October 05, 2023  

See how one PepsiCo associate has spent 30 years paying it forward

As a leader of Employee Resource Groups, Claire Padmore-Clarke is bringing teams together to help those who need it most in her community.

Claire Padmore-Clarke's outlook was shaped by an especially challenging point in her life more than 30 years ago: After the birth of her daughter, she suddenly lost her job. While she remembers how she struggled, what has stayed with her all these years later is how her community rallied around her. “At first it was hard for me to admit that I needed the help,” Claire says. “But when I did, there were people who wrapped their arms around me.”

Getting that support also gave Claire a sense of purpose. She has channeled a passion to give back with her work in PepsiCo’s Employee Resource Groups. These employee-led groups bring associates together to provide resources, education, connection and create a sense of belonging. “ERGs give us a safe space — a space for you to be who you are and feel comfortable and see that you have a network within the organization,” says the Control and Reporting Senior Analyst for PepsiCo Beverages North America. It’s a mission that resonates so strongly with Claire that she holds leadership positions within four ERGs (West Division Chair for Mosaic, West Division Co-Chair for Aspire, National Events Lead for Women of Color and Co-Chair for the West Division Inclusion Council). 

Having a leadership role means she’s leading the agendas, mentoring members, and organizing community outreach. Over the course of the last 20 years, she’s also organized clothing drives, food packing events, school supply collections and more. "A lot of people ask me, ‘How do you have the time to do all of this?’ I don’t know how I have time. When you have things you know you want to do, you make time,” says Claire. “I love helping people and I love seeing people smile.”

This company is run by a lot of compassionate people and if we can leverage our good, our money, our time, our efforts — it's going to improve a lot of things down the line.

PepsiCo is empowering associates like Claire to find and create volunteer opportunities in their local communities through One Smile at a Time by PepsiCo. The platform supports associates around the world as they use their time and talent to benefit causes that matter most to them — a key enabler of the company’s pep+ (PepsiCo Positive) vision to drive positive change for the planet and people. Recently, Claire gathered 53 associates through One Smile at a Time for a food-packing event in collaboration with Think Watts in Los Angeles County. “This company is run by a lot of compassionate people and if we can leverage our good, our money, our time, our efforts — it's going to improve a lot of things down the line,” says Claire.

A testament to Claire’s passion is her yearly commitment to unite the ERGs to support one cause. She’s seen the impact the combined efforts can have as evidenced with the Share More Joy program she organized in 2021. Claire partnered with 11 ERGs in the West Division as well as four local organizations to provide 1,500 families with packages that include food, necessities like socks and underwear and Build-A-Bears. “It’s very important to me to be able to let the families know someone is out there that really cares and we're going to do what we can to support you,” says Claire.

Now Claire’s daughter is also volunteering in her community as a member of youth groups and providing food to those in need — passing on the commitment to reach out to neighbors who might be struggling. Knowing she’s inspired by that same drive to put more kindness in the world is how Claire knows she’s leaving a mark. Claire explains, “Paying it forward is what is going to make this world evolve.”