Rebel Human Resources Podcast

Episode 31: Shelly McNamara, E&I Officer and HR Executive at P&G

February 16, 2021 Kyle Roed / Shelly McNamara Season 1 Episode 31
Rebel Human Resources Podcast
Episode 31: Shelly McNamara, E&I Officer and HR Executive at P&G
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Rebel Human Resources Podcast
Episode 31: Shelly McNamara, E&I Officer and HR Executive at P&G
Feb 16, 2021 Season 1 Episode 31
Kyle Roed / Shelly McNamara

This was such a powerful episode!  Kyle speaks with Shelly McNamara about getting started in HR, driving Equity and Inclusion, and her new book, No Blanks, No Pauses: A Path to Loving Self and Others  

As the Chief Equality & Inclusion Officer at Procter & Gamble, one of the world's most admired companies, Shelly works with her colleagues on the P&G leadership team and with P&G people around the world to make P&G one of the most innovative, diverse, and inclusive companies in the world. Well-known for her speeches that are compassionate, courageous, and authentic to the core, she uses her powerful insights to elevate the consciousness and connection of people from around the globe. Now, for the first time, Shelly is bringing her poetry and powerful stories to us all.

Heralded as “essential reading for all leaders who strive to create thriving, productive teams” by Ariana Huffington, founder and CEO of Thrive Global, No Blanks, No Pauses is an exploration of one woman's journey to live a full and authentic life that holds lessons for each of us. Shelly has written her way through adversity and heartbreak to discover that dreams are worth pursuing, injustice is worth challenging, and peace and fairness are what matter most. This book's mixture of memoir, poetry, and insightful questions draws us in and inspires us to ”think deeply about the direction of our lives and the relationships that count,” as Katie Couric, founder of Katie Couric Media, says about the book.

You can find Shelly's book at: https://www.shellymcnamara.com/book/
https://www.linkedin.com/in/shellymcnamara-writer/

Rebel HR is a podcast for HR professionals and leaders of people who are ready to make some disruption in the world of work.

Subscribe today on your favorite podcast player!  

We'll be discussing topics that are disruptive to the world of work and talk about new and different ways to approach solving those problems.

Follow Rebel HR Podcast at:

www.rebelhumanresources.com
https://twitter.com/rebelhrguy
https://www.facebook.com/rebelhrpodcast
www.kyleroed.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/kyle-roed/

We love to hear from our listeners!  Send us questions or comments at kyleroed@gmail.com

Rebel On, HR Rebels!



Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/rebelhumanresources)

Show Notes Transcript

This was such a powerful episode!  Kyle speaks with Shelly McNamara about getting started in HR, driving Equity and Inclusion, and her new book, No Blanks, No Pauses: A Path to Loving Self and Others  

As the Chief Equality & Inclusion Officer at Procter & Gamble, one of the world's most admired companies, Shelly works with her colleagues on the P&G leadership team and with P&G people around the world to make P&G one of the most innovative, diverse, and inclusive companies in the world. Well-known for her speeches that are compassionate, courageous, and authentic to the core, she uses her powerful insights to elevate the consciousness and connection of people from around the globe. Now, for the first time, Shelly is bringing her poetry and powerful stories to us all.

Heralded as “essential reading for all leaders who strive to create thriving, productive teams” by Ariana Huffington, founder and CEO of Thrive Global, No Blanks, No Pauses is an exploration of one woman's journey to live a full and authentic life that holds lessons for each of us. Shelly has written her way through adversity and heartbreak to discover that dreams are worth pursuing, injustice is worth challenging, and peace and fairness are what matter most. This book's mixture of memoir, poetry, and insightful questions draws us in and inspires us to ”think deeply about the direction of our lives and the relationships that count,” as Katie Couric, founder of Katie Couric Media, says about the book.

You can find Shelly's book at: https://www.shellymcnamara.com/book/
https://www.linkedin.com/in/shellymcnamara-writer/

Rebel HR is a podcast for HR professionals and leaders of people who are ready to make some disruption in the world of work.

Subscribe today on your favorite podcast player!  

We'll be discussing topics that are disruptive to the world of work and talk about new and different ways to approach solving those problems.

Follow Rebel HR Podcast at:

www.rebelhumanresources.com
https://twitter.com/rebelhrguy
https://www.facebook.com/rebelhrpodcast
www.kyleroed.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/kyle-roed/

We love to hear from our listeners!  Send us questions or comments at kyleroed@gmail.com

Rebel On, HR Rebels!



Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/rebelhumanresources)

Shelly McNamara:

I give up I give started giving speeches around PNG, starting around 10 years ago, telling my life story. And then sharing themes of around humanity and challenging our leaders around the world to be more supportive, more encouraging, to support people who are from the LGBT community. So I started inspiring people from the LGBTQ community around PNG and around the world to come out because they deserve to live full and holistic lives.

Kyle Roed:

This is the rebel HR podcast. If you're a professional looking for innovative, thought provoking information in the world of Human Resources. This is the right podcast for you. All right, Revelation, our listeners, I am so excited to introduce you to our guest today. Shelley. McNamara is the chief equality and inclusion officer and executive vice president of HR at a company that you might have heard of Procter and Gamble. She began her career in sales and has spent almost 30 years in HR, she has a ton of experience. She also has a new book coming out that I'm excited to to read and talk about. with you today. Here. It's called no blanks, no pauses path to loving self. And others. Welcome to the show. Shelly. Thank you, Kyle. First off, thank you very much for for joining us today. So Procter and Gamble, obviously a premier organization, in our in our world, and especially more critical, the way that 2020 and the beginning of 2021 have, have have become so can we just start off? Can you just kind of tell us what is your story in HR? How did you get into the career you're in? And and how did that lead you to where you are today?

Shelly McNamara:

Yeah, so I attended the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. And, you know, when I went away to college, I selected a university that had a broad range of, you know, various for study, because I didn't have a clue what I wanted to do, which is not unusual for an 18 year old. And, and when things changed was, you know, I thought about going into education to become an educator, I thought about going sort of pure business that didn't feel right. And then I took this organizational psychology class, and the professor was outstanding. But most importantly, I read about this field called organization development. And it was defined, sort of, like, you know, I think they use words, or what I recall was, you know, it's a values based approach to helping individuals teams and organizations transform. And I remember when I read it, I said out loud, that's what I want to do. Like, that's who I want to be. And I am very, again, plain English, I was like, wow, this is all about really helping to diagnose an organization, and then figure out what are the things that you can do to help make them more humane, you know, and effective. And, and that just sounded really cool to me. So. So that's where that's where it started. So I switched my major. Again, I was probably on major number three at that point. And I switched in to to get a bachelor's degree in organizational behavior. And so that's, you know, that's how my interest started, my work started, I actually, then got some great advice from that same professor, when I said, hey, how do I get into this field, I've read about this, I don't really know exactly what this means. And what he said at the time was, you know, the field of HR is developing and growing. And I think it has a little ways to go to get to a place where this kind of work is more anchored in the center of it. He said, So, um, go be a business person. And, and figure out what you you know, sort of what skills you have and what you can do and contribute and, and then stay true to this passion, and you'll find your way. So pretty vague, you know, vague advice, and yet very pointed. So I did that I started with Procter and Gamble in 1985 in sales. And it was four years later that I started a master's program at Case Western Reserve in od organization development. And it's really the place in those two years, where I gained insight, knowledge and some experience in helping people in organizations transform. So that was my formal entry into the field of HR, which, you know, Kyle is it's a broad field, but that was a point and my passion point.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. You said that so well, it's you know, HR is, it's so dependent upon the organization that you work for what your job actually is. And so, so I wanted to touch on one of the comments that you made, and I thought what a what a truthful statement that HR had a long way to go before the business really embraced, you know, od and, and IO psych. And some of these, you know, what I call kind of like new school theories of business leadership. So right, as you progress through your career, what kind of changes have you seen in the context of being an HR practitioner at your organization? Yeah, so,

Shelly McNamara:

you know, for me, I'll talk sort of what was my personal journey in that, and then the company journey because they intersected. I began to do HR work, but I stayed coded a salesperson. And what happened is my interest and some of the skills I was developing, I was bringing insight, that's what I would say to you, I was bringing insight about change management. And, and I was in and working with a sales team that was beginning to transform from our connection to customers, as singular salespeople to more multifunctional teams. So the first change effort and first piece of HR work that I began doing at p&g was in helping those teams that we're now adding resources to the teams, we were adding people who understood supply chain, we were adding finance people who brought more of that discipline and more more depth. And so my first really HR work was, was being one of the people at p&g, who started to define the capability work and start to do some of the capability work that helped us transform. And we had to make structural changes right to those teams, as they interface with customers in a more multifunctional way. And we also had to make some cultural changes, you know, getting people to work. So structure, strategy and culture, we had to develop more holistic strategies for customers that went beyond selling cases. And, and so that was, you know, that was my, you know, sort of my first, I'd call it substantive HR work that, that was there. And then I wasn't the only one doing that, right. So I was one of the people that had gained some experiences in this sort of change management, business partner context. And so, you know, what started happening is across the corporation, I started seeing other people who were getting that same insight or capability, and we were making a difference for the business and for the organization of people started seeing that and noticing that. And, and then, you know, over time, and it was a number of years, but, you know, we began transforming HR. And I remember, one of the pieces of work that happened was, let's define hr 2005, you know, then it was hr 2015. And, and there were just a series of, of redefinitions, of who we were as a discipline, and what we could bring, and that transformation wasn't about eliminating the things that are incredibly important about HR have been and always will be, right, like, you know, quality and discipline and things like compensation, right? quality and discipline and things like employee relations, etc, you and I could go on giving the limb, this became an extension and an end, which was, and that's what I got to be a part of at p&g as I was one of the people who helped over a 10 year period, bring in some of the transformation skills. And we started not only applying those and making a difference for the business, but we begin to document those and use those as a way to redefine, or I would say more evolved, what HR brought to the table for the business.

