Leading the way for minorities and women in the largest beverage corporation in the world, Johnnie B. Booker first took over as director of Supplier Diversity in 2001. After a decade of diligently improving diversity within the Coca-Cola ranks, Booker has now decided to go into her second hard earned retirement.

“I was taught as a child that those who are blessed have a responsibility and an obligation to spread that blessing to others,” said Booker, who believes her gift is the ability to act as a change agent for diversity in large corporations. “Commitment, perseverance, and the need to help,” are qualities Booker says have kept her passionate about helping minorities and women in business. In the next phase of her life, Booker has plans to work as a consultant for major firms.

“During her first year with Coca-Cola, contracts with minority- and women-owned businesses increased over the previous year by 50 percent, exceeding the company’s goal by 27 percent,” said U.S. Rep. James E. Clyburn, veteran member of the South Carolina House of Representatives. Speaking before House leaders last week, Clyburn publically praised Booker and wished her well as she retired from a career that has given opportunities and guidance to success in the lives of many.

“Under Ms. Booker’s leadership, the company has consistently exceeded its goals for subsequent years, and its supplier diversity profile has grown substantially in actual dollars expended and global recognition,” Clyburn continued.

Receiving her undergraduate degree from Hampton University and a master’s of social work from the Atlanta University School of Social Work, Booker has dedicated her life to making change in the lives of minorities and women of all ages and races.

Prior to taking a leadership position at Coca-Cola, Booker worked her way up to director of the Office of Equal Opportunity at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), where she again focused on creating a varied workforce until she retired in 1996.

As Deputy Assistant Secretary of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Booker made it her duty to create a new office of affirmative action and equal opportunity, in addition to overhauling the department’s disjointed approach to processing discrimination claims.

Active in a number of service organizations on the local, national, and international level, Booker is a member of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, The National Black Child Development Institute, NAACP, and the Urban League.


Alexis Taylor

AFRO Staff Writer