Reflections on Winning the Madam C.J. Walker Award: A Journey of Leadership and Diversity in the Cosmetics and Personal Care Industry

By Michelle Wang Goodridge
U.S. President of Brand Growth, Kenvue

PCPC’s Madam C.J. Walker Award carries deep meaning within our industry as it honors the progress we’ve collectively made in championing diversity, equity and inclusion. I was incredibly proud to be one of the two recipients of this year’s award, and couldn’t be more humbled to receive an accolade that holds the name of not only a successful, self-made entrepreneur, but someone who persevered and created a legacy that inspires others to bring their full selves to their work.  

Every year during Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage month I remind myself that as a Chinese American I have an opportunity to share the cultures and values passed down to me, not just with my family, but with my colleagues each and every day. I am grateful to those who have encouraged me to be myself, share my unique perspective, and more importantly, build teams that bring people of different backgrounds together to foster inclusion and deliver solutions that advance the well-being of all people.

In my current role, I see our highly engaged teams working to make a difference by driving inclusive, equitable solutions and initiatives that have a positive impact on all: campaigns like Aveeno’s #SkinVisibility, which works to address the underdiagnosis, care and treatment of eczema on Black skin; Band-Aid® Brand’s Our Tone; and Listerine’s Whoa Collection, which fights to increase diversity in dentistry.

As leaders, especially women of color, it is essential to continue to find ways to make a difference. My mantras, shown below, were built from the amazing leaders who I have had the opportunity to collaborate with over the course of my career:

  • Embrace Your Unique Perspective: Your experiences as a woman of color bring a valuable and unique perspective to the table. Embrace it and leverage it to drive innovation and positive change within your organization.
  • Be Fearless in Pursuing Your Goals: Don’t let fear or self-doubt hold you back from pursuing your goals and aspirations. Believe in yourself, your abilities, and your potential to make a meaningful impact in your organization and industry.
  • Advocate for Diversity and Inclusion: Be a vocal advocate for change and actively work towards creating a more inclusive workplace culture.
  • Build a Strong Support Network: Surround yourself with mentors, sponsors, and allies who can provide guidance, support, and advocacy throughout your career journey. Seek out opportunities to connect with other women of color in your industry and learn from their experiences.
  • Pay It Forward: As you progress in your career, remember to pay it forward by mentoring and supporting the next generation of women of color leaders. Share your experiences, insights, and lessons learned to empower and inspire others to succeed.

I’m hopeful that these mantras will continue to be passed along and celebrated so that, together, we’ll continue to work towards the vision of a more diverse, inclusive and equitable future for generations to come.