Kyle Roed:

Perhaps absolutely, gosh, I bet that was fun.

Shelly McNamara:

It was fun. It was fun. I mean, you know, learning is is always fun. And you know, when you're in that phase of creating something new, you get the chance to test some things and learn and say, oh, that didn't work so well. And, and then some other things that you know that that did work well. One of my most fun, and this will sound odd to use the word fun to make me rephrase that. What am I most rewarding experiences, applying HR technology was when I had the opportunity to to work a shutdown front of our of one of our sites. And it was I would say what I would call a, you know, culminating and integrating a integrative experience, I had the chance to connect many things I had learned in HR all together, and then apply those to help benefit the PNG business and the PNG people. So again, there's a shutdown of about 800, a site of about 800 people. And I was able to frame a strategy that was about that drove the shutdown which was around we want to provide employees time options and support as we go through this transition. And then the action steps had all the aspects of HR in it right. So there was a strategic context for it or intentionality. And it was again, my od background which was values based is about humanity and how we treat people. And it was also about, you know, we do need to drive changes that benefit, you know, the financial and the well being of the corporation, right. So I had the benefit of working with this incredible HR team and line leadership team to structure that transition effort and that change effort. And it was just, it was really cool. And again, we had to know and do things in compensation, we had to know and do things and employee relations, and managing what was a very complex employee relations environment for a few years. And we we had the opportunity to put in place some things that helped make that change happen in a human way. And in one that, you know, that that also drove the changes that business needed. So that's just one example that, you know, that I had to do a piece of work with colleagues, where we we leveraged the the new insights of really the holistic portfolio of HR work and skills.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely, and I think you articulated your point, so well, but you know, the key word is, is in a human way, right? And yes, respectful and we nobody likes facility closures or, or any sort of, you know, highly impactful business decisions that may be necessary for business continuity. But you know, how we treat those people who are impacted, that says a whole lot about our company,

Shelly McNamara:

it really does. And, you know, we have a set of core, a PG, we call it our purpose, values and principles. And that just sounds like a slogan when I say it that way. But it's actually really core to what we do live by it. And when we don't we course correct. and respect for all is important. So I threw out those three words, but I want to give, you know, your listeners an example. So we said time was important. And so one of the things I worked with the senior executives of PNG, is to get approval to have an extended timeline, that we were shutting down a site and we were moving the work not necessarily in place, but the work to three different sites. And so I got the company's approval to call it a lift and move. And what I said is, we're lifting this work, and we're moving it, and we're gonna give all of our employees the option to go with that work, right. And it was, we needed to provide them time, we needed to provide them some options, because what I know about human beings is that when we have the ability to make choice, we feel more whole and we feel better, right? And we feel more in control. And so even those sites that, you know, that it was less likely that people would go to what I built into the financials with our finance leader was to give people the option to go visit that site. So some of our administrative and technical resources, you know, maybe the ones because they were sourced locally, okay, our manager talent is sourced nationally, they may be less likely to move right location, because they were sourced from a local talent pool, and we just, that's just what we find. But we gave everybody the option to go visit the work that was moving to Cincinnati, as an example, we said, you can go visit Cincinnati, and we scheduled, you know, trips that people could take in groups to go visit, to see that, you know, to check into the school system, to see if that's a place they would want to move. So again, we had an extended timeline as much as we could, and then we gave people options. And then the last thing is support. And we did things in the site that had never been done before, you know, we had, you know, a massage therapists come in and give, you know, neck massage right on, you know, on Fridays for you know, for a while we had, you know, job fairs, the the lope, the PMG locations that were within, you know, call it 100 miles of that site, we brought them in for sort of a career day to let people know what might be at those locations. So even though we weren't moving that business there, but that may become an option for them. So I just do believe I believe in the end, it's one of my key philosophies. And I just applied it in two ways. I believe in the core work that's always made HR great, and it's necessary, and we need to keep evolving. And I believe in driving business success, and we can do that in a human way. And in a respectful way, and giving human space and choice is always a good thing. And respect and you said the word Kyle a couple times there. It's respect is always important.

