Ramona Hood’s journey to becoming the first black woman to be President and CEO of a FedEx company began in 1991.
Hood was a 19-year-old single mother when she secured an 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. shift as a receptionist for Roberts Express, which would later become FedEx Custom Critical, a leading North American transportation provider located in Green, Ohio.
Hood oversees the FedEx Custom Critical executive leadership team and is responsible for the performance and strategic direction of the company.
“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.”
From receptionist, Hood worked her way up to various executive leadership positions at FedEx Custom Critical and FedEx Supply Chain to be the first black woman President and CEO of a FedEx company. “Her career path evolved through many areas of the company, including operations, safety, sourcing, sales, and marketing, FedEx said in Hood’s company biography.
“Over time, she began offering innovative and strategic ideas that distinguished her from her peers. Hood not only brought unique approaches to the business, but she did so in a way that brought out the best in others.
“These leadership characteristics and values are ingrained through her past and current leadership roles at FedEx Custom Critical and FedEx Supply Chain,” Hood’s company biography further noted.
Hood succeeded Virginia Addicott, who was instrumental in getting the former to replace her.
“That is something we can be really, really proud of,” FedEx Express chief diversity officer and senior vice president of Eastern Division U.S. operations, Shannon Brown, told The Commercial Appeal.
Residing currently in Copley, Ohio, with her two daughters, Mariah and Kayla, throughout her career, Hood has been recognized for her exemplary excellence in leadership, responsibility, and passion-driven results in the industry.
She was recognized by the Greater Akron Chamber with the 30 for the Future award (2010) and acknowledged by Sales & Marketing Executives International with a Distinguished Sales & Marketing Award (2013). And she received the Woman of Inspiration Award from Walsh University (2013).
In 2010 and 2016, Hood received the FedEx Five Star Award, which is the highest recognition team members can receive at FedEx.
She also received the Women of Note award from Crain’s Cleveland Business, Progressive Woman award from Smart Business, and Influential Woman in Trucking award from the Women in Trucking Association in 2016 and most recently, recognized by the MEECO Leadership Institute with the International Thought Leader of Distinction award.
Hood earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management from Walsh University and an Executive MBA from Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management.
In Hood’s early days of her tenure as CEO, she has set out to gain insight from employees, customers and independent contractors driving for Custom Critical dubbed “Ramona Roundtables”.
“The next thing I’ll be doing is going out and spending time with customers and independent contractors,” Hood told The Commercial Appeal. “I’m defining that as my ‘listen and learn tour.’
Hood’s success story cannot be told without mentioning the unflinching support she received from her predecessor. She consistently sought the guidance and advise of mentors and Addicott was always available to help.
“For whatever reason, I started to have issues with being the only African American,” she said. “I got the whole head trash, ‘Am I worthy? Did I deserve the seat I’m seating in?’”
Hood shared such thoughts with Addicott, who told her, “I’m a woman, but I don’t know what it means to be an African American person.” Addiccot scheduled a meeting between Hood and some African American female executives, including one who owns her own marketing company, according to The Cleveland.
“I had nothing to do with marketing, but it was a way for her [Addicott] to connect me with someone at a high level, who looked like me,” Hood said.
For Addiccot, Hood had a “good strategic mind,” wasn’t “afraid to tackle hard things” and took “100% accountability for the outcome of the work,”—attributes that contributed greatly to her current appointment.
“People come into your work life and sometimes you just see things in them,” said Addicott. “It is very clear that the person has the ability, the aptitude to do these things, but they hadn’t been graced with the opportunity. Ramona was one of those people.
“I’ve had great people in my life who have put me into jobs, where other people would have said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding,’” Addicott said. “She doesn’t have this. She doesn’t have that. But they (supporters) still believed in me.” First black woman to be president and ceo.