President of PepsiCo presents at Laurier

Photo by Qiao Liu

On Sept. 26, Jason McDonell, president of PepsiCo Foods Canada, presented a talk to Wilfrid Laurier University students in the Lazaridis Hall atrium.

McDonell, who graduated from Laurier with a BBA in 1996, told attendees various stories about his time as a student at the university and then about working for PepsiCo, in addition to offering several pieces of advice and finally holding a question and answer session.

Some noteworthy elements of McDonell’s professional career include creating Munchies, the widely available mixed snack bags, as well as spearheading the “Crash the Super Bowl” advertising campaign for Doritos, which solicited originally-produced, amateur commercials for Doritos products with the chance that they could be aired during the Super Bowl. 

“We’ve been doing several [talks like this] since the dean – Micheál J. Kelly – began his term here at Laurier,“ said Kate Tippin, director of marketing and communications for the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics. 

“We just bring CEO’s to the students to be able to give a perspective that’s beyond the classroom,” Tippin said. 

During his presentation, McDonell offered attendees three main pieces of advice to help them through their careers and future endeavours. First, to be constantly seeking new experiences; second, to build skills via self-awareness; and third, to embrace challenges. 

McDonell attributed these three factors to his success in the business world generally and, in particular, with his company PepsiCo. 

His company, PepsiCo, is a multinational corporation home to many familiar snack and beverage brands. In addition to this, the company is very involved with the Laurier business school. 

His company, PepsiCo, is a multinational corporation home to many familiar snack and beverage brands. In addition to this, the company is very involved with the Laurier business school. 

“We don’t have a formal partnership of sorts, in terms of PepsiCo and the Lazaridis school, but they do support us a lot,” Tippin said. 

“They hire a lot of our co-op students, a lot of our grads. There’s more than a hundred grads of ours right now working in marketing, of Laurier grads, not just specifically Lazaridis school. They also sponsor our first-year PepsiCo pitch for the undergraduate students, the business students, as part of BU121,” Tippin said. 

Tippin noted that McDonell’s history and involvement with Laurier has imbued him with a high-regard for the institution. 

“He attributes a lot of his skills and application of those skills to his classroom time, being able to apply the skills he learned in class. And he’s a member of the dean’s advisory board as well. So he does help to give us oversight,” Tippin said.

“Me, as a marketing person, I’ve consulted with him many of times when we’ve embarked on campaigns, just to get his feedback to see from an external perspective: ‘are we hitting the right marks? Are we missing something?’ So it’s been really beneficial to be able to have that kinds of expertise to have on hand.”  

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