Indra Nooyi, The Former Chairperson And Ceo Of Pepsico, Spills Her Life Lessons
VOGUE India|October 2021
From navigating motherhood without a smartphone to breaking the glass ceiling in perfectly tailored suits, Indra Nooyi, the former chairperson and CEO of PepsiCo, spills her life lessons outlining how she became the first South Asian female CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
Shahnaz Siganporia
Be it forming an all-girl rock band called the LogRhythms (the girls loved their maths) for a high-school variety show or striding out to bat for her college team in cricket whites (borrowed from her father), Indra Nooyi’s first memoir, My Life In Full (Hachette India), is filled with riveting tidbits from the former CEO’s early life. Charming anecdotes aside, Nooyi also uses her first outing as an author to give readers an inside view into what it really means to be a woman of colour and make it big in corporate America.

In her intimate autobiography, Nooyi, who turns 66 this month, underscores the importance of having a supportive spouse, the challenges and joys of being a working mother (“You three make me whole,” she says of her husband and daughters, Preetha and Tara), and the absolute non-negotiable of having a support system that includes childcare and safe spaces (“Once you’re within striking distance from the CEO’s office...the idea of balancing work with any kind of normal life isn’t practical”).

Nooyi doesn’t shy away from spotlighting the harsh realities of ruling the ‘corporate-dom’ in the book, even as she pads her own struggles as the sole woman in most boardrooms. Which explains why she concludes her memoir with a manifesto of sorts, of all that is wanting for women to succeed in the workplace. It’d be an understatement to say that Nooyi is exceptional. There aren’t many South Asian women who have reached the CEO’s office of a Fortune 500 company, but she’s the first in what will hopefully be a long list. Hers is a story that needs to be told more, seen more and heard more. Over Zoom, Nooyi, in her signature pearl studs and perfectly coiffed hair, discusses why it was time to tell her story.

Shahnaz Siganporia: My Life In Full wasn’t the book you set out to write, but the one you eventually did. Tell us how your first title came into its own?

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