Gretchen Saegh-Fleming is CMO for L’Oréal USA. For #ThePlaybook, she talks with host David Meltzer about her high school field hockey experiences and how it taught her about the “great unlock” that comes from challenging the status quo.
As a left-hander, Saegh-Fleming was challenged by the unavailability of left-handed field hockey sticks. To play, she was required to learn how to hold the stick with a right-hander’s grip. As this grip did not come naturally, Saegh-Fleming put in additional time and practiced more than her teammates to achieve competency, ultimately rating her abilities as “OK.”
Her breakthrough occurred when she taught herself to play using a reverse grip, holding her right-handed stick in a left-hand grip — or backward. Her unique positioning confounded opponents, helped her team win games, turned her previous vulnerability into strength and taught her that what’s different from the status quo can be a tremendous asset.
Saegh-Fleming suggests recent graduates and job seekers lean into their uniqueness, citing the “Because I’m Worth It” tagline, the creation of a junior female copywriter who worked with mostly men.
Saegh-Fleming also discusses L’Oréal’s addressing of the pandemic and its impacts by mass-producing hand sanitizer and offering support to retail partners and salon owners.
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