Women in Leadership Profiles

How Emmy Pino’s Career Pivots Led to Becoming PepsiCo Foods Canada’s CFO

Emmy Pino has been at PepsiCo for 21 years, a successful trajectory she credits to raising her hand for opportunities, stepping out of her comfort zone, and leading her teams with full transparency. Her latest pivot: a move from Texas to Canada to start a new role as PepsiCo Foods Canada’s CFO.

Creating Smiles at PepsiCo

Growing up in Texas, Emmy Pino didn’t imagine that she would one day live in China or move to Canada with a “c” in her job title. But since she joined PepsiCo in 2003, Emmy has consistently raised her hand for opportunities to grow professionally, and her willingness to pivot has led to her latest opportunity. This summer, Emmy will move from Texas to Canada to start a new role as PepsiCo Foods Canada’s CFO.

How would you describe the primary mission of PepsiCo’s business and of your role? 

Our mission is to create more smiles with every sip and every bite for our consumers by providing delicious and nourishing products and unique brand experiences. However, the mission of creating more smiles goes beyond this effect on consumers and includes our associates, communities, and shareholders. PepsiCo has a broad portfolio of products that can span an entire day – Quaker oatmeal for breakfast, a snack of Bare apple chips, Lays potato chips with your lunch sandwich, a post-workout Gatorade, and a Rice-A-Roni chicken casserole for dinner. My role as CFO is to make sure that we keep a growth mindset, and the investment decisions we make for the business, and the products we offer, will continue to create smiles for our consumers for a long time.

How important is Forté’s mission to get more women leading to PepsiCo and to the future of your industry? 

The mission resonates because PepsiCo has similar goals to achieve gender parity among our leadership. PepsiCo has awesome examples of women in positions of leadership, and we are continuing to strengthen our pipeline. From an industry perspective, more women make food and beverage purchasing decisions. We want our workforce to represent our consumers, and we make decisions based on what our consumers want.

What is your favorite part of your job? 

It may sound cliché, but it’s the people. I have been at PepsiCo since 2003, and I got married in 2008. Half of my bridesmaids were people I met at PepsiCo. The people who work here are very smart and high-quality, and strong bonds keep people at PepsiCo when other opportunities pop up. PepsiCo is a relationship-oriented organization, and without them, you won’t get very far.

What is most challenging? 

Specific to finance and my team, transformation is moving very fast. In 20 years, I’ve never seen this much transformation at one time. Taking advantage of new technologies, whether digital transformation or AI, is the right thing to do, but it requires very agile decision-making.

In your opinion, what characteristics does someone need to be successful in a role like yours?

By far, the number one thing is authentic leadership. Showing up as yourself, empowering your team to do the same, and creating an environment where people feel trusted and can be themselves will take you from good to great.

Number two is resilience and the ability to “bounce forward,” which is a term we use at PepsiCo that means learning from an experience, getting better, and moving forward.

Number three is to have a broad, general management mindset. As a successful CFO, I can’t just be focused on financials all the time. I work closely with marketing, supply chain, talent and other colleagues to have a perspective of the entire business.

Pivoting to the Top

Can you share a pre-professional experience that influenced your career?

I studied business at Southern Methodist University (SMU), but one semester, I took an advertising class. We watched some iconic advertisements that stirred passion in me that was different than my business classes.  I was able to see an emotional connection to the consumer, which led me to the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry. I have the mindset of a CFO, but a consumer-first approach is essential for business to come to fruition, and getting out of my comfort zone gave me a different perspective.

What pivotal career moment led you in a new direction by saying ‘yes’?

This one is easy. About 15 years ago, I had an opportunity to do an international assignment in China. I threw my name in the hat, even though it felt like a long shot. I ended up living in Shanghai for six months, and it had a huge impact professionally and personally. That experience opened doors for me, not just from the knowledge I had gained, but

“…People also saw that I was a risk-taker and was willing to raise my hand for something that a lot of people were afraid to do.”

Can you describe a time when you had to recover from a professional loss or “failure”?

Early in my career, I had a financial planning and analysis (FP&A) role that I did not sign up for. FP&A is super important, but it’s not my passion, and it was one of the hardest roles I’ve had. I had initially said no when asked to take it, but later I appreciated having that experience because it gave me valuable insight into the profit and loss (P&L) function.  I could’ve gone into that role with a more positive attitude and more trust in my leader’s belief in my abilities.

“If a leader is asking you to do something you don’t want to do, trust that they might know more about how it will help your career long-term than you do.”

How have some of your prior work experiences been useful in your current position?

All my roles have led to where I am today. If you take on lots of small roles where you get into the weeds, you may not be seen as strategic, and you need to show that you can do both. It’s the same with being an individual contributor versus people manager or working in developed markets versus developing markets. Pivoting gives you a broad experience, which is essential if you want to have a c before your title.

Leading with Transparency and Authenticity 

How have mentors impacted your life, and your career? 

Mentorship is so important, though I didn’t realize it at the beginning of my career. Since 2010 (China), I have not applied for a job at PepsiCo because mentors and sponsors have told me about opportunities.

“Working hard early on, networking, and creating your reputation starts to pay off as your career unfolds in front of you instead of you always having to make things happen.”

What is the best way to find a mentor? 

Think about what you need to improve and pay attention to people who do it well. If you like how someone delivers presentations, networks, or speaks publicly, for example, ask them for tips on how you can improve. My best relationships have come from authentically asking for help.

Speaking of authenticity, how do you show up as your authentic self at work?

I am big on Stephen Covey’s book, The Speed of Trust. It talks about being transparent, actively listening, and collaborating with teams openly and directly. I share my 360 feedback with my team so they know what I am hearing from others about my leadership style and what I am working to improve. Doing this creates an openness so that everyone else feels safe being transparent, and we can all focus on doing our best without being bogged down by politics.

How do you advocate for yourself while also being professional?

It all comes back to results. If results are good, people will notice. Early in your career, you have to advocate more to stand out so that people will know who you are. If I am hitting it out of the park with my performance, I look above and beyond my core responsibilities to get visibility. We have many Employee Resource Groups (ERG) at PepsiCo, and they all need leaders. If you have genuine passion for a role, that will come through, and you will get recognition for it.

If you’re inspired by Emmy Pino’s journey and her approach to leadership, consider how you can raise your hand for new opportunities and step out of your comfort zone. Whether you’re looking to advance your career, lead with authenticity, or make a meaningful impact in your organization, take that first step today. Connect with mentors, seek out new experiences, and embrace the power of transparency and resilience.

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