Brewer will be the only Black woman heading a Fortune 500 company
by Ashley Stevenson
The Michigan Chronicle
On March 15, Rosalind Brewer will be named the new CEO of Fortune 500 Company, Walgreens. Brewer, currently COO of Starbucks and former CEO of Sam’s Club, is a graduate of Cass Technical High School in Detroit. She went on to graduate from Spelman and then Stanford Law School before becoming the first Black woman to serve as Starbucks’ CEO and sit on the board of Amazon.
Brewer will get a signing bonus worth $24.7 million when she joins Walgreens as CEO. She’ll also get a $1.5 million annual salary and personal use of the company’s private jet. Brewer, who will become the only Black female CEO of a Fortune 500 company, is currently Starbucks’ Chief Operating Officer.
MEETING A TRAILBLAZER—Rosalind Brewer and Michigan Chronicle Staff Writer/Social Media Manager Ashley Stevenson.
In 2018, I had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Brewer during her address at the Sankofa Black Business Awards. It was at that moment, I tangibly felt the pride of being a Black woman from Detroit, working hard to pave the way for myself and pull up a chair to the table for others. Ironically, I was at the event serving alongside the event team and consequently pulling out chairs, but what was most inspiring was that she noticed the work I was doing. At the end of the night, she asked to take a photo with me, complimenting me on the hard work she saw me doing at the event. I smiled, completely awe-stricken and filled with inspiration.
Black women, once described as the “least desirable” in almost every category that didn’t involve immoral servitude, continuously set new bars of achievement and elevation. Brewer’s story is a primary example of that. Now that the world has found what I refer to as “an upswing of approval” for Black women, it is finally being venerated, that despite the obstacles against them Black women have always found a way and continue to succeed. With hard work and grit tucked up their sleeve and sweat on their brow. Regardless of who was watching or even cared enough to give them their flowers.
I’d like to think that when I met her in 2018, she saw in me what the world may not have in that moment. I was working toward my dreams. Another true testament, that sometimes the only people who understand are those who have the experience. I keep this quote from her in the forefront of my mind:
“You can and should set your own limits and clearly articulate them. This takes courage, but it is also liberating and empowering, and often earns you new respect.”
In 2018, Brewer was named Forbes’ 34th most powerful woman. She is a trailblazer for all powerful women who know the respect that they deserve and have the courage to not only articulate it but act on it as well. It did not just become cool to be a Black woman, it was always cool. Black women, like Brewer, understand the freedom in making space for yourself to keep others from putting you in a box.
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