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