I am excited to bring you the third story in our “Leaders Who Inspire Us” series. In these candid one-on-one interviews, we will feature senior leaders who have had a lasting impact on their teams and their organizations. We will share stories that are about more than doing a job or building a career. They are about fulfilling a personal mission to drive change. Click here to start at the beginning.
Today, we’re sharing Camille Pierce’s story. Camille oversees the leadership development curriculum for 118,000 employees worldwide at Procter & Gamble. In her current role, she is championing a global initiative to build an inclusive culture capable of realizing the untapped potential of every employee. Learn what ignites her passion and how she is approaching this groundbreaking work—one leader at a time.
“Sometimes when you are looking for that certain something, you miss out. Explore what’s possible from where you sit today,” says Camille. “Bloom where you are planted.” The ability to learn and grow from every opportunity helped this 20-year Procter & Gamble veteran land her most recent role—and dream job in 2014.
And she hasn’t looked back since.
Camille’s involvement in a number of different affinity groups early on in her career sparked her interest in Human Resources. As a young professional eager to make a meaningful contribution to the business, she raised her hand for several causes. “If there was a need, there was a group chartered for it and I became involved,” she says. Through this work, she realized the value that the diversity of the employee population could add to the business—and the need for an inclusive culture.
Camille transitioned into Human Resources after five years in Marketing where she started her career. After an initial role in Recruiting, she spent 10 years as a strategic HR business partner to Vice Presidents and organizations in several of P&G’s largest business units. In her current role, she is responsible for the professional and leadership development of all employees enterprise-wide and as part of these efforts, is leading groundbreaking work on building an inclusive culture.
“I deeply believe that unless we are creating an environment where every individual can bring their best and full self to work every day, we are diminishing employee potential and suboptimizing business performance,” she says.
Engagement Equals Success
For Camille, the journey to building a culture of inclusion started in February of 2015 when she created and led the global implementation of the first-ever Intentionally Inclusive Leadership program. The program was initially created as a way for senior leaders to mitigate their unconscious bias. Eventually, however, the company also discovered that inclusion is a key element of driving employee engagement—one of P&G’s key focus areas. Creating an environment where employees are valued, included, and empowered to bring their whole selves to work increases employee engagement and fosters the innovative culture necessary to meet evolving consumer needs.
Camille and her team set out to create the one-day program, build awareness and support for the initiative, and orchestrate a pilot delivery in five geographies around the world. Participants in this program are top-level middle managers and leaders of organizations across all of P&G’s products and services. The curriculum kicked off with a 180° employee assessment designed to give participant’s insight into their ability to lead inclusively. The direct report and peer feedback from the assessment process helped them immediately understand their strengths and development areas as an inclusive leader.
The practical, business-focused nature of the content effectively addressed themes including fear and courage, uniqueness and belong, unconscious bias, micro-inequities, and micro-affirmations. The program began with the facilitator sharing his or her personal story of inclusion or exclusion, and through the duration of the course, participants were given time and space to reflect on their own experience. “Inclusion is for everyone. Everyone needs to see themselves in the story.
“Generally, everyone has a time that they can recall, and they remember it like it happened yesterday,” says Camille. These experiences often result in a lack of engagement, which ultimately leaves untapped potential on the table. This step is critical for raising self-awareness and acknowledging the unconscious behaviors that impact our ability to lead others.
Camille also engaged the senior leadership team to share their personal stories. “Their willingness to be vulnerable and openly share how inclusion and exclusion has impacted them was very powerful.” The curriculum in this program has gradually brought a new level of understanding around the often misunderstood and ambiguous topic of inclusion.
Currently, the goal is to reach 1,400 employees in the next year and a half. And according to Camille, the journey is just beginning. “We have just started to crack the code of what it takes to create a truly inclusive organization.”
Her advice for someone just starting out on this journey: “Start small, engaging leaders little by little to be part of the change effort. This work is an evolution, not a revolution. It’s the small wins that will create real change for a better future.”