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Innovation

Meet Three Outstanding Women in Tech at PepsiCo

Headshots of three women in tech at PepsiCo Headshots of three women in tech at PepsiCo
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The challenges, the colleagues, the once-in-a-career projects. Find out why these three women in tech feel inspired to work at PepsiCo each and every day.

Patricia Ebanks – part of a rising group of women in tech at PepsiCo

Patricia Ebanks
Title: IT Director—Global Operations Supply Chain Capabilities at PepsiCo
Location: Plano, Texas

How did you get started in IT?

I started in IT at a national rental car company. We were converting the mainframe to a PC-based application to put in all of the rental car locations. So I was crawling in the ceiling, cabling the network and testing the application. Then I went to IBM as a tester and got more formal IT training. That’s what really kicked the doors open for me.

How did PepsiCo get on your radar?

The tech industry in North Texas was really hot in the late ’90s. I was exploring opportunities with several of the big-name companies, but what really caught my attention at PepsiCo was the work culture. The people were just very warm and welcoming, and there were a lot of women in the IT organization.

group photo of Frito-Lay employees

Ebanks and her project team deploying SAP to the Topeka, Kansas Frito Lay plant.

What was one of the first big projects you worked on?

I helped develop applications for the Frito-Lay supply chain. We brought technology out into the field, the warehouses and the manufacturing plants to go from paper to a computer. I did design all the way to testing and deployment. I got to visit a lot of the warehouses, got to learn a lot about the business — because if you don’t get the big picture it’s pretty difficult to be successful.

What is your favorite project now?

I’m working directly with our farmers to report data for our sustainability reports. And I knew we worked with big corporate farms, but I found out we also work with very small farms. We met with the farmers to hear their concerns. I heard the smaller farmers say, “I do everything. I have to plant the crop, water it, take care of it, and then come here and do all of the reporting that is needed.”

We’re trying to find solutions to help them, like using drones and satellite images to get data. The farmers also have to provide information about the soil, like the moisture and the minerals, and we thought, “Could we get that information by using sensors in the ground?” So we ran several proofs of concept using sensors as well.

One of the biggest changes I’ve seen is a lot more diversity within the IT organization, especially with more global teams.

Patricia Ebanks,

IT Director

STEM students visiting PepsiCo’s Plano headquarters

A group of young students participate in STEM-related activities during an official office visit to PepsiCo’s Plano headquarters.

Are you working on any initiatives to bring more women into tech?
I lead the Adelante chapter for our IT organization in Parkwood, which is an ERG [Employee Resource Group] for Latino and Hispanic employees. Through that we have built a lot of relationships working with local schools and participating in their career day. Women of color like me go and talk about our career journeys at PepsiCo. We also do office visits for the students and have a full day of STEM-related activities. They put together circuit boards, do hackathons and use the real headwear that lets you virtually walk through our factories or warehouses. Their eyes open up, and you see how excited they get to watch how the potato chips are actually made. We’re really proud to be owners of that relationship.

Ana Fleury
Title: VP and CIO PepsiCo Latin America
Location: São Paulo, Brazil

Ana Fleury – part of a rising group of women in tech at PepsiCo

How did PepsiCo get on your radar?

I was a consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers, then at IBM, and my area of expertise was restructuring, process orientation and also technology projects. I got to go to Mexico City as a consultant, to lead a PepsiCo program that touched on process redesign, restructurings and also SAP as part of the technology enablement. It was a super huge and super interesting program — I worked on it for three years.

How did you join PepsiCo?

I had left the project in Mexico City, and PepsiCo approached me about becoming Chief Transformation Officer in Brazil. The offer came at the perfect moment, because I had been consulting for 18 years, and I thought, “Well, I need a change.” And I loved the culture at PepsiCo and had made a lot of friends, so it was an easy change. I got to build a whole department from the ground up.

group photo of PepsiCo employees in Brazil

Fleury with her team at an IT ExCom offsite meeting in São Paulo, Brazil in 2019.

What was your next role?

I had been at PepsiCo for two years when the CIO of Brazil left, and HR approached me. I had never been a CIO before in my life — it’s one thing to be a technology consultant, but another to be a CIO in charge of a whole area. I said, “OK. But I want to keep transformation. I accept the challenge, accept the job, but don’t take transformation from me.” The first year was tough — I had completely underestimated the level of effort. I was learning how to be a CIO and other aspects of IT that I had never touched before. But I don’t regret it at all.

