Director, Vendor Development Program, Macy’s East Inc. • New York, N.Y.
In 1973, Brenda Scott was a high school intern folding clothes on the floor of Bamberger’s, a now-defunct division of R.H. Macy’s. Little did she know then that her internship would launch a 30-year career with Federated Department Stores, now the parent of Macy’s. Today, she is director of the Vendor Development Program at Macy’s East, which promotes the use of minority-and women -owned business enterprises as vendors to the retail giant. She coordinates the program for more than 115 Macy’s stores on the East Coast, including Puerto Rico. “I work to find opportunities within our company for MBEs and WBEs that can add value to the company’s bottom line,” she says. To promote the program outside of Macy’s, she has built strategic alliances with minority purchasing councils and minority and women’s business organizations, often attending their business opportunity fairs and making presentations at their key events.
“A challenging aspect of my job is trying to get a vendor to understand how to do business with Macy’s-Federated Department Stores,” says Scott, who also sits on the company’s diversity committee. “We can’t simply buy from every vendor that approaches us.” Though she is a staunch advocate of the inclusion of minorities and women in Macy’s vendor base, Scott says her work with the Government Affairs Committee of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce really taps her passion for advocacy. The committee has lobbied on issues related to health care for children, local economic development and the creation of economic and environmental incentives for the revitalization of “brownfields”—former industrial sites whose land use is limited due to past contamination.
Will these lobbying efforts usher in the next phase of her career? “I am always trying to find answers for everybody,” says Scott. “I see myself moving into that kind of role [whether it be governmental, political, or as a public advocate] within the next 10 years or so.