Lorraine Chow Hansen had already been deemed a woman worth watching for her role as global CMO for hydration at PepsiCo -- and then she was tapped as the new head of PepsiCo's Global Snacks Group. The chemical engineering major and musical virtuoso (she plays piano, clarinet, tenor sax and alto sax) has been with the company for less than a year, but already she's taking on a lead role in its new global structure.
While working at a chemical company, Ms. Hansen said she "fell in love" with technical marketing, leading her to pursue an MBA at Harvard where she focused on consumer marketing. "My husband would say I'm the least handy chemical engineer he knows. But it teaches you a way to think, to attack problems and get to the bottom quickly and efficiently," Ms. Hansen said of her unorthodox career trajectory.
Over the past 11 months, Ms. Hansen, a first-generation Chinese-American, has been focused on ferreting out global opportunities for brands such as Sobe and Aquafina. In May, she switched her focus to powerhouses like Lay's, Doritos and Cheetos. Snacks have become an increasingly important division for the company, forecast to overtake beverages as a percentage of overall revenue by 2016.
What is your favorite book?
My favorite book is whatever my book club is reading. We're currently reading "How We Decide" by Jonah Lehrer. More importantly, my favorite poem is "Success" by Ralph Waldo Emerson, since it defines true success. I highly recommend it to everyone!
Give us one fact about yourself that will surprise people.
Growing up, my creative outlet was music, so I love to sing and dance. I sing in the shower and the car, and I love parties where there's dancing.
Knowing what you know now, what career advice would you have given yourself when you were starting out?
Take every opportunity to "go global" or lead a business in another country to expand your business, brand and team leadership skills.