Changing the game for women leaders at PepsiCo: From local action to enterprise accountability

Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research

Beba, U., & Church, A. H. (2020). 72(4), 288–302

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) today represents a standard cultural component in every major organization’s overall human-capital strategy. If we have learned anything collectively in the past 40 years, however, it is that one cannot simply mandate that an organization will be inclusive to differences in gender, ethnicity, age, and other dimensions. Having a diverse and truly inclusive and engaging workplace requires a personal and cultural mind shift on the part of leaders and employees at all levels. This article presents an overview of PepsiCo’s historical and current focus on D&I, with an emphasis on encouraging and developing women leaders as understood from the perspective of the personal career journey of the lead author of this article. Following an initial overview linking D&I efforts as a form of organization development (OD) and culture change, a narrative is presented that follows this leader’s evolution from early career as a region general manager in Turkey to her current role as Chief Diversity and Engagement Officer. Interventions and outcomes are presented that reflect the increasing impact and shifting nature of D&I (and later diversity and engagement) efforts on the women’s leadership agenda, from local business units up to an enterprise level. These efforts show the importance of integrating D&I strategies with OD interventions to drive sustainable change. Following the case example, four key recommendations are presented for organizations to consider in pursuing a similar organization transformational strategy.

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