40sProfilesUnited States

Faith Taylor, 40s, Corporate Social Responsibility Leader

By March 16, 2015 No Comments

What is your name, age, and location?

Faith Taylor, over 40 and I work at Wyndham Worldwide headquarters in Parsippany, New Jersey and live in a very diverse and great community called South Orange, N.J.

What is your profession?

I am currently the Senior Vice President of global corporate social responsibility for Wyndham Worldwide.

What did you study in school and what degrees do you have?

I received my Bachelor of Arts from Stanford in economics and psychology, and I have my master’s in business administration from Wharton in marketing and entrepreneurial management.

What was your first job?

After receiving my undergraduate degree, I worked for a small computer company called Delphi Systems programming its accounts receivable system for the Port Authority of San Diego.  It was a good lesson in learning what I did not want to do for the rest of my life; I consider it a blessing in disguise.

Who or what inspired you to break into your current line of work?

My son Jordan was my inspiration.  He saw the movie Inconvenient Truth and suggested that my husband and I go see it. When we saw it, it clicked and I understood how the new business development projects and programs that I was working on would be impacted by climate change, and most importantly how strategically important this is for a company.  I decided I was going to do something about it with my career and created my job at Wyndham Worldwide by asking Stephen P. Holmes, chairman and chief executive officer, to start a program.  He said yes, but I had to start it as a grassroots program without any funds or dedicated staff.  That was nearly 10 years ago. With the support of my boss Mary Falvey, executive vice president, chief human resources officer,  my role now includes oversight of all of the CSR programs for the company such as philanthropy, human rights and ethics, sustainability and diversity & inclusion.

Name/describe what has been your most rewarding project so far?

My most rewarding project so far has been developing the Wyndham Green program, which focuses on sustainability across the company, and reducing our carbon footprint by 20 percent around the world.  Reducing our carbon emissions by 20 percent was a goal and vision that we accomplished six years ahead of schedule! I have also been the champion for Wyndham Worldwide in reporting on our Environmental, Social and Governance programs across the company. We have been named the Dow Jones Sustainability North American and World Indices Leader in the hotel, resorts and cruise line sector for the past two years.  These recognitions and awards have been something I never would have dreamed of as a kid. Throughout my career at Wyndham Worldwide, I worked with many great people together and we always tried to do the right thing socially and for the environment.

Name/describe one incident when being a woman has helped your career?

I believe being a mother and wife has helped my career. It has taught me to have balance and it has given me a perspective of what is important.  I took five years, where I was a consultant and able to work from home.  It enabled me to spend quality time with my two young children. That was more than 13 years ago.  It helped me to mature and also understand that everything will eventually change and to enjoy the moment.

Name/describe one incident when being a woman has hindered your career?

I was working with a very senior leader who  didn’t respect women and did not have senior women on his team. Everything I presented, he would question and give me a hard time.  It was a challenge to gain his respect.  However, it was also a very good learning experience.  I learned how to speak up for myself and to move forward, as well as how to deal with difficult people in the work place.

Who is your role model or mentor (alive or dead)?

My role model is Gandhi.  I really believe that we have to be the change we want to see in the world.  My personal mentor is my late mother, Michiko Hirata.  She came to this country, did not speak English and did not have a degree.  She always encouraged me and my sisters to get an education and do something with our lives.  She inspired me.  She taught me how to have a work ethic and passion, how to be resilient and the value of putting our family first.  She was also kind, insightful and funny.

If you could give one piece of advice to a woman starting out in your field, what would it be?

To have more confidence and ask for the things you want.  It took me a long time to have a level of confidence to ask for what I wanted.  What I learned is that you can be surprised at the results.  If they say no you are only in the place you started.  So you might as well TRY!

Links:

Wyndham Worldwide

– Interview by Eve Richer

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