Bryant alumna headshot
Recognizing PepsiCo’s need for more bilingual talent, Symphone’e Willoughby '08 created and implemented a program to recruit Spanish-speaking high school students for co-op internships, tuition reimbursements, and, later, full-time positions.
Symphone’e Willoughby ’08: A deft problem-solver
Sep 22, 2018

As Human Resources Director at PepsiCo, Symphone’e Willoughby '08 is a deft problem-solver, applying the diverse skills learned as a Management and English and Cultural Studies major and Sociology minor to complex challenges. Recognizing PepsiCo’s need for more bilingual talent, she created and implemented a program to recruit Spanish-speaking high school students for co-op internships, tuition reimbursements, and, later, full-time positions.

Engendering broad-based community goodwill, the award-winning initiative required her to coordinate funding and forecast personnel needs with management, communicate persuasively with diverse audiences, and collaborate with and recruit from area schools.

“Bryant gave me a real-world perspective of what to expect in business … and how to effectively manage.”

Through hard work and careful planning, it was a triumph. “Once success flowed, our regional leadership team was very happy,” Willoughby says. “PepsiCo is looking to leverage, and replicate the program.”

Willoughby’s job requires her to be prepared to pivot to address changes in e-commerce, technology, and customer preferences, all of which impact job growth and employee recruitment, training, and retention. Her broad-based education helps her rise to the challenge.

In addition to the communication skills she characterizes as “vital,” her expertise in Cultural Studies and Sociology help Willoughby fine-tune messaging to employees – from hourly workers to C-suite executives – and effectively address workplace issues.

Willoughby, who frequently has been recognized with community service and human resources awards, values the difference Bryant made in her life and works to make a difference in the lives of others. “Bryant gave me a scholarship,” says Willoughby, a first-generation college student who went on to earn an MBA from Northeastern University. “I don’t forget that; I take that with me.”

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