An encounter with Angela Guy, Senior VP Diversity & Inclusion – L’Oreal USA
Would you briefly tell us which career path led you to the position of SVP Diversity & Inclusion – L’Oréal USA?
I started my career in retail store operations where I learned and managed the various functions that bring product to market within the retail store environment. The majority of my career was spent as a Sales Professional working for Levis Strauss & Co and Johnson & Johnson. I was the VP of Sales for Johnson & Johnson Canada prior to my career at L’Oreal. I joined the Group as the VP of Sales, was promoted to SVP of Sales, then SVP/GM of Softsheen-Carson. I transitioned from Softsheen-Carson to lead the office of Diversity & Inclusion for L’Oreal USA.
In terms of gender equality, what are the main opportunities that you are facing and how do you address them?
We have two main gender opportunities within L’Oreal USA. Advancing women into senior leadership positions while recruiting and retaining men.
We addressed the challenges first by gaining support for the gender strategy from L’Oreal USA President and CEO, Frederic Roze. Rebecca Caruso, VP D&I Communications, oversees all initiatives in support of gender equity so accountability is assigned.
Think Tanks were established (L’Oreal For Women/L’Oreal for Men) to gain the employee perspective on what needs to be done. Each Think Tank has Executive Committee Sponsors leading and supporting the respective gender strategy.
Business leaders are updated on gender metrics for their respective businesses to identify opportunities to close and address predictive gaps.
We partner with industry professionals, government, NGO’s, educational institutions and network with other companies to identify the most relevant, efficient and effective ways to drive results.
We have continued to measure our progress by recertifying with EDGE for the second time in 2016, in addition to the on-going analysis run by HR Rewards to ensure salaries are competitive in the marketplace and aligned with company goals.
Communication and engagement have been enhanced. Over 3,000 employees participated in the EDGE Survey this year in addition to company communication on gender equity within the marketplace.
L’Oréal USA recently signed the Equal Pay Pledge. What are the specificities of the gender gap issue in the US? Why do you think this Pledge could make a difference in general and at L’Oréal?
The US has had a wage disparity problem for a very long time. In 1963, The Equal Pay Act was established by government aimed at abolishing wage disparity based on gender. According to whitehouse.gov, the first piece of legislation President Obama signed into law was the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to ensure fair pay for all Americans and to help businesses attract the strongest talent, narrow the pay gap, boost productivity and benefit our economy. Despite that, women in the US, working full time, earn about 79% of full time working men’s wages.
The pledge serves as a commitment from businesses to support reducing the national pay gap. Those who sign the pledge commit to:
• conducting an annual company-wide gender pay analysis across occupations,
• reviewing hiring and promotion processes and procedures to reduce unconscious bias and structural barriers,
• embed equal pay efforts into a broader enterprise-wide equity initiatives,
• identify and promote other best practices that will close the national gap to ensure fundamental fairness for all workers.
This pledge matters to L’Oreal because it aligns with our overall corporate standards. L’Oreal has been an on-going leader in our public commitment to equal pay. The investments we have made in measuring our productivity internally and validating those metrics with external resources via EDGE and GEES is a best in class model of our corporate commitment to pay equity.
Interview by Christina Hillebrand (L’Oréal)