Richard Montañez
Fee Under $25,000

Richard Montañez

Richard’s riveting and inspiring story proves that all of us are just one great idea away from our dreams. Hear this one-time janitor tell you how he fanned a spark of innovation into the billion dollar worldwide phenomenon, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

Vice President, Multicultural Sales & Community Activation for PepsiCo North America, Author, Philanthropist, Creator of Flamin' Hot Cheetos Brand

Expertise In:

  • Creativity
  • Branding
  • Philanthropy
  • Marketing
  • Leadership

Audience & Industry

  • Associations
  • Corporations
  • Non-Profits
  • The Marketing and Advertising Industry
  • The Service Industry

Richard Montañez leads Multicultural Sales & Marketing across Pepsi North American divisions. Throughout his career, he has held various senior roles through Pepsi and Frito Lay divisions.

Richard Montañez started his PepsiCo career at Frito-Lay in 1976 as a janitor. He is recognized as the creator of the Flamin’ Hot line of products, which have become a billion-dollar business and a cultural phenomenon.

Recognized for his visionary leadership, ability to innovate, and his commitment to diversity, Montañez has received several notable awards and is often named one of the most influential Latinos in corporate America.

Montañez is the only four-time recipient of PepsiCo’s Chairman’s Award – the highest honor given to employees based on performance and work ethic. As a long-standing mentor and executive sponsor of PepsiCo's Latino and Hispanic employee group, Adelante, he has supported and nurtured the careers of hundreds of PepsiCo employees. Montañez is also a committed philanthropist and founder of Onelite, a nonprofit that provides hundreds of high-need families in the United States with food and school supplies.

Montañez serves on several boards or directors and advisory boards, and was the first Latino board member to serve on the board of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), an African-American civil rights organization whose first president was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Richard Montañez is a sought-after motivational speaker, speaking to corporate groups like Target, Walmart, and Slalom, as well as universities such as USC and Harvard. Montañez has been featured in TV and print outlets, such as Good Morning America, The Washington Post, Vanity Fair, Fortune and Newsweek. His story is now the subject of a forthcoming biopic from Fox Searchlight Films.

Featured Videos

Featured Experiences

The Antidote to Fear Is Hunger

Richard Montañez has a Ph.D. in being poor, hungry, and determined. His journey is one that everyone can relate to. It begins with feelings of being out-of-place, in pain, afraid, and vulnerable. And involves overcoming obstacles, confronting fear, and perseverance – even as he’s seen success.

From his humble beginnings in a migrant labor camp, to working as a janitor, to the inspiration and hard work it took to launch the cultural phenomenon, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, Montañez shares the life-shaping moments from his personal journey.

In this presentation, Montañez inspires and activates listeners. He emphasizes the importance of believing in one oneself, building confidence, and taking risks that some might find crazy. “Greatness comes in ridiculous forms, and I’m living proof,” he says. “My ridiculous idea became a billion dollar franchise.”

A testament to the importance of diversity, innovation, and entrepreneurship, Montañez’s story teaches others how to turn adversity into the determination it takes to excel in life and business. “With confidence, anything is possible,” he says. “So no matter where you come from, there’s no limit to where you can go.”