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A Childhood Lesson in Diversity Leads to a Career Making a Difference

By: Lisa Amoroso
Senior Director of Diversity and Engagement

Aug 29, 2017

I grew up on the rough and tumble streets of West Philadelphia. My family lived in a racially divided neighborhood where every nationality, creed and color existed within a short distance of each other. To say things were always tense is a huge understatement.

Seeing hatred every day created a passion in me to figure out how to help people get along. Over time, that passion manifested itself into a strong internal drive  and it is what inspires me in my work here at Frito-Lay.

Admittedly, the path to my current job as senior director of Diversity and Engagement was a bit circuitous. In school I was interested in business and initially focused on finance. During the first half of my career, I found myself in operations and financial roles. Though I had considerable success in my corporate management positions, I realized there was a part of me that yearned to do more for people.  

Eventually, I transitioned into my current role in culture and inclusion. In this position, I work with senior leaders across the business to create a culture that enables us to attract and retain great people. Of course, changing a business culture doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a long-term process. We are working hard to make sure Frito-Lay truly represents our consumer base. One of the goals set out in PepsiCo’ Performance with Purpose is to have 50 percent women in management roles by 2025. With a young daughter of my own, that is a cause that is near and dear to me.

At Frito-Lay, we are building an inclusive culture that embraces and celebrates differences - whether they are generational, ethnic, or gender. A big part of my job is to create an environment where everyone who works here can grow and thrive. My colleagues and I have developed a number of diversity and inclusion programs that work at the organizational level, leadership level and individual level.

For example, we created a comprehensive capability-building workshop called Leadershift, which is aimed at raising awareness of cultural biases, learning how to set these biases aside, and how to hold one another accountable to be a more inclusive workplace. We believe the more openly we talk about our differences, the more acceptance we will build. Approximately 4,400 associates have already completed Leadershift workshops to date and we know this program is making a tremendous difference.

I consider myself lucky that I have a job that allows me to fulfill my passion to help others. There’s nothing more satisfying to me than having a co-worker tell me that our efforts have really made a difference for them. And I hope our consumers know that we are a business that deeply believes everyone should be who they are. At the end of the day, that’s what really matters the most. 


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