Competence and charisma (Spring, 2008)
April 28, 2008
Dr. P. LaMont Bryant likes making an impact on people’s lives. From dominating the field as captain of the football team at N.C. Central University, to conducting groundbreaking research as a graduate student working at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to being the renowned public health professional he is today, Bryant is a leader, dispensing solutions and inspiration along the way.
He chose to focus on pubic health, he says, because that’s where he felt he could make the biggest difference. “If you really think about what drives us all, it’s not our fact sheet or our budget sheet but our overall health,” says Bryant, who got his PhD in environmental sciences and engineering at Carolina’s School of Public Health in 2000. “Once you’ve lost your health, you’ve lost it. It’s our most precious semi-renewable resource, and I want to help manage it.”
Today, Bryant is manager of regulatory affairs at Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson company that develops and markets advanced medical devices for minimally invasive and open surgical procedures. Before that, he held several global leadership positions at Procter & Gamble (P&G), where he received many leadership awards, including the Rising Star Award for business contributions in 2005 and a Power of You Recognition Award for “building the organization” in 2007.
Dr. Ron Webb, retired manager of doctoral recruiting and university relations at P&G, says Bryant’s tremendous presence attracts people and makes him a natural leader. “He draws you in with his smile and strength — being a body builder helps! — allowing you to comfortably take his lead,” says Webb, who recruited Bryant to P&G in 2000. “He’s also willing to delegate work, to mentor and train others. To me what he does — taking on the responsibility of a leader while at the same time nurturing others — is the key aspect of outstanding leadership.”
Webb adds that aside from being an outstanding team player who easily motivates people, Bryant is an excellent manager. “La- Mont can quickly assess a problem, break it down into multiple work components, then make timely and concrete business decisions,” says Webb.
Bryant, who’s managed some of the largest consumer health care brands in the world, credits much of his success to the intellectual and collaborative learning environment at Carolina and the breadth of courses he took as a graduate student. He says that having a doctoral degree from a highly regarded environmental sciences and engineering program helped him secure key leadership positions in some of the most influential health care companies in the world, but adds that it was his actual experience within the doctoral program that enabled him to excel in his career.
“Interacting with top-level students and professors from various countries who came to Chapel Hill for a common goal, engaging in open dialogue with them, and generally just being part of an environment that comes up with solutions and fosters growth . . . there are tons of ways UNC helped me build on skill sets I possess,” says Bryant. “Being around excellent people constantly inspires you to be excellent in all things at all times.”
– by Margarita de Pano
Carolina Public Health is a publication of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health. To subscribe to Carolina Public Health or to view the entire Spring 2008 issue in PDF, visit www.sph.unc.edu/cph.