Pioneers | PREMIUM CONTENT

The Iconic Indra Nooyi

Jan/29/2022 / by Seema Kumar

For Indra Nooyi, former chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, life has been one big balancing act. It has been a delicate dance between retaining her cultural identity as an immigrant, and assimilating into the mainstream business environment to earn the top position. Between keeping the intense pace required to climb the corporate ladder and finding quality time for home and family priorities. Between breaking ultimate glass ceilings to become a role model for working women in corporate America and fulfilling the duties expected of a traditional daughter, wife and mother in a South Indian household. It is not an easy balance but it can be done, and Nooyi’s life is a lesson on the tremendous “care infrastructure” it takes for a working woman to rise to the top in the corporate world without compromising identity and family. 

“I’m a family builder, not a family breaker. I believe in family; it’s the core of all society. However, the only way for families to be economically secure is if both husband and wife have the power of the purse. Because families are fragile. Nobody knows when something can go wrong. You don’t want a situation where one person is left with all the family responsibilities and without any support.” 

says Nooyi

The pandemic has brought the issue into sharp focus and given rise to the great resignation, as workers, particularly essential workers and frontline healthcare workers, have struggled to maintain the balance between lives and livelihoods. The lack of care infrastructure — high quality, accessible, and affordable child care; paid family and medical leave; and home- and community-based services to help families meet their caregiving needs — has led to a wave of resignations in the U.S. and around the world. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4 million Americans quit their jobs in July 2021, with a record-breaking 10.9 million open jobs at the end of July. 

Nooyi, who was tapped by the state of Connecticut to co-chair “Reopen Connecticut” during the pandemic, says it was an immersive eye opening experience. 

“Reopen Connecticut made my eyes open to the real challenges being faced by the essential worker,” she says. “We have to address care for both the office worker who has to also be a family builder, and for the essential worker. For anybody who has to go to work, and doesn’t have the luxury of flexibility, you’ll need a care infrastructure. Without that, I think you’re going to see the great resignation accelerate. People are going to say, I don’t want to do these jobs where I have to go in every day. These jobs don’t pay enough and I don’t get treated so well. I think this is a human issue. If you want to preserve our quality of life, yes, we have to really think through this whole care infrastructure in a much more sensible way.” 

Nooyi is familiar with the importance of care infrastructure without which she says it would have been impossible to rise to become CEO at PepsiCo, especially as an immigrant, as a woman and a woman of color. 

A Tamilian from Chennai, who is still vegetarian and prefers South Indian food, Indra Krishnamurthy grew up in a traditional family in T-Nagar, Chennai, with a progressive working father who traveled a lot, a strong South Indian mother who managed the household and encouraged her kids to dream big, and a paternal grandfather who lived at home and was there when the kids came home from school, teaching them world affairs, politics, and economics and helping them with school projects. The three children grew up with “freedom, but within the frame.” 

“Sometimes, I pinch myself and say, I won the lottery of life based on the family I was born into,” says Nooyi, who earned a degree from Madras Christian College and a masters from the Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta. She felt she won another lottery when she was admitted to Yale School of Management with a financial scholarship and her traditional parents allowed her, a single woman, to leave for America for higher education. Especially her mother, Shantha Krishnamurthy, who like many protective South Indian mothers, wanted her daughter to soar professionally and have opportunities she did not have access to, but at the same time felt the traditional tug to get her daughter married by age 20 and be “settled” on the family front before embarking on a career. “She had one foot on the accelerator and one foot on the pedal,” says Nooyi. 

COMING TO AMERICA 

Nooyi’s coming to America is not unlike other South Asian immigrant stories. With only $500 and a college admission, Nooyi landed wide-eyed in New Haven, CT, in what seemed like paradise. Orderly, neat and clean, everything seemed to be in place in America. 

Nooyi at the airport saying farewell to her family before her flight to the U.S. and Yale

Cars driving within lanes, no animals walking on the street, no honking auto rickshaws. But reality hit almost immediately, and Nooyi experienced the typical culture shock that many Indian students go through. 

