The most critical thing a leader must understand is that diversity is about being different. Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, understands what it means to be different. Reinemund and Paige explained that Indra Nooyi understands differences. Indra Nooyi dealt with the differences of being a woman, minority, and ethnic origin and still managed to climb her way to the top of the corporate ladder. Mrs. Nooyi holds a Bachelor of Science from Madras Christian College, an Master of Business Administration from the Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta, and a Master of Public and Private Management from Yale University (PepsiCo, n.d.). Indra spent many years as a Vice President in different capacities before starting at PepsiCo in 1994 as Senior Vice President of Strategy and Strategic Marketing. Mrs. Nooyi worked her way up the corporate ladder at PepsiCo and in 2006; took over leadership as President and CEO. Indra Nooyi lives diversity each day and understand what Richardson (2005) referred to as an organization of people from different backgrounds that consists of race, ethnicity, gender, and beliefs. This paper will focus on how Indra Nooyi influences diversity at PepsiCo based on her ethnicity, gender, and policies. A key element in implementing successful diversity policy is the ability to lead and manage ethnic diversity.
Diversity has been and continues to be good for the economic growth and prosperity of this country (Herrerra, 2001). According to Moore (2007), Indra Nooyi is a native of India and one of only a handful of women to run a Fortune 500 company. PepsiCo is a proponent of diversity and in the 1940’s had minority-owned franchises and employees of color. Moore stated that PepsiCo stood by their diversity policies even after the Ku Klux Klan threatened to organize a boycott of the company. WorldPress.com (2011) stated that Indra Nooyi exemplifies diversity leadership when she stated, “I’m putting my hand up and saying, able body, ready to work”. Indra Nooyi leads an organization that strives for gender and ethnic diversity on its board of directors, as well as their supplier is that are largely minority and women-owned businesses.
Another critical element in building success and competitive advantage is acceptance of diversity across gender.
Indra Nooyi’s rise to the top of organizational leadership is surprising since she did it during a time when women typically did not fill positions at the top levels of an organization. The Bureau Labor Statistics Report (2013) stated that the number of women in the labor force is significantly higher today than it was in the 1970s and women with a college degree tripled from 1970 to 2011. Indra Nooyi is one of those women. The fact that Mrs. Nooyi is a woman coupled with the fact that she is from Indian descent is atypical due to the marginalization of both identities in corporations (Reinemund & Paige, 2001). Nooyi personifies a...