6/25/2024

Discover the Legacy of Multi-Generational Families at P&G: Meet the Sagel Family

A white woman with short blonde hair, a white woman with long brown hair, and a white man with short brown hair pose together on a sidewalk in Cincinnati. They are all smiling as they face the camera.

Learn how generations of the Sagel family have helped shape P&G's history and culture.

It’s hard to imagine the world’s largest consumer goods company as a family business, but that’s how Procter & Gamble got its start. In 1837, Alexander Norris encouraged his sons-in-law, William Procter and James Gamble, to become business partners. They joined their candle and soap-making businesses, and P&G was born.

Even for many P&Gers today, the Company is a part of their own family history, as multiple generations call P&G ‘home.’

Meet the Sagels

A white woman with short blonde hair, a white woman with long brown hair, and a white man with short brown hair pose together on a sidewalk in Cincinnati. They are all smiling as they face the camera.

Leslie Hopkins, Hannah Sagel and Paul Sagel (l-r) represent two of the four generations of Sagels who have made an impact on P&G products since 1920.

Sagel family gatherings were marked by sharing work stories. “I remember being in the backyard and everybody back there was laughing and talking about their jobs. They really enjoyed what they did, and they enjoyed the people they worked with,” said Leslie (Sagel) Hopkins, Senior Vice President of Research & Development for Baby Care.

Leslie and her brother Paul are third generation Sagels at P&G. Their second cousin Hannah Sagel is a fourth generation. At least 13 bloodline Sagels have worked for P&G, for a combined 325 years of service. Counting in-laws, they have more than 500 years of service.

John Sagel, Leslie and Paul’s great uncle and Hannah’s great-great-uncle, was the first of the family to work for P&G around 1920. His wife also worked for the Company. “Almost every major product line, every billion-dollar brand that we have has had a Sagel touch it in one way or another, whether it's Tide or Bounce or Crest or Head & Shoulders,” said Paul Sagel, Victor Mills Society Research Fellow in Oral Care. Named after the legendary P&G scientist who invented disposable diapers, the Victor Mills Society is an elite fellowship program for P&G engineers and scientists. Learn more about Paul and his fellowship.

A Father’s Wisdom

Their father’s experience influenced Paul and Leslie’s career paths. Starting out as a lab tech in 1968, Paul Sr. took a position as a second shift janitor so he could go to college to pursue his bachelor’s degree to be eligible for leadership positions. He retired from P&G in 2000 as an appointed Research Fellow — a top position in R&D.

Paul Jr. is known as ‘the Whitestrips guy’ for his role as the inventor of Crest Whitestrips. But it was his family’s legacy with P&G that made working at the Company a life aspiration. Paul said, after college, “I had fellowship offers, and I opted to pass on graduate school to go work for P&G. I was that passionate about it.” He has built a 32-year career in Oral Care, reaching the highest level in his field. He remembers his father’s advice, “Bang the cash register,” meaning make sure you bring value every day.

For Leslie, “The reason I wanted to work for P&G was because I could see that my dad truly loved what he did. He got to really create products that changed people’s lives, and he was super excited about it.” Inspired by her father’s dedication and impact, Leslie initially wanted to be a doctor. “But my dad knew me better than I knew myself,” she said. He supported her dreams but encouraged her to pursue an engineering degree first. After her first internship, she fell in love. “The thought of working on consumer products for me has great purpose. At P&G, when you make products like Pampers, you see you really do make a difference in people’s lives,” she said.

From Heirloom Belts to Back Porch Brainstorms

A brown belt with a gold buckle and P&G logo emblem.

Heirlooms like this belt, which was a P&G anniversary gift, have been passed down in the Sagel family for generations.

Hannah Sagel, a Brand Director for Head & Shoulders, never met her grandfather Ralph Sr., but his legacy is evident in the belt she wears often. It was his anniversary gift for 30 years of service to P&G. It features the company’s iconic moon and stars logo.

“You can see where he buckled it. The leather is cracked on the third belt loop because he wore it all the time,” said Hannah.

Two white women and a white man embrace each other as they smile happily at the camera.

Hannah’s father, Ralph Sagel Jr., has had a huge impact on her career, but her mother also worked briefly at P&G.

Hannah is six years into her career at P&G. Her dad, Ralph Jr. worked for P&G for 34 years as a packaging engineer in Oral Care.

When she had days off school as a child, Hannah often wandered the halls of the Mason Business & Innovation Center with her dad. He would say, “The work is what you come for and the people are what you stay for.” Today, Hannah and her dad sit on his back porch and share stories about projects or talk through challenges.

A Legacy to Share with Others

Most people don’t come from a P&G family with the advantages of a built-in sounding board and advisor. “That's why I think mentorship is so important, that people have a trusted relationship that they can go to that is a safe space,” said Leslie.

The Sagels use their experience to help others at P&G succeed. “Eighty percent of what I do now is helping people, helping make them as successful as they can be,” Paul said. “And that gives me more pride now than my own personal accomplishments, watching other people succeed.”

“Having this history makes you really motivated to uphold that impact that everyone before you has had,” said Hannah.

Interested in starting your family’s legacy at P&G? Learn more about our careers.

UP NEXT in P&G’s multi-generational family series: Meet the Pazos family in Central America.