Kyle Roed:

Hey, man, I'm taking notes here. I'm gonna absolutely I love that. It's an and that's, yeah, very well said. So I'm curious and maybe you can help settle the debate that I tend to have with with HR professionals. So, you mentioned that the advice you got in the in the role that you walked into initially was not an HR role, it was a sales role or you know, role specifically supporting the business. My, my experience was similar I started in a role that was not HR. And I you know, I say HR found me right my My opinion is that is actually critical to be a good HR professionals because you have to understand the business and the best way to understand it is to do the job. And I get into, you know, some back and forth with HR professionals, what's your perspective on on the path into HR? What What would you recommend for somebody looking to get into the career,

Shelly McNamara:

you know, I just told you that word and is one of my favorites. So I think there's multiple paths in, I work with outstanding HR professionals who came in through a range of paths. And I do believe that I do believe that the work of transformation, which is one that I knew I wanted to get into, so I did speak with a professor in organizational psychology, and I said, I want to do this work called, that's anchored in the field of od that's about helping people transform. And his advice was go work, and be in a business role, because he said, You need to know and understand the business, just as you said it, Kyle. So I do think it's invaluable to understand the business. And any chance you can get to be have a role, or have experiences that give you that will make you a better HR professional, no matter what you're doing, where you are, how you doing it. So I firmly believe that because there is the core work of the organization and the core work of p&g, we're a consumer goods company. So the core work is about selling cases, right of product that end up in, you know, in store shelves, or through other channels and end up in consumers hands. So I do believe that I just think it's essential learning. I don't think it's it's the only way, but I would say for me, it benefited me tremendously. And here's a couple of the practical things that I got from it. One is credibility, because I knew the language of business. So I was able to engage with people and say, Yeah, I understand when you're talking about the cases getting into the warehouse, this is what happens. Yeah. And then they have to get on the floor and hear, right, so I was able to have those type of discussions that weren't theoretical to me. But they were real, because I spent my first five years doing things like calling on, you know, large, independent retailers. And in some instances, in my first few years, I would help build cases of I mean, built displays of jif peanut butter just to sell more, right, because the stock boy hadn't gotten it out on the floor. And everyone, let's get this stuff out there, you know. So I do think it's invaluable. I think it's important. There are, anytime you have the opportunity, I advise all of the HR professionals that I that I mentor, if you have a chance to do a line roll, you ought to take that opportunity. I want to acknowledge one other group of people, though, that I so I'm not misheard, because you have a lot of different listeners, that the you know, there are mastery areas, right. So HR is made up of people who know and understand mastery areas, right. So I work with colleagues who have been in and will remain their careers in the compensation and benefits space, maybe even just maybe compensation maybe just benefits. They're invaluable to me and to the corporation. Right. They over time. Know that work, they over time know the transformations that have happened, and the depth that that I that I wouldn't have. And there are generalists, right? You know, I and I also think there's a both and over time, I built a generalist skill set. And I'm going to credit the different person who said to me, you know, because I started out doing UI type roles, so od or UI roles. And one of the things she said to me was, you have great leadership skills. And unless you're going to go be a consultant at one of the consulting firms, you're going to have to build the general skill set, because that's who's going to get the majority of the leadership roles, especially in a corporation like this. So I made the choice. This is the second choice. So I made the one choice, which is to do a line role, I made a second really important choice in my career, which is to build a generalist skill set. And I will tell you, my my career's gone a bit full circle, because what that meant was that I was the business partner for many business leaders at many different levels in PNG, helping them transform the organization, but also making sure that their senior executives understood our compensation principles and why we did the things that we did. I was also making sure we followed our employee relations guidelines. And now at the end of my career, like I'm, you know, I'm the chief equality officer, I've gone back to being a master again, and I'm in a I'm in an area that requires mastery and depth. But the generalist skill set that I developed is one of the best enablers of this as well because I'm able to engage with people on topics that come from experience, and that's important.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. I my favorite job in HR was the HR generalist role. I had enough manufacturing facility. Yes, it was trial by fire. But you figured out real quick if a charm was for you.

Shelly McNamara:

Very true.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah. You know, and so in some days, you just, you know, you can't write that down, and you certainly aren't gonna find some of the experiences in a textbook, that's for sure.

