Interview Series
featuring: Diane Levin,
 LEAD Advisory Board Member
Vice President, Information Technology
Johnson & Johnson Consumer EMEA
Box ticking isn't enough

By Catherine Francois, Global Director - Diversey Consulting - Risk Management & Food Safety & member of the LEAD Membership Committee, and Jill Hopper, freelance writer

The female voice is critical in the FMCG industry; after all, most consumers and shoppers are women. But women must not be promoted purely to fill quotas, says LEAD advisory board member Diane Levin. 

Diane has direct experience in building diversity in big business. As well as being Vice President, IT for Consumer EMEA with Johnson & Johnson, she is involved in the company’s diversity and inclusion programme. 

She is also a member of the steering committee of the J&J EMEA Women’s Leadership Initiative that focuses on ways to advance gender diversity at the company. 

How to integrate ‘millennials’
Diane is helping to drive forward Johnson & Johnson’s diversity and inclusion goals, which are to:
•    Create a pipeline of female talent and foster existing talent
•    Maintain a sponsor programme to advocate for career paths
•    Create a flexible working culture for all employees
•    Celebrate diversity through examples of career stories throughout the business

“We have been measuring the results so far and focusing on particular areas for improvement,” she says. “One example we are looking at is how to better integrate millennials [also known as Generation Y – those born between 1980 and 2000] into the talent pipeline. 

“They want experiences and not a perfect game plan.”

Perseverance pays off
Diane’s career has led her from Silicon Valley, through various US-based non-profit organisations, to consulting for the US Air Force before joining J&J and moving to Europe. 

This varied experience has taught her that perseverance is the key to breaking down barriers. She also believes success depends on not taking personally other people’s perceptions and pre-conceived ideas. 

Diane’s tips for career success
  • Grow through internal and external sponsors and consistently re-engage with them
  • Your track record and achievements do not count unless you communicate them well
  • Use the strength of your team to drive success and don’t be afraid to put yourself outside your comfort zone
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