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Fostering Diversity and Inclusion in the Paper Industry

Procter & Gamble’s Regina Gray Details Diversity Programs

Regina Gray's journey in the paper industry has given her a front-row seat to just how essential paper products are and how the industry is continuing to grow its workforce.

"We need a growing workforce that can continue to take on the opportunities ahead," Gray said.

As an AF&PA Board Member and Senior Vice President of Product Supply-Family Care at Procter & Gamble, Gray brings a unique perspective on how the industry is looking for diverse voices. She started her journey in the paper industry in college, interning at P&G at a plant in Albany, Georgia. As she transitioned from student to professional, Gray became a full-time employee at the Albany Mill, working on two paper machine start-up teams and in operations roles.

"Having the early opportunity to see the equipment being installed and working on every element of the start-up grounded me in the technology and allowed me to build the skills to then move on to leading an organization," Gray recalled.

Gray believes her experience in the mills laid the foundation for developing people and recognizing their strengths. It's a foundation she acknowledges is needed to lead an organization, especially a diverse one.

"I have seen firsthand how a diverse organization outperforms a homogenous one. The diversity in skills and experiences are necessary to tackle the challenges of this industry," Gray said.

Diversity in skills and experiences is important to P&G. They have multiple programs throughout the company focused on bringing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) to light.

"At Procter & Gamble, we aspire to create a company and a world where equality and inclusion are achievable for all," Gray said.

P&G does this by having a variety of affinity groups for their colleagues. These groups are a collection of individuals who share a common identity characteristic, which can be a wide range of things.

For instance, the African Ancestry Leadership Network was one of the first employee affinity groups at P&G. Today, a community of more than 2,300 African-American employees are part of the group.

"The African Ancestry Leader Network works with company leadership on this aspiration. It is focused on bold, visible progress in AA talent progression at all levels, creating a sufficient talent pipeline and inclusive culture where AA talent is embraced and succeeds at equal rates," Gray said.

P&G is committed to recruiting and lifting-up African American talent throughout its organization. They accomplish this through a variety of tactics.

"We do this through recruitment, sponsorship, talent development, external advocacy and community engagement to ensure we normalize equality for generations to come," Gray noted.

With events, initiatives, and partnerships, P&G is helping make others feel that they belong. While Gray is working diligently to ensure a sense of belonging for P&G employees now, she's also focused on the future.

"I plan to focus my remaining years on developing the next generation of leaders, growing this business and step-changing sustainability in the paper industry," Gray said.

As the world continues to change, so does the paper and wood products industry. The question is, will you be part of the change?

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The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) serves to advance U.S. paper and wood products manufacturers through fact-based public policy and marketplace advocacy. The forest products industry is circular by nature. AF&PA member companies make essential products from renewable and recyclable resources, generate renewable bioenergy and are committed to continuous improvement through the industry’s sustainability initiative —Better Practices, Better Planet 2030: Sustainable Products for a Sustainable Future. The forest products industry accounts for approximately 5% of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP, manufactures about $350 billion in products annually and employs about 925,000 people. The industry meets a payroll of about $65 billion annually and is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 43 states. Visit AF&PA online at or follow us on Twitter @ForestandPaper