Despite the limitations brought by the pandemic, last week, GABLE, P&G’s employee affinity group for LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) employees, led the company’s first-ever virtual pride event titled PrideON, a collaborative affair held among the Asia Pacific/India/Middle East/Africa (AMA) markets.
PrideON is P&G’s corporate initiative to educate 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+ in the workplace, this virtual Pride Event aimed to inspire the employees with the power of active allyship in driving change internally and externally.
Global Speakers Turning PrideON
The event was hosted by Joey Mead King, a Filipina model and LGBTQ+ advocate, particularly known for her stints in Asia’s Next Top Model as a model mentor and co-judge, and her presence in the fashion and modelling 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 led 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 PrideON 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.
June 7 was kicked off by P&G’s very own CEO for Beauty, Alex Keith. 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 pinkwashing, 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. Coming from personal experiences, Kida talked about the importance of giving everyone a level-playing field to create a culture evolution where diversity & 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 with a keynote speech from author, storyteller, and P&G’s Chief Equality & Inclusion Officer Shelly McNamara. 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. McNamara’s personal reflections painted the picture of how support from leadership affects the lives of an employee and the people in their lives.
With thousands of attendees across 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
With Pride Month also comes 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 Php 1 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 & Inclusion.
PrideON truly triumphed over the limitations of the pandemic, making this a truly historic event. As such, P&G continues to stand with the LGBTQ+ community through and through. P&G recently shared their program called Share The Care program where all parents, regardless of sexual orientation or marital status, get equal paid benefits in caring for newborn or newly-adopted children. This, along with the commitment to turn on active allyship, is just one of the many more milestones to come in P&G’s journey to equality and inclusion for its consumers and for its people.