Refreshing the World, One Idea at a Time

jill.jpgThis past summer, I had the incredible opportunity to spend time with a woman who is truly a visionary – Jill Beraud, CMO and president of joint ventures for PepsiCo Americas Beverages, who is responsible for integrating the brand into worldwide initiatives that will make a global impact. I met Jill at BlogHer in Chicago when I participated in an incredible panel discussion that she and Lee Woodruff (one of my favorite people in the whole wide world) moderated about living life with purpose.
After the session, I was supposed to race back to the airport to catch a plane but lucky for me, I received the invitation of a lifetime – Jill was headed back home to Westchester, NY and she offered me a lift – on the Pepsico private jet! To say I was elated was an understatement of the year, I jumped at the chance to find out more about Jill and spend some quality time with my friend and mentor, Lee Woodruff, who in my eyes is the Role Mommy of the Millennium.
For the next several hours, I was riveted as I found out about Jill’s passion for helping others as she talked about the many philanthropic and life-changing pursuits she and her family were involved with over the years. So it did not surprise me when I received an email a few days ago from the team at Pepsi, unveiling one of the most incredible initiatives undertaken by a major consumer brand – the Pepsi Refresh Project.
First Page of Toolkit.PNGThe Pepsi Refresh Project is a groundbreaking effort to foster innovation in social good, which will award more than $20 million this year to fund great ideas that refresh the world. The program launched on January 13 and has already exceeded expectations by receiving the monthly limit of 1,000 submissions in less than seven days with at least one from each state in the U.S. Joining the effort are actors Demi Moore and Kevin Bacon, who have generated their own ideas for Pepsi Refresh and are competing for support in the Pepsi Refresh Celebrity Challenge, which launched this week.
The Pepsi Refresh Facebook page also featured an exclusive opportunity to watch the Pepsi Refresh Everything through Great Ideas Brainstorm live from New York City. The Brainstorm brought together Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon, Jill Beraud; advisory board member, Majora Carter; as well as college students from the New York City area to discuss ideas that they believe will positively move the world forward. Below is the Ustream feed to this incredible brainstorming session:

The exciting opportunity behind this project is that anyone with a great idea can enter and potentially win a grant that will help others. According to Pepsico spokesperson Lauren Hobart, the whole premise behind the initiative is to empower people worldwide to vote for the ideas they believe deserve to be funded and the ideas with the most votes can win a grant. This is not a project that will be funding established charities but instead, one that puts the power of giving into the hands of the people.
The Pepsi Refresh Project can be found at, on Facebook at or on Twitter, @Pepsi or #pepsirefresh.
“The overwhelmingly positive response we have received since launching our campaign has been incredible and we are confident that this program will only continue to flourish in 2010,” said Beraud. “This is the people’s project, it’s in their hands. We encourage all individuals to submit their creative and innovative ideas to the Pepsi Refresh Project and cast their votes for the ideas that they want to see come to life.”
I love it when a Role Mommy comes up with a campaign that will truly change the world in amazing ways. Kudos to Pepsico and to Jill Beraud for recognizing that individuals do have the power to make a difference.