I went to Blogher last week where PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi was the keynote speaker. She said, “Woman are influencing the world in the confines of their own home and globally they represent 70% of the buying decisions around the world.”
She is one the best examples of power women. Fortune magazine named her the most powerful women in business for four years running (2006-2010). But when I look at successful individuals I believe the real story is not just what they’ve accomplished, but where they came from and where they are going.
She spoke about growing up in India with strict parents, where she studied all the time and anything less than an “A” was unacceptable.
She said she had a strong mother who allowed her and her sister to think and dream, by asking them what they wanted to be someday. But she also said there’s a bit of a rebel inside her, pointing out she played guitar in a all girls rock band.
Nooyi said she came to the US with nothing, to make ends meet she worked as a receptionist. She graduated from the Yale School of Management, then moved up the corporate ladder and is now one of the most powerful and visionary people in business.
As the daughter of Chinese immigrants I could relate. I came from a strict family, but not so strict that they didn’t allow me to dream. When I listened to her speak she was inspiring not because of her title and business success, but because of her spirit and her vision. As a mother of 2 daughters, one who is headed off to college in a few weeks she shared her struggles of trying to balance work and family, sounding like any other mother in the audience.
When asked by Willow Bay, Huffington Post Editor and Former CNN Anchor, who interviewed her on stage, “What was your best piece of advice to your daughters?, she said, ”Follow your dreams.” It’s the same piece of advice her daughter gave her when she started to question the trade-offs she made for being an executive.
As CEO, she shapes the vision of her company, as a mother she shapes the vision of her daughters, just like her mother shaped her vision at a young age. It’s all interelated. While her keynote taught me a lot about business, I also reminded me about the impact we have on an individual level. While you may not be the CEO of PepsiCo you are CEO of your home, the leader of your own will and you have the power to make an impact.
Here’s her philosophy on success she calls the 5 C’s
- Competency. Stand out from the pack. Be able to get results.
- Courage Be confident as a leader. Don’t be afraid to make the tough calls and speak out.
- Communication. You need to clearly speak your vision
- Consistency. Leaders need to be consistent. Doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind, but you need a baseline to measure your successes and failures.
- Compass. Integrity is critical in this job. If it doesn’t point toward your values everything may fall apart.