learn with leap.club | 6 lessons from indra nooyi

4 min readOct 10, 2022

just over a week ago, we had the pleasure of hosting indra nooyi at leap.club! bringing her trademark candour to an audience of over 700+ of our members, indra drew from her life and experience, talked about embracing a leadership mindset, what it takes to thrive in the long haul, the complexity of prioritising between work and family, and (so) much more.

we wish we could capture the energy in the room that evening, but since that isn’t possible, we’re bringing 6 golden nuggets of wisdom from indra to you:

1you don’t have to be a ceo to be a leader, or to be viewed as a leader. if you’re managing people directly or indirectly, you’re a leader. and you become a leader because you’re competent. here’s what you have to work on:

  • convert your skills into a proposition for the company — it’s what you offer. identify and hone this over time.
  • have an insatiable curiosity. all organizations are pyramids — it’s always up or out. deep curiosity will improve (and compound!) your value proposition.
  • have courage and confidence in yourself — a backbone to move forward. you will inevitably be knocked down, but you need the courage to pick yourself up! learn to push back and respond well, even to obnoxious questions.

2when it comes to mom guilt, you will always have regrets — there’s no way out of it. even now, behind my camera — the wall is full of pictures of my kids — all the things i missed, especially from when they were babies.

but they grow up, leave, and then what? you can’t re-enter the workplace easily, and if you do, you’re starting out at the bottom. or worse, if something happens to your family life, you’re left without the means to live.

if there’s one thing i would recommend to women and the leap.club members tuning in, it would be this: whatever happens, make sure you’re standing on your own two feet. that you’re financially independent, and you have the power of the purse. when things go wrong, women need financial independence — we shouldn’t depend on anyone else! don’t let anybody take your paycheck — it’s yours.

3there is great value in having your own time and family time — away from calls and texting and emails. there’s huge value to being present, and i didn’t have that luxury.

if you are the kind of person who’s driven differently, and therefore who’s moving up the chain, know that there are compromises you have to make. the only way you move ahead is to borrow time from one and put it into the other. there are only 24 hours in a day, and that’s not going to change! you have to decide how you’re going to spend it.

if you’re going to move up in this pyramid, you’ve got to figure out how to stand out from the crowd! you have to work at reading, absorbing, watching, and often, you borrow that time from something else.
give abundantly to your career time. you have to decide!

4build an incredible bank of credibility. that comes from reading stuff around the business and really knowing the business inside out. when i was young, the first thing we had to do when we joined a company was work in sales or manufacturing.

i started as a thread saleswoman — and let me tell you, sales teaches you humility. when you join a company, learn the business through and through, so no one questions your knowledge. after you do that, build a credibility bank! people should want to say — if you have a problem with this issue, go to (you). you’ve got to have people see you as the go-to!

5keep stretched goals. companies have the culture of either being really competitive and driven, or of being low-pressure, 9–5. the companies that attract the best and the brightest are those that have an edge — and that means doing better than the competition. by definition, that’s a goal stretch. staying in place is not a stretch.

having reasonable stretched goals is the only way you can keep an organisation exciting! of course, every business can’t have a stretched goal — you need to decide which needs to have reasonable goals, while others have stretched goals. you’ll be amazed by how people with stretched goals can rise to the occasion, they can and do grow enormously!

6pay parity is so important. if you have a skill that’s portable, you can always find a job at another company. my key advice here: be aggressive about asking for what you deserve, but be aware of where you stand too — if you don’t have the ability to walk out, they are going to take advantage of you. ponder over what gives you leverage and be strategic about how you ask for a raise.

as the session drew to a close, indra shared an important thought that lingered with us:

“women are the future of the world. they’re hungrier, they want to contribute, they want to be independent, and the world is going to struggle without the best and brightest women. this is the time for women to shine.”

our members came away heartened, with lots of takeaways; here are a few snippets of what they said:

still can’t believe this happened — a chance to learn from indra nooyi herself!
nidhi thakkar

an incredible session with someone i’ve looked up to my entire career.
dinika bhatia

the session exceeded expectations. seeing indra live talking about her experience was dream come true!
ankeeta karishma beck

leap.club is a women-only professional network for the top 1%, where professionals gather to network, learn, form partnerships, and gain access to exclusive experiences. click here to explore a membership!