“You come into this world of loneliness. You have no idea what to do. You have no idea how to shop. Or get a bank account, or a mailbox, which you needed in those days. There was no computer or internet. You come to this world. That is lonely. And after the hustle and bustle and the noise and the honking of India, you just say, what have I done? I don’t know how to survive in the silence. The first few days were pretty tough and I cried more than anything else.”, says Nooyi.

Support and reinforcement arrived in the form of international students who taught her the ropes and helped her assimilate into the culture. She moved to an international dormitory where the familiar smells of cultural cuisines, the ability to cook her own Indian food and to be among other international students made her feel at home. There was no looking back after that. 

STYLE MATTERS BUT SUBSTANCE RULES 

Nooyi’s foray into the workforce in America began with her applying for summer jobs in her first year at Yale.

“I was considered smart and hardworking, and people liked me fine, I think. But I was also largely invisible and conscious of how international students, especially from developing countries, were grouped in people’s minds. Diligent, but no style, funny accents, socially inept,” says Nooyi in her book, conscious that the clothes she had brought back from Chennai, which she had stitched by an Indian tailor, were “ill-fitting and ugly.” But her work ethic and her unique global perspective, which Corporate America needed, made her competitive. She says she used her savings to buy a polyester business suit at the S.S. Kresge store (a precursor to KMart) but without trying it in the fitting room, culturally uncomfortable undressing in a public place.

Nooyi interviewed with the company, Insilco, in her ill-fitting suit, feeling good about the interview but embarrassed and defeated about how she looked, especially as her classmates looked well put together in their Brooks Brothers suits. She was convinced she had bombed her chances, but Insilco made offers only to two students, and Nooyi was one of them. “It dawned on me that I was in a new environment—and that this might be a living example of the American promise of meritocracy. It was clear that Insilco picked me because of what I said and what I could contribute and looked past the horrendous outfit I wore. I had three weeks to accept the offer.” Nooyi had also interviewed with Booz Allen, showing up to the interview in a sari, after receiving advice to wear something authentic and comfortable.

Once again, she landed the job, proving that what she said had more weight than what she wore. She accepted the offer from Booz Allen and was on her way to being a working woman in America. “I wore a sari to work every day but never visited the client,” says Nooyi in the book. “Taking me to a client meeting in Indianapolis in a sari would have been too jarring in those days. At the time, I fully understood and accepted my colleagues’ leaving me behind. It seemed a small price to pay.” 

MARRIED WITH FAMILY 

Nooyi had moved to Chicago for the summer job and into an apartment with her friend and classmate. It was there, as she was settling in a new town, that a friend suggested she meet Raj Nooyi, a young engineer from Mangalore, India, who’d just finished his master’s degree and had moved to a job in Chicago and living alone in a small apartment. She invited Raj home for dinner one night and soon they began to spend a lot of the summer together. In August, during her last week at the internship, she and Raj met for a movie, and over dinner decided to get married. Both were from traditional South Indian families, where arranged marriage was the norm. So there was work to do in getting the apprehensive families to embrace the idea, especially as the families had not met each other nor had they matched horoscopes as is typically done in South Asian households.

Ultimately, the parents met in India, held an engagement ceremony there. Nooyi graduated from Yale in 1980 with her family arriving from India to celebrate and a few days later got married in a small ceremony in the basement of Raj’s relatives in Chicago with both families in attendance. Ironically, she had lived up to her mother’s dream, getting married and settling things on the family front before embarking on a steep climb up the career ladder. Raj’s father gave parting advice to the young couple and left Nooyi with a piece of wisdom: “Indra, don’t give up your job. You have all this education, and you should use it. We will support you in any way we can.” 

ENTERING THE AMERICAN WORKFORCE

Nooyi moved on up, working for Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Motorola, and Asea Brown Boveri (ABB) in increasing roles of responsibilities leading strategy before joining PepsiCo, all the while balancing the pressures of an insane work schedule, giving birth to her first daughter, Preetha, finding good childcare, managing school events, and dealing with issues of racism in her kid’s school. 

