November 11, 2022  

How PepsiCo supports military veterans, as told by those who served

PepsiCo gives back to service members and their families by offering community, mental wellness resources and the opportunity to self-identify.

When Bill Braddy completed his military service and looked for companies that would value his skills, he says PepsiCo grabbed his attention. Bill was a transport driver for the U.S. Army and what he enjoyed most about the work was connecting with the different people he met along his routes. The role of a Pre-Sell Representative offered similar opportunities. “I’m in the stores on a daily basis. I’m meeting people from all walks of life,” says Bill, who is based in Tampa, Florida. “That’s just exciting to me.”

But what has kept Bill with PepsiCo for 27 years is the way the company recognizes military service. Photos of veterans who work alongside him in Tampa are featured on the Wall of Honor. Bill pauses a moment in front of their faces whenever he walks by. “Every time I do, I still tear up,” he says. “The honoring of the vets … it just makes me feel like I’ve made all the right moves.”

PepsiCo aims to ensure that all veterans at the company feel supported, focusing its efforts on three key areas: Giving back through service, prioritizing mental wellness and offering the opportunity to self-identify.

Giving back to veterans through service

VALOR, a PepsiCo Employee Resource Group (ERG) dedicated to supporting veterans and their families, seeks to give back to associates who have served by providing recognition, offering career development and engaging with PepsiCo leaders in order to make the company a top destination for military talent.

The ERG serves as a community where veterans can connect with each other and share their experiences. “There are several guys I have met who are veterans, and once they find out I’m military or ex-military, they know they can trust me,” says Doug Warford, a Geo Box Driver who served in the U.S. Army. “It’s like in the military — everybody has your back.”

VALOR also works with the company to hold fundraisers and events that benefit charities supporting veterans, such as the annual Rolling Remembrance relay. The 10,000-mile journey to 53 PepsiCo facilities from Seattle to the company’s headquarters in Purchase, New York, has raised more than $1.4 million for the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation since it first began, providing college scholarships to children who have lost a parent in the line of duty.

“Service, to me, means putting others first,” says Belinda Mendoza, a PepsiCo Transport Driver who was one of the 36 military veterans who took part in this year’s Rolling Remembrance. “I have friends who lost their lives overseas, and I’ve stayed connected to their families and kids. To be able to help them in this way and get them the education they need is just awesome.”

Providing tools for mental wellness

When Marlon Hall finished his four years of service to the U.S. Army and began searching for jobs, he wanted to find a company that not only understood the physical and mental health challenges veterans face, but also offered resources to help. PepsiCo has delivered during his 13-year tenure at the company. “They show you that there’s no limit,” says Marlon, a Delivery Supervisor. “They recognize what a veteran goes through. They also make sure you’re OK.”

PepsiCo prioritizes veterans’ well-being by holding mental health workshops and promoting self-care throughout the year. “They ask, hey, do you have any issues going on? You’re all right? You’re good? Can we help you?” Marlon says. “Everyone is more willing to work with you. It just becomes like one big family.”

Encouraging associates to self-identify

As the spouse of an active-duty soldier, Jaelin White-Cordell wanted to keep the company aware of her need for potential relocation based on where her husband was stationed. The voluntary self-identification tool in her employee profile gave her that opportunity.

“Being able to communicate and self-ID ourselves, that’s just helping me tell my story and drive my career,” says Jaelin, a Supply Chain Operations Senior Resource in Nashville. “Pepsi is a place that where you come from emboldens you to do your job better.”

PepsiCo encourages all military veterans to self-identify, as it helps the company track recruitment and retention more effectively, as well as provide the tools and resources to help associates achieve their aspirations.

“We are fortunate to have so many military veterans on our team,” says Kirk Tanner, CEO of PepsiCo Beverages North America. “The integrity, the drive, the teamwork they display every single day inspires us all as individuals and continues to help our organization succeed.”