“Lead with emotion,” Leslie Miller from Unilever
Welcome to the Pass the Mic and the Defining Moment series. We’re giving powerful women in the industry the opportunity to make the world their mentee. These rockstars are joining us to share their stories and sage advice with up-and-coming women.
Meet , Head of Dove and Dove Men + Care US at Unilever. Leslie has 15+ years of brand and management experience with the goal of keeping things real. And she raised a very real $1M for the American Cancer Society!
We were lucky enough to sit down with Leslie for a Pass the Mic interview in our podcast booth at Advertising Week New York. In it, she shares the skills that have brought her success. Take a listen and learn how to tackle anything and be the best version of yourself—in and outside of the office.
Embrace vulnerability and emotion.
“I'm excited that the world is embracing mental health. I'm excited that we're embracing vulnerability and emotion as topics of leadership. And I'm excited to see more and more women every day show up and just bring the energy to change the world that we're in.” – Leslie Miller
Don’t be afraid of emotion.
“It's an acceptance that emotion is okay. And I think women get a bad rap for leaning into emotion and or having emotion. And I'm seven or eight years into being a director at Unilever and having a big team of people around me, and the number one thing I bring to the table is emotion.
That's me. I'm a human. I come with a story about my family, my childhood, my sister having an eating disorder, my father being an entrepreneur, growing up on a farm—that's me; you're going to get me. And if I show up as me, with that emotion, there's a much better chance that the people around me see me as a human and a person. And that opens up so many doors in terms of leadership. So, I really do believe that you can lead with emotion and to not be afraid of it, because it's who we are. And it really does bridge the gap to just human truth with a lot of people around you.” – Leslie Miller
Follow your passions.
“I think expectations can be a blessing and a curse. And I really do believe you also have to follow your passions, because we all show up to work as people that love certain things. I am a Green Bay Packer fan and love football. I love cooking. I have a passion for women in leadership. And so, all of those things I've tried to bring into either parts of my role, parts of marketing, because that helps change that expectation narrative. If I can make a job more powerful, more exciting, I'm only going to show up better, more excited, and then build a whole group of other people around me that are going to follow suit.” – Leslie Miller
Fail fast, pivot quick.
“You have to believe in fail fast, pivot quick. And if we're open to talk about failures and reframing them as learning opportunities, we have a much bigger narrative as women and as business leaders.” – Leslie Miller
“If you can look back on moments where you knew you weren't your best and figure out was it because I was having a bad day? Was it because I had life stuff happening that got in the way? Was it because I didn't have the right mentor, the right coach? I didn't have the right knowledge. Figure out why. And once you figure out why, it prepares you so much better for the next time.” – Leslie Miller
Be confident in the face of crisis.
“I think since COVID, we've seen an acceleration of chaotic moments, what I call dumpster fire moments. And I do think as leaders, we have to choose how we show up because there's many of them. And yesterday, I was saying, I was at a boot camp yesterday with a lot of fellow marketers, and chaos in leadership is the hottest topic. And so, to answer the question of like, 'How do you tackle it? How do you get through it?'
I think, one, you have to be really confident in yourself. Because at the end of the day, when we're struggling, and we're in a moment of either having to show up, make a decision, whether it's a crisis, whether it's just a bad decision that was made, we are really ultimately the ones left with those moments. And if you're not strong in who you are, confidence in your decision making, confidence in what got you to that moment, you could easily fall apart.” – Leslie Miller
You need a support system.
“I think it is critical to life, forget business, life, we need that support system. People that are there for us, people that are willing to hold us accountable and share in the good stuff.” – Leslie Miller