Nooyi says she could not have done it without the support of her husband Raj and the care infrastructure of her family in India, including her mother, her mother-in-law and other relatives and American friends, neighbors and colleagues who took turns to help her with household duties and with childcare until she and her husband Raj came home in the evening. 

On the flip side, Nooyi says, her employers’ support and her bosses’ mentorship also played a big part in her professional ascent. She points to BCG’s offer of three months paid leave, which enabled her to take care of her ill father without compromising her career or personal finances, and mentorship by Gerhard Salge of ABB who continued  to give her plum assignments when she was pregnant and after the birth of her first child. 

THE IMMIGRANT PHENOMENON 

Nooyi admits she probably worked twice as hard to prove herself, which she says is an integral part of being an immigrant and a woman and a woman of color. 

“When I was in corporate America,” she says. “I was the only woman in most cases in senior positions. And in the early days in the tech world, there weren’t a lot of immigrants in mainstream corporate America, so I was always the odd person out. I had to work harder to establish myself, there’s no question about it.” 

The good news is that there are more immigrants and women in the mainstream, but she says they have to work hard to maintain the right balance between retaining their authenticity and integrating into the mainstream. 

“Sometimes when you try to be too authentic, you stand out too much in a negative way,” she says. “And if you try to integrate too much, you come across like a little bit of a fake. So it’s a real interesting balance we have to take: make sure that you don’t give up what makes you, you. But embrace what makes you more mainstream for the corporate environment or the business environment you’re in. It’s a dial you turn, and how you settle on the right point is the challenge. It is a trial and error to try to not get too extreme on either side.” 

LEADERSHIP AND ALLYSHIP 

Still Nooyi says that as a woman, a woman of color, and often the only one at a senior level in the room, she could not have done it without the support of senior level White males in corporate America who committed to develop, train and push her, starting with Wayne Calloway, CEO of PepsiCo, who believed that diversity was important and lived up to that philosophy and promise. He convinced Nooyi to join PepsiCo saying he needed her more than Jack Welch at General Electric who had also made her an offer. 

Nooyi with female CEOs, soon after taking over PepsiCo. Cherie Blair, English barrister and and wife of former British PM Tony Blair, is in the center
Nooyi with female CEOs, soon after taking over PepsiCo. Cherie Blair, English barrister and and wife of former British PM Tony Blair, is in the center

“A lot of us work very hard, there’s no question about it. But sometimes we all run up against a real brick wall,” she says. “In my case, when I joined PepsiCo in 1994, I joined at a very senior level. I was 39 years old and head of corporate strategy, and all the senior executives were White males. But that was the case in all corporate America. PepsiCo was no different. Most of the executives were big supporters, helping every step of the way, pulling me along, even when I made mistakes. They viewed me as a major asset to the company. I did my piece of the job, no question about it, I work very hard. But I’m also a testament to mentorship, to a youthful company that welcomed me and pushed me forward.” 

THE SECRET TO SUCCESS: FOCUS ON THE COMPANY, NOT YOURSELF

Working hard and having the right mentors and allies, in a company that supports diversity and has the right support infrastructure matters, according to Nooyi, but one more critical secret to success lies within 

the individual she says. That is a focus not on one’s personal success but on the success of the company, organization or mission, she says. 

“To me, personal success was irrelevant,” Nooyi adds. “My personal success was tied to the success of the company. So I put the company before everything. And I worried about making sure the company is going to be successful in the long term. I made sure the company’s business model would sustain in the future. I had a great succession bench. So when I focused on those aspects, unselfishly, my position also solidified.” 

Often people worry about themselves rather than the company and that creates issues, she says. Setting your goal on that senior job makes you obsess over the next promotion instead of doing well in your current job, she maintains. 

“Do a great job now and that automatically gets you to the next level,” Nooyi said. 

