While studying electronics at Sri Krishnadevaraya University, Sri Chatta realized her interest in computer science. She pursued this passion through post-graduate study at the University of Hyderabad.
In classes, she quickly noticed something familiar: She was the only woman in the room. “All eyes are on you when you’re the only one,” she says. “Although I’d never say I experienced discrimination, I know that I was in an environment where networking was not as quick and easy as it was for male colleagues.” Still, she remained focused.
Today, Sri has over 25 years of experience delivering successful business transformation projects. At PepsiCo, she helps create next-gen eCommerce platforms, including ones that leverage augmented and virtual reality.
She’s just one of many STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) associates at PepsiCo’s Global Business Services in Hyderabad, a growing function within PepsiCo that builds capabilities in Financial Planning, HR, Sales, Marketing, Insights, Supply Chain, Procurement, and Control to deliver productivity, unlock efficiencies and boost effectiveness in the business.
In the Numbers
Throughout India, more women are entering the workforce. That number is increasing alongside opportunities for education. Still, with the world’s second largest population, India has room for improvement.
“Four out of five women in India do not participate in the workforce,” says Pragya Singh, who leads diversity, equity and inclusion efforts along with supporting the Sales team as an HR business partner at Global Business Services in Hyderabad. “That number is further underrepresented in STEM capabilities.”
Sumona Velvadapu, a Director of Financial Planning at Global Business Services in Hyderabad, is keenly aware of this lack of representation. “Culturally, we just don’t see as many women in positions of leadership in India,” she says. “And whoever is in a senior leadership position has most likely made a lot of personal sacrifices to be where they are. At my old job, I’d be the only woman in leadership meetings.”
When we talk about women in the math, science and engineering workforce, like Sri, the number is even lower. “These are exactly the type of women we need for different roles at Global Business Services in Hyderabad,” Pragya says. And they’re hiring them: 46% of roles at the office are held by women. “That’s a huge achievement,” Pragya says.
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Their commitment to gender parity goals has also been acknowledged externally. “For the past two years, the Economic Times has recognized our office as one of the best workplaces for women,” Pragya says. “Similarly, JobsForHer — India’s largest online career platform for women — has acknowledged our innovative hiring practices for the past two years.”
Associates at Global Business Services in Hyderabad agree with these accolades. “Virtually half of the people are women,” Sumona says. “I know that I can walk into a room and share my opinions. I feel more confident knowing this is happening at every level of business.”
A Culture of Support
Global Business Services is powered by skilled, experienced associates. These teams are encouraged to be themselves. Anyone at PepsiCo can find a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace where they can thrive.
“PepsiCo’s culture is what attracted me to the organization in the first place,” Sri says. “I knew Global Business Services actively encouraged women in STEM and how that laddered up to PepsiCo’s global culture.”
Maintaining and evolving an inclusive environment empowers people to show up and show their talents. Part of that is done through the Women’s Inclusion Network, an employee resource group that provides all women a space where they can speak fearlessly, know they are actively listened to and confidently go forward knowing they are supported by a like-minded community of leaders.
Being around such talented women gets you motivated, and it allows you to motivate your peers. We’re fostering a culture of mentorship.
Associate Director, Consumer Marketing and Engagement
“There are two aspects to being a part of this network,” says Neha Saxena, Associate Director, Consumer Marketing and Engagement in Hyderabad. “Being around such talented women gets you motivated, and it allows you to motivate your peers. We’re fostering a culture of mentorship.” Neha says she learns a lot from the women around her. “You understand how women run the business,” she says. “Being a part of this network allows us to create more opportunities for women within our teams.”
The women of Global Business Services meet at least once a month in Hyderabad to discuss important topics: How can we make life easier for one another? How can we get the most out of flex hours? Answering such questions creates wellness, builds a more inclusive community and enhances associate engagement.
“All of us reflect on these questions brought up in meetings,” Sri says. “One of them was how to combat ‘Superwoman Syndrome,’ the pressure so many of us feel to do it all.”
Many also feel Women’s Inclusion Network is just one of many support systems for all women. “We also have MARC, an ally network of men advocating for real change, and Million Women Mentors, which encourages women and girls to pursue STEM careers,” Sri says. “We also have EQUAL, an employee resource group that champions LGBTQ+ people.”
The women of Global Business Services also champion Work That Works, a new flexible workplace strategy. Anyone can come into the office to collaborate in person or have a mix of working in-office and at home. “It’s work, on your terms,” Neha says. “I have found that people are voluntarily returning to the office just to connect. It’s really refreshing to see the era of chitchats and sharing a coffee with co-workers is returning.”
The PepsiCo Way
PepsiCo invests in talent so they can always bring their best. Associates’ entrepreneurial drive is fueled with reach and resources. That means anyone can be daring on a global scale.
“I’m extremely proud that PepsiCo’s leadership is committed to an inclusive culture,” Neha says. “I especially love the fact that we all have the same mission and vision empowering us to drive the future of the company.”
PepsiCo’s culture, she says, allows everyone to act with integrity, act as owners, voice opinions fearlessly, and consistently innovate to understand and anticipate the needs of consumers and clients. Ultimately, this type of positive and collaborative environment impacts the way associates approach work.
I love that PepsiCo’s culture is embedded within everyone.
IT Director in CTO Organization
“I love that PepsiCo’s culture is embedded within everyone,” Sri says. “It allows all of us to innovate, remove obstacles and celebrate one another.”
Pragya agrees. “At PepsiCo, there is truly a space to be you,” she says. “Anyone can find their sweet spot. Everyone’s able to feel they belong. And that — the infectious energy, the great sense of ownership, knowing that anyone can make a difference — is truly magical.”