CINCINNATI - Procter & Gamble Co. set an attendance record last week by drawing more than 600 people to Latinnovation, a networking and professional-development event that celebrates the achievements of P&G’s Hispanic employees.
It was the fifth time P&G hosted the biannual event and the first time it invited employees from other companies to join. Employees from Kroger Co. and General Electric Co. joined P&G employees from 25 locations in the U.S. The event was held in the grand ballroom at the Duke Energy Center downtown.
“We feel that we can join forces to make Cincinnati a better place for Hispanics,” said Lourdes Albacarys, vice president of corporate research and development and sponsor of the Hispanic lead team for P&G. “By doing that we make Cincinnati a better place for Hispanics at P&G as well.”
Albacarys said the theme of this year’s event was “creating value” for P&G.
“We talk about how we can invest in ourselves and how we can create value for the company,” she said. “The speakers and the workshops are all related to that common theme.”
P&G touts diversity as a strategic imperative because it sells Tide laundry products, Gillette razors and Olay skin care products all over the globe. Having a diverse workforce helps P&G market to different cultures. It also brings a variety of perspectives to research projects and productivity innovations, which will be key to developing future brands that could help P&G recover from a years of sluggish growth.
P&G has about 1,700 Hispanic employees in the U.S, including 700 in manufacturing. They tend to be optimistic about the future, a handy trait for a company that has trimmed more than 14,000 from its payrolls since 2012.
“Even in our employee surveys, Hispanics are always more optimistic than the rest of the population,” Albacarys said. “We do believe that we have the right strategies in place and we’re going to get back to the growth we’ve enjoyed in the past.”
More than 50 Hispanic employees were recognized for their contributions to P&G marketing, product technology, manufacturing and productivity improvements.
Individual awards were presented for people that helped P&G achieve a more diverse work force, helped Hispanic employees advance and promoted a “work environment where people feel welcomed.”
Speakers included Steve Robbins, a leadership and diversity consultant, Phil Duncan, global design officer for P&G, and Angel Colon, director of multicultural development at Kroger.
“I’ve used like seven P&G brands already this morning,” Colon told a crowd of about 200 who gathered for his presentation, which explored how Kroger uses consumer-spending data to improve customer loyalty in various ethnic groups.
“We appreciate everything you guys do,” Colon said. “You do a lot of research for us. We’ve worked together on a lot of promotions and programs. It’s been a great partnership.”
Albacarys said the event may lead to more collaboration between Cincinnati's biggest employers. P&G is now talking to G.E. about joining an annual Hispanic Heritage Month event to increase Hispanic participation in STEM education, or science, technology, engineering and math.