Shelly McNamara:

Right. And people know the difference when you're speaking from theory or when you're speaking from experience. Right? You're 100% Yeah, and your ability to influence anybody and everyone. And at the end of the day, as an HR professional, you have to be able to influence people, business leaders, colleagues, to do things. And to the extent you have experience behind it, you'll you're more credible and more capable. Absolutely. So

Kyle Roed:

maybe fast forwarding a little bit, so I didn't thank you so much for for helping our listeners understand your career path, I'm sure there's a number of them that, you know, aspire to be in a role similar to your, your current role, today, so I'd like to talk a little bit about your role as chief equality and inclusion officer. Obviously, 2020. And well before 2020, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has been a focus, but it's also really received a really heavy emphasis in 2020. And, and so I think one of the, one of the challenges that, that we face, as HR professionals is, you know, that's one of those areas that that many generalists have to focus on. But maybe they don't have the mastery, or the or the subject matter expertise to to do the job that their teams need them to do. So. Where did you get your mastery for? For d? And I and and ultimately, you know, how have you been focusing on driving that initiative at PNG.

Shelly McNamara:

So one of the things about PNG is that diversity, equality and inclusion have been a core part of our strategy for many years. And that's very different than saying there's a program. It's a core part of our strategy. So it's one of the reasons that I've been able to build depth over the many years because the work and the importance of that work has been around in our corporation for so many years. So you know, a bit about p&g, you know, we, we serve, you know, billions of consumers around the world, we have about 90,000 employees and 70 to 80 different countries. And so, being able to both reflect are being able to serve those consumers, means it's really important for us to reflect those consumers in our employee base. Right. So it's part of how we do business. It's not a nice to do. It's not a separate social cause or other it's a it's a core part of the work that we believe in deeply. So it really is. So when I say How did I get? So, you know, how did I build the skill set, the first hand say is I work for a corporation and has had it built into the core of our strategy for a very long time. And we we have a very clear and public declaration that we seek to create a company really in a world where equality and inclusion is achievable for all. And that internally for us, as well as out in the world, but internally that respect and inclusion are cornerstones of our culture. And so we work towards that. There's a business reason, right. And there's a human reason, which is a theme, Kyle, that you and I have been talking today a lot, right? We actually believe that when you know, human, you know, when human beings, you know, all human beings can have access and opportunity. It's better for communities, it's better for companies, it's better for countries, right? limiting people or groups of people, their access or their opportunity is not a good business decision. And so we're you know, we're, we believe in that, you know, very, very deeply. So on that I've had the privilege of working side by side with line leaders, right, women and men who own our p&l, and who have been working to say, how do we activate this commitment through things like our brands, and so, you know, you may have seen some of the, some of the things that we've done to use our voice out in the world. We have, you'll see it in through some of our brands. So you'll see, you know, I don't know how long ago it was, whether it was two years ago, or a year and a half. But you know, in the recent past, you start to see men as parents, right in our in our Pampers commercials, or historically, you'd only see women changing diapers, women holding babies, right? And so one of the things that, that you that's just an example of where we're starting to say wait a second, if we really are about equality, one of things we need to do is start showing the full range of, of humanity and representing and normalizing, you know, for all human beings and not stereotyping right and not putting people into boxes. So, so that's so that's what I would say to you. That's the reason that I've had the benefit of working at a corporation that has made it a part of our strategy and so and then it gets translated into doing work in the employee. space in the brand space, we work with partners in this space to drive systemic change. And we also do work in communities where we invest, you know, time, money and resources to help drive and build more more equality. So I've benefited from that, you know, certainly I've also sought out every opportunity, I made the choice, I think making a choice is really important. And then for HR professionals listening to this, you have to decide what's going to be your point of difference, which areas of HR are important to you that you want to learn about, that you want to be known for. And I made the choice to learn and to do and to make an impact in the space of diversity, equality inclusion A long time ago. And then I what I would did to activate that was I looked for courses or experiences inside PNG, and outside. And I went near and by those people that I saw role modeling wisdom in this space as much as I could, you know, I just like, Hey, can I learn from you? Hey, can I come into your office and talk to you, I saw you leading this, you know, conversation, can you tell me more about it. So I think making a choice about what you want to learn. And if this is a choice area for you, um, one last plug here, I'm going to give Kyle on that, which is, I think, as an HR professional, I don't, I think that we all need to make the choice to do work in this space, because this is about humanity. And one of my personal beliefs is that, you know, I want human beings to experience and express the fullness of their humanity. And when they do that, they're happier, the business grows, you know, and companies and cultures do. So I think no matter who you are listening to this call, I think learning more about what to do and how to do it in this space is critical.

