Susan Doniz’s global role at Procter and Gamble Co. has afforded her the opportunity to travel the world and work with senior functional leaders. In building professional relationships with remote parties, Doniz has come to realize the degree to which people remain reliant on face-to-face interactions and how collaboration technologies helps. “When you use (the technology) in face-to-face conversations, it’s just miraculous. You can pick up on their facial expressions,” said the director of global shared services with the consumer goods manufacturer.
In her shared services role, Doniz oversees several areas including IT, analytics and payroll. When she joined P&G sixteen years ago, she worked in master data management, handling the flow of data like product pricing and materials through the enterprise. A master data management function is “becoming more and more prevalent because it tends to be the pinch point in a lot of areas,” says Doniz. “There’s nobody who owns the way information flows through a company other than IT, because we’re the only ones that see the way the information flows.”
Doniz graduated with an industrial engineering degree from the University of Toronto and a masters degree from Europe with a focus on IT for business. As a fresh graduate, she recalls thinking she’d never work in technology, but no sooner did her perception change. “IT is not about programmers in a backroom … it’s really about connecting with the business and understanding how technology can drive the business forward,” said Doniz.
Even P&G’s perception of technology has morphed in the 16 years she’s been with the company. They used to be “gung ho” about having everyone code before realizing there are additional key skills necessary in IT, recalls Doniz,
Early Leadership Exposure
Doniz recalls a female manager who led P&G’s North American business, who encouraged her team to have fun on the job when it was appropriate. “Bringing your personality and your authenticity to who you are is what creates people’s view of an authentic leader and that creates people who want to deliver things for you and (who want to) go above and beyond,” said Doniz.
Doniz has had the chance to be led by different leadership styles at P&G, and has come to recognize the powerful influence that some apparently passive leadership styles can impose.
It’s important to be a visionary and see things as you want them to be, while also seeing things as they actually are and reacting to that, said Doniz. “Nobody wants to put the moose on the table,” she said, but, added, sometimes it’s necessary to get the job done.
Stay tuned for the winners of ComputerWorld Canada’s IT Leadership Awards in October.
Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @KathleenLau