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Rosalind Brewer must be used to shattering barriers, doing so again last week when Starbucks named her its latest COO. She becomes the coffee giant’s first woman and Black person to hold the post.

Brewer, a native of Detroit, Michigan, attended Spelman College, earning a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. She then entered the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania for its advanced management course. Brewer began her career as a chemist for the Kimberly-Clark Corporation, moving into business management in 2004.

This led to a position with Wal-Mart as part of its executive branch where she eventually oversaw all of the company’s East Coast operations. In 2012, Brewer was named CEO and president of Sam’s Club, making her the first Black person and woman to hold such a position for a Wal-Mart division. During her tenure at Sam’s Club, Brewer advocated for diversity which angered some to the point of staging boycott.

Brewer stepped down from Sam’s Club at the top of the year. After leaving the company, she joined Starbucks’ board of directors and last week, the company placed her in the chief operating officer role.

Brewer, a married mom of two, is slated to begin her new position this October.

PHOTO: CBS Screen shot

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Little Known Black History Fact: Rosalind Brewer  was originally published on