Panel of Leading Women Visit P&G to Talk about Courage in the Workplace

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 10:43 am EDT

Courage is about much more than being lionhearted. It’s also a critical component for success in the workplace, according to a panel of leading women from the tech, media and marketing worlds who spoke at the Courageousness in the Workplace event held June 27 at our headquarters in Cincinnati.

The event was the second in an annual series that is part of P&G’s focus on the empowerment and development of future female leaders. It’s an area of business where there’s room for growth companies in all sectors. Today, women hold only 5% of senior positions in media, and represent only 4% of Fortune 500 CEOs.

P&G has made significant advancements in this area, trending above average. With a 50% increase in women at President level or above over the past decade, we've been recognized with numerous awards for our focus on this space—including the National Association for Female Executives’ Top 10 Companies for Executive Women, Working Mother Top 10 Best Companies for Multicultural Women, and one of the 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers. And we're dedicated to building on this track record.

This year’s event, attended by more than 400 P&G employees, featured (pictured below from left to right): Karenann Terrell, EVP and Chief Information Officer, Wal-Mart; Laura Desmond, Global CEO, Starcom MediaVest Group; Joanne Bradford, Head of Partnerships, Pinterest; and Elisa All, Founder and CEO, 30Second Mobile. Julie Eddleman, who leads P&G’s North American Brand Operations, moderated the conversation.

All panelists agreed that personal, professional and organization courageousness has been key to their ascent in the business world.

“For any kind of change, you need to have vision, and from there you need to be fearless and push through the fear to bring your vision to life.” said Elisa All.

Similarly, “Take on new challenges. The more you do, the more you can do.,” said Karenann Terrell.

Courage goes hand-in-hand with innovation, according to Joanne Bradford. The companies that are most innovative are those that have courageousness as part of their corporate DNA. “The best ideas have come from people who give those ideas away, hand them over for collaboration and iteration to move them to the next level. Real innovation comes from collaboration,” said Joanne Bradford.

However, Friday’s discussion extended far beyond gains in the office. Each of the women talked about having the courage to maintain fulfilling personal lives while pursuing big careers. “You can stand for personal belief of family first without sacrificing professional fulfillment,” said Joanne Bradford.

"All of it—bravery in the office and in the work we complete at the office—starts and ends with a strong foundation of courage in our personal lives," said Laura Desmond who took a new job in London earlier in her career. “I learned that a lot of your value is around your ability to take multiple contexts and perspectives to help you get to multiple wins. It also makes you a more interesting human being.”

Added Elisa All: “Invest in yourself. Be fearless, committed to your idea, and go for it.”

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