Meet The Rainmaker - Rosemary Turner

by Rachelle J. Canter, Ph.D.
Presented by the Women Rainmakers
August, 2010
Name: Rosemary Turner
Firm Name and Title: UPS - President, Chesapeake
Address: 15 E. Oregon Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19148
Nominated By: Bernie Munley

The inspiring Rosemary Turner will be the Saturday Plenary Speaker at the ABA Women Rainmakers Mid-Career Workshop in Washington, D.C., in October. She has spent her entire 31-year career at UPS, starting as a clerk and working her way up into senior management roles at UPS. She is the only African-American female President with a P&L in the company. Rosemary says her job as a driver was the next best job to her current role. Whether in the position of a driver or in top management, she notes, you are a service provider who still can make an impact on people.

One of her biggest priorities is to make sure she is positively impacting people, not only the bottom line. She says she wouldn’t be where she is without her husband (who moved five times in 11 years, even with an equally successful career) and her family. Here are her other tips and thoughts from our interview:
Biggest Career Influence
There are two. The first has to do with the city and the company I grew up in, both of which promoted diversity, literally and figuratively. I was raised in metropolitan Los Angeles so I can talk easily with CEOs and street people alike. I am a diverse person, I am a female, and I applaud UPS’s commitment to diversity. I have had the opportunity to work with mentors who helped me learn from my failures, and I have had failures.

Another big influence was my mother. I was a latchkey kid who was raised by a single mother who worked three jobs and never had time to play. I watched her carefully and wanted to make her proud. When I got a B+, she told me I should have gotten an A. When I was elected as Class President, my mother told me I should be the Student Body President.
Proudest Accomplishment
Getting married, or rather, finding a man that wanted me for exactly who I am. I’m not your typical wife: I don’t make dinner, I leave at 5 a.m., and I get business calls throughout the night. My husband allows me to be a workaholic and he still loves me. The other is that I can take care of my mother now, after she devoted herself to her children. It takes a village to raise a child, and now I can give back to the village. I give back by mentoring young people to pursue their career ambitions.
Knowing what you know now, if you were starting out as a lawyer today, what would you do differently?
I would have been more of who I am versus who I thought people wanted me to be. For example, 20 years ago UPS was very militaristic. You had to be a hard-nose to make it and had to treat people in a way that frustrated me. I took a different path as a midlevel manager and engaged people and got out to talk with customers and guess what? I got promoted.
If you were mentoring a young woman right now, what advice would you give her?
The traits women hold are the traits Fortune 100 companies are looking for. Women like to communicate, we like straightforward communication, we like diversity and we will work with anybody to get things done. We should not overlook these traits, and we should not keep our true selves out of the workplace.
Would you say you ever had a mentor who made a genuine difference in how your career turned out?
Most of my mentors were men. UPS measures everything. One day 3,000 customer forms needed to be keyed in but the task was not completed so I stayed up all night worried and sure I would be fired. Instead of firing me, my boss helped me look at the situation, to learn how it happened and how to prevent it—he told me it was a good learning experience, and never lost his temper. I still think about him.
Think about when you started your career. Now think about women just starting out. What is different now compared to when you started?
Women today have many more choices than I did back in the day. Women have come such a long way, though there’s still such a long way to go. It never occurred to me that I shouldn’t continue to progress and I did. I don’t think that should change and I applaud UPS. What should change is that women should be proud to be the best, and see it as their obligation to be the best. Women need to speak up and do their best.
What words best describe you?
A little black girl who has been given an open door.
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Interview by Rachelle J. Canter, Ph.D.
ABA Women Rainmakers is a national forum enabling women to network and develop business opportunities. By understanding how to develop business, women can exert greater control over their careers and integrate their personal lives successfully with the practice of law. For more information on LPM Women Rainmakers, visit www.womenrainmakers.org.
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