Kyle Roed:

I love that. I love that and what and what a great example of an end, right, you know, this is this is all this is a business strategy. And it's human. It's, it's, it's driving humanity into the world that we work in, which most of us spend most of our waking hours. So let's let's make this a comfortable and inclusive, and a good experience for us and for everybody else we work with, right?

Shelly McNamara:

Yes. And figure out what can we do in the environment that gives people the space and the support to bring their gifts, right? Again, it's, you know, we want to not only reflect at p&g, the our diversity of our consumer base, but we also believe that we innovate better when we have different eyes and lenses on a problem, right? 100% we come to better solutions, when there's, you know, a different way to think about things, which is brought by a broader range of humanity, not a more narrow range. And there's lots of social science and social research that you know unequivocably shares that perspective, so we believe that deeply

Kyle Roed:

100% 100% Yeah. I just think I just reflect on an experience when I was talking to somebody in a, in a former position, and they were talking about how innovation was a strength and I, I took a look around the room. Everybody had graduated from the same college looks exactly the same was about the same age. And I'm like, Are you sure? I didn't, I didn't belabor the point. But I just I just, yeah. I mean, it's shaped her lenses on the world, right?

Shelly McNamara:

And our absolutes and our biases, right. And, and, and the only way we get checked on those and the only way we get you know, I don't learn a lot from people who view and think of the world exactly as I do. All they do is validate my opinion and perspective. I learn and grow from people who, who opened my eyes to something that I'm not seeing or believing.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. And I don't know about you, but for me, that's, that's the fun stuff. That's one of the favorite things about my job is I get that I get that in my job. It's rewarding for me.

Shelly McNamara:

Yes.

Kyle Roed:

Yes, absolutely.

Shelly McNamara:

Growth. It's important.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. So so you made a you made a comment and about you know, getting your voice out in the world. So I'd like to talk a little bit more about your voice being out in the world and in the book that you wrote no blanks no pauses of path to loving self and others. So you know, writing a book that's a that's a big undertaking for me, daunting. So what what prompted you to put your voice out there and what what led to the book?

Shelly McNamara:

Um, so yes, the book, no blanks, no pauses will be published. Published in early February. And I'm excited about it. You know, I I have been writing my whole life Kyle. I had a journal when I was a young child and I would write some of my fears or worries or joys or hopes. And that evolved over the years, it began in a big way. So the book is memoir, where I share a personal story about my journey. Some of those have, it's very personal, but there's also some business in there. So I do weave in where personal and organizational have come together. And I share different events and stories, the things that happened to me. And what was the insight that I drew from that experience. So my intent is to help others on their journey. Right, this journey of being human is, it's not always easy, right? There's bumps in the road. And I share the stories about what I've done to be fully me, and to kind of heal from those things, those wounds and bumps along the road. My writing began as a way to process pain. So he said, Why did you write a book, shall I say, Well, I actually started writing, when I was 16 years old, have a family friend, a dear family friend, died in a tragic accident. My sister's best friend, her name was Marianne. And, and while I, you know, that happened when I was 16. And I was really incapable of processing those feelings. And so I started writing. And I wrote my first poem. And today I've written over 200 poems. And the these poems, you know, are sort of anchors in the book, they really magnify messages. And, and so that's what you find throughout the book are stories. My life story has some unique aspects to it. I'm the youngest of 15 siblings. And that's a that's a real number one, five. And I was born on the west side of Cleveland, in the in the first summer, which is called Lakewood, Ohio. And, and I share the story of that, you know, one of the things I realized along my journey was that I was gay. And so I, and today, I, my wife, and I have three daughters, our oldest daughter is 23. And then we have twins that are 20. And so a number of the stories in the book really share my struggles and joys at living an authentic and full life. And I have led a very full life. And, and one, though, that has had some of the challenges. So I share those stories. so that others can build compassion, particularly and empathy, but particularly for people who have been treated as less than and, and I, I think that you can't deny that, that the beliefs that we inherit from the environment around us, whether it's through media, whether it's through our culture's our backgrounds, we have all learned things, and I call them you know, sort of untruths about each other. And they're not always overt in our, in our mind. But that some of the biases and beliefs we've inherited, resulted in us treating other people as less than, and so I share some of my stories of being treated as less than I also share some of the stories of incredible joy and love along that journey. And so that's, that's the book, it's a it's a one that has been written over many, many years. And I went our twins left for college in 2018, I finally said out loud, I'm gonna put this all on paper and, and publish it. And so I'm just really excited that, that that moment has come.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, what a What a powerful story. You know, I, I would, you know, make the comment being the youngest of 15. Was that really your first HR job?

