Activating allyship

P&G top leadership deems culture of allyship as critical to equality and inclusion in the workplace

Photo Caption: The event was hosted by Joey Mead King, a model and LGBTQ+ advocate

October 15, 2021

Despite the restrictions and limitations brought by the coronavirus pandemic, Gable, P&G’s employee affinity group for LGBTQ+ employees, led the multinational company’s first virtual Pride event, “PrideON,” a collaborative affair held among the Asia Pacific, India, Middle East and Africa (AMA) markets.

Held last June, “PrideON” was P&G’s corporate initiative to create awareness on and celebrate the progress made on LGBTQ+ equality and inclusion in the workplace. Through the presentation of international keynote speakers and directly addressing myths about LGBTQ+ people in the workplace, this event aimed to inspire the employees with the power of active allyship in driving change internally and externally.

Global speakers
The event was hosted by Joey Mead King, a model and LGBTQ+ advocate, known for her stint in Asia’s Next Top Model as a model mentor and co-judge, and her presence in the fashion and modeling industry. As an advocate for many things including the LGBTQ+ community, she is the proud wife of Angelina Mead King, a transgender woman.

The keynote speeches were delivered by P&G leaders Alex Keith, Shelly McNamara, and EY Group’s chief operating officer for Japan, Moriaki Kida. They each touched on how allyship can turn Pride on for brands, for members of the community navigating their careers, and for senior leadership influencing the organization. Joined by a panel of P&G leaders in the community, they also tackled myths and misconceptions about allyship.

Raffy Fajardo, P&G general manager and senior vice president, and Danvic Rosadino of LoveYourselfPH.

On 7 June, P&G chief executive officer for Beauty, Alex Keith, kickstarted the event. As P&G’s global co-sponsor for Gable, Keith talked about how the inclusive and diverse work of P&G brands is a reflection of active allyship within the organization. By sharing case studies from brands like Pantene Europe and Vicks India, Keith showed how brands can and should serve LGBTQ+ consumers as part of an overall inclusive business strategy. In a panel discussion with Tatan Patricio, Director for Fabric and Home Care for Australia and New Zealand, Keith directly tackled myths about rainbow branding and pink-washing, and reinforced that P&G is on a committed journey to serve the LGBTQ+ consumer through constant listening, learning and action.

The session was followed by Moriaki Kida, chief operating officer of EY Japan. As the event’s external speaker, Kida took the audience through navigating a successful career as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Drawing from personal experiences, Kida talked about the importance of giving everyone a level playing field to create a culture evolution where diversity and inclusion is fully realized in decision-making. Kida’s unique experiences as a recognized Outstanding LGBTQ+ Role Model in Asia also underscored the importance of having allies in navigating a successful corporate career. For the panel discussion, Kida was joined by Vijay Sitlani, P&G Europe’s vice president for Finance. Together, both panelists talked myths on how disclosing one’s own orientation can affect career performance.

Day 2 was kicked off by a keynote speech by Shelly McNamara author, storyteller, and P&G’s Chief Equality and Inclusion officer. McNamara detailed the importance of allyship as a foundation of great leadership, and how acceptance from leadership enables everyone to bring their best selves to work. Through her stories told in poetry, McNamara shared snippets of her life as a daughter, as an LGBTQ+ mother, and as a leader in P&G. Her personal reflections painted the picture of how support from leadership affects the lives of an employee and the people in their lives.

Priyali Kamath, P&G’s senior vice president for Olay and Personal Care.

Recognizing heroes
With thousands of attendees from the Philippines, Australia, India, Japan, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand and Vietnam, the spirit of Pride was truly felt as employees and external partners came together online. The event culminated with celebrations for the region’s milestones in equality and inclusion.

P&G’s senior vice president for Olay and Personal Care, and the Executive Sponsor for Gable in the region, Priyali Kamath, started the festivities by presenting the first ever Pride Awards.

Employees from all over the region were recognized for their own efforts in the areas of being “forces for change,” “forces for good,” and “forces for growth in equality and inclusion.” By recognizing the game-changing work from individuals, P&G is setting the bar on how employees can take active allyship roles in their organizations and in the work they do.

The Step-up Challenge
For P&G’s first-ever virtual Pride March, the 2021 Step-Up Challenge, employees from seven countries in the region walked in solidarity from the safety of home by contributing to a goal of 10 million steps to unlock a P1 million donation to LoveYourselfPH. In just one month, participating employees were able to collect a total of 23.4 million steps, doubling the original goal. Because of this, P&G is also doubling its donation to more beneficiaries in other countries.

The event was closed by P&G’s President for Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, Magesvaran Suranjan. Suranjan left the organization with three requests: (1) to turn on active allyship to enable everyone to bring out their best selves; (2) to understand the importance of visibility in truly fostering an inclusive culture; and (3) to cherish and celebrate our diversity in making the organization unique and united. Suranjan also challenged the organization to keep the momentum in continuously making a positive change towards full equality and inclusion.