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RAMONA HOOD MAKES HISTORY AS FIRST BLACK FEMALE CEO OF FEDEX

Ramona Hood

*Ramona Hood has become the first Black woman appointed to president and chief executive officer at what is now FedEx Custom Critical in Green, Ohio.

Hood was a 19-year-old single mother when she started as a receptionist at the company. Nearly three decades later, she is making headlines after being tapped to head the subsidiary.

“I wasn’t thinking this was going to be my career and I’d be here for 28 years,” she said. “I was a young mother. I wanted a job that had a stable shift that would allow me to do (college) courses as appropriate.”

In 1991, Hood started as a receptionist for Roberts Express, which later became FedEx Custom Critical. With the help of various business mentors, it didn’t take long for her to work her way up the ladder of success. She credits Virginia Addicott, who retired as president and CEO in December, for being crucial to her ascent. 

“For whatever reason, I started to have issues with being the only African American,” Hood said, Cleveland.com reports. “I got the whole head trash, ‘Am I worthy? Did I deserve the seat I’m seating in?’”

When she shared her concerns with then CEO Addicott, she told Hood, “I’m a woman, but I don’t know what it means to be an African American person.” 

So Addicott scheduled a meeting between Hood and some Black female executives, as “a way for her [Addicott] to connect me with someone at a high level, who looked like me,” Hood said. 

While working at FedEx, Hood earned a business management degree from Walsh University, and an Executive MBA from Case Western Reserve University. 

“I’ve always worked as I’ve been raising my two girls,” she said.

FedEx Custom Critical promoted Hood from vice president of operations, strategy and planning to its president and CEO on Jan. 1.  

Hood said she became “pretty intentional and purposeful with gaining experience” throughout the company.

“Over time, she began offering innovative and strategic ideas that distinguished her from her peers,” FedEx said in Hood’s company biography.

She is credited for launching a program in the early 2000s that allowed FedEx Custom Critical employees to work from home 

“At that time, it was not common to have call centers where you would have individuals working from home,” she said. “I looked at our processes and the technology that we had, and I realized nothing was preventing us from that.”

As CEO, Hood aims to continue to gain insight from employees, customers and independent contractors, commercialappeal.com reports. 

“The next thing I’ll be doing is going out and spending time with customers and independent contractors,” Hood said. “I’m defining that as my ‘listen and learn tour.’ ”

Under her leadership, Custom Critical is now eyeing the health care industry as its next big opportunity for growth. 

“When you think about items such as medical devices or drugs, the ability of knowing once it’s in the truck it stays at the necessary temperature or is not opened or compromised at any part of the transit — those are the values that we give,” Hood said.

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