HOW TO ATTRACT THE RIGHT MENTORS 

Nooyi’s experience is a lesson in the importance of mentorship as an essential aspect of developing a big leader. Mentors come in two types, she says. Those with the small M are mentors who give you advice at random every now and then. 

“And then there’s the real mentor, the one with the big M. Some people call them sponsors, I just call them real mentors,” says Nooyi. 

ǎNooyi with (then PepsiCo CEO) Wayne Calloway on her first day at the company
Nooyi with (then PepsiCo CEO) Wayne Calloway on her first day at the company

These mentors pick you, you don’t pick them, she says. They see something in you, and give you a push and are willing to let you outshine them and take their job, even if that means they will end up working for you. They are willing to commit the time to support, promote, and provide advice. 

“Unless you find that sort of a big M mentor, you really haven’t hit the jackpot,” says Nooyi. And the way to attract the big M mentor is by doing a good job and doing it the right way,” she says. “It is not just what you do, it is how you do it, and by having a great presence. All three together, make people attracted to you. So you’ve got to think about your own brand proposition, and how to define your own brand proposition and attract people to that proposition.” 

Like it or not, part of the brand proposition is your executive presence — how you look and dress, which can have an effect on how people receive and respond to you, says Nooyi in the book, describing her own experience with an image consultant and a colleague at PepsiCo who pulled Nooyi aside and advised her to improve the way she dressed. 

Nooyi’s experience is not unlike what a lot of women, especially those from South Asian cultures, who over-index on the competence side but may not necessarily pay attention to personal grooming. 

“I had to overcome issues related to how I dressed by overdoing the competence bit, by just showing that I was so good at my job,” she says. “People looked right through how I dressed, and I don’t have any issues with that. When a consultant pulled me aside and said, let me help you change your entire clothing, I thought it was a gift from God and in a very nice way without making me feel bad, made me change my entire outfit. I’ll be honest with you: I could have survived dressed the way I was. Trust me, nothing would have happened to me. But it gave me added confidence. It gave me more courage. I could walk in with my head held high, as opposed to focusing on why my clothes are so ill-fitting.” 

Nooyi wishes she had access to such consulting services in her early years as a professional, and encourages women, including South Asian women, who feel the need to to improve. 

FLEXIBILITY AND WORK LIFE 

At PepsiCo, Nooyi’s brand proposition was someone who put company first and did not play politics although she understood them. She became the go-to person to assign difficult jobs to as she quickly gained the reputation for having a superpower to take the complex and make it simple and understandable. As part of the senior management team she was involved in PepsiCo’s transformation, exiting non-core businesses to focus on its snack food and beverage lines, including the acquisition of Tropicana and a merger with Quaker Oats. She continued to rise up the ranks to become CEO in 2006, becoming one of the few women–perhaps the only Indian woman at the time–to head a Fortune 500 company and later became Chairman of the Board, holding the post of Chairman and CEO for more than 10 years and being cited as one of the world’s best CEOs and the top most powerful women. 

Left to right: Nooyi’s daughter Preetha, husband Raj, and younger daughter Tara

As CEO, Nooyi spearheaded PepsiCo’s transition to a greener, more environmentally aware company, and to adopting healthier foods and moving to less sugary drinks. Under her leadership, and with a focus on “Performance with Purpose” PepsiCo’s revenue grew from $35 billion in 2006 to more than $63 billion when she retired. 

Throughout, Nooyi, who had her second daughter Tara, continued to balance life as an executive, wife, daughter, daughter in law, a mother, and sister, all while staying connected to her Tamilian South Asian culture and meeting her family’s expectations to fulfill traditional duties of a South Indian woman, and heed her mother’s advice to “leave the crown in the garage” — all of which, she admits, was often a giant juggling act. 

