Careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are taking off in both developed and developing markets worldwide. By 2018, 71 percent of all jobs will require STEM skills.[1] Yet women are lagging behind, with fewer STEM college degrees than men[2] and only one in four working in a STEM job.[3] Just 15 percent of high school girls in the United States are currently planning to pursue a STEM degree.[4]

PepsiCo is broadly increasing its efforts to inspire women and girls to seek out and stay on the STEM path. Research shows that women who have support and mentorship opportunities are less likely to give up when studying math and science and more likely to seek out STEM careers. One extraordinary way for PepsiCo to provide this support is by partnering with STEMconnector®’s Million Women Mentors (MWM), an initiative that aspires to provide 1 million mentors for girls and women looking to pursue STEM careers by 2019. MWM have brought together corporate, academic and government STEM experts — with the sole focus of bridging the gap between employers and talent creation.STEM Story 10.26.15

PepsiCo is an integral member of MWM’s leadership council and holds the vice chair of the global MWM task force. In these positions, PepsiCo is dedicated to help STEMconnector, an organization focused on promoting and expanding the teaching and learning of STEM, match girls and women with suitable mentors around the world. In addition to PepsiCo, more than 60 national partners and 30 corporate sponsors have joined MWM. So far, more than 525,000 men and women have signed up as mentors.

“Women are vastly underrepresented in STEM careers, especially in developing markets, but we strongly believe mobilizing an organized system of mentors will help,” said Maria Velissariou, R&D vice president for PepsiCo’s nutrition category. “As vice chair of the MWM global committee, PepsiCo is eager to provide a strong connection between mentors and young women across the entire STEM career spectrum.”

Working together, we will create opportunities

Outside the U.S., PepsiCo launched MWM’s first pilot program in Mexico, where the company is mentoring college-aged women studying in STEM fields at Universidad Iberoamericana. So far in 2015, PepsiCo has boosted its MWM participation by mobilizing over 100 mentors in the United States and nearly 40 in Mexico. These mentoring programs “allow us to leave a PepsiCo legacy, accelerate personal and professional growth, and act as a ‘seed for talent,’” says Gladys Robles, a PepsiCo Mexico mentor.

At the inaugural Million Women Mentors Summit & Gala in Washington, D.C., in September, PepsiCo was honored for its commitment and achievement with the ‘From Local to Global Leadership’ award.

PepsiCo mentorships complement the formal education of young women by providing them with one-on-one mentoring to identify, define and nurture skills such as leadership, innovation and digital capabilities. For instance, in Mexico, 36 PepsiCo colleagues are currently mentoring 36 first-year STEM college students during the 2015-2016 school year. The mentoring meetings take place at least once a month. In 2016, this program will be rolled out in other universities, high schools and PepsiCo global sites around the world. PepsiCo’s goal with MWM is to sponsor 1,000 mentors globally by 2016 in areas beyond the U.S. and Mexico, including France, Poland and the Middle East.

“Like most women in STEM professions, I would not be where I am today without the guidance and help of mentors,” Velissariou says. “Working together, we will create incredible opportunities for the next generation of female STEM talent. Girls, it is your STEM world to conquer.”

To learn more about MWM, visit


[1] U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration
[2] National Student Clearinghouse Research Center
[3] U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration
[4]®/STEMconnector Cooperative Research Program (2015)