How a Unique Perspective Is a Valuable Asset


L’Oréal USA’s CMO talks about how she applies lessons she learned playing field hockey to marketing one of the world’s top beauty brands and how the company is giving back during the pandemic.

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Gretchen Saegh-Fleming is CMO for L’Oréal . For #ThePlaybook, she talks with host David Meltzer about her high school field 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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