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Fern Johnson Of PepsiCo On The Decisions That Drove Her Success

Johnson is a speaker at this year’s Women in Business Symposium

Fern Johnson, the former CTO vice president, infrastructure and operations of PepsiCo will soon be on stage at Local Profile's Inaugural Women in Business Leadership Symposium on June 13, 2024. As we celebrate the many women who make North Texas businesses successful, they offer invaluable advice for those advancing in their own careers. 

Local Profile's inaugural Women in Business Symposium presented by Bank of America, features an evening of networking and a powerhouse panel discussion focused on "Lessons Learned from Successful Women in Business."  Drawing influential women from global enterprise, non-profit, small business, and government sectors in the North Texas community, this symposium celebrates, unites, and empowers DFW’s leading ladies. 

Tickets are quickly selling out, secure your spot here!  

Johnson is a recently retired senior-level executive with a valuable blend of business, change management, operations and technology insight. During her time at PepsiCo Johnson promoted collaborative, inclusive work environments, while developing programs and strategies that achieve the goals of all stakeholders. 

Here’s what Johnson has to say about business:

How do you deal with setbacks? 
Setback is a setup for success. So it’s what can you learn from the setback, do differently to ensure the setback does not repeat itself. What new vision do you have of the situation, the work or the people because of the setback and learnings?

What do you do when an idea strikes?
They usually come to me walking, sleeping or in the shower — so I quickly write it down and mull or think on it later.

How do you respond when feeling held back?
I ask: why do I feel this way?  Do I have a role in why I am feeling held back? If yes, address that. If not, I try to understand if being held back is within my control or not. I try to manage what is in my control and influence what is not.

What is one idea that motivates you? 
The idea of living life MY way is what motivates me now. I have embraced that I am running my own race.

What was the most difficult decision you’ve made in your career so far?
Making transformations that impact people's careers/livelihoods is never easy but part of being a leader. What has to be done at times does not always feel good.

What challenges do you face as a woman in your industry?
Being heard; being understood; being accepted

Who is the first person you come to with an idea?
Someone from within my PBOD (personal board of directors).

What is the biggest mistake you see women making when advancing their careers?
Expecting everyone to accept you and expecting you to have 100% of the qualifications for the role before you get the role. 

How do you define success?
At the end of the day: do I feel good about what I accomplished? Did my efforts leave an impact? Have I served others to enable them to grow, lead or deliver?

What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?
You are enough! After 20 years of leading within a Fortune 50 organization, an SVP told me — you are enough…you are proven…you are validated. It changed the way I operated, how I moved and led. I no longer assumed I had to prove myself over and over again.

What projects are you currently working on?
I’ve learned a new term: preferment, and that’s the stage I am in. Doing the work that I prefer to do — now post my 32-year PepsiCo career. While I am still figuring all of those pieces out, I know it will comprise some non-profit programming and board service, a bit of podcasting, speaking engagements and then leaning on my experience to serve on a corporate board.

What is the best book you read this year?
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma. 

For more information about Local Profile's upcoming symposium, or to buy tickets, visit the link here

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