“Leadership is hard to define and good leadership even harder. But if you can get people to follow you to the ends of the earth, you are a great leader.” ~ Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo

Summary: As the CEO of PepsiCo, the world’s 4th largest food and beverage company, Indra Nooyi has won back-to-back listings as a “World’s Most Powerful Woman.” In addition to serving as PepsiCo’s CEO, Nooyi was instrumental in the establishment of Yum! Brands, which now operates Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut, Long John Silver’s, and A&W Restaurants. Yum! Brands is currently listed as a Fortune 500 company and is the world’s largest fast food corporation.

Nationality: Indian-American

Industry: Business Management

Q: You’re one of the world’s most prominent woman leaders. Is that a burden? And where do you think we are in terms of gender progress in business? on fastcompany.com

A: I think we’ve come a long way. When I started working my first jobs in consulting in 1980, many times you’re the only woman in the room and you could feel the guys rolling their eyes when the women talked. I mean, they did all the time. Today, with more women in the workforce, we have the numbers. Women have begun to call the guys out. They still roll their eyes, but you can now say, “what are you rolling your eyes for?” I think the debate and the discussion is more overt, that’s good news.

What has to happen going forward is that we can’t allow the progress to be impeded. More than 50 percent of degrees are being awarded to women, many of the master’s degrees, the PhDs are being awarded disproportionately to women. So if we want to tap into the entire workforce, we have to make ourselves an inclusive workplace. Companies have to get more flexible to accommodate everybody’s need, and we have to make sure we train people on inclusive behavior by modeling the right behavior.

I honestly believe the next two decades are the decades for women. Women are needed in the workforce. Women do pretty well today but we women have to help each other. We have to give each other feedback and mentor each other. I mean, my mentors have all been men. Women have to mentor women.