“When I was CEO, we didn’t have all of these remote technologies,” she says. “So I had to travel. I had to be in the office. Flexibility was not a choice. I was constantly juggling every priority, and PepsiCo, as a priority, could not be dropped. So I focused excessively on PepsiCo, because so many lives and livelihoods depended on my decision-making. Juggling these priorities meant I always hoped I wouldn’t drop something.” 

Nooyi, admits there were moments of doubt, including when her daughters pleaded her to quit her job, but she was able to push through and manage because the companies she worked for had access to paid parental and medical leave and support structure, policies and perks and a supportive husband, a family infrastructure and community support system that allowed Nooyi to travel while leaving her children in able hands of her parents and extended family. 

Indra nooyi
Last Day as CEO

“I believe that women’s choice to work outside the home is integral to their well-being and their family’s prosperity,” Nooyi says in her book, challenging those who question its impact on children’s wellbeing. She argues that working women’s kids tend to do better in school, grow up to be more independent and respect their mothers as role models. She also points to evidence that women’s participation in the paid labor-force results in economic prosperity of nations, reduces poverty and boosts GDP. But ultimately, says Nooyi, for her, the reason women need a clear path to paid work is more direct. “We all deserve the power of the purse for our own freedom. The full acceptance of women as paid workers spells human progress. It unlocks them from being at the mercy of a male-dominated world.” 

PAYING IT FORWARD 

Nooyi is passionate about helping women get to the next level and keenly aware that beyond providing education, skills, opportunities, and mentorship, systemic change in care infrastructure is needed. When she retired from PepsiCo after more than a decade as CEO, she began to think about important policy changes needed to establish care infrastructure for professional women to head companies. But then the pandemic hit, and as she began working on the “Reopen Connecticut” project, she realized that the challenge for essential workers and people who had to come to work physically was much more acute. 

Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO, New America, Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo, and Norah O’Donnell, Co-Anchor, CBS This Morning on 'Indra Nooyi In Conversation With Anne-Marie Slaughter' at The 2016 Women In The World Summit, NYC, New York; 4/8/2016
Nooyi speaking at the Women in the World conference in New York in 2016 with international lawyer and foreign policy analyst Anne-Marie Slaughter (left) and television journalist and anchor of CBS News Norah O’Donnell (right)

Even among the office workers who still had the flexibility to work remotely, the burden for women in particular was much higher. With kids home, mothers in particular had to juggle to be teachers, caregivers, cleaners, cooks, and more, because there was no help from outside during the lockdown and in most cases, women ended up with a workload that was off the charts. 

“And on top of that, without broadband access, when you had to prioritize who should be on the computer, the kids and the husband got precedence, and the woman took a backseat even in her job that led to a lot of stress,” Nooyi says. “White collar workers went through extra mental stress and there was a lot more domestic violence and divorces coming as a result of the pandemic. So it was a messy situation.” 

My Life in Full by Indra Nooyi

Nooyi first explored the possibility of writing policy papers but was strongly advised against it and instead advised to inform policy by storytelling the arc of her own life. So she decided to write a book, “My Life in Full,” published by Penguin 2021. “This book is a memoir like no other. It is a quasi-textbook. The best way to read this book is to go chapter by chapter, and engage in the book, because the lessons are very important and can be informative to the next generation.” 

She is particularly interested that the younger generation, especially from the South Asian and Asian diaspora, read it. “There’s no point calling somebody a role model, if you’re not going to understand what it took to get to where they were,” Nooyi says. “So I hope the diaspora looks at the book that way, as a way to educate the young and for the parents themselves to be educated, and to really understand what it takes to progress in the corporate world.” 

She says it is particularly important, especially as a woman and an immigrant and a woman of color of South Asian origin to understand the puts and takes involved in getting to the mountain top. Yes, one part is you and how hard you work and your own personal philosophy, leadership and courage. But in equal measure it is about the system, the family and community infrastructure and the organizational infrastructure, the mentorship, and allyship and the policies needed to help you succeed. 

