A great book I read recently is Indra Nooyi’s new memoir My Life in Full: Work, Family, and Our Future. Nooyi, the former chair and CEO of PepsiCo, is one of the only women to run a Fortune 50 company and among the most strategic thinkers of our time.
In the memoir, she describes the events that shaped her life as a woman of color and an immigrant, 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 was appointed to one of the most senior executive ranks in business.
During her time at the top, she nearly doubled sales to a record $64 billion. She also expanded the product line to include healthier foods, made manufacturing processes greener by reducing water consumption and plastic use, and blocked a bid to break up PepsiCo. Profit was her main goal, but she was also dedicated to positive change.
Nooyi comes across as an inspirational boss who believed in teamwork. Her success was a result of her hands-on approach, strong pursuit of excellence, and a deep sense of purpose. She is clearly a powerhouse and a business leader that I have a lot of respect for. Why not let women soar to the highest parts of the sky?
Married with two daughters, she doesn’t believe women can have it all without a strong support network. What she calls her “moonshot” vision is to bring more women into the workforce. She wants to see the corporate world provide paid maternity and paternity leave, and flexible working arrangements.
Her idea is that society must find ways to ease the burden of caring for a family that mostly falls on women and forces so many to quit their jobs. Taking these steps, she says, can only result in huge economic benefits for everyone.
Nooyi’s prescription for change makes this a worthwhile and inspiring read. I recommend this book to anyone who’s interested in understanding how it is possible to succeed against all the odds.