Some say 2012 is a record year for women because as of January 1 more are seated as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies than ever in history. At Webster, we applaud this trend in diversifying the corner offices of corporate America. It’s a win for women. It’s an even greater win for business when among those in this elite group of leaders is Walker School alumna Kathleen Mazzarella (MBA ’02).
The promotion of Mazzarella to president and CEO of Graybar (effective June 1, 2012) makes her one of only 19 female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies nationwide and the only one in the St. Louis area. Other businesswomen elevated to the corner offices of their companies this year include Heather Bresch, CEO of pharmaceutical firm Mylan, and Virginia “Ginni” Rometty at IBM, who succeeded Webster’s 2011 CEO of the Year Sam Palmisano at Big Blue.
“The Webster University community congratulates Kathy Mazzarella, our distinguished alum, on her appointment as Graybar’s next president,” says Dr. Elizabeth (Beth) J. Stroble, president of Webster University. “This region has long benefitted from her singular accomplishments, and we take pride in the unusual position of leadership she will occupy regionally and nationally with this presidency of a Fortune 500 company.”
“Kathy’s accomplishments exemplify the global leadership and citizenry we value most here at Webster and for our graduates,” says Dr. Benjamin Ola. Akande, dean of the Walker School of Business. “It is our job as educators to open the world of knowledge to our students. Kathy has taken that knowledge to new heights, not only for herself but for businesswomen everywhere. We couldn’t be more proud to call her one of our own.”
Mazzarella’s personal philosophy has always been to “earn trust through integrity, build a strong team and expect only the best from yourself and those around you.” While moving forward professionally at Graybar through multiple sales, marketing and management positions, she also pushed herself to advance personally with an MBA in 2002 from Webster University. That has allowed this leader, whose passions include supporting children’s charities, and formulating business networking groups for other women, to continue investing in the development of others.
“ It is an honor to be appointed as the next president and CEO of Graybar,” Mazzarella says. “As an employee-owned company, Graybar takes pride in working to the advantage of its customers, suppliers, employees, shareholders and the communities where we do business. I am passionate about Graybar’s mission and am committed to sustaining the culture of integrity that makes it such a remarkable organization. I also have the utmost respect for Graybar’s senior leadership team and look forward to working with them to build a bright future for the next generation.”
“For those of us at Webster, Kathy is more than just the newest member of the Fortune 500 CEO list. She’s more than one of our outstanding graduates,” says Dean Akande, who was also one of Mazzarella’s professors at Webster. “She is an exceptional individual dedicated to her industry and committed to those around her. She’s now the one teaching us what great leadership looks like.”