Cathy L. Cogan-Kelly '81

Women of Achievement Award Recipient

Cathy Kelly ’81 commenced her 40-year career at PepsiCo while attending Iona College as an intern in the Human Resources department. Upon graduation, she was offered full-time employment with PepsiCo and spent several years in the employee benefits area working on initiatives such as implementing the initial 401k and stock option programs, as well as the first employee benefits self-service enrollment system for the company. In addition, Cathy had the opportunity to have a lead HR role in the IPO for the Pepsi Bottling Group implementing the company’s new benefit programs. During those early years Cathy’s children were born and she was able to pioneer the successful conversion of her role to a part time work schedule. As a result, she set a precedent for other women in the organization who were provided similar opportunities, creating an improved employee work/life balance for many female employees.

Eventually, Cathy transitioned to Global HR Operations for PepsiCo, leading efforts to optimize HR systems and simplification of processes on a global scale. Significantly, she was a lead member of the team merging the Pepsi Bottling Group into PepsiCo and was the recipient of a Chairman’s Award for her leadership role on the project. In her most recent role as a Senior Director for Global HR Operations, she led the design and implementation of PepsiCo’s first Global HR System, covering 80 countries and 270,000 employees. In January 2021 Cathy retired from PepsiCo and is now looking forward to her new challenges.

Cathy was a member of various PTA and Mother Auxiliary groups while her children were in school. More recently, she has participated in a variety of volunteer initiatives supporting causes such as Rise Against Hunger and the World Food Programme.

Cathy has many fond memories of her time at Iona: the professors, the Hill, attending Iona’s first NCAA tournament, the Gaelic Society and the many friends she met along the way.