Antonio Lucio, Founder and Principal of 5S Diversity, wasn’t always primed for his career as a global CMO at Facebook, HP Inc, and Visa. He was on the path to becoming a lawyer until he took an international marketing position with Proctor and Gamble in Puerto Rico.
“My father, who was an old Spaniard, believed you could be one of four things: a priest, a doctor, an engineer, or a lawyer,” Lucio laughed. But at Proctor and Gamble, Lucio fell in love with marketing. “The whole idea of being able to combine data with insights and creativity to get stuff done was fascinating to me.”
In his RampUp 2022 keynote session, Leadership: A Mandate for Action, Lucio pointed out that most people do not begin their careers with the mentorship, leadership, and resources that are necessary for professional growth and success, which ultimately hinders an inclusive and diverse workplace. Throughout his career building businesses, brands, and marketing teams, Lucio has become known for his commitment to tangible action, especially driving meaningful results through diversity, inclusion, and equity.
“The most interesting conversation, as far as I’m concerned, whether it is a business priority or not, is how you’re going to get it done,” Lucio said. “At the end of the day, we are not going to move the needle on anything in life without action.”
Moving the needle in diversity
While almost every company has a diversity mission or charter, writing goals for diversity and inclusion is not enough to change company culture. Companies must realize that true workplace diversification goes beyond implementing a playbook for a year, reviewing the results, publishing the scores, and putting a bow on the initiative. Change is the result of representation across the entire ecosystem.
Diversity is an absolute business imperative, Lucio stressed. “The numbers by every single consulting firm in the world will prove it, as well as companies that have made a significant commitment to actually do so,” he said. “I’m now bored of how many more trillions of dollars could be made by making changes at the board level. You need to measure performance and then you need to create at the same time an environment that is completely inclusive of the new people that you’re bringing in.”
Part of this inclusivity involves trusting direct reports with stretch assignments, in addition to providing the necessary resources to succeed. Lucio said that every person who has been successful in their career has had four tools:
- Company sponsors
Community is key
When Lucio’s career shifted from Proctor and Gamble’s international division to working in the U.S. domestic division, the differences in professional possibilities for women and people of color became more pronounced to him. While he had company sponsors and admirable bosses, he said finding his community, including mentors, changed his entire outlook.
To Lucio, the community to find isn’t within your company. A community that includes people from the same cultural background in the same professional role as you, but in different organizations, will allow you to grow and thrive. People in these communities will support you with empathizing and best-practice sharing, and, most importantly, help you to not feel isolated when you’re the only voice in the room.
“The day that I found community, my life changed dramatically,” Lucio said. Watch Antonio Lucio’s full RampUp 2022 session to see how you can use these guiding principles to amplify your voice and take new leadership actions today.