Nooyi, a global leader who rose to become PepsiCo's chairman and chief executive officer, shared insights she developed over the years about gender bias, inequality and being a mother in today's workforce.
DOBBS FERRY, N.Y., May 3, 2023 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- On May 1, 2023, Mercy College welcomed Indra Nooyi, former chairman & CEO, PepsiCo, to its Dobbs Ferry campus for an engaging conversation about breaking down barriers. Nooyi, a global leader who rose to become PepsiCo's chairman and chief executive officer, shared insights she developed over the years – included in her book "My Life in Full: Work, Family, and Our Future" – about gender bias, inequality and being a mother in today's workforce. Nearly 250 people attended the event, including Mercy College students, faculty, staff, Mercy and College of New Rochelle (CNR) alumni, Mercy Trustees and community partners spanning the education, nonprofit and business sectors.
"It is indeed an honor to host a corporate luminary and visionary thinker such as Indra Nooyi," said Tim Hall, president of Mercy College. "She is one of that rare breed of leader who not only sees the possibility of change, but makes it happen. And she did this by demonstrating that it is possible for a corporation to be a good citizen of the world in addition to a profitable business. That good global citizenship is something we try to instill in all our students at Mercy College as they head into their various careers."
During the conversation with Nooyi, facilitated by Mercy College Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Eva Fernandez, Nooyi answered questions – all submitted by event attendees – on managing the responsibilities of being chief executive officer and a mother, the importance of advancing women in the workplace, her leadership philosophy, the challenges and opportunities for professional women of color, and how to implement effective diversity, equity and inclusion programs and policies in the workplace.
To rise through the ranks and become a successful leader, Nooyi advised, "The most important thing each of us have to know is, 'What is our proposition to the company? Always ask yourself, how am I going to be a lifelong student so I can learn everything around my job so that I can offer a proposition to the company which I keep improving?"
Nooyi also met with about 30 Mercy students during a pre-event reception to learn about their career interests and extracurricular involvement. The students asked for her thoughts on how to stand out in a competitive marketplace and succeed as they embark on their careers after graduation.
"What stood out to me the most was Indra Nooyi's comments about performance and purpose," said Mercy student Taylor George '26, who was thankful for the opportunity to meet Nooyi and hear a global leader of such importance speak at her college. "Having purpose behind your performance, I think that's really important – you have to know why you're showing up. And in my pursuit of internships and a career, knowing why I'm doing what I'm doing is going to keep me on the path forward to achieving what I want."
Nooyi was the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo from 2006-2019. She was the chief architect of the PepsiCo initiative "performance with purpose" – PepsiCo's pledge to be a better corporate citizen by being responsive to the needs of the world around it. This led PepsiCo to expand its portfolio of brands to include more nutritious foods, to limit its environmental footprint, and to empower people in the communities it serves. Through "performance with purpose" Nooyi also acknowledged the need to attract and retain talent by providing family friendly employee benefits and initiatives.
She has been named "Outstanding American by Choice" by the U.S. State Department. In 2019 her portrait was inducted into the Smithsonian national portrait gallery, and in 2021 she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.
Nooyi is also the recipient of 15 honorary degrees including one in 2003 from the College of New Rochelle, a legacy Mercy has continued to preserve as part of its agreement with CNR when it closed in 2019.
About Mercy College
Founded in 1950 by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy College is an independent, coeducational college that offers more than 90 undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs within five schools: Business, Education, Health and Natural Sciences, Liberal Arts and Social and Behavioral Sciences. The vibrancy of the College culture is sustained by a diverse student body from around the region. The College offers campuses in Dobbs Ferry, the Bronx and Manhattan as well as online offerings. For more information, visit http://www.mercy.edu.
Zodet Negron, Mercy College, 914-255-4009, [email protected]
SOURCE Mercy College