In a series of conversations with top women beauty leaders about their career passion points, Lela Coffey, VP, North America Hair Care and Multi-Cultural Beauty, P&G Beauty, told CEW the power brands have to affect change is what excites her most. Here, Lela talks about the power brands have to celebrate diversity and empowerment, and ultimately bring people together.

“My greatest passion is building inclusive brands. Brands today have an unparalleled ability to create and drive perceptions. How brands speak to people, whether that’s through their products and services, their advertising and social media in turn affects how people see the world, themselves and each other.

When done well, brands have the power to empower: to step up, to promote equality and inclusion, and eliminate bias.  The brands I manage have tremendous reach, and I’ve found personal fulfillment in using that reach to celebrate diversity, empower individuality and set new standards.  One example that’s stayed with me through the years is Faith Fennidy, a student who was removed from her school because officials deemed her hair style as being unacceptable. Faith was wearing braids as a protective style, while school policy only allowed for natural hair. She was devastated by this, but also embarrassed and confused.  We wanted to give Faith her confidence back, so reached out to her through our My Black is Beautiful brand. We flew her and her family to New York for the Black Girls Rock awards and set her up with a personal stylist to create a red carpet look that she loved. We wanted Faith to know she was beautiful, respected and loved for who she is.  Whether your brand is small or large, that’s the opportunity we each have to impact lives.”

Lela is a 2021 CEW Achiever Award Honoree. To learn more about Lela’s career journey, rise to success and key learnings along the way, make sure to attend this year’s CEW Women’s Leadership Awards virtual event September 9 from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.