Pepsi CEO writes ‘thank you’ letters to all her employees’ parents

“My parents should get the credit because it’s what they did for me and to me that allowed me to be who I am.”

I texted my mother and father-in-law the other day to thank them for the gift that their son is to me. They were touched by the message, although I have Indrani Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo, to credit for the inspiration. She revealed in an interview with Bloomberg’s David Rubenstein that she takes time to write letters to the parents of her employees to express gratitude “for the gift of their child to PepsiCo.”

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Nooyi explained that the idea came to her while on a trip to see her mother in India and visitors began showing up at the house. “They’d say hello to me and then go to my mom and say, ‘You did such a good job with your daughter,’ you know, ‘Compliments to you—she’s CEO.’ But not a word to me … I realized that I was a product of my upbringing and my parents … should get the credit because it’s what they did for me and to me that allowed me to be who I was that day.”

As a result, she made the touching decision to write letters to her executives’ parents to express her appreciation for their child and the asset they are to the company. The reaction from the execs and their parents has been heartwarming for Nooyi. “It opened a floodgate of emotions. Parents started to communicate directly with me and it’s been an amazing experience.”

It can be easy to overlook how much it means to a mother or father to have the outcome of their parenting praised. When we’re feeling grateful for the presence of someone in our lives, expressing gratitude to the people responsible for their upbringing can spread love in a unique way beyond just our relationship with that person. It’s enlightening to be shown by Nooyi that simple expressions of our gratefulness can affect people in ways we never imagined.

Elizabeth Pardi
Elizabeth Pardi

Elizabeth Pardi is a New York-born, Virginia-raised, Ohio-dwelling freelancer. She spends her days laughing, learning and running her way through life with her superstar spouse and their charmingly passionate one-year-old.

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