Life at PepsiCo

Meet My Mentor: A Mosaic of Black Excellence & Allyship

5 PepsiCo associates who have been mentors/mentees of one another smile in this collage 5 PepsiCo associates who have been mentors/mentees of one another smile in this collage
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We all need to feel seen, heard and valued. That’s why mentorship can be so powerful and transformative.

We can be great as individuals. But we can never achieve true greatness without the support of trusted advisors.

This February, Black History Month is an opportunity to acknowledge the life-changing powers of mentorship, sponsorship and allyship. Countless influential Black people — from Frederick Douglass and James Baldwin to Serena Williams and Michelle Obama — have not only made major impacts on the lives of individuals and on global culture, but they’ve also helped to improve the overall health and wellness of Black communities everywhere.

History’s thread of influence lives in all of us. And it provides us with an opportunity to elevate ourselves and everyone around us: We know where we’ve been, we see where we are, and we know where we need to go.

Here, five PepsiCo associates talk about our work culture, our efforts to create an inclusive and equitable space, and the colleagues who have made transformative and lasting impacts on their lives.

Farida Belo-Osagie smiles in a warm gray sweater with her hair down.

Farida Belo-Osagie
Supply Chain Optimization Manager
Washington, D.C., USA 


What stands out to you about PepsiCo’s people and culture?   

The PepsiCo Way puts people first. When I started my career, I focused on making changes solely through data. I remember pitching an idea that I thought was great, but I received constructive feedback: “Work through your team.” That allowed me to prioritize people over process. At the end of the day, people are the key to success.

What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?

I’m very proud of the career opportunities I’ve provided for my teams. In every role I’ve had, my goal is simple: Find and nurture talent. I’ve mentored several people who have been promoted from floor experts to leadership roles. Personally, I look forward to becoming a Supply Chain Director at the global level.

What does mentorship mean to you?

Mentorship fosters inclusivity. It allows each person to feel seen and have a safe space. PepsiCo is very fast-paced, so having a professional mentor can be helpful.

Can you talk about the importance of representation? 

It’s important for people of different backgrounds and thought processes to connect. Each of us brings unique viewpoints to work. And we can help tackle problems, together, for optimal results.

Who do you look up to for inspiration? 

I look up to several people in my personal life for inspiration and mentorship. At PepsiCo, my mentor, Destinee Stuck, continuously inspires me.

Tell me about Destinee. Why do you value her guidance?

Destinee is strategic and humble. Her career advice is always solid, and she’s opened me up to different possibilities. She also juggles so many responsibilities, but she makes it all look so easy! She’s taught me the value of networking and how to be my own advocate.

Meet Farida's Mentor, Destinee

Destinee Stuck
Senior Director, In-Market Operations
South Central Region


Tell us about yourself.

Currently, I oversee 21 distribution centers — and more than 800 employees! I’ve been at PepsiCo for 11 years. Throughout that time, I’ve been inspired by the talent across the company. I’ve personally had so many cross-functional experiences that have allowed me to grow in many ways.

What stands out about PepsiCo’s culture?

First, I think our company prioritizes people. This became even clearer over the pandemic: Our company invests in frontline associates. It’s made me so proud to work at an organization that cares about its people.

What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?

I love developing people and seeing their success; however, my proudest moment was when our site won a service award of excellence, which was driven by processes my team led and executed.

You’ve also had an impact on people’s lives. Farida Belo-Osagie said you’re her mentor. What inspired you to take that role?

Again, I love helping people. I remember being in Farida’s shoes when I first started. I remember the power of coaching and guidance my mentor provided. It’s critical to pay it forward. I offered to be Farida’s sounding board and guide her through various situations that have popped up throughout her career.

How does mentorship foster inclusivity?

It helps people feel a sense of belonging and purpose. There’s also power in diversity that lets us avoid “groupthink.” By championing diversity, we can create more ideas that turn into transformative action. Having representation is also key to having authentic discussions that dispel stereotypes across all cultures.

Who do you look to for inspiration and mentorship?

Caroline Ihejiawu. We both started our career journey at the same plant. Our relationship has evolved throughout the years. She’s my mentor, and she’s a strong friend. She is unbelievably thoughtful and provides sound advice tailored to any situation. She has so many tools in her toolkit. I feel privileged that she’s been there to help me along my career journey.

If you could tell your mentor one thing, what would it be?

Thank you for all that you have done to help shape my success. I appreciate the tools shared, pep talks and amazing counsel that you have provided. You’ve taught me how to be more purpose-driven, concise and deliberate in career discussions with senior leaders.

