Brenda Helps Macy’s Shine

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There may not be anyone else in the world that enjoys her job more than Macy’s Brenda Scott, who is in charge of the company’s supplier diversity as well as minority and women’s business programs. “I love that the company allows me to make a difference,� Scott says, enthusiastically, in an interview. “I have the greatest boss in the world who does not stand over my shoulder—he allows me to do my job,� she adds, referring to Edward J. Goldberg, a Senior Vice President for Government Affairs and vendor development/partnerships at Macy’s.

Scott started out with the company’s Bamberger unit, where she worked for 27 years before leaving to work elsewhere. When Scott was laid off at the new job, someone who knew her told her of an opening at Macy’s and invited her to interview. “When I came, the interviewer said ‘we were waiting for you,’� Scott recalls. The interviewer been told that, based on Scott’s earlier job performance, there was no need to interviewing anyone else.

The Monday she showed up for work, Scott recalls finding her desk laden with perfumes, ointments and other merchandize—these were all gifts to welcome her. “How could I leave after that?� she asks, with a laugh.

That was in 1980—Scott’s been with the company since then. She worked in various divisions within the company, starting in retail.

Those were the days way before online shopping and other innovations. Then, the cash registers were still manual. “Now customers that don’t like the hustle and bustle can order online and still get what they want delivered in a timely manner without even leaving their homes,� Scott explains.

Through hard work, Scott ended up being rewarded with several promotions.

She says her current position is the one she’s enjoyed the most. It allows her to develop partnerships with minority and women vendors as well as with community organizations. “I have to say my calling was this job,� Scott says, adding that she takes pleasure in coming in touch for the first time with scores of new minority or women-owned businesses. “From vendors, I have developed several relationships such as with African American newspapers. From the community events, I get to learn about what people like about our company and what are some of the things they would like to see improved. These are great partnerships that we cherish and really love,� she says.

Macy’s is always willing to work with minority vendors and to evaluate their proposals, Scott says. She advises vendors seeking a potential partnership to do their research and to come prepared. “Know our needs, and know what you can deliver,� Scott advises. She cautions business owners that just because they are Black or Latino, not to expect to get showered with business just by walking in the door.

“Do your homework,� is Scott’s mantra, when giving tips to these business owners. “When you come in know what we do and where you fit. When you get here I don’t have to tell you ‘this is what we do, this is not what we do.’ If they do their homework, it will be easy.�

Macy’s has an easy-to-fill application form posted on its website at for company’s seeking a business relationship or partnership, Scott notes. Potential vendors normally get a response in three to four weeks, she says.

The company also offers several scholarships annually and has a training program for new recruits from college. Macy’s prefers out-going and engaging people on
its staff. “We want you to happy and outgoing,� Scott says. “Even if you’re having a bad day, don’t take it out on customers.�

Scott encourages African Americans to apply to the company and says hard work will pay off. “With my personality, I have been able to overcome any obstacles,� she notes. “I can actually say that I have had a great career since I’ve been here. As long as you work hard, you’ll be able to move up.�

The company has recently been nominated as a candidate for “Regional Corporation of the Year,� for vendor diversity, and Scott is busy preparing the paperwork to back up the company’s candidacy. The awards ceremony is November 4th at the Marriott Hotel in Manhattan. Other candidates include several major corporations in the region—Scott, and her colleagues hope Macy’s will prevail.

“I see us growing into more minority and retail vendor partnerships,� Scott says. “We do more and we still want to do a lot more. I want to make sure that we get there.� Scott’s geographical area of responsibility covers Macy’s East – which until recently included Puerto Rico – which also includes Maine and Virginia. Scott says she travels extensively throughout the eastern region to attend business events and minority purchasing conferences to seek out partnership opportunities.

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