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News & Blogs: 5 Questions

5 Questions with Janice McCarthy

Tuesday, March 15, 2011  
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Director of Customer Investment and
Colgate Business Planning, North America

Colgate-Palmolive Company

"You simply need to get involved, collaborate with others and have fun."

As director of customer investment and Colgate business planning in North America for the Colgate-Palmolive Company, Janice McCarthy leads the development of strategic initiatives encompassing ROI/Commercial Investments, Customer Engagement and Colgate Business Planning in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.In collaboration with global and subsidiary leadership, she is responsible for identifying and championing efforts to "instill disciplines and drive synergies.” Most recently, McCarthy was the director of drug channel in U.S. Customer Development. Under her leadership, Colgate achieved strong levels of customer alignment and engagement and was recognized as Vendor of the Year by CVS.

What are some of Colgate-Palmolive’s most effective initiatives for advancing the careers of women?

Colgate offers numerous networks and affinity groups to reach our female audience. These groups not only provide value-added resources, such as Lunch N’ Learns and mentoring circles, but encourage our colleagues to network and collaborate.

What do you see as your most important responsibilities and opportunities as a Network of Executive Women ambassador?

First, an opportunity resides in elevating the internal awareness of the Network of Executive Women by articulating the benefits in our involvement with this organization. Second is in motivating and encouraging all of our colleagues to support the women on their teams via embracing the resources and opportunities available to us. I have seen firsthand the excitement and passion our women have in leading the charge to advance their colleagues and develop into stronger business leaders. Two areas that have proven successful to elevate the awareness and insights across our NEW regional committees and broader organization are quarterly conference calls with regional committee members and NEW breakfasts. We use the conference calls to share our learnings across the regions, as well as ask questions and discuss how we can continue to elevate to the next level. Also, at each of our last two annual sales conferences, we have extended invitations to all attendees to a NEW breakfast. At this breakfast we feature a keynote speaker, such as a NEW member and leader from one of our retail partners, along with a NEW director. These women, coupled with our regional members, share testimonials and provide their perspective on NEW and the impact it has had on their careers.

In what ways have you best been able to engage the senior leadership at Colgate-Palmolive to strengthen the company’s diversity and inclusion efforts?

As we enter our third year of NEW sponsorship, I view our objective as taking one step at a time. We have successfully engaged many senior members over the past two years and yet realize there are opportunities for further advancement. It has become a personal mission to heighten our involvement, realizing the benefit for our people. One-on-ones, with any colleague, regardless of rank and file, have been beneficial for reinforcing the mission of NEW and its benefits to our people. Many colleagues simply didn’t understand what NEW stood for or what it would mean for our people. Taking the time to articulate the value makes a difference. Taking it one step further, accompanying one colleague, male or female, to a local event, mixer or national conference is an effective means of engaging others. Once he or she witnesses firsthand the enveloping atmosphere, they are drawn in and "get it.”

What tips do you have for regional committee members looking to grow and activate NEW membership?

Anytime a new regional member joins our team, I have a one-on-one to convey both the expectations of the role and our charge with this organization. The intent is to challenge that individual to take this role to the next level. The role and its responsibility will encompass both internal and external networking and influencing skills. Internally, we want to raise the awareness, engage our colleagues and utilize the learnings and insights from local events to develop others. I encourage our regional members to share the learnings and lead success in their offices via executing forums, such as Lunch N’ Learns. Externally, we want to lead the charge in networking and building personal developmental plans. We want NEW members to establish critical business connections. Active involvement in the steering committees can foster bonds with women that can last a lifetime. The outcome is all about the effort. I encourage each team member to go make a difference and step out of his or her comfort zone. You simply need to get involved, collaborate with others and have fun.

How has Colgate-Palmolive leveraged its NEW sponsorship?

We have made tremendous progress by engaging hundreds of colleagues in the regional and national events. NEW and Colgate have motivated dozens of women to approach and embrace their personal development in a more robust and profound manner. With an upcoming external executive panel partnering the Colgate Women’s Network with the resources of with NEW, four external leaders will share their perspectives and experiences at our headquarters. It is through the NEW alignment that this panel came together. I am excited both personally and for my colleagues to garner the insights and opinions, which may cause us each to think and approach our business from a different viewpoint. Our opportunities reside in continuing to spread the word and make believers of all. Motivation and passion can be contagious. For each woman who fearlessly leads this charge, she is advancing the footprint in our marketplace. NEW is a means to support her through this journey.

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