Throughout my two years at PepsiCo working on the Global Health and Agriculture Policy team, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with international policy makers, leading academics, and public health advocates. We discuss policy options to promote health, specifically to reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and chronic lung disease.  In the office, I often collaborate with colleagues in Marketing, Communications, Public Policy, and other teams to drive PepsiCo’s health and wellness policy.  And on special days every few weeks, I am able to say hello to puppies!

I love seeing the puppies from Guiding Eyes visiting with PepsiCo associates and I know that our partnership helps support the visually impaired.  I was also reminded during my Guiding Eyes training of the increasingly important connection between diabetes and visual impairment.  In the US, over 15% of adults with diabetes report visual impairment, and the global prevalence of diabetes is projected to double by 2030 to 552 million, or one of every ten adults. Guiding Eyes service dogs currently support over 50 people that lost their sight due to diabetes.  Going forward service dogs will be increasingly needed to help people with visual impairment caused by macular degeneration, diabetes, and other disabilities caused by the aging population of baby boomers.

My work at PepsiCo focuses on policies to support prevention and control of diabetes, including reducing added sugar in our beverages, reducing calories in our portfolio in partnership with the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, and marketing our products responsibly.  As a member of the Guiding Eyes group at PepsiCo, I am able to link the global policy work I do with a personal experience that will change a person’s life.   I look forward to taking care of a puppy at the office next week, helping to contribute to its development into a guide dog.