PepsiCo's Lisa Walsh urges women to 'be courageous'
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Posted by: Barbara Francella
"If you can see it, you
can be it," Lisa Walsh, senior vice president of PepsiCo sales, PepsiCo
Inc., declared during "Courageous Leadership," the Innovation You
webinar, May 20, 2015.
Walsh, who serves as NEW chair of marketing and communications, urged NEW
members to find inspiration in the industry's women leaders. "When you
think about women being leaders, or about women being courageous, we're not
often thought of in that realm in society," Walsh told the 80 professionals
participating in the webinar live. Women can go from "ordinary to
extraordinary" with a realignment of thinking.
Walsh shared her own
experiences with gender stereotyping, including her reaction when daughter
wanted to be a Star Wars stormtrooper for Halloween, just like her brother. After
realizing she had been unconsciously placing gender stereotypes on her daughter,
Walsh encouraged her to "be the best stormtrooper she could be."
To advance your career, don't
shy away from feedback, Walsh advised. "When you have an opinion, it's
important to internalize others' points of view. That helps you achieve higher
roles." A courageous leader, she said, finds nothing wrong with asking,
"Hey, what did you think of everything you heard?"
Don't try faking your way
through an answer, Walsh cautioned, something "people can smell a mile
away. You can't know everything and as you go higher, you become more of a
generalist. Saying 'I don't know' is okay."
Be accountable, she advised. "When things go wrong, be ready to raise your
hand and say, 'I had a part in that.'"
It's important to recognize
and give credit, too. "You can do it in a big meeting, you can do it with
a handwritten note," said Walsh, who also recommends giving gift cards or
a day off for a job well done. "A personal acknowledgment is a great
Be courageous in your example, including the one you set for children.
"When it's 'take your daughter to work day,' I take my son, too,"
Walsh said. "Gender should be a neutral topic."