How we got here: Q&A with Monica Turner, President of N.A. Sales at P&G #SmallBiz - The Entrepreneurial Way with A.I.


Monday, March 8, 2021

How we got here: Q&A with Monica Turner, President of N.A. Sales at P&G #SmallBiz

In the months leading up to Shoptalk Meetup for Women (May 11-13), the Shoptalk team is producing an Original Content series on The State of Women Working in Retail that explores four phases of women’s leadership in retail: Where We Are, How We Got Here, How We’re Making Waves (available 3/25) and Where We’re Headed (available 4/15).

This week, we sat down (well, Zoomed with) Monica Turner of P&G. Monica is a 30+ year veteran at P&G who started as an intern and has risen to her current role, leading Sales for North America. 

She shared how she worked her way into the C-Suite, her biggest career win and why all women of color should have a sponsor.

Shoptalk: Thinking back to Monica Turner in 1987, has your career unfolded according to plan?

Monica Turner: I started at Procter & Gamble as an intern. I understood P&G was focused on providing quality goods to consumers, and having great partnerships with customers. But what I liked most was that it seemed like a values-based company.

I didn't initially see anyone that looked like me, though. So I had to trust what I saw in the people there, in the values that were present, and that I would have the opportunity to advance. When I finally went to a P&G event and saw others who looked like me, I then felt like, “Well, maybe this is the place for me.” Because visible diversity was important.

I really thought I was going to have my entire career in Dallas. That's where my friends were. That was familiar. But thank goodness for many great mentors who showed me that having a variety of skills and experiences would allow me to accelerate within P&G. 

So, did I think I would be President, in 1987? I can't really tell you that I did, but I definitely knew there were opportunities.

ST: Talk about that first move from Dallas. Where did you go?

MT: I know this seems small, but my first move was to San Antonio. It was my first time managing a full unit of people. I was a young Black female coming into a market where there had never been any young Black females managing anyone. I had the opportunity to manage all men, 10 years my senior.

The first person who reached out to me in San Antonio was Jim Beard. He was considered the best manager in that market. Jim embraced me proactively. He taught me everything he knew about being a great leader. He taught me how you can show your team that you understand who they are, and that you value them. You can set common goals to elevate what you are working towards versus dwelling on your differences.

There are ways to reduce the “social distance” gap to create real relationships. And so, yes, I had to go fishing and I didn't like to fish. I went to the horse track and I don't gamble. But my team wanted me to participate and they made sure that they respected my boundaries, and I was respectful of them. Mutual respect enabled the team to take breakthrough actions that made us the best in the district.

ST: What has been your biggest career win?

MT: The biggest win is when I've had the good fortune to mentor and develop and advance very talented people along the way. 

ST: On that note, how do you manage your role as a mentor or sponsor for young women at P&G?

MT: Along my journey I've been many firsts, but I came to this company so that other people could follow me and I wouldn't be the last. 

I stand on the shoulders of so many who helped me be the President that I am today. They were equally as talented, equally as smart, equally as accomplished, and they chose to lift me up, and so I will lift up those who I mentor and sponsor as well. It is a daunting task, but it is also an honor, and I see it as my life's purpose.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Visit The State of Women Working in Retail to learn more and get your ticket to Shoptalk Meetup for Women here.


via by , Khareem Sudlow