The original version of this article contained an error and has been changed. See the bottom of the article for additional information.
Quotes from Coach John Wooden related to academic success and leadership were projected onto the walls of a ballroom in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, as about 650 people dressed in business attire milled about Monday evening.
The university leaders, students and members of the local community had gathered for the fifth annual John Wooden Global Leadership Award dinner to honor business leaders who reflect the legendary basketball coach’s ideologies. Although Indra Nooyi, chairwoman and chief executive officer of PepsiCo, was the focal point of the event, three students were also recognized at the ceremony for their work in the business field.
Nooyi was awarded for her work in emphasizing positive social impact as head of PepsiCo since May 2007, according to a press release from the UCLA Anderson School of Management, who hosted the event. She is the first woman to receive the award.
The award was established in 2008 to recognize leaders in business who focus on benefiting their community in addition to making a profit, said Alfred Osborne, a senior associate dean and professor at Anderson.
The heads of Starbucks, American Express and FedEx are among past award recipients.
Nooyi was chosen because she has shown work ethic and community values similar to those of Coach Wooden, Osborne said.
“Although some CEOs are famous, they don’t meet the standard and don’t run their life reflective of Coach Wooden,” Osborne said. “You need vision, passion and commitment to do so.”
Karla Sarni, Juan Rose and Aviva Altmann ““ all Anderson students ““ also received $25,000 fellowship awards that are intended to pay for a portion of their tuition. The students were nominated for the award by their peers. The recipients were selected through an application process in which they were asked how they incorporated Wooden’s values.
Sarni said she felt honored to receive the fellowship award. She added that the value of the award will help her remain focused on pursuing her business career and continuing to strive to reach Wooden’s standards.
The other recipients of the fellowship expressed similar appreciation.
For Rose, people like Wooden are good role models in every walk of life, including business, he said.
“The pyramid of success has a lot of overlap in everyday life. Those values shaped who I became and taught me not to mistake activity for achievement,” Rose said.
Rose said he felt nervous standing up to accept recognition for his award because he was taught to remain humble as a Marine. But he said the recognition was a validation of what hard work could achieve.
In her speech at the awards dinner, Nooyi explained how future business leaders should learn to adapt to changes and produce results without compromising their ethics.
Before the award dinner, Nooyi spoke to a group of Anderson students, sharing lessons she has learned throughout her career. She answered questions to help guide the students in their future careers.
Altmann said she admires Nooyi’s ability to appreciate all members of her company equally no matter what title they hold, a quality that aligns with Wooden’s values.
“I was an undergraduate at UCLA originally, so being associated with Coach Wooden and his leadershp strategies is the highest honor for any Bruin,” Altmann said.
She said the money she received from the fellowship will help her focus less on paying off college tuition and enable her to pursue her passion of being involved with nonprofit organizations.
Nooyi ended her speech by encouraging future business leaders to blend social ethics with their business.
“My mother told me a woman can be anything she wanted to be and has as much right as a man,” Nooyi said. “There are many future leaders out there, and although there probably won’t be another Coach Wooden, remember there are Coach Woodens everywhere: They are your parents and mentors that can bring his spirit to life.”
Correction: About 650 people attended the event.