We Need Our Own Sisterhood To Call Out Unconscious Bias: Indra Nooyi

Indra Nooyi Unconscious Bias

Former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi was present at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women International Summit in Toronto where she set the conversation in high gear. The confident Nooyi says she is now enjoying all her focus on leading the next generation of women to an empowered road. “We need our own sisterhood,” said Nooyi, who stepped down as CEO last year. “Unconscious bias can only be addressed if the sisterhood calls it out.”  She claims that by encouraging each other women can break new barriers, if only they work together.

Key Takeaways:

  • Former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi says she hopes her journey will inspire future leaders, especially girls and women.
  • Nooyi, who stepped down after a 24-year career with the company, said, “We need our own sisterhood” at Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women International Summit in Toronto
  • Nooyi says she is writing a book and learning how to ballroom dance. The book will be released in 2021
  • The project will pass on everything she learned as “a woman of colour, a CEO, a mother, a wife, and a daughter.” 

Nooyi further spoke about a new book she is planning to release in 2021. She stepped down after a 24-year career with the company. This Indian-origin leader was a few from among the handful of people of colour to run an S&P 500 company. During her 12-year tenure as chief executive, Nooyi transformed PepsiCo into one of the most successful food and beverage companies worldwide. Under Nooyi’s leadership PepsiCo’s market capitalisation increased 18% to $155 billion. Her competitive nature wrapped with health concerns made 80 percent sales growth in the 12 years she was CEO. She believes by 2021, her book will be ready which will pass on everything she learned as “a woman of colour, a CEO, a mother, a wife, and a daughter.”

She is now inspired to use that agility, traits and habits she used to help steer her career, to help women find their own ability to succeed at home and at work. She believes workplace systems, which are rife with unconscious bias that “attacks women’s confidence.” This should be challenged and destroyed only by more women push through societal restrains, according to Nooyi. “It’s very, very important that we stop talking about unconscious bias, and start doing something about it,” she said. “The onus is not just on the men. It’s on the women.”

Also read: The bias surrounding women on top

On her way to the top, while developing a niche skill in the industry, Nooyi said her journey was “brutal,” and she hopes that the future leaders, especially girls and women, can be inspired from her journey. “When you’re a female, colored woman, immigrant serving as a CEO of a large company and undertaking a transformation, there are tons of critics,” she said. “All the time you were in the public eye trying to answer the critics. So it was a grind all the time.”

“All CEOs should run the company for the duration of the company, not the duration of the CEO,” she said. “My success should be judged on how well my successor does, not just how well I did.”

Talking further about writing book and learning how to ballroom dance, she plans to steer clear of politics. “The problem is that today when you go into politics, you are working the political system as opposed to doing the job,” she said. “I’m used to doing the job so it won’t work for me.”

Also read: We need more women at the top: Twitter India Policy Head Mahima Kaul 

Read More Stories By Ria Das