and future guests? Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
TEDx Talks with P&G Alums: Drew, Ida, & Rajiv
Published August 22, 2022 by Nina Pearl in
TED talks are “Ideas Worth Spreading” – short talks and presentations that have lit up the internet since 2006. But did you know a number of Alums have shared TEDx talks at official events with their communities?
We’re featuring THREE such TEDx talks from co-hosts Andrew Tarvin, Ida Abdalkhani, and Rajiv Satyal — all of which have amassed more than a few views online and share one important theme in common (a coincidence, we promise!). We guarantee you’ll enjoy these talks, and hopefully learn a little something along the way. And if you’re a P&G Alumni with a TEDx talk – shoot us a note at email@example.com – maybe we’ll feature your TEDx talk on a future P&G Alumni Podcast!
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Watch the TEDx Talks:
- Andrew Tarvin: “The Skill of Humor” – TEDxTAMU (June 2017)
- Ida Abdalkhani: “Happier in 5 Minutes” – TEDxOhioStateUniversity (March 2015)
- Rajiv Satyal: “Today’s Jester: The Comedian” TEDxUCincinnati (June 2016)