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brown and nooyi

Daring leaders Brené Brown and Indra Nooyi on same stage to empower women

Two global names share stage in U.S. before visit to Australia this winter

Women look to Brené Brown and Indra Nooyi for lessons in empowerment

When one of the world’s largest thought leader forums on women’s advancement and gender equity celebrated its 30th anniversary this year, two standout leaders were chosen to be keynote speakers.

Brené Brown and Indra Nooyi jointly headlined the Women’s Foodservice Forum in Dallas, Texas, adding their impressive voices to the call for women to inspire, help and learn from other women.
“Never be satisfied with the status quo,” is what Nooyi told the audience her grandfather would always stress to her.

Most powerful businesswoman in the world

Taking him at her word, Nooyi rose to become the world’s most powerful businesswoman, named as such five years in a row by Fortune magazine, and making Forbes’s annual list of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women no less than 19 times.

Early in her career she worked at Johnson & Johnson in India before attending Yale’s School of Management, and later held strategic planning roles at the Boston Consulting Group, Motorola and robotics company Asea Brown Boveri before joining PepsiCo.

Vulnerability in leadership after Kendall Jenner ad 

Yet the Amazon board member who stepped down as PepsiCo’s CEO after 12 successful years late last year is, like TED talk and Netflix star Brené Brown, unafraid to show her vulnerability.

She shared the story of a failure, the 2017 Kendall Jenner ad that showed the model handing a can of Pepsi to a policeman which sparked outrage because it appeared to co-opt imagery from a Black Lives Matter protest.

“I thought to myself, why wasn’t I in tune with what was happening?” she said.

 “It doesn't matter what the intention was,” she continued. “As CEO, I felt terrible at having offended a group of people … I owned the failure.”

Three Cs of leadership from Indra Nooyi

Given the conference was about driving business growth by realising the full potential of women leaders, Indra Nooyi shared her Three Cs to empower women, and that she would “go back and tell my younger self.”
  • Competence: “If you’re not very, very good at something, nobody is going to notice you.”
  • Courage: “There’s no point in being competent if you don’t have the courage to talk about it.”
  • Communication: “As a leader, you have to change the minds of so many people,” said Nooyi, stating oral and written communication skills were critical to “sync up the thinking and the speaking.”
Brené Brown says she doesn’t believe in women’s leadership

World expert on courage and vulnerability in leadership Brene Brown, author of Dare to Lead, told the crowd with her talk that she didn’t believe in women’s leadership.

“I believe in Leadership! Leadership is Leadership,” she said.

Brené Brown explained that true belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.

“This type of courage and strength can only be forged in the wilderness – through the lived experiences of collective joy and pain, curiosity and questioning, investing in connection and grounded confidence.”

The 30th anniversary WFF event also featured Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson and Amy Purdy, three-time Paralympic Snowboarding Medallist and Author.

Brené Brown and Indra Nooyi will be heading to Australia this winter for events hosted by The Growth Faculty.

Former Fortune 50 company PepsiCo CEO and Amazon board member Indra Nooyi is appearing live in Australia for the very first time at an exclusive dinner event in both Melbourne and Sydney in June 2019, hosted by The Growth Faculty. To secure tickets to this executive leader event, click here. 

Tickets are selling fast to The Growth Faculty July 2019 event with Dr Brené Brown, author of Dare to Lead, and star of her own Netflix special. For more information on this event and bookings, 
click here. 

Members receive discounts to events hosted by The Growth Faculty. To become a member and get access to our popular online business book club, with interviews with international business authors and highlights from past speaker events, click here.