NYC Recap: Changemaker Chat with Angela Guy

Happiness, Prosperity, and Health:
The Personal Business Plan According to Angela Guy

We all know about business plans, but what about a personal business plan.. for the business of YOU? Angela Guy, SVP of diversity and inclusion at L’Oreal USA, shared how she came to develop a business plan to be her best self and how she uses it to keep herself on track. From atop the L’Oreal USA Headquarters at Hudson Yards, Angelaopened up about the lessons she learned and the personal philosophies she’s honed during our March Changemaker Chat.

On Forks in the Road
From her days selling belts to country western stores in Nebraska to learning market dynamics in California, Angela has changed jobs 22 times throughout her career, many of which required her to move homes, as well. Reflecting on her career zigs and zags, Angela highlighted Robert Frost’s classic poem, “The Road Not Taken,” and stressed that each decision was essential to building the foundation for her life today. In navigating your path and creating opportunities throughout your journey, Angela recommends doing your current job with your next one in mind.

On Creating a Business Plan for a Good Life
With her eyes set on a VP title, Angela made the move from a $2 billion business in the US to a $180 million business in Canada in order to serve as vice president of sales for Johnson & Johnson. Though she found career success during her time in Toronto, she missed the US, and after five years was ready to return home. Gearing up for her next move, Angela wanted to be strategic about her next decision, but unlike before, incorporate happiness as a top priority. To aid in her process, she created a framework for objectively strategizing her options and clarifying her most important goals: happiness, prosperity, and health. Angela held herself accountable by continually consulting her personal business plan, and making sure not to sacrifice one value in favor of an abundance of another. With this perspective, she made the decision to add to the happiness column by becoming a mother and adopting two children.

Getting to We
“Recognize who you are as a diverse being. Recognize that you are different from the person next to you. Many people think of race or gender, but there are so many things that make you uniquely you. You are diverse to somebody.” Angela pointed out that every meeting you’re invited to is because of who you are, what you do, and the type of thinking you bring to the table. She suggests stepping out of your own comfort zone and focusing less on the diversity and more on inclusivity. “No matter your role, you can always help make an environment more inclusive.”

Repeat After Me
“My mother was and always will be my greatest inspiration,” said Angela. Among the most important lessons her mother instilled were these three key mantras by which Angela continues to live: 1) Start out like you’re going to finish 2) Never let anyone steal your joy and 3) Always take a moment to slow down. Breathe. Experience Life as it was meant to unfold.

On defining yourself and your opportunities
Angela almost let her reservations hold her back from throwing her hat into the ring for a job. She wasn’t sure about the job, but once she asked the right questions she realized the fit and ultimately got the position. “If you don’t ask, you don’t know what will fulfill you.” In some cases, you may be less inclined to do something because of someone else’s assumptions about who you are. If that’s the case, leap anyway. And rather than let negative feedback define who you are, Angela encouraged us to remember, “Their problem is my opportunity.”