Name: Andrea Moribe
Hometown: Nashville, TN
Current Company/Title: PepsiCo - Sr. Manager of Equipment Innovation
Industry: Food & Beverage
Prior Professional Experience: INROADS Intern at Nissan North America
Education: Harvard University, Emory University, University of Central Florida, University of Tennessee - Knoxville
What is the most important professional lesson you've learned to date?
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is the concept of being present in everything that you do. This means carefully focusing on what we are doing at the present moment, not letting our mind think about past or future events, while focusing on the current task at hand. It’s a simple concept, but many of us have a hard time practicing it. I’ve realized that being present in the moment helps me understand situations better, learn faster, and appreciate moments more. It also helped me establish more meaningful connections--because I’m able to ask intentional questions and dig a little deeper into what would otherwise have been a shallow conversation.
The second important lesson I’ve learned is centered on emotional intelligence. Being emotionally intelligent enables you to connect with people, to influence, to build credibility. At the end of the day, we are all humans with similar wants/needs. The ability to express your opinions and feelings in the workplace will take you far.
What has been your biggest professional failure to date and what have you learned from that experience?
I’ve turned down promotions because I did not want to move to certain cities. Sometimes I see this as a failure--it slowed my professional growth. However, at the end of the day, our professional life is only one part of our lives. And to me, it is important to be happy about where I live, to have friends and family close by, and to love community. Because of this, I’ve sacrificed career growth to some extent but feel at peace with my choices.
What issues have you dealt with being a woman of color in corporate America and how have you overcome these challenges?
I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to work/lead in a time when diversity and inclusion are hot topics in corporate America. However, there are still so many challenges I’ve faced as a Latinx female in the workplace. People have made disrespectful comments regarding my accent in rooms where I was the only woman. This caused me to question my own voice before speaking up or even remain quiet even when I knew I had something valuable to add. It took time to overcome this fear, but after some time I found ways to overcome these challenges. Now, I over prepare for important meetings, ask people for constant feedback, and have the courage to face difficult conversations (especially those that involve respect from others). These things have all helped me be a better leader. PS: power posing is also awesome before a big speech! :)
What resources, professional or personal, have you leveraged to ensure your career is progressing?
Network with people within your organization. Find those who are passionate about teaching and become their student. I recently met another PepsiCo employee at a conference. He had a much higher role than I did, but is passionate about sustainability and I wanted to learn from his experience. So I followed up after our initial encounter, and now we do “teach and learn” sessions every time I’m in his area. It’s re-energizing!
Have open conversations about your passions and interests, especially with people who are in positions of influence.
Surround yourself with kind-hearted people. Sometimes when I have a difficult day at work, I share my stories with my mom or close friends who are genuinely kind and supportive. They ground me and motivate me to be a more kind and thoughtful person at work.
Do you have mentor? If so, how did you select this person or people?
I have 3 go-to people (I like to call them by Board of Directors). I leverage their expertise for different situations. My main mentor used to be my manager. He was not assigned to me as a mentor, but our relationship formed naturally. I chose to seek his guidance because I admire the way he leads and the influence he has on others. My second “board member” is a female executive. She’s my go-to person for when I need a sanity-check, or need guidance on how to lead a difficult conversation. My third board member is a senior executive at another company. He gives me perspective on strategy decisions. Create your board of directors so they resemble qualities that you admire or aspire to have!
What advice would you give a young adult who is about to start their first job post college?
Do not underestimate how fast time passes. One day you are graduating college and the next you’ve been in the workforce for a decade already. So, make the best use of it. The way you spend your time today will significantly impact the way you will live in the future. Invest your time doing things that matter to you, doing things the create value and help you grow. Devote some of your time to helping others, it will bring you joy and you will feel you are a better human as a result! I once read this article that talked about 2 lists we usually have in our minds: the “someday” list and the “today” list. In the “someday” list we typically have things like volunteer more, start my own business, pursue a Masters degree, etc. In the “today” list we may have: grocery shopping, happy hour, YouTube videos. If those 2 lists have no overlapping bullets, we should reconsider and refocus the energy we are spending today on what we want to do “someday”.
Why did you decide to go back to school to pursue a graduate degree? OR Why did you decide to go back to graduate school and what are you hoping it will enable you to do next?
I love learning in a structured setting. I have most recently decided to pursue a Master’s in sustainability as I felt this topic is so relevant to our society today and I wanted to learn about it holistically. Pursuing a higher education also expands your network and challenges your thought process, it helps you stay well rounded in your knowledge of the world.