Deliver the Best Work of Your Life – Ciara Dilley

“Finding your purpose by knowing your strengths and what drives you is important because that is what makes you unique.” Ciara Dilley

Navigating through the world of business as a founder is never easy and they usually need support at different levels to make it through. This is especially true for women because of the many roles that they play in their communities. Our guest today, Ciara Dilley, has been in the business of supporting women at levels and is convinced that finding your purpose and embracing agility goes a long way in helping business leaders to be resilient and navigate through challenges

Ciara Dilley is the vice president of marketing for Frito-Lay North America and leads the company’s ever-evolving portfolio of Transform Brands – including Stacy’s pita chips, Sun Chips, Popcorners, Off the Eaten Path veggie crisps/puffs, and the Baked/Simply portfolio of snacks. Ciara directly oversees Frito-Lay’s growth and innovation strategy to address this growing need and ensure consumers consistently have access to an array of options that fit their lifestyle. Whether it’s been the development of new brands such as veggie-forward Off the Eaten Path or the acquisition of innovations like Popcorners, Ciara is diversifying the wellness journey for Americans everywhere

Prior to joining PepsiCo, Dilley leveraged her experience in marketing, communications, and innovation to grow major international consumer brands within Diageo, Campbell Soup Company, and Kellogg Company.  Being a seasoned veteran with more than 20 years of industry experience and most recently recognized as a 2020 Media Post Marketing All-Star, Ciara is an industry pioneer in purpose-driven campaigns, having led several brands to make a measurable societal impact through campaigns that champion sustainability and support diversity and inclusion.

Ciara’s greatest passion is in furthering the economic empowerment of women. She is not only a mentor and a coach to several team members past and present but also leads PepsiCo’s support of female professional development through numerous speaking engagements and by spearheading the organization’s Woman Made initiative. Ciara also works closely with several thought leaders and organizations committed to advancing female entrepreneurs, including SKU CPG, Hello Alice, and The Boss Network.

In today’s episode, we will dive deeper into how to give back to the world by doing the best of what we do. More will also be discussed on supporting female business owners, finding purpose in leadership and why it is critical to having a happy impactful work life.

Listen in!

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  • I did law and German in college and I had no interest whatsoever in going into the business world. [5:00]
  • I started working with Diageo in the marketing department and it was an amazing grounding in brand marketing and what it means to build amazing brands. [5:22]
  • I also had a very huge fortune of moving to two other companies that were stellar in that area. [5:53]
  • It was during my time at Kellogg that I headed the innovation team for Europe that I started to get interested in this idea of wellness and how food companies could be more responsible to support consumers in their journeys. [6:02]
  • It was also during my time at Kellogg that I was being invited to act more as a leader and I started getting more heavily involved in supporting women. [6:28]
  • When I moved to Pepsi in New York about six years ago now, I started looking for ways on how I could get involved in supporting women. [7:22]
  • Along the way, I started doing both producing and selling, and supporting women. [7:41]
  • I was doing a lot of self-development on how I could become a better leader and the idea of purpose was just beginning to come on the radar. [7:57]
  • For me, purpose is the merging of what do you do functionally and what you like doing from a business perspective, and for me, I like selling healthier foods and supporting women. [8:14]
  • Purpose is not something you find overnight but is a long journey. [11:18]
  • There are certain things you are good at, and what do you love doing, and how can these two things come together to make you incredibly rewarded and happier. [11:46]
  • The third element that is the icing on the cake is how these things can come together and can make a difference in the world. [12:05]
  • In that area, large organizations can make a massive difference in pushing forward with the change that needs to be seen and being seen as educators and communicators in the area of doing good in the world. [14:45]
  • Consumers are becoming more and more interested in this area for many different reasons. [17:15]
  • It is an exciting time for the snack industry and we are always trying to do more to make it better in terms of availability and affordability. [18:14]
  • The women I work with in the Rise Project are the most resilient, hardworking, smart, change-makers I have ever met. [19:50]
  • Being an entrepreneur and having your own business is not an easy path. [20:12]
  • Commercial break. [21:45]
  • Accessing the resources from the Rise Project helped keep the lights on for the businesses owned by women. [ 23:07]
  • Women have suffered much more during the pandemic because often they had to take the burden of care. [23:22]
  • A lot of jobs that were lost were those held traditionally taken by women and therefore had a dramatic impact on the role of women in the workplace. [23:43]
  • However, it has empowered so many more amazing women to take the power into their own hands. [24:04]
  • There has been an overwhelming amount of financial support poured into this area particularly for women of color and justly so. [24:42]
  • We have also started to introduce them to ways of selling more of their product through partnering with platforms such as Amazon and Walmart. [26:27]
  • If you are not turning up, being you and the best of you in each and every day, that is not going to feel great. Authenticity is incredibly important [30:30]
  • Finding your purpose by knowing your strengths and what drives you is important because that is what makes you unique [31:00]
  • Some of the ways I have been able to develop myself over the years is through being agile and embracing progress over perfection [ 31:25]
  • Pursue what you love to do because you will be at your best when you do what you love and also seek to make an impact with what you do. [ 35:58]


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