When Veronica Yeung joined PepsiCo in 2012, she was inspired by the company’s mission of Performance with Purpose. Recently, she had the unique opportunity to help bring that vision to life on the ground in Mexico City as a participant in PepsiCorps, the company’s global volunteer program. While there, the Toronto-based Marketing Manager for Lay’s and Cheetos applied her professional experience in brand building and strategy development to help a nonprofit craft a business plan that would set them up for future success.

PepsiCorps has been sending PepsiCo employees around the world since 2011 to help organizations address societal and business challenges. The program brings together employees with diverse skill sets and pairs them with organizations in need of their expertise for month-long service projects. This year, Veronica joined 11 other employees to help make long-term improvements in underserved communities in and around Mexico City. Below, get a firsthand look at her PepsiCorps experience, and see how both she and the organization benefited from the program.

PepsiCorps -VY | Pepsico

I worked with Comedor Santa María, an organization that provides nutrition and education to children living in extreme poverty. They started in 1995, feeding 15 children in a church cellar, and have grown into an established organization. In fact, they want to build more dining centers in and outside of Mexico, which is why they needed our help with creating a five- to 10-year business plan.

During our first week, we had a brainstorming session with the leadership team, focusing on the organization’s vision, mission, and key focus areas. The ideas generated ultimately became the foundation of our strategic framework and tactical recommendations, and the CSM team expressed how appreciative they were to collaborate and share new ideas.

That week—and throughout my entire journey in Mexico—I saw people exhibiting compassion, dedication, strength, and hope. Like the fathers, who work to give their families nutritious food and comfortable living spaces. The mothers, who take care of their households and give their families strength. The children, who grin when you put a plate of delicious food in front of them. The NGOs, who fight to preserve and protect at-risk communities. It gave me great comfort and inspiration seeing that we are all not that different. I believe this mindset will help me become a more compassionate leader in the future.

Up next in our four-part PepsiCorps series: Beenish's story. To learn about past PepsiCorps trips click here.