One of Walaa Faheem’s earliest childhood lessons was that women are resilient. “I was brought up that there is no ceiling,” she explains. “It’s all about you and your potential.” A beloved book featured Eleanor Roosevelt’s
famous quote that became like a mantra as Walaa considered her future. “It said, ‘A woman is like a tea bag — you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.’ The messages I received through childhood
helped me grow a lot,” says Walaa.
Now as the Head of Talent Management in Cairo, Egypt, Walaa works to spread that same message of a woman’s unlimited potential. She serves as co-lead of She Works Wonders, a six-month career development program for women attending universities across
five governorates in Egypt. “When girls believe in themselves and they find the right environment to unleash their potential, they go and work wonders,” says Walaa.
A collaboration between PepsiCo Egypt, the PepsiCo Foundation, nonprofit INJAZ Egypt and the Ministry of Higher Education, She Works Wonders equips women with the necessary skills and knowledge to start careers in male-dominated fields like Sales and
Supply Chain. PepsiCo offers the participants training, mentorships, bootcamps and field visits to equip women with real-life preparation for on-the-job scenarios. Last November, 41 women graduated the program and each earned internships at PepsiCo.
When girls believe in themselves and they find the right environment to unleash their potential, they go and work wonders.
She Works Wonders supports the company’s foundational pep+ (PepsiCo Positive) ambitions to positively impact the planet and people. Under the Positive Value Chain category, PepsiCo is seeking to advance human rights, diversity and inclusion within
the company and communities. And career training is one of the ways PepsiCo is working toward achieving its goal of having 50% women in management roles globally by 2025 and providing meaningful job growth and opportunities for associates. “My work gives me a lot
of fulfillment and it makes me feel that we really win with pep+ in this company,” says Walaa.
Voices like Walaa’s who are promoting gender parity are needed in Egypt. She explains that stereotypes remain surrounding what jobs are appropriate for women. According to USAID, despite making up more than 50% of college graduates, only 18% of
Egyptian women pursue professional roles. “There's still a disconnect between what women aspire to be and what we actually see in our communities,” says Walaa.
Walaa hopes She Works Wonders expands beyond PepsiCo and spurs change in her community. “I would love to look back and see that the culture of inclusion, inclusivity, gender parity and diversity that we’re fostering is taken as an example
that people can learn from,” says Walaa. “I feel that I'm part of the community. I feel that I'm leaving a fingerprint.”