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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