Unknown:

So my opening line when I speak to professionals is

Shelly McNamara:

beginning of my HR experience, because, right, you talk about a range of humanity that I had the privilege, I say, I got to, to watch my brothers and sisters, and, you know, the decisions they made and how they, you know, wandered through life. And I watched and I paid attention, and I captured some of those, those insights, but I also had many different paths to choose from and people to, to observe. So yeah, absolutely. It was a it was not only watching the fullness of humanity, but just the way my mother was a single mother the time I was four, the way she managed our household, right. So system. Yeah. Right. How do you? How do you keep that system going and not blowing up when you are a single mother who works 40 hours a week, and that was some great learning to sort of systems work and change management and work process? All of it.

Kyle Roed:

I can't even I can't even get my head wrapped around. how someone would do that. I'm trying to do I'm trying to deal with three. Yes, with a partner.

Shelly McNamara:

Yes.

Kyle Roed:

I don't I don't even I don't even know where I would start. Kudos to your mother

Shelly McNamara:

is a wonderful lady. Yes. She was.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. Wow. So So obviously, you know you you come from a point of quote, you know, difference? You know, and we're all a little bit different. But one of the things that one of the comments that you made in, in one of the interviews that I was reading was that, you know, being gay wasn't part of your plan. Right. And that was really, that was a poignant line for me to read. And honestly, I got a little bit emotional when I did, because I reflected on when my brother came out as gay, a few years ago. And the the comment from, you know, some of my family members was, Boy, that's a really, that's a really hard life or, you know, I had that, you know, that that same kind of tone that well, this wasn't what we would plan for, you know, and I felt like that, you know, that was borderline. I mean, in my opinion, offensive. And so, so, but there's so many things that aren't a part of our plan. Right, right. I mean, I didn't plan most of my life.

Shelly McNamara:

Right? Isn't that so?

Kyle Roed:

Yeah. So So kudos to you for, for being you know, just just being authentic and, and living your life in an authentic way. So as as you were coming to grips with that, and getting into your career? How did you reflect that authenticity in the work that you were doing, as well as your personal life?

Shelly McNamara:

You know, I, you picked up on a phrase that, you know, that from, from my book, right, I talk about the fact that being gay wasn't a part of my plan. And, and the other part of that story, or the context is that I spent years and years and years pursuing an external representation of perfection. So one of the ways that I was going through the world, as the youngest of 15 kids who had a stroke, you know, we came from a very difficult economic background was I pursued academic excellence, with a level of intensity, that that was great. That's what I'll say. And so when I realized the part of my identity, that I was gay, because the external images and narrative around me, and this would have been in the, you know, the 90s, right. And the 80s, the 80s, and 90s, was, they were horrible things that were said on a regular basis through media, through human beings through religion, about people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer. So the community that I'm a part of, there were horrible things. So I had internalized the shame from the environment around me. And so when I realized this part of my identity, I did struggle, and I didn't struggle, because there's something wrong with it. I struggled because the world around me, I believe, had convinced me right, that there was something so I did struggle for a number of years. The beautiful part is, as I got through that struggle, and I got to the other side of it, and I say that struggle, it was, you know, falling in love with my partner, who is my partner of 37 years, but we've been married since 2014. We have three grown daughters, you know, there's a whole life journey there, right. That's a whole other time, Kyle that we can talk. But what I can tell you is that I did build a deeper sense of the importance of authenticity, speaking my truth, living my truth, giving other people the ability to do that. And it actually is a core part of my equity in my professional life is being very authentic. And, and what you find for all of us is there are things that hold all of us back from being and living an authentic life. But I made a choice, which is that I was not going to let shame become a part of my character. I was not going to let shame become a part of what our children learned from me or us. And I was not going to let shame overtake the importance of authenticity. And so that was the choice I made. And I would say PNG has benefited from it. I've had a number of PNG executives say to me, I so appreciate your transparency, your honesty, your authenticity, and through the story, or through you know, referencing back the book, no blanks, no pauses. I give See, I guess started giving speeches around PNG, starting around 10 years ago, telling my life story. And then sharing themes of around humanity and challenging our leaders around the world, to be more supportive, more encouraging, to support people who are from the LGBT community. So I started inspiring people from the LGBTQ community around PNG and around the world to come out because they deserve to live full and holistic lives. You know, without Shame or without judgment. And, and so my personal life and my professional life have intersected in the last few years. And you'll see in the, you know, in the book is just one example. But I've been giving speeches around p&g using my personal writing that draws out really important themes of humanity. And the things that, you know, what I like to say is, we do things as human beings, unfortunately, that create distance and divide between each other. And so I offer different ways to look at things and different ways to interact. So that we can eliminate some of that distance and divide, and come to together to listen to each other to hear each other to respect, and ultimately support people for who they are. And you can tell I'm really passionate about it, right.

