ABWW Business Diva of the Day: Beverly Grant
By Gail Zoppo
Growing up as one of 10 children in segregated Tennessee, just two generations away from sharecroppers, Beverly Grant had little money and no professional role models. How did she become one of the highest ranking Black women executives at Procter & Gamble (P&G), overseeing a sales staff of more than 700 and managing a $110-million annual budget?
Grant, vice president of customer business development for P&G’s North America Food Channel, attributes her resilience and self-confidence to her first mentor, her mother. “Every day for 15 years, from the time I was in preschool, my mother would send me out of the house and say, ‘You know what? There’s nobody in the world better than you, and you are not better than anybody else,'” she says. P&G is No. 18 in The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity®.
After a brief stint at the IRS, Grant began a sales career at Standard Oil of Ohio in 1979, when “they had no other African-American women managers,” she recalls. But when BP bought Standard Oil and her opportunity for advancement in Cleveland dwindled, Grant pursued a sales position at P&G while simultaneously completing her MBA in marketing from Webster University.
Twenty-four years and numerous broadening assignments later, Grant makes a point of helping others succeed. She has led P&G’s Corporate African American Leadership Network, served on the Global CBD Diversity Leadership Team and contributed to the Global Initiative for Women. Grant also created P&G’s first Corporate African American Women’s Summit on Empowerment. In addition, she’s a member of the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce Women’s Leadership Foundation and Big Brothers Big Sisters, where she mentors an eighth-grade girl.