2019 WISE Women of Distinction honoree Janet Fletcher is the marketing leader for The Procter & Gamble Co.’s sports sponsorships, including its NFL and Olympics partnerships. Here, she reflects on the importance of listening in a leadership role, learning from the outstanding work of others and building a strong, supportive network.
Who has been the most influential person in your career and why?
Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer at P&G, has been one of the most influential people in my career. I’ve had the pleasure to work with Marc for the past 10 years. Marc taught me to trust my intuition, speak my mind and have the courage to pursue what I believe in. He also is a role model for the type of leader I aspired to be — one who listens intently to others, helps others feel valued and sets high standards consistently.
Describe a moment in your career you consider pivotal to your professional journey.
My love of sports came from my father and my own personal interest in running. Right after working on the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games, I had an aha moment that I could — and should — merge my love for sports with my passion for marketing. This was not a traditional career path within P&G. I took a leap of faith to ask for and create a new career in sports marketing.
Thinking back over your career, how has your leadership and management style evolved?
In the transition from “doing” to “leading,” one of the critical skills I had to develop was coaching and developing the people on my team, and to do this well meant getting to really know the person — who they are, what is important to them, what really motivates them, what their dreams are. When we connect, there is a trust that is built. The same skills are needed with peers and senior leaders.
Where do you draw inspiration from to keep your ideas and contributions fresh and relevant?
Within P&G, I am constantly amazed by work across the different brands and regions. Taking the time to deep dive and understand why the work — for example, a new campaign — is powerful and then translating it back to my business is time well spent. I also get inspiration outside the walls of P&G, from the relationships with my external partners who teach me what others are doing, provide candid advice, and push and stretch my thinking.
What advice would you give women who are looking to succeed in the business of sports?
I wish that I had reached out to other women in sports earlier in my career to build my network. I know now it’s important to have a supportive network and relationships to lean on when I need help.
Fill in the blank …
I wish I had known … that mistakes and failures will happen. Learn and move on quickly.
Growing up, I wanted to be ... a motivational public speaker.
I can’t live without my … family.
On the weekend, you can find me … outside, doing something active.
My biggest pet peeve is ... indecision.
Fletcher will receive her WISE Women of Distinction Award at the 25th Annual WISE Women of the Year Awards Luncheon on June 19 in New York City.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.