Kathy Fish was elected as P&G’s first female Chief Technology Officer on February 1, 2014. In his role, Kathy brings over 35 years of Research & Development experience and expertise.
In 1979, after graduating from Michigan State University with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering, Kathy joined P&G in process development and has a broad range of experience across process, products research, technology and packaging. Early in her career, she worked on World Liquid, which became the initial launch of Heavy Duty Liquid for Tide and Ariel globally. Following this, Kathy moved to Hair Care where she worked on 2-in-1 shampoos for Pert Plus and Pantene. While in Hair Care, she also worked on efficacy upgrades to Head & Shoulders and on the styling business.
Kathy managed R&D for the global Downy/Lenor business from 1999 to 2002 before moving to Baby Care. There, she led the upstream program before becoming R&D Vice President leading Pampers to strong and steady growth behind innovation on the premium tier, Baby Stages of Development and strong growth in Low Income Markets. She returned to Fabric Care in 2009, and led the R&D team on the launch of Tide/Ariel Pods in NA and Greater Europe and Downy Unstopables in NA and Japan.
Kathy is committed to leading the R&D organization. She is focused on driving new capabilities and technologies to deliver discontinuous innovation that creates enduring brands and enables the long-term growth of the business.
Kathy is a member of the University of Michigan Engineering Advisory Board and was previously President of the Board of the Cincinnati Marlins competitive swimming team.
Kathy is a native of Fort Worth, TX and grew up in South Bend, IN. She lives in Cincinnati with her husband Stephen and has two adult children, Bryan and Margaret.
Since P&G was established in 1837, innovation has been the lifeblood of our Company. Year after year, decade after decade, innovation has built brands, transformed categories, and created entirely new businesses.
For us, innovation starts with the consumer. We gain insights into their everyday lives so we can combine “what’s needed” with “what’s possible.” Our goal is to improve consumer’s lives around the world everyday with products that deliver a delightful experience and offer a meaningful value.
Diversity plays a powerful role in driving innovation. Innovation doesn’t happen in a straight line. We are successful when we bring together individuals from different backgrounds, cultures and thinking styles in order to connect seemingly unconnected ideas. The healthy tension that comes from a diverse, well-functioning team is what’s needed to deliver big, breakthrough innovations that lead to the long-term growth of our business.
Diversity in our STEM fields, such as Research & Development (R&D) and Engineering, is an essential part of how we drive innovation. When I joined the Company back in 1979, R&D was primarily a male dominated field. Women had been in management roles for less than 10 years. There were three women leaders within R&D that stood out and became pioneers to those of us who had aspirations for rising to a higher level. They forged a path for others to follow in their footsteps.
Over time, the representation of women in R&D leadership roles has grown exponentially. Today, we have over 2,300 women managers within our function, with over 40% female representation on the R&D Leadership team. The company continues to demonstrate its commitment to diversity in STEM leadership positions with my appointment as the first female Chief Technology Officer. I hope this serves as inspiration to our young female employees.
As a Company, we work hard to support our employees through a variety of teams so everyone can feel valued, included and perform at their peak. Within R&D, we established the “Women in Innovation Network” to support the retention and advancement of women in STEM. This group strives to bridge the diversity gap and foster an environment where women can succeed and excel both personally and professionally in the area of innovation.
While we are making strong headway, there is always more work to do. Our R&D organization is focused on driving even more women into our most technical disciplines – technology, packaging and process. To do this, we have established a disciplined approach to recruiting and training. We offer courses that equip females with the tools and capabilities needed to enhance their professional development. These courses are highly interactive and expose top talent to senior leadership throughout their career. We believe this is an important step in retaining strong talent across the globe. We also strive to make the work environment more inclusive, leveraging key external thought leaders to strengthen our approach.
But this work shouldn’t start when women apply for positions at P&G. We must expose females and minorities to the areas of STEM early on in their education. As an industry, we have an opportunity to invest in programs that promote students to consider STEM careers. Planting this seed early is important to the success of our industry, our innovation and our ability to compete on a global level.
At P&G, we offer a variety of unique programs and workshops that are designed to give top diverse students the chance to learn about various careers with our company – including STEM opportunities.
- Our Research Your Future in Science Seminar allows students to participate in experiments, tours and presentations while networking with P&G researchers, research managers and other top science students from other colleges.
- P&G’s Higher Education Grant Program (HEGP) was established to support the efforts of regionally accredited U.S. colleges and universities to prepare students for success. An example of a project supported through HEGP is Georgia Institute of Technology’s Women in Engineering Ambassador Program. Ambassadors visit local elementary and high schools to talk to students about different engineering disciplines. Acting as role models, the ambassadors strive to pique students’ interest in math and science, and educate them on how exciting science can be.
- The Resident Scholar Program introduces high school students to careers in STEM; 80% of those who participate in the program go on to pursue a STEM degree.
Connect+Develop, our open innovation program, works with key external strategic partners to bring new ideas and technologies to market. The C+D network includes more than 2,000 innovation partners around the world including top universities. Our partnership with these universities provides us the chance to work closely with PhD students, including women and minorities. These high performing students are exposed to the breadth of sciences at P&G, as well as our facilities.
Personally, my goal is to drive diversity in our organization within all roles and at all levels, to create an inclusive work environment where everyone is valued and making a difference. Having an environment where we challenge each other openly and transparently will benefit from the collective power of the organization, and ultimately lead to breakthrough innovation. This healthy tension can only happen in an inclusive organization with a high level of trust and respect. We must be successful in order to deliver the long-term health of our business supported by innovations that are meaningful for our consumers.
Innovation has been P&G’s lifeblood for more than 175 years. We serve nearly five billion people around the world with our brands, which include Tide, Pampers, Crest, Olay, Pantene, Swiffer, Gillette and others.
Our 8,000 R&D employees are at the heart of our innovation pipeline. They are technical masters who use their expertise in digitization, modeling, simulation and prototyping to bring world-class innovation to our consumers. We have more than 40,00 active granted patents worldwide, and invested more than $2 billion in research and development in 2014.
We believe innovation starts with the consumer. We gain insights into their everyday lives so we can combine “what’s needed” with “what’s possible.” Our goal is to provide them with product options at all pricing tiers to drive preference for our products and provide meaningful value.
P&G operates in approximately 70 countries worldwide. For the latest news and information about P&G visit www.pg.com.