Director, Supply Chain Diversity Office Depot Inc., Boca Raton, Fla., Age: 38
Robert McCormes-Ballou’s idea of leadership comes mainly from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s declaration: “Everybody can be great because anybody can serve.” He adds, “if I had unlimited resources, I would spend my time, talent, and treasures in service.”
A graduate in political science from the University of Florida and with a master’s degree in management / leadership from Nova Southeastern University, McCormes-Ballou has been at Office Depot for 14 years. Today, he is the director of supply chain diversity. “I had no official mentors, but did have a series of mentors of the moment who taught me what I needed to know at that moment.”
Among these are his maternal grandmother, Camille Brown; the Upward Bound program that prepared him for college “and life”; the brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity; and the late Dorothy B. Brothers, a former Office Depot customer.
McCormes-Ballou’s leadership helped Office Depot win several national, local and customer awards. A Sunday-school teacher, he devotes equal time to helping others reach their highest potential. He’s on a mission to change the face of business. “I come from solid footing, but even when I get knocked down, I have the support of many people to be better at what I do,” he says.
McCormes-Ballou serves on the boards of the National Minority Supplier Development Council, Diversity Information Resources and Office Depot Foundation. Locally, he sits on the boards of Florida Minority Supplier Development Council, Florida Minority Business Opportunity Center, and Women’s Business Development Council of Florida.
Quote: “Society is always taken by surprise by any new example of common sense.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Favorite book/author: Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Xbox or PlayStation: PlayStation
Facebook or LinkedIn: LinkedIn
What artist would you go on tour with: Common
Jeans and T-shirt or suit: Jeans and T-shirt
First car: Dodge Charger 1987
First job: Grocery store clerk
Favorite comedian: Chris Rock