At PepsiCo, you feel like people are really there for you in every way. No doubt, I got all the help I needed.

Ana Fleury,

VP and CIO

What has been your favorite project?

One project that quickly comes to mind is Conectados. It is our go-to-market transformation initiative for LatAm. This began when I was CIO in Brazil and we started to debate what the issues were and the complications we were facing. And I decided we had to implement a decent sales force automation tool, but we also had to completely replace the back-end systems. The CIO in LatAm, who was my boss at that time, said, “Well, that’s a great idea. Let’s not only do this in Brazil. Let’s elevate the design and make it fit for everybody.” It is something that I feel very proud of, because it was an idea that began in Brazil, but was implemented across the company.

screenshot of virtual workshop for women in tech

A screenshot from an Empower IT meeting this past year focused on sharing experiences from women in IT on how they built successful careers.

Are you working on any initiatives to bring more women into tech?

‘Empower IT’ is an internal program for our female tech talent that we launched this year. We bring in inspiring speakers and have conversations with top leaders in and outside PepsiCo. We want to have diverse faces and diverse mentalities, and I think it’s really gaining traction, because the participants who attend are finding value in it.

Now you’ve been at PepsiCo for more than seven years. What makes you stay?

I felt like there weren’t any new challenges left for me at my last company, but then I came to PepsiCo and I feel so inspired. This is a fast-moving company that challenges me every day. It’s dynamic, engaging and never boring.

Rajini Solomon
Title: Director — Digital Services
Location: Hyderabad, India

Rajini Solomon – part of a rising group of women in tech at PepsiCo

How did your career get started?

In my family, education was not a priority. And even now, none of the women in my family work outside of the home except me. But I had convinced my parents that if I got an MBA. then I could help my future spouse with his business. I got my MBA. in the U.S. — and I stayed for 18 years. I worked for Aegon Asset Management, having started as a contractor, then data architect, then eventually I moved on to the enterprise architect role.

Then you moved back to India to start a business?

Yes, my husband and I started a restaurant. It was his dream. He really needed help, so I decided to quit my job for a while, take a break and help him out. I just thought, “I’ll train up some staff and I will go back to work, no big deal.” After 10 months passed, I was ready to get back to my computers. But I did enjoy it, and I learned I’m a great baker!

photo of a family at a restaurant

Solomon with her husband, two sons and daughter in the restaurant her family opened in India.

How did you join PepsiCo?

A recruiter sent me the role, but all my experience had been in the finance tech side. So the food and beverage industry was new, but the work — the master data management, data governance — it was all the things I had a lot of expertise in. But before I said yes, I did a little research on PepsiCo, and I read the company mission was to create more smiles with every sip and every bite. That resonated with me. My own personal mission and leadership style is if anybody comes to me with a problem, they will leave happier. So I felt my mission aligned well with that of the company.

What is one of your favorite projects right now?

One of them is defining the Frito-Lay planograms for different stores. A planogram is a clear explainer for sales representatives on how to display our products in a certain store and which products to display. So we are designing data dashboards that help our business teams create those planograms. We bring together data from our own sales but also from third parties that track consumer behavior, and then we also have data from our SAP systems. And all that data together can help sales and marketing decide exactly where to place a certain bag of Lay’s at Walmart.

employee handing a bag of Lays chips to a woman

A planogram helps these PepsiCo associates place each bag of Lay’s in the ideal spot for this supermarket.

You joined PepsiCo during the pandemic, so you didn’t start in the office. How did that go?

When I joined, my manager gave me a list of people I should meet with, but then I found that even more people reached out to meet with me. The culture is very, very welcoming. And Hyderabad has an awesome onboarding process where they go through all the departments — finance, IT, insights, HR, help desk — so that you know a lot about the office in your first week on the job.

One thing I like about PepsiCo is the innovative culture. There’s so much encouragement, and we have multiple platforms to share ideas, develop them and do prototypes.

Rajini Solomon,

Director — Digital Services

What have you liked most so far?

In Hyderabad, we have what we call “C2I,” collaborate to innovate. It’s a group that meets every Friday, and people come up with new ideas to make things faster, stronger and better. And the other thing is the people — they are PepsiCo’s biggest strength. All my colleagues are much more engaged compared to any other place I’ve worked.