Often called one of the most influential Latinos in corporate America, Richard heads Multicultural Sales & Marketing across Pepsi North American divisions and is widely recognized for his innovative abilities, his visionary leadership, and his deep commitment to mentorship and cultural diversity.
Richard shares his inspiring story with a wide range of corporate audiences to illustrate how to turn fear and adversity into the determination to excel in life and business. This former migrant worker and one-time janitor talks about fear and feeling out-of-place and how he decided to confront that fear. He recounts the simplicity of his snack idea, the initiative he took in developing it, and the boldness he displayed in taking it directly to PepsiCo leadership, (never realizing that you’re not supposed to call the CEO directly.) He talks candidly about how Flamin’ Hot’s wild market success catapulted his career and the life-changing lessons he learned in the process.
With Richard’s natural knack for visionary leadership and innovative product development, Flamin' Hot Cheetos has become Frito-Lay's top-selling snack and a world-wide taste sensation. Montañez has held several senior positions within Pepsi and Frito Lay, including a leading role in helping identify and cultivate community partnerships. His influence is directly attributed to the addition of new ethnic products and the development of the first Frito-Lay Hispanic marketing team, which helped implement successful Hispanic-flavored promotions with KFC and Taco Bell.
Richard’s incredible rags-to-riches success story has been featured on everything from Good Morning America and The Washington Post to Fortune magazine and Vanity Fair. Fox Searchlight Films is also developing his unlikely billion-dollar rise to success in an upcoming biopic.
- Creating a Flamin’ Hot Culture of Diversity, Innovation, and Performance
Richard Montañez’s rise from janitor to C-suite executive at PepsiCo is the unforgettable story of one employee, one idea, and the wildly successful results when a company values the voices of a diverse employee culture. Montañez, a Latino janitor and former migrant-camp worker, approached PepsiCo leadership with a “ridiculous idea” born from a life lived differently from others. Thanks to Montañez’s tenacious persistence, PepsiCo embraced the ‘Flamin’ Hot’ Cheetos idea and watched it become both a revenue juggernaut and a cultural phenomenon. Montañez shows how organizations can strengthen their talent pipeline by creating a culture that’s uniquely diverse and inclusive. He shares how listening to different voices not only creates well-rounded leaders, but promotes excellence throughout the workforce. His amazing journey captures how developing a solid foundation of diversity and inclusion in today’s business environment can ultimately drive external success.