Jeff Weedman, '75, a former vice president of global business development for Procter & Gamble who has been tapped to serve as a P&G CEO on Loan to launch a regional innovation incubator called Cintrifuse, talked to a recent economics and management class about how corporations have the ability to be a global force for good.
A member of Albion's Board of Trustees and the Carl A. Gerstacker Institute for Business and Management's advisory board, Weedman told students in Vicki Baker's international management class that consumers reward companies whose goals, according to former P&G chairman and American venture capitalist Howard Morgan, are to constantly improve society.
"Procter & Gamble embraced a concept that says by doing good you'll receive good," Weedman said, adding that P&G created the first coordinated community campaign for charity known today as the United Way. "One of the things that has been consistent about P&G is that we have a purpose – and this is something that’s in all the documents when you get recruited or when you join the company. We aim to provide a brand of products and services of superior quality and value that improve the lives of the world's consumers now and for generations to come. For a company to live against this you need to continue to talk about it. We believe consumers will reward us with leadership sales that allow our people – employees and shareholders – in the communities where they live and work to prosper."
Weedman gave the class examples of how P&G's decisions guide the business – from its Mehoopany, Pa., paper plant recovering and reusing heat to its Always brand providing hygiene education to children in Africa to supplying safe drinking water after natural disasters.
"When we talk about our values guiding our business, we're talking about how they direct our brands, drive our growth strategy, and demand that we focus on sustainability," Weedman said. "We want to touch and improve more consumers' lives in more parts of the world more completely."
Weedman said he became involved in his first community project when he was a student at Albion and joined Big Brothers Big Sisters. It proved to be the first of many volunteer efforts throughout his career and life. Today, as Weedman launches the region's most significant community project in many years, he said he hopes the robust entrepreneur economy in Cincinnati and the opportunity to spur renewal in the city's Over the Rhine neighborhood will lead to additional growth for the city and nation. While he hadn't intended to take his career in a new direction, the need for the project was unmistakable and his skill set in innovation a solid fit.
"The education here taught me to be opportunistic," he said.