On April 20, 2022, WWLF members met virtually for our quarterly book read. The book was Indra Nooyi’s “My Life In Full: Work, Family, and Our Future”. The group had a lively discussion asking and answering such questions as “The author had the support of an extended family throughout her life. In her early years, her family prioritized the education of Indra and her sister. When you were growing up, did your family support your educational and career goals? How did their support/lack of support affect your career trajectory?” and “Nooyi reportedly earned around $31 million USD in her last year as CEO. In her last full year as CEO, 2017, there were only 13 women amongst the top 200 highest paid CEOs of American companies. Most C-Suite compensation is paid out in stock-options, but, still, she was one of the highest paid female CEOS ever. Interestingly enough, she never asked for a raise or bonus. Female executives still earn less than their male counterparts, what can be done to narrow this pay gap? Is part of the problem that women don’t negotiate or is it that women are seen as viewed unfavorably when they do ask for a raise?”
Indra Nooyi, one of the world’s most admired executives as former CEO of PepsiCo, recounts her journey from her childhood in India to becoming the first woman of color to lead a Fortune 50 company. Her biography, “My Life In Full: Work, Family, and Our Future” is insightful, honest, and inspiring. I appreciated Nooyi’s detail of her background, which included an emphasis on education and commitment to family during her childhood. It is clear that Nooyi received strength and confidence having the support of her parents and then later the invaluable, selfless support of her husband, Raj.
Throughout the book, the reader sees the tireless efforts of Nooyi as she rises through the ranks of various companies. She makes personal sacrifices and difficult choices as she balances her executive roles with being a wife and mother. By her own admission and as she shares her reflections throughout the book, she prioritized work and never wavered from climbing the corporate ladder with intense vigor. Her drive and dedication are inspiring, but the author shares some regrets with having achieved the pinnacle of her career at PepsiCo.
Nooyi’s autobiography is relevant for readers today, as the topic of work-life balance is prevalent. It was a huge accomplishment for Nooyi, a female immigrant with humble beginnings, to rise to the top of one of the most famous companies in U.S. history. This book is a quick-read and gives readers pause to consider the importance of relationships, education, learning from failures, driving corporate change, and sacrifices made during one’s professional journey.