The Connecticut Chapter of the Global organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO-CT) joined hands with India Cultural Center (ICC) of Greenwich, Milan Cultural Association of Hartford and Ascend Connecticut/Westchester Chapter to host a program ‘A Conversation with Indra Nooyi’ on Dec. 4th at The Village, near Star Point in Stamford, Connecticut, USA. It was a sold-out program.
Indra Nooyi is the former CEO and Chairman of PepsiCo. She recently published a memoir, My Life in Full: Work, Family and Our Future. Generous, authoritative, and grounded in lived experience, My Life in Full is the story of an extraordinary leader’s life, a moving tribute to the relationships that created it, and a blueprint for 21st-century prosperity.
Raised in a traditional home in South India under the guidance of her mother – a powerful force in her life, Indra Nooyi broke cultural norms, left the comforts of home, and traveled across the globe to study at Yale School of Management on a full scholarship at the age of 22. Her story represents hope, possibilities, and achieving the American dream.
After a trailblazing 24-year career at PepsiCo, Indra Nooyi retired in 2019. Alongside being a remarkably successful business leader, what makes Indra Nooyi unique is her unwavering commitment to her daughters, mother, and husband, to her heritage, to the local business community, to women and mothers, and to youth.
In her book, Indra Nooyi shares her experiences and what she learned along her journey and makes a call to action on how our society can blend work and family – and advance women.
Program started with an introduction of the sponsoring organizations by ICC Executive Director Margie French. Nooyi spoke about her life from coming to the US and climbing as the first Indian CEO of a Fortune 50 company, at the same time managing her family and helping society at large. It was moderated by ICC Director Mudita Bhargava, who also serves as a Vice Chairman of Connecticut Democratic Party. Greenwich high school seniors Maya Hirani and Veda Swaminathin introduced Moderator Bhargava and Speaker Indra Nooyi.
Bhargava asked a range of questions to Nooyi. On family, Nooyi said, “Family is the most important unit that exists, however, families are fragile and can be messy at times, but it is better to keep it intact.”
On women empowerment, Nooyi said, “It is very important for the women to be educated and be financially independent.”
“Women are making a difference, for example, 70% of female students in High Schools are valedictorians and they get a whole 1 point more in GPA, 47% of MIT students are women and more that 50% graduates are women,” Nooyi added.
On the role of technology in our lives, Nooyi said that one needs to juggle priorities to balance work and families.
On mental health, Nooyi has said “There’s a stigma attached to it, we deny this issue, however we should talk about mental health and support those dealing with it.”
Answering to one of the questions from the audience: What is the best advice you have received so far in your professional life, Nooyi said “Put your hand up for the most difficult assignment because then you’ll leave the mark and you’ll be remembered.”
The program ended with a conclusion and a vote of thanks by GOPIO-CT Vice President Dr. Jaya Daptardar.
Commenting on the program, GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham said, “Indra Nooyi is the pride and joy of the Indian American community and a motivator for our youngsters.”