J&J diversity chief shares views during Penn State Smeal’s Executive Insights

October 24, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Johnson & Johnson Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Wanda Bryant Hope shared her thoughts and opinions on a number of topics with students, staff and faculty that filled Struthers Auditorium in the Business Building on Friday, Oct. 20. It was the final installment of this semester’s Executive Insights speaker series.

Jes Staley, group chief executive officer of Barclays, and Brian T. Olsavsky, chief financial officer and senior vice president of Amazon, visited the college in September.

Hope’s visit coincided with Impact Smeal Day. Hosted by the Smeal Alumni Society Board, Impact Smeal Day provides alumni with the opportunity to return to campus and reconnect with the college through a number of activities such as interacting with current students and networking with other alumni.

Hope holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Penn State Smeal. She shared her views in a moderated discussion with Charles H. Whiteman, John and Becky Surma Dean of Smeal

How Hope's various positions helped her career:

“I learned different skills and competencies from each of those different positions. What was important in the early part of my career was getting a lot of diverse experiences that then helped me to accelerate my career as I went on.”

Advice to a Johnson & Johnson intern:

“Certainly we value hard work and we value results, but we’re also looking for people who can bring new ideas, who can demonstrate leadership, who collaborate very well. If you’re going into a summer internship, soak it up and learn as much as you can. Don’t only do the job that you were hired for, but connect with other people around the organization.”

The increasing importance of her role:

“I think the role that diversity and inclusion plays has always been important. At Johnson & Johnson, we’ve always viewed it as very important. Our credo has been in existence for 75 years and really outlines the responsibilities we have as an organization. Diversity and inclusion is embedded throughout that document. I do think that in the times we live in now, it’s becoming even more important. Our vision for diversity and inclusion is be yourself, change the world.”


“When I think about leadership, it’s really about engaging and inspiring and motivating other people. It’s about instilling followership. That, to me, is what’s important. It’s not about technical expertise.”

Diversity and inclusion:

“Inclusion is about helping everyone feel like they belong, no matter who you are, whether you are a man, you are a woman, you are a member of the LGBTQ community, whether you’re from a different culture, whether you work in London but originated from Africa or India. Diversity is you, with your unique experiences and backgrounds and perspectives, and inclusion is belonging. That’s all it is. Diversity and inclusion at J&J means you belong.” 

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 24, 2017