My first job was with Procter & Gamble in 1983 as an assistant brand manager for Crest in Venezuela. At the time, I thought this was a complete 180 from the job I should be doing. I had graduated from Boston College with a degree in Business Administration and had my heart set on a position in finance. I was a serious numbers person—everything had to have a net present value!

I admit I didn’t know enough to appreciate the size and scope of P&G’s portfolio, but I did know that the company was doing international recruiting, and I wanted to return home to Venezuela. So I headed to Caracas for an interview with Mr. Campos, the P&G human resources manager for Venezuela. After 15 minutes of chatting, I told him I wanted a job in finance. “Absolutely not!” he responded. “You are a marketing person.” It wasn’t the answer I was expecting. I didn’t know anything about marketing outside of one course I had taken in school, and I didn’t think I had the creativity required for such a position. But I needed a job. I knew P&G was a well-regarded company, so I took the marketing position, thinking I would later work my way into the finance department.

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