Heard on Campus: Jim Stengel

April 22, 2016

"Pampers was P&G's biggest brand, but it was in terrible shape. … We were motivated by how fast we could run the machines and how much liquid we could absorb —important to moms and dads out there, but not enough. We lacked empathy big time, and we lacked an ambitious purpose.

"Everything changed when a team of young, renegade employees … spent a lot of time with moms and dads, and they decided we needed to be a parents' advocate in a baby's happy, healthy development. This sounded weird at the time because we were a diaper brand. What if we could stand for this? What sorts of things would we do differently? Well, when you embrace that (change), you make different products, you communicate in different ways and you try to help people more. You hire people who love babies and you bring babies into the workplace everyday. The whole culture changed.

"Pampers is a big brand with $2.6 billion in sales in 1997 — losing money — so we looked for other organizations who shared that ideal, and we formed a partnership with UNICEF, which UNICEF will tell you today is the strongest partnership they've ever had. It lasted about 12 years, and we shared the goal of eradicating tetanus."

-- Penn State alumnus Jim Stengel talking about his 25-year career as the former global marketing officer of Proctor & Gamble. Stengel is president and CEO of The Jim Stengel Company LLC, a think tank and consulting company, and wrote "Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World's Greatest Companies."

Launched in 1996, the Penn State Forum Speaker Series is designed to introduce the University community to noted leaders and policy makers in their respective fields. Open to the public, tickets are $21 for each event and include a buffet lunch. For more information about the series and a complete list of future speakers, visit http://sites.psu.edu/forum/.

Last Updated April 22, 2016