Indra Nooyi: Women Can't Have It All
David Bradley, owner of The Atlantic magazine, recently interviewed PepsiCo’s CEO, Indra Nooyi, at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colorado.
Nooyi recalled how she arrived home one night 14 years ago with exciting news to share with her family. But her mother didn’t want to hear the news—she wanted Nooyi to go to the store to buy some milk. They needed it for breakfast the next morning.
Nooyi bought the milk, returned home, banged it on the counter and said, “I had great news for you. I’ve just been told that I’m going to be president on the Board of Directors. And all that you want me to do is go out and get the milk, what kind of a mom are you?”
And her mom said: “Let me explain something to you. You might be president of PepsiCo. You might be on the board of directors. But when you enter this house, you’re the wife, you’re the daughter, you’re the daughter-in-law, you’re the mother. You’re all of that. Nobody else can take that place. So leave that damned crown in the garage. And don’t bring it into the house. You know I’ve never seen that crown.”
Later in the interview, Nooyi shared her opinion that women can’t have it all. They can’t have a great career and also be a great mom and wife. “Being a CEO for a company is three full time jobs rolled into one. How can you do justice to all? You can’t. The person who hurts the most through this whole thing is your spouse. There’s no question about it. You know, Raj always said, you know what, your list is PepsiCo, PepsiCo, PepsiCo, our two kids, your mom, and then at the bottom of the list is me. There are two ways to look at it (laughing). You should be happy you’re on the list. So don’t complain (laughing). He is on the list. He is very much on the list. But you know (laughing), sorry, David.”
Compiled and partly written by Indian humorist MELVIN DURAI, author of the novel Bala Takes the Plunge.
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