PepsiCo is hoping to promote diversity in the legal profession through the development of its own legal internship program.
Having recognised that law remains one of the least diverse sectors, both in Australia and overseas, PepsiCo has designed the internship program to promote diversity, while honouring the organisation’s former general counsel, Larry D. Thompson.
“At PepsiCo, we believe the law must reflect all parts of the society it governs; this is also true of the legal profession, and we’re aiming to improve the diversity in law by supporting the development of diverse young professionals in this area,” said PepsiCo ANZ senior legal director Lili Dent.
More broadly, she explained that PepsiCo believes its business as a whole “should reflect our communities, and we have a very strong commitment to diversity and inclusion in our organisation”.
“It’s more than programs and policies, it’s our way of doing business,” Ms Dent continued.
While the program has been running successfully in the United States for a number of years, this is the first year the program has been adopted in by the brand’s Australian arm.
The response in Australia has been immensely positive, according to Ms Dent, who said the company had partnered with Australian law schools and received 65 applications in its inaugural year.
Zaen Alsweity and Tamim Rahimi were announced as the successful applicants, and have spent time shadowing each of PepsiCo’s legal team on a rotational basis, which Ms Dent said is to “expose them to as much as possible”.
“They’ve experienced first-hand the team’s work in areas such as corporate sustainability, procurement, consumer law and food packaging, competition law and privacy,” she continued.
“They’ve also been involved in activities across the broader business to help them understand our operating environment, such as a sales field day, product ideation sessions, and one-on-one meetings with representatives from corporate affairs, environmental health and safety, agronomy, R&D and the customer information centre”, she highlighted, as well as having met the CEO.
Calling this year’s successful candidates “amazing individuals”, Ms Dent said the company was “very lucky to have them”.
“They both have already been working hard to promote diversity and make a difference in their communities, and we’re proud to be able to support the beginning of their careers.”
For the individuals involved, Ms Dent said the PepsiCo internship demonstrates “in-house career path opportunities”.
“The program also provides interns with a solid foundation of first-hand experience in corporate law,” she continued.
“For today’s graduates, internships and experience – especially before leaving university – are valuable springboards for a successful career.”