Wednesday 5: Indra K. Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, Janis Joplin, Phylicia Rashad, and More

In this week’s Wednesday 5:  PepsiCo CEO Indra K. Nooyi speaks candidly on the complexities of combining work and family life; Janis Joplin’s official postal stamp is unveiled; we publish a letter penned by Maya Angelou to her younger self; four women photographers redefine the way we see women of the Middle East; and Phylicia Rashad in conversation with her daughter Condola Rashad.


Indra K. Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, on the Complexities of Work and Family Life

indra-nooyi-300x205While we’re still embroiled in the rather simplistic debates about “Can Women Have It All?” (we all know the issue is much more complicated), we were impressed with the candor and vulnerability expressed by PepsiCo CEO Indra K. Nooyi on the compromises women make every day between work life and family life. In an interview at the Aspen Ideas Festival, she recounts a story about the day she was appointed CEO and went home to tell her family. Before she could tell them, her mother sent her out to get milk. Peeved that her great news was hijacked by a run to the grocery store, Noovi shared her mother’s response:

I banged it [the milk] on the counter and I said, “I had great news for you. I’ve just been told that I’m going to be president on the Board of Directors. And all that you want me to do is go out and get the milk, what kind of a mom are you?” And she said to me, “Let me explain something to you. You might be president of PepsiCo. You might be on the board of directors. But when you enter this house, you’re the wife, you’re the daughter, you’re the daughter-in-law, you’re the mother. You’re all of that. Nobody else can take that place. So leave that damned crown in the garage. And don’t bring it into the house. You know I’ve never seen that crown.”

Noovi also courageously offered that she doesn’t know how her two daughters, now grown, would rate her as a mother, because, admittedly, there were too many moments when she simply wasn’t there.

Watch the full interview on The Atlantic.



Unveiled: Janis Joplin Official Postal Stamp


As part of the United States Postal Service’s Music Icons series, the new official stamp featuring Janis Joplin (1943–1970)  has just been unveiled. Scheduled to be released in August, the artwork features a photo rendering of Joplin “smiling and wearing shades surrounded by a psychedelic background and lettering evoking the popular font of the Sixties,” writes David Chiu for Rolling Stone.

. 3. Maya Angelou’s Letter to Her Younger Self . Maria Popova of BrainPickings has again reminded us of the treasure that is Maya Angelou. In Ellyn Spragins’s 2006 anthology What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self, Angelou contributed the following letter to her younger self, revealing, as Papova tells us, that “the theme of home and belonging is central to [her] work—to her spirit—and is also at the heart of her beautiful contribution (below).”

whatiknownowDear Marguerite,

You’re itching to be on your own. You don’t want anybody telling you what time you have to be in at night or how to raise your baby. You’re going to leave your mother’s big comfortable house and she won’t stop you, because she knows you too well.

But listen to what she says:

When you walk out of my door, don’t let anybody raise you—you’ve been raised.

You know right from wrong.

In every relationship you make, you’ll have to show readiness to adjust and make adaptations.

Remember, you can always come home.

You will go home again when the world knocks you down—or when you fall down in full view of the world. But only for two or three weeks at a time. Your mother will pamper you and feed you your favorite meal of red beans and rice. You’ll make a practice of going home so she can liberate you again—one of the greatest gifts, along with nurturing your courage, that she will give you.

Be courageous, but not foolhardy.

Walk proud as you are,





Four Women Photographers Redefine the Way We See Women of the Middle East

originalShadi Ghadirian, “Qajar, 1998,” courtesy of Howard Greenberg Gallery

Venturing beyond the portrayals and conversations about the hijab, four contemporary photographers from  Yemen, Iran, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia are redefining the way we see and think about women of the Middle East. In the exhibition, “The Middle East Revealed,” photographers Rania Matar, Reem Al Faisal, Hajj, Shadi Ghadirian, and Boushra Almutawakel are for the first time in New York City showing “their stunning and provocative portraits of non-Western identities [and] shining a light on moments as traditionally significant as the Hajj and mundanely beautiful as a quiet minute of reflection in a girl’s bedroom” (Katherine Brooks, The Huffington Post).

Howard Greenberg Gallery will show “The Middle East Revealed: A Female Perspective,” images exploring identity, culture, politics, and the history of the region, through August 29, 2014.  In addition, the gallery will show photographs from Syria made in 1940 by Margaret Bourke-White for LIFE magazine.



Phylicia Rashad in Conversation with her Daughter Condola Rashad

A Conversation with Phylicia & Condola Rashad from Film Life Inc. on Vimeo.

In this week’s dose of inspiration, we share with you a poignant conversation between the award-winning actress Phylicia Rashad and her rising-star daughter Condola Rashad. Here they talk not only about their mother-daughter relationship but the mother-daughter relationships before them and these women’s commitment to the arts.



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