Penny McIntyre, Group President, Newell Consumer Group

Penny McIntyre

The Perfectionist

By Brittani Banks

With 30 years of corporate leadership experience and more than 18 years as a mom, the biggest obstacle Penny McIntyre, group president of Newell Rubbermaid, had to overcome was learning no one is perfect.

With a P&L of more than $3 billion, McIntyre leads a team of more than 5,000 employees. Before Newell Rubbermaid, McIntyre had other executive leadership roles including global marketing director for S.C. Johnson and senior vice president of marketing at The Coca-Cola Company.

These positions required intense commitment and frequent travel that often took her away from her husband and two children. McIntyre clearly remembers an intense moment of “mom guilt” she felt nearly two decades ago while having a meal with other expatriate moms while working in Tokyo. When asked how many bottles her daughter drank a day, “I didn’t have the answer,” she says. “I had no idea. I felt excluded.”

It took McIntyre years to realize she could be a great parent without having to fulfill the role of what some considered a “typical mother.” She learned to give herself some leeway in business too, by realizing, “no one person can have all the answers or be 100 percent right 100 percent of the time.” This realization helped her career and home life, as she discovered it’s vital “to ask others for help [and] to take appropriate risk.”

Today, McIntyre is one of just a few dozen female corporate officers in the top 500 public companies. And that baby she was missing in Tokyo? She is now a talented musician in her first year of college.

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