Episode 23: Tiana Conley, Vice President at Kellogg’s, Talks Leadership, Allyship, and How a Better World Starts at The Breakfast Table

From a young age, Tiana didn’t fit into any single box. The daughter of a South Asian mother and an African American father, Tiana’s parents taught her the importance of self-acceptance. This mindset helped propel her into a successful career at some of the world’s largest consumer goods companies, including Procter & Gamble and Kimberly-Clark. Today, Tiana is helping to reverse the systemic racism that plagues everything from our C-suites to our food system in her role as Vice President of Global Cereal at Kellogg’s.

On this Episode of The Besomebody Podcast:

3:29 – The Opportunity For Our Country – “We had a historic election. We had a historic turnout for this election. And no matter what side you’re on or who you voted for, hopefully everybody is pretty excited and pretty passionate about the opportunity our country has here in the United States – to have the first ever female Vice President, especially a woman of color in that leadership position. It’s such an amazing milestone for our country.” -KS

13:14 – Intersectionality – “One of my favorite words is intersectionality, and I think that Kamala really captures that extraordinarily well. And it’s something that I felt in my personal life being someone who is a woman, like Kamala, being someone who is black, like Kamala, being someone who is of Asian descent, the child of an Asian immigrant. I’m also South Asian – my mom is from the Philippines – so that is something else that’s very similar to Kamala. To have someone that perfectly fits that intersectionality, that is quite so rare but becoming less rare, and to see that person occupy the highest office we’ve ever seen in the United States of America was absolutely incredible.” -TC

23:00 – Creating A Lane To Fit In – “I remember when I was in first grade, Matt Oberley asked me why I was brown. I told him it was because I fell in mud because I was so embarrassed in some way, or so insecure, or so unknowing at that time where I didn’t really want to be different. And to some extent that stayed with me all the way through high school where I wasn’t comfortable being brown. It was always something that I either had to make into a joke or spin into something but I was always wishing I wasn’t. It wasn’t until I got into college and saw other people like me or people I identify with – who played sports and did things like I did – who helped me rediscover my own heritage and be confident and excited about who I was.” -KS

39:54 – Working With A Purpose – “For me there has to be a component of purpose in what I do. I’ve reached a point where I understand that in order to be motivated I have to know that what I’m doing is not just for a paycheck, and that there’s a deeper impact that I’m having on people, on society, and what I’m doing and how I’m spending my time.” -TC

49:46 – The Importance Of Allyship – “My thoughts around allyship are perhaps slightly unconventional in the sense that I don’t see allyship as a noun, I see allyship as a verb. Allyship is not an award to be granted or a badge to be worn – that’s silly to me because it centers on you, the ally, versus the person you ‘re supposed to be lifting up. Allyship requires you giving up something to advocate on behalf of someone else. If you’re not struggling in your allyship journey, you’re doing it wrong. If it feels easy, you’re probably doing it wrong.” -TC

55:38 – Kash’s One Big Thing – “For me, the thing that stuck with me from the conversation was that if you really want to be an ally. If you really want to show that you care about someone else in a meaningful way, with action behind it, you’ve gotta give up something from yourself. You’ve gotta sacrifice something. To truly make a difference and make an impact for someone else we have to give up something of our own. Life has to get harder for us to make it easier for someone else. And that’s a powerful powerful insight, it’s simple but powerful and most people overlook it. And if we all embrace that attitude, and embrace that understanding that we are going to take a hit, we are going to cut back, we are going to lose a little something, but in the process someone else is going to gain, and someone else’s life is going to be better – their experiences are going to improve – that’s an amazing place for our communities and our society to be.” -KS

Episode 14: What Every African American Has Experienced – Jerry Porter, Vice President at Procter & Gamble, Shares His Journey of Travel, Connection, and Perseverance

Born in small-town Tennessee, at a young age, Jerry Porter went from working across the country to living across the world. His time as an R&D leader at the world’s largest Consumer Products Goods (CPG) company transported him to life in Japan, Germany, and hundreds of places in between. Through it all, he’s found power in the shared human experience, and optimism in the evolving American landscape. 

On this Episode of The Besomebody Podcast:

16:30 Purpose. “That’s been the journey and the joy of being at P&G, of really bringing to life that purpose. At times you get into the conversation, ‘C’mon, you just make consumer goods.’ But when you really see how it intersects and interplays in the lives of the consumer, it really does elevate the quality of the day, and what it really means to take care of your family.” -JP

31:10 No going back. “It feels different this time. The energy and the inertia behind it are different. There’s a lot of elements and ingredients to it. There’s a lot of pent up frustration over the last four years. There’s a lot of celebrities, athletes, and influencers now speaking out in ways they haven’t before. There’s the content and the video we’ve seen. But, just overall, the tipping point seems to have been reached and breached on this one.” -KS

33:33 Why now is different than before. “I think versus things in the past where it was a small subset of folks really pushing it, this is broad. Folks are saying, ‘No, we want a better world. The pendulum swings towards justice, and that’s the world that we want to have.’ I think it’s also a counterbalance to some of the negativity and ugliness that’s just been pervasive. The voices that really have been heard over the past three years have had more of a negative piece and haven’t necessarily represented – I don’t believe – the better angels and the majority of folks who just want the best for their kids and expect the best for everyone else.” -JP

40:33 Brands need to speak up. “Courageous leadership is a perfect phrase because that’s what is needed. We’ve been talking since the onset of COVID how now is the time for companies to really focus on brand purpose and values. It’s not the time to market your products, it’s time to talk about what you believe in. With what happened in Minneapolis and all the events afterward, it’s even more so a time for people and companies to take the stage, take the platform and say, ‘This is who we are, this is what we believe.’” -KS

43:38 Jerry’s advice to move forward. “You’ve got to persevere. These things – if they don’t kill you, they make you stronger. You need to figure out how you’re going to navigate that. Along the way, build those relationships that – as the old African proverb says, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.’ How are you bringing folks along that will support you and fortify you as you get to those down times to help you carry on? That’s been a piece that has enabled me to move forward.” -JP

48:44 Kash’s One Big Thing. “If you can’t go across the world, go across the country. If you can’t go across the country, go across the state. If you can’t go across the state, go to a different part of your city. If you can’t go to a different part of your city, go to a new part of your neighborhood that you’ve never been to before. And if you can’t do that, then walk down to the edge of your driveway, and sit there and experience things from a different perspective. Because that’s the only way you start to understand people who are unlike you. That’s the only way that you learn that we’re all more similar than we are different.” -KS