I think it’s important we give women the education and the power of the purse. But then a job itself is a full time job. And as you rise in the job, it’s two full-time jobs or three full-time jobs. I know my CEO job was three full-time jobs. I think what needs to happen is, first, husband and wife should say, the family’s a joint responsibility … Family is not female. Family is family. 

First point: That agreement has to happen between husband and wife. Second, I think in-laws and parents have to lean in to help the young woman do her job. Very often, it’s viewed as a penalty when she goes to work. And when she comes back home, she has to do all the housework. And sometimes a paycheck is taken away in India, not here. 

I think that’s got to change, I think the husband has got to put his foot down and say, my wife’s got to be treated right, and not put all the burden on the mother. 

“The third thing is now with tools like this that we’re using, like Zoom, you can actually engineer flexibility into your workday, where you can work a bit by Zoom, and then do the rest in person, and be available for the family and for work. And so I think utilizing these technologies intelligently is very important.” 

INDRA’S INSIGHTS FOR PROFESSIONAL WOMEN

Listen: “There’s a reason you have two ears and only one mouth. So listen more than you talk.”

Learn: Get a solid education and build and hone your skills, using on the job work experience as a learning opportunity.

Work hard: There is no substitute for hard work. Give it your 100 percent; anything less is not enough.

Cinstantly update and upgrade your skills: Don’t assume that once you have a good set of skills, the game is over. Continuously improve them and learn new ones to remain competitive. Remain a life-long learner. Be curious.

Put the company’s goals ahead of your own: Think of what you can do to make it a better place, rather than about how you are going to climb up the ranks. Do a good job and the rest will follow.

Build Allies: Your hard work can only get you so far. Allyship from senior leaders, including those in positions of power, is critical to success.

Embrace feedback: The boss knows better. If the boss says the project is only 60% of the way there, they’re giving you valuable feedback. Rather than ask them to tell you how to move to 90%, go figure it out. Work to get it to 100%.

Use diversity as an advantage: As a person with a global mindset and diverse perspectives, you can bring valuable insights to improve the company’s prospects.

Be authentic but also assimilate: Maintain a balance between being authentic to who you are and your own culture. At the same time, assimilate to the mainstream and company culture to be part of the collective team driving a vision.

Build your own brand proposition: First, put the company before you. Second, understand the politics but don’t play it. Second, focus on the job at hand, not on the next promotion. Third, think about what you are especially good at and can deliver on time while ensuring the highest quality. Accept assignments accordingly and do a great job again and again.

Know the difference between mentors: Mentors come in two forms. The one with the small M, where somebody just gives you advice at random, is OK. But real mentors, the one with the big M, commit the time to support, promote, and push you, and provide advice to enable you to grow. Unless you find a big M mentor, you really haven’t hit the jackpot.

Attract big M mentors to your brand proposition: Doing a good job and doing it right attracts big mentors. It’s not just what you do, it is how you do it, combined with great presence. All three together, attract leadership to your brand proposition.

Substance is the core, but style and presence matter: If you are unsure about
your attire or presence, get help from independent consultants who can help you improve the way you dress, if needed. Knowing you are well put together can give you the added confidence to walk in with authority, and can take your mind off of how you look and focus instead on what you deliver.

THE MISSING LINK: SOUTH ASIAN SISTERHOOD

Nooyi’s focus on maintaining cultural authenticity is common among many South Asian women in top ranks, including current Vice President Kamala Harris, many of whom attribute cultural values as critical to their success. I asked Nooyi about her message for women of Indian and South Asian origin, especially as more South Asian women have significant earning power and yet are not seen as an influential and powerful collective demographic. 

“First of all, we have to ask ourselves, are the Indian women in the United States united? If you’re not united, it doesn’t help,” says Nooyi. “I’d go a step further and say, as Asian Americans, we should all be united. As Asian Americans, we contribute enormously to the United States, yet we want to be viewed in slices. And within the Indian community, we want to be viewed in micro slices as North or South Indians. 

That’s got to stop.”I asked about possible solutions and how to change that. 

