I was drinking a Pepsi cola with my turkey sandwich for lunch today, and my mom asked me a question. Do you know who is in charge of making Pepsi and running the Pepsi Company? You know me; I’m always ready to look for answer. And I knew my mom asked me for a reason. So, I jumped on the internet and looked up the CEO, which stands for the Chief Executive Officer, of PepsiCo.
I found out that the CEO of Pepsi is actually a woman. Her name is Indra Nooyi, and she is the first female CEO of the Pepsi in history. Indra Nooyi was born in Chennai, India in 1955. She went to high school and college in India. After receiving a Bachelor’s degree from Madras Christian College, Ms. Nooyi worked in India and went back to school to get a post-graduate degree. She even played cricket (a game sort of like baseball) and played guitar in a rock band! Later, she came to the United States to study business management at the Yale school of Management in 1978. She worked for a lot of companies after that, including ones I’ve heard of like Motorola.
Indraa started working for PepsiCo. In 1994, it is really inspiring to see the way she worked her way up the ladder in the company. In less than 7 years, Ms. Nooyi was promoted to the president of the company, and the CFO (Chief Financial Officer)! Five years later, in 2006, she was promoted to the position of CEO. Indra Nooyi is still one of the only women to have worked her way up to the position of CEO in such a big company. PepsiCo is one of the biggest companies in the world. They don’t just make sodas! They have partnerships with brands like Tropicana (they make my favorite orange juice), and Aquafina water. They even distribute the Starbucks bottled coffee my mom drinks in the morning! And Ms. Nooyi is in charge of the entire company. She makes really hard decisions every day, and the company trusts her to make the right ones. Even in today’s times, my mom told me it is still hard to find complete equality in the business world. Indra Nooyi is breaking all kinds of barriers in business. She is a woman, and immigrant, and was named the third Most Powerful Woman in 2008 according to a magazine called Forbes. Also, U.S. News & World Report called Indra Nooyi one of America’s Best Leaders in 2008!
The coolest part about Indra Nooyi’s life story is that while she was fighting for success, she never let go of her heritage and culture. Even after she became the CEO of Pepsi, she continued to show off her South Asian background with pride. Indra Nooyi is known to wear the traditional Indian dress at all the Pepsi annual Christmas parties- a saree! Below is a picture of Indra Nooyi in a business suit, and her showing off her saree! She even has two daughters and calls her mother in India twice a day!
She is a real inspiration to me, and proves that a person from anywhere, of any gender, can do anything (even a girl like me, from a small town and farm!)
I hope that her story inspired you, too. If you know of any other real life GirlMoguls I can research, please let me know!