Reflections Series – The Makings of Indra Nooyi: A Young Australian-Indian’s Perspective

Part Two of our two-part feature on Indra Nooyi, written by one of MCX’s Marketing Interns Kavisha Sarma.

Indra Nooyi had recently visited Sydney and addressed a large gathering at the ICC, Darling Harbour. Sheba, MultiConnexions CEO requested me to share my thoughts as a second generation Australian Indian, on Indra Nooyi, one of the world’s most famous and successful CEOs and one of the best known faces of the Indian diaspora across the world.

I’m Kavisha, a second-generation Indian-Australian based in Sydney. I’m currently studying full-time and have spent the past month interning at MultiConnexions. Although I was unable to attend the dinner event with Indra Nooyi hosted by The Growth Facility, I deeply resonate with her story and am inspired by all she has achieved as a fellow member of the Indian diaspora. Nooyi is undoubtedly an influential business powerhouse, well deserving of her continuous ranking in the world’s 100 most powerful women. Born in India, she completed most of her schooling there before moving to the US to attend the Yale School of Management.

Belonging to the Indian diaspora and growing up in the 21st century, I often feel torn between my Indian identity and my Australian identity. Because of this I find myself identifying as an Australian, Indian, and a global citizen – someone who values sustainable world practices. Personally, I’ve always been at odds with understanding the corporate world and its tendency to forego social responsibility in order to drive profits. It is imperative that communities adopt more responsibility and in turn act for the benefit of the world at large. Indra Nooyi has proven that it is possible to increase profits while pushing for social consciousness. During her 12-year tenure as the PepsiCo CEO she increased sales by 80%, growing the company into one of the most profitable beverage and food companies in the world. Over the course of these 12 years she also managed to transform the company into a more environmentally aware business, reducing water consumption, increasing recycling and reducing their carbon footprint. Nooyi diversified the PepsiCo portfolio after acknowledging the need to address the “obesity epidemic” with an increased focus on nutritionally healthier products and categorising those products into ‘fun for you’, ‘better for you’, and ‘good for you’.

As a young adult starting out in my career, I really do want it all. Being brought up by 2 first-generation immigrant parents, I am influenced by their traditional Indian cultural values and their emphasis on community and family, as well as more ambitious, progressive, Western values of being independent and achieving my own success. Indra Nooyi stands as a figure for inspiration in her ability to sustain a successful career whilst raising two daughters – with an active, deliberate nod to years of Indian history, culture and family. However, Nooyi remains candid about the sacrifices she made along the way including missing out on spending time with her children and family.

Personally, I have always valued having a growth mindset, which entails having a self-desire to continuously learn and persist through challenges. This growth mentality is something that both my parents have also instilled in me from a young age as they both had to persevere and prove themselves to become successful when migrating. Indra Nooyi wholly embodies these values, referring to the need for CEOs and leaders needing to be “lifelong students”. She also emphasises the importance of ensuring that you can do your current job better than anyone else and to keep improving yourself constantly ­– which resonates deeply with me.

Inspiring many women like me, she has proven that there are no limits to what you can achieve if you effectively develop your skills, constantly continue to grow, learn and persevere.

To continue reading our “Reflections” feature on Indra Nooyi, check out Part One titled “The Makings of Indra Nooyi: A Young Australian’s Perspective” by MCX Marketing Intern Madeleine Quinn.

Image header source: Dezeen

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