Meet Destinee's mentor, Caroline

Caroline Ihejiawu
Senior Director, PFNA Growth Office
Plano, Texas, USA


You’ve had an influence on people’s lives. Destinee Stuck said you’re an invaluable mentor.

I have always been inspired by Destinee’s determination and grit! Her passion and sustained persistence toward long-term goals are inspirational. She constantly strives to be the best — and she is the best.

Tell us about yourself and life at PepsiCo.

I started in 2001 as an intern at Frito-Lay. Over the past 20 years, I’ve had a wide variety of professional experiences across Supply Chain, Sales, eCommerce and Commercial. I’m inspired to stay and grow my career here because PepsiCo’s culture is one of action. I’m also able to work with top talent and have unparalleled access to career and learning opportunities.

What stands out to you about the people at PepsiCo?

I’m proud to work at an organization where people are valued. And the people at PepsiCo make me feel valued. They provide me with meaningful work, invest in my career development and consistently support my goals.

How does mentorship foster inclusivity?

It creates an environment for openness. We can express excitement over accomplishments and frustrations over challenges. This form of expression creates a sense of belonging and inclusivity that employees may not always feel. It’s important to support underrepresented groups; it has the power to change lives and improve retention.

Who do you look up to for inspiration and mentorship?

Kent Montgomery and Mic Zavarella, two incredibly authentic and compassionate leaders. They embody three attributes that make mentors so special: resilience, adaptability and a positive outlook. They both have a phenomenal ability to assess challenges, find solutions and develop strategies that are impactful at pivotal moments.

If you could tell your mentors one thing, what would it be?

I’m an example of what it looks like when support, time and passion are poured into someone. Thank you! I will continue to pay it forward.

Meet Caroline's mentors, Mic and Kent

Mic Zavarella
Vice President Marketing and eCommerce Sales
Plano, Texas, USA


Kent Montgomery
Vice President, Industry Relations
Plano, Texas, USA


Introduce yourself. Who are you?

Mic: I have the honor of leading PepsiCo’s Walmart Inc. Marketing team. We’re a group of multidisciplinary marketers charged with winning consumers’ hearts and minds with PepsiCo’s iconic brands.

Kent: I’m a father, husband, brother and son. I’m also the Head of Industry Relations for PepsiCo North America.

You’ve been at PepsiCo for years. What inspires you to stay and grow your career here?

Mic: I’ve been here almost 11 years. PepsiCo is a one-of-a-kind learning environment, and I’m inspired every day.

Kent: 30 years! I remain motivated by the dynamic people I work with and the power of our portfolio.

PepsiCo is known for its people and culture. What about them stands out to you?

Mic: PepsiCo has a positive, can-do spirit. No matter how high the bar is set or how stiff the headwinds are, our culture and team have the confidence and will to find a way to win. I’ve seen it time and time again. It’s an inspiring place!

Kent: Our culture provides an opportunity for career-minded individuals to grow and fulfill their dreams. Our people are the fabric that attracts great leaders and innovators — we are for anyone who wants autonomy and responsibility early in their career.

Why is mentorship important?

Mic: Rarely is there a straight path from where you are to where you want to go. Everyone needs a guide to help define goals, identify a path and encourage persistence.

Kent: Mentorship provides mutual learning. Having a mentee can help anyone stay current and get closer to the business. There’s also so much satisfaction in watching a protégé succeed.

What qualities do you look for when you decide to mentor someone?

Mic: I look for an eagerness to be open and honest. We all need to be able to take feedback. In order to grow, you need to be vulnerable and admit where you need assistance.

Kent: I look for coachable individuals with strong follow-up skills. It is on the mentee to set the pace, and then the mentor will fulfill the promise.

Caroline Ihejiawu mentioned that you’re her mentors. What inspired you to take on that role?

Mic: She radiates thoughtfulness and positive energy. From our first interactions, it was clear she wanted to make a difference. Her spirit, drive and flexibility have made her successful and will fuel her continued growth.

Kent: Caroline has all the qualities of a great leader. She’s humble, smart and willing to take chances. She’s done it her whole career. I’ve had the privilege of a front-row seat.

You’ve also influenced other lives. By mentoring Caroline, you began a thread of influence that has an impact to this day. What can we learn from that?

Mic: It makes me happy, proud and inspired all at once. I honestly had never thought about the impact of paying it forward with mentoring. I’m humbled. I’ve benefited from strong mentors, and it’s just so powerful to see how many lives have been impacted!

Kent: Wow. It’s amazing. Everyone is paying it forward! Ultimately, we want to build a better community where lives are positively impacted. That makes me feel great!