Kyle Roed:

I'm just soaking it in I just, it's, it's, it's such an important message and such important work. And, and so, you know, thank you for, for using your platform to help others feel feel safe. Yeah. And included in in, in their experience at work. I mean, I think that's, if we do anything, as HR professionals, we owe that to our employees. We do 100%

Shelly McNamara:

we do. Everyone deserves to feel valued and respected for who they are, not who we want them to be. But for who they are.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. The other of the other thing that I'm you know, I'm just sitting here reflecting on this, and in your story. I'm very, I'm encouraged at the progress that we've made since the 80s 90s and 2000s. And I, you know, I'm ashamed to admit it, but I remember back in the I grew up in the 80s, and 90s. Back then gay was a, it was a slur that people use to describe things, yes, in an inappropriate way. And at that time, it was funny. Yeah. And that's not funny. And, and, and we should all be ashamed that that was part of anybody's vernacular, but you know, it, it was being open to learning and listening, and, and being empathetic to others that that helps us figure out, oh, we should stop using that language. Yeah, we, you know, we need to change and, and, you know, that is, for me, that is the work, right. And that and being open to that, and, and aware of our ignorance, right. From my standpoint, that's, that, that's the other piece that we have to be aware of that and hyper aware of that in HR.

Shelly McNamara:

Absolutely. And, you know, for me, I want young people to, I want them to have hope, and a vision that they too, can have a whole life, right. So people who identify in the LGBTQ community, I want them to be able to read my story, hear parts of it and say, Wow, she can do that I can to write positive, like stories about people in the community, and people that represent, right living the life, you know, I have lived and I continue to live the life that I want to live in the life that I was meant to live. And I believe that deeply. And when you know, the facts around teen suicide, and when you know that there are teenagers every day, who are making a choice about whether they continue, you know, to live or not, it's even higher for for teenagers who are not getting the support that they need around them, or they're hearing the narrative, which is not helpful or supportive of them. And so it's a really, it's a really big deal that we, we come to understand that I didn't choose to be a lesbian I it's a part of who I am. And, and, and so I have come to not only, you know, accept but I fully embrace who I am. Some of my best learning has come by this aspect of my identity. And so I'm grateful for it. I you know, I'm I am not, I haven't been successful in my career, in spite of being a lesbian. I have been successful in my career, partly because of that aspect of me because it's given me some deep learning and insight that I wouldn't otherwise have had.

Kyle Roed:

So powerful and when you when you are authentic, don't you feel like that, that eliminates the barriers that were in your way that lets you be better? lets you be you.

Shelly McNamara:

It does. It really, really does. Can I can I read you a poem from my book? Are you okay with that?

Kyle Roed:

Yes, please.

Shelly McNamara:

It's titled, level set. And I've used this one in my professional work for years. We are taught to see things and people as better than and less than, why not different than we have this need to level up and down. I win. You lose. You win. I lose one up One down, always, why not level set? grant you space to be you. And I get to be me. We no longer need to make one better than to make one less than what will it take to level set to see each other as different, but equally magnificent. Create space where everyone can shine. So that's my encouragement. You know, as we close out here, in the final few minutes here, Kyle, I, I think that level setting is an important concept. It's the concept of you get to be you and I get to be me, and we no longer have the need to level one up to move one down, we actually have space for all of us to feel supported, encouraged, and respected. And, and so I do think it's time to level set, the things that we're doing, and that we do daily that create division and divide are not helpful for us as humans or the world around us.

Kyle Roed:

Wow, that powerful, powerful statement, and advice that I think we all need right now. So I'm going to leave it right there. I sincerely sincerely appreciate the time, Shelly, thank you for the work that you've done within your organization in the work that you're doing to communicate your truth outside your organization. We are all better for

Shelly McNamara:

Thank you. I really appreciate it. And to all those HR professionals out there. It's a wonderful profession. So keep going.

Kyle Roed:

All right, thank you again, Shelly. Thanks, Kyle. All right. That does it for the rebel HR podcast. guests. Follow us on Facebook at rebel HR podcast, Twitter at rebel HR guy or see our website at rebel human resources.com. Use it opinions expressed by podcast is the Office of official policy

Jude Roed:

review baby