Friday, January 30, 2009

Indra Nooyi - list of woman achievers

A year ago, I read an interview of Indra Nooyi in economic times. Nandan Nilkeni, Infosys head was chatting up with her.

The discussion steered towards Indra nooyi's mother's role in her success. Now, in Indra's own words, her mother is the typical south Indian Brahmin who insisted excessively on academic success. Strange isnt it? Indra belongs to 1950's,1960s generation, South Indian Brahmin mothers haven't changed in the past 50 years. They still teach their 2nd standard kids as if they are preparing towards the IAS exam and it has been working wonders for India:)

Back to her interview, Indra narrated how right after becoming the president, when she went home, she had an argument with her mother(who insisted on Indra getting a gallon of milk) which ended with her mother saying, " Everything else is what you acquired or what you got because I pray for four to five hours a day.'

What took me aback was Indra continued on how she believes that too. Her mother's prayer, the reason for her success.

This might not surprise you if you look at it with the background of our families which is sort of similar to Indra Nooyi's. If I think rationally, I wouldn't deny the role of luck in anyone's success. The luck factor or the irrational part of any one's success, we humans tend to attribute to God. So this isn't unusual. We hope and believe in wringing it in our favour by praying to the almighty.

But hearing it from Indra nooyi, someone who is and will be treated as a symbol of modern woman, one who will be quoted in textbooks, articles as an epitome of woman 's achievement (even in a gender-less world, her achievement still stands apart as an Indian who is heading a big corporate giant in the World's super power) and from her mouth, comes the attribution to God.

Not just me, quite a few others would think since she represented one facet of modernity, she would be the championing the rest of the aspects of modernity as well.

But contrary to the stereotypical image, I think Indra Nooyi is a fiercely competitive person who had it in her to make it big in the world and who wanted to. She didn't start out being women equality warrior. Those type of woman join politics or NGOs. Meanwhile, Indra Nooyis of the world focus on achieving what they want in the process breaking up many barriers.

Nothing wrong with either set of people.


  1. Thought provoking Sachita... in a hurry, but will come back with comments. Just wanted to keep up with my promise and pay my daily visit :-) Love the way you analyze things... keep it up!

  2. The story of Indra Nooyi is certainly an inspiring one. Incidentally, the president of my company is an Indian who grew up in Chennai :-).

    I think it's hard to hide talent under the guise of race and gender. Indra Nooyi had the right combination - smarts, attitude, personality, and luck.

    Why does success and faith have to be mutually exclusive.

  3. "Why does success and faith have to be mutually exclusive."

    exactly what i tried realzing thru this post. Faith in these times is considered backwards, I think which is why coming from her mouth it surprised me.

    Regarding CEOs, 10 years from now, silicon valley will be filled with Indian ceos for sure:)

  4. I've met her. Lovely lady. Very, very sharp and incredibly tough.