Elana Ladd

Ladd credits Haslam with teaching her leadership skills she applies in her job as a sales district leader with PepsiCo.

- Alumni

When Elana Ladd (Management, ’20) hears a call to lead, she answers. As a student in the Haslam College of Business, she enjoyed the leadership focus of her management classes. Now, as an alumna, she is a sales district leader with PepsiCo, where she puts those skills into practice.

“I enjoy leadership,” Ladd says. “I felt like my undergraduate major prepared me well, pushing me to explore my leadership capabilities.”

Ladd manages nine bulk customer representatives, ensuring that Pepsi products are available and displayed in large stores such as Wal-Mart and Food Lion. During the busy holiday season, this means a balance of organization and creativity, bringing eye-catching displays, like a Christmas tree made of hundreds of Mountain Dew boxes, to retailers and planning the release of new products for 2023.

To successfully lead these efforts, Ladd leans on networking and communication skills she learned as a student.

“Haslam taught me how to build my network and cultivate relationships,” Ladd says. “Building a good relationship with store managers and front-end coaches is critical in my role and having a plethora of people I can connect with if I have a question is incredibly helpful.”

When Pepsi opened an opportunity to move to Cookeville, Tennessee, Ladd saw a window of perfect timing to expand her education. In August, she returned to Haslam, enrolling in the Professional MBA program. Ladd is able to work toward an MBA degree by taking classes planned around her schedule as a working professional.

“Being back in Tennessee, the time felt right,” Ladd says. “My relationship with Haslam keeps growing.”

During her undergraduate years, Ladd began learning to balance her activities while taking classes and working to pay her tuition. Ladd is still grateful for scholarships that invested in her future and helped give her time to focus on her studies.

“I’m still learning to master work/life balance,” Ladd says. “ProMBA is teaching me to be highly focused. I invested in myself as an undergrad, and I can do it again now.”

While her free time is limited, she shares it with Haslam, leading as a member of the Haslam Young Alumni Board.

“I feel more at home in Haslam than any other place,” Ladd says. “No matter what, I will stay connected to UT.”