“My Life in Full” by Indra Nooyi is a beautiful memoir of a very successful CEO of an iconic company, who also happens to be a woman, a caring daughter, a loving wife, and a mother. In this book, Indira talks about her academic and professional growth alongside a meaningful personal life complete with many well nurtured and rewarding relationships. She also talks about the gender bias that existed back then and exists even now in our academic and professional world. Without sounding angry or bitter, she points out through her own experiences and her observations about other women employees, the prejudices that exist against female employees, that eventually lead to many of them quitting the workforce.
One example about Employee appraisals particularly stands out in this regard. She says that there exists a culture of “and…” and “but…”, while managers conduct the performance appraisals of male and female employees, which is completely unfair to the women and hinders their professional growth. She also tellingly states that she was called a “Quota” executive, despite being a top-notch performer. I love the way she makes the case for women to stay in the workforce, even after starting a family. She points out that it is not necessary to sacrifice personal career ambitions to sustain a family. She suggests that a spouse, extended family, and society, must play a better role in sharing the caregiving responsibilities so that many competent and intelligent women can climb up the corporate ladder and fulfill their dreams. She makes an emphatic statement that women rising in their careers will contribute significantly towards the economic wellbeing of families and society in general. She strongly feels that women are an invaluable asset to the workforce and their continued professional growth helps families attain better economic status while being personally rewarding to women.
The book also brings out the refreshing attitude of a female CEO, who values her employees’ wellbeing and the company’s responsibility to the community on par with the performance and annual revenues. We see a conscientious CEO, who recognizes that her company’s products are unhealthy for the people in the community and the company’s practices are causing environmental damage. She proceeds to rectify both issues through initiatives like PWP (Performance with Purpose) and starting a new nutrition department to improve the recipes of Pepsi products. We see the parent in her when she starts an initiative to provide on or near-site childcare at all locations of PepsiCo so that the employees can take care of their young kids while at work.
Indira Nooyi, a mother, wife, daughter, a successful CEO, and a Philanthropist is a role model and inspiration to a generation of women.
I strongly recommend that all young women who are about to enter the workforce must read this book and motivate themselves to achieve their dreams.