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Indra Nooyi and Padmasree Warrior: Highlights from the Fireside Chat

Indra Nooyi and Padma Warrior
Fable celebrated Women’s Equality Day with a special conversation between Fable CEO Padmasree Warrior and Indra Nooyi, one of the world’s most admired business leaders and author of “My Life in Full.”The conversation was hosted by Kelli Thompson, the author of “Closing the Confidence Gap.
Join Kelli Thompson’s Leading with Confidence Club for more insights!
We’ve rounded up some quotes from the fantastic conversation.

Indra on expectations

“I’m glad my family pushed me to focus on grades and education and move ahead. “But the rest of it was all internally driven. Once I came to the United States, I didn’t want to let myself down. I didn’t want to let my family down. I didn’t want to let India down. And I didn’t want to let the US down for giving me a chance. Once I got married, I didn’t want to let my family down. “Could I have stepped out of any of these at any point? Yeah, I could have. But I was not going to because I felt I owed everybody that responsibility as one of the early people who ascended to the top of corporate America. I knew people were going to look at me and say, “there’s a role model.” So I needed to do right by all these constituencies. “I worked hard for my company, my family, my ancestry, the country of my birth, the country that job adopted me everything. I worked hard and made sure I was an upright citizen, It took a lot from me, but you know what? That’s part of being one of the early people. Nobody had it easy.”

Padma Warrior on belonging

“As leaders, we must create environments for diversity, equity, and inclusion, but it has to go beyond that. You have to help people belong in the community at work. “What does that mean? People must feel like they can be all of themselves at that table. Diversity means I’m hiring people that are different. Equity means I’m treating everyone the same. Inclusion means they get a seat at the table. But that’s not enough. “We have to say, “You get the seat at the table, but you can come with your whole self.” In the tech industry, there are all these stereotypes. You have to help people push those away and create an environment where people feel like they can belong.”

Indra on Success

“If you want to rise in the corporate world or keep your own business growing, it’s a lot of work. It consumes you all the time. The pyramid narrows as you go to the top, and it gets tougher and tougher. Because not only are you fighting off everybody else, you’ve got to prove your bet to be better than everybody else, and the world around you is changing. “You must be a lifelong learner to refine and improve your proposition. So you’re back to school every day. You’re doing homework every day to improve your proposition. So it’s work. “Unless you have a supportive spouse, you can’t do it. You’ve got to calibrate what you want to be, what kind of support structure you want, and what kind of family structure you want to build.”

Padma Warrior on leadership

“One of the best leadership traits is asking the right questions, not necessarily knowing all the answers. “First, make sure you’re always asking the right questions and learning. That’s now called a growth mindset, or being curious, asking, and seeking out information. I learned from my family an ability to simplify a lot of complexity, to think about what are the one or two three things that are important that you want to communicate.“Secondly, learn to be a good listener and ask the right questions, versus jumping to give the answers all the time.”

Indra on success

“When I look at my tenure, I did two six-year terms. In the first six-year term, I had to navigate the financial crisis and transform the company. I had to extract performance from the transformation in the second six-year term.“I truly loved my job. I loved PepsiCo and love the people. I had a supportive board. And yet there were days that I was exhausted. I couldn’t stand the external criticism from people who thought we should change but didn’t want me to invest in change. “Sometimes I sit back and say, Is it all worth it? The answer is yes. You want to leave a legacy behind, have a great company, great performance, a great platform from which the new CEO can grow, and a great stable of leaders you leave fulfilled. “When I stepped down as CEO of PepsiCo in 2018 and as Chairman in 2019, I had no regrets. I left very fulfilled. I think that’s how we should all retire from jobs, not trying to throw darts at the existing CEO.”“Work-life balance was a challenge in my time, and there were always trade-offs. I was juggling. In today’s world, somehow, you can make the balance work. Today, you can balance it somewhat. “Once you reach the CEO level, all bets are off, and it’s a different world. That’s a rarefied environment where we don’t talk about balance because there is no balance. It’s a different work/life equation and a different workload. And it’s very challenging.”

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