Rosalind Brewer: Rising Star in Wal-Mart

by Chris Bahn  on Monday, Feb. 25, 2013 12:00 am  

Rosalind Brewer

Today, Brewer works to pass the lessons she has learned on to others. She has been a key figure in the professional development of Karen Brewer-Edwards — no relation — who now serves as regional general manager for Wal-Mart in north Georgia.

Their relationship dates back to 2006, when Brewer joined Wal-Mart as a regional vice president and Brewer-Edwards worked as the region’s finance director. Ultimately, Brewer-Edwards made the transition from finance into operations, and she points to the mentor-mentee relationship with Brewer as being “invaluable.”

“Roz is a woman of influence because she is bold and will always share her point of view … even if it is not the most popular view,” Brewer-Edwards said.

That willingness to identify sometimes sensitive issues has served Brewer well. It aided her rise through Wal-Mart after spending 22 years with Kimberly-Clark Corp. After regional VP, Brewer was made executive vice president of Wal-Mart East, overseeing 1,600 stores in six regions that generated about $100 billion in annual revenue.

Quickly, her superiors noted Brewer’s ability to research, develop and implement strategies that helped the company succeed. Those skills she honed all those years ago in the lab ultimately led to her being named the first woman and first African-American to hold the CEO title within one of Wal-Mart’s business units.

Brewer’s influence isn’t limited to Sam’s Club. She currently serves on the board of directors for Lockheed Martin Corp. and she is the chairman of the Spelman College Board of Trustees.

“It’s humbling, and I have to give so much credit to the leaders, teachers and mentors I’ve had throughout life,” Brewer said.

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