PepsiCo’s Beenish Hussain is no stranger to globetrotting adventures. A few months ago, the former head of marketing for PepsiCo’s Food Business in Pakistan moved to Bangkok to take on a new position as Marketing Manager for the company’s Asia-Pacific Snacks Category. Soon after, she traveled to Mexico City to participate in PepsiCorps, the company’s global volunteer program. Beenish, who joined PepsiCo in 2012, worked with a nonprofit to develop a new logistics and operations planning solution focused on helping indigenous communities sell local food products.
Powered by the company's mission of Performance with Purpose, 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, Beenish 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.
I worked with Patronato Pro Zona Mazahua, an organization that helps combat extreme poverty and boosts development for the native people of Mexico through a sustainable development model that promotes cultural awareness, social inclusion and economic opportunity. Our project focused on helping native communities generate income for themselves by selling their local food products, including salt, salsa, tortillas and honey. This included developing a logistics and operations plan to help the organization’s food brand, Maztaná, fulfill its orders with Walmart and other stores, as demand scales up.
It was go-go-go from the start. But we made sure we were in sync on the big picture and used a divide-and-conquer approach to achieve our goal in limited time. Everyone brought unique leadership qualities to the table—like empowerment, decisiveness, persistence, communication skills, innovative thinking and analytical expertise. There was strength in our differences and beauty in our similarities.
This experience allowed me to work with some amazing individuals from diverse backgrounds, learn from the interactions, form long-lasting bonds and apply my business knowledge and leadership skills to solve issues that matter. Coming from a developing country myself, I’ve grown up seeing problems that affect economic and social progress for the less fortunate. These are issues that I understand deeply and feel strongly about. So helping young entrepreneurs achieve their dreams and empowering local indigenous people, especially women, was very inspirational and moving. I plan to reapply these learnings going forward and continue making a difference.
Up next in our four-part PepsiCorps series: Andrea's story. To learn about past PepsiCorps trips click here.