“I think that we have to really ask ourselves the question, how do we want to be viewed? Are we going to keep our heads down and not get involved in anything and just be viewed as somebody who is assimilated, or do we really want to keep our identity while we assimilate? 

“I think non-Indian Asians have done a better job uniting than we have. And I think it’s an existential question to ask ourselves. Are we part of the Asian diaspora or the South Asian diaspora and are we going to embrace our South Asian or our South Indian, or North Indian, whatever slice we are from. Unless we make that decision, we will never be taken seriously as a group. I don’t think we even know each other. There’s no sisterhood. Asian women should feel comfortable talking to each other. We have to change this.” 

MAJOR AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS

President of India A.P.J. Abdul Kalam pins the Padma Bhushan award on Nooyi in April 2007

To date
15 honorary degrees. 

2007 
Padma Bhushan from the Government of India, the country’s 3rd highest civilian honor. 

2007
Named an “Outstanding American by Choice” by the US State Department. 

2019
Portrait inducted into the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. 

2021
Elected member of the American Philosophical Society Board of Trustees of the National Gallery of Art.
Inducted into the Asian Hall of Fame and National Women’s Hall of Fame. 

Currently
Member of the Board of Amazon and Philips,
Member of International Advisory Council of Temasek; an independent director of the International Cricket Council; 
Member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.
Member of the MIT Corporation and Dean’s Advisory Council at MIT’s School of Engineering Member of the Boards of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the Partnership for Public Service.
Class of 1951 Chair for the Study of Leadership at West Point
Advisor to several early stage companies.
Co-director of the newly created Connecticut Economic Resource Center 

A FEW OF HER FAVORITE THINGS 

FAVORITE MOVIE “The American President” 

FAVORITE INDIAN/TAMIL MOVIE  “Sadhu Mirandal” (1966 Tamil movie) 

FAVORITE MUSICIAN  No one favorite. Changes with the times 

FAVORITE COLOR  Blue 

FAVORITE FOOD TO COOK Good South Indian sambar and rasam. Also pasta of all kinds 

BEST LESSON YOU LEARNED FROM YOUR CHILDREN  “Can you let us finish what we are saying,” and “Stop interrupting.” 

FAVORITE TAMILIAN EXPRESSION Othaippen (I will give you a kick – affectionately)

ABOUT THE BOOK

My Life in Full” is an intimate and powerful memoir by Indra Nooyi, the trailblazing former CEO of PepsiCo. For a dozen years, as one of the world’s most admired CEOs, Indra Nooyi redefined what it means to be an exceptional leader. The first woman of color and immigrant to run a Fortune 50 company, she transformed PepsiCo with her vision, pursuit of excellence, and a deep sense of purpose. Now, “My Life in Full,” a memoir brimming with grace, grit, and good humor, offers a firsthand view of Nooyi’s legendary career and the sacrifices it so often demanded. 

Indra Nooyi’s new book “My Life in Full: Work, Family and Our Future” is a call-to-action for how society can empower women to blend work and family.
Photo Credit: Dave Puente

Nooyi takes us through the events that shaped her – from her childhood and early education in 1960s India, to the Yale School of Management, to her rise as a corporate consultant and strategist who ascended into the most senior executive ranks. The book offers an inside look at PepsiCo, and Nooyi’s thinking as she steered the iconic American company toward healthier products, and reinvented its environmental profile, despite resistance at every turn. 

For the first time, Nooyi lays bare the difficulties that came with managing her demanding job with a growing family, and what she learned along the way. She makes a clear, actionable, call for business and government to prioritize the care ecosystem, paid leave, and work flexibility. She also argues that improving company and community support for young family builders will unleash the economy’s full potential. 

“My Life in Full” is the story of an extraordinary leader’s life, a moving tribute to the relationships that created it, and a blueprint for 21st-century prosperity. 

Visit IndraNooyi.com for recent coverage of the book. The book was released on September 28, 2021 and published by Penguin Portfolio Books. 

 

Seema

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