20 Black Women Of Power & Influence

These African American female corporate executives are shaping the way business is done

training that helped to broaden her skills. “I learned a cross-function of skills, not only in sales, but also in financial, administrative and customer service aspects.”

Last year, with $300 million in revenues, Edmonds culminated her tenure as vice president and general manager of the Maryland/Virginia unit in the top five out of Xerox’s 37 business units. The oversized chair of her childhood finally fits.
–Hal Karp

ANN FUDGE Executive Vice President, Kraft Foods Executive Vice President and General Manager, Maxwell House Coffee Division
No other woman is more rumored to become the first African American female CEO of a major corporation than Ann M. Fudge. The executive vice president at Kraft Foods Inc. and executive vice president and general manager of one of its crown jewel divisions–Maxwell House Division– Fudge is charged with overseeing the manufacturing, promotion and sales of the $1.5 billion division, whose brands include Maxwell House, Sanka, Yuban, General Foods International Coffees and Gevalia.

Since 1994, Fudge has doubled the White Plains, New York-based java giant’s earnings, keeping pace with America’s craving for premium coffee. Even with almost a third of the U.S. coffee market in her hands– behind Procter & Gamble’s Folger’s–Fudge, 46, wants more. Pumping up sales and market share for the century-old coffee company has included aggressive advertising and marketing that meant going back to the basics and rejuvenating its “good to the last drop” slogan. Fudge’s current challenge is maintaining Maxwell House’s share of the market in light of the recent leap in coffee prices–at an all-time, 20-year high.

Looking back, Fudge says it took more than a Harvard M.B.A. to carve out a 20-year marketing career track at not only Kraft, but General Mills, where she went from a marketing assistant to director. “It took focus and determination.”

Instrumental in the careers of many African Americans at Kraft, fudge recently promoted Bridgette Heller, general manager at Gevalia Kaffe to vice president in a move that mirrored her own climb. “Not everyone starts out with the capabilities to run a business. For me, it took a management that recognized my ability and gave me the opportunity.”
–Cassandra Hayes

VICKI FULLER Senior Vice President, Alliance Capital Management
Depending on the day of the week, you might find Vicki Fuller in Morocco, Turkey or South Africa. Such is life for the global financial manager, whose job as senior vice president of New York-based Alliance Capital Management Corp. knows no bounds. For Alliance, which boasts roughly $183 billion in assets under management, Fuller manages high- yield, emerging markets and global high-yield portfolios totaling $2 billion, and co-leads the company’s global high-yield group of $7.4 billion. Fuller, 40, who thrives on leading the pack, is touted as one of the best in her field by industry insiders. Embarking on new territory, she developed and executed over $2 billion of collateralized bond obligations, her proudest accomplishment.

“Today, information is so quick and economic and monetary cycles have become globalized, so that I must think like an entrepreneur,” says the Chicago native. Having a business-owner perspective is a

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