INDRA NOOYI ON THE HARSH REALTIES OF BALANCING CAREER AND MOTHERHOOD
Indra Nooyi has consistently been ranked as one of the most powerful women in the world. She serves on the Board of Directors of Amazon, the largest e-commerce company in the world. While she was CEO of PepsiCo, the sales of the company grew by 80%, an extraordinary feat for a company of this size. She was CEO for around 12 years.
Indra Nooyi has often candidly admitted that balancing work and family is not always easy. She says that she certainly does not regret pursuing her career, but she often felt the “heartaches” of not spending enough time with her daughters.
She narrates a particularly painful incident where her 4 year daughter wrote her a letter of how much she loved Indra but would “love her more” once she came home. Nooyi has preserved the letter in order to “remind myself of what I lost’’.
She added that for all women, staying away from work for extended periods of time is not always viable as once they are away for a year or two, they “often lose their place in the queue”.
Indra believes that simply adding maternity and paternity leaves is not a solution by itself because even 1-2 year old kids need a lot of support. She believes that the business of making workplaces friendlier towards women with family responsibilities is far from over. Governments, organizations and individuals have to come together to support this mission.
Hearing these words from one of the most successful CEOs, we can take home the realization that while it is certainly possible to be a successful business executive and a family person, sometimes sacrifices have to be made. The dilemma for mothers is great, as they are the primary caregivers for young children but at the same time wish to advance in their careers.
In such a scenario, the family as well as the organization can play a huge role, by sharing some of the workload and care of the child. Simple steps like setting up a small day-care centre in the office and helping with household chores can go a really long way.