Skip to main content
Home » Women and Girls » A recipe for success: support, inclusion and empowerment

Layla Whiting

UK Manufacturing Director, PepsiCo

Kate Brady

Senior Director of Marketing Transformation and Head of Creative and Content Transformation, PepsiCo

April Carr

Senior Director of Transformation, PepsiCo

Find inspiration and learn from empowered women leaders about career growth and mentorship. Pave the way to success and own your career.

Layla Whiting’s journey is a testament to female empowerment in business. Initially a part-time receptionist at PepsiCo, she embarked on an exceptional trajectory. She rose to UK Manufacturing Director after embracing opportunities across Supply Chain and HR.

“When I started at the company, my confidence was pretty low,” she remembers. “But the number of people who believed in me — when I didn’t necessarily believe in myself — was remarkable.”

Career growth, autonomy and support

Whiting valued empowerment in owning her career, embracing diverse work approaches and learning from mistakes within a supportive, inclusive setting. “If you’re offered a role that makes your tummy flip, you should take it because you’ll learn so much,” she says. “It can be scary, but I’ve always been supported and trusted to try new things, so I’ve never been worried about being outside my comfort zone, and I’ve never felt held back.”

Why mentorship and sponsorship are critical

Kate Brady, Senior Director of Marketing Transformation and Head of Creative and Content Transformation at PepsiCo, agrees that employees should feel empowered to constantly challenge themselves. “That way, you’ll always be learning something and pushing boundaries to be a better leader and a businesswoman,” says Brady. “Where there are obstacles, you can use your network to navigate around them. It’s why mentorship and sponsorship within an organisation are critical.”

Whiting says the mentorship and advice she received from various inspirational female leaders were invaluable to career growth. “They were always happy to support me,” she notes. “I want to have the same impact on other women in our organisation.” It’s one of the reasons why she sponsors an internal employee group ‘Thrive’, which runs events and networking sessions for female colleagues.

You have to feel empowered to raise
your hand when an opportunity arises.

Kate Brady

April Carr, Senior Director of Transformation and Chair of the North America Women of Color Employee Resource Group, has mentored many female colleagues during her 25 years with the organisation. “I’m always encouraging women to go for that promotion,” she says. “It warms my heart and my soul when they tell me: ‘Guess what? I got the role!’” 

Developing a meaningful career with real business impact

Carr’s path to senior leadership has not been without challenges. Occasionally, she admits, she has been the only woman in the room. “It’s part of my purpose to transform those rooms,” she insists. “Thankfully, I’ve had some fantastic female leaders and allies who saw my potential and gave me the autonomy to lead and make change.”

It led to a fulfilling career that influenced the whole business. Carr’s team recently delivered the first AI-enabled app — with augmented reality capability — for the sales team at Frito-Lay. “That kind of innovation is possible because my team is full of talent from a beautiful array of backgrounds,” she says. “Diversity is the secret sauce, which is vital to the company’s sustainability and competitive advantage.”

Brady knows how exhilarating it can be to see a successful project come to fruition. “I get excited when I help find a solution and then embed it and scale it within the organisation to make a meaningful impact on how we operate,” she says. “To get to that place, you have to feel empowered to raise your hand when an opportunity arises.”

While Whiting, Carr and Brady emphasise that personal strength and initiative are pivotal to owning one’s career, they also underscore the significance of PepsiCo embedding inclusion in its company culture for success.

PepsiCo is an Equal Opportunity Employer: Race/Colour/National Origin/Age/Religion/Sex/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity/Disability/Protected Veteran

Next article