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Best Public Speakers: Studying Rosalind Brewer

Updated: Jul 19, 2023

We chose Rosalind Brewer for our "Best Public Speakers" list because of her strength and poise both visually and vocally. She is the CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance. Rosalind, "Roz", is the only African American CEO of a Fortune 500 company. She is also Group President and COO of Starbucks and CEO of Sam’s Club. USA Today referred to her as “one of corporate America’s most prominent women and black female executives. Rosalind has been ranked a “Highly Powerful Woman” by both Forbes and Fortune magazine.

by Stephanie Bickel

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Rosalind's greatest leadership communication skills:

  1. Vocal Presence: Rosalind has an assertive speaking style ending statements with strong downward intonation. She uses perfectly paced speech so her listener does not miss a word. She is a flawless example of avoiding “filler” words (um or uh).

  2. Emotional Control: When discussing very personal topics (the loss of her father and her passion for racial equity), she maintains strength and poise.

  3. Visual Presence: She has a polished, professional look and is dressed for success.

  4. Personality: Brewer is an excellent example of leadership presence. She displays calm, confidence and warmth. This makes her feel approachable and relatable.

  5. Fascinating Career Path: Brewer has gone from being a scientist to a CEO.

What Rosalind could do to improve her leadership communication skills:

  1. Rosalind uses conversational language that is appropriate in this interview, but it isn’t necessary. She uses “you know” in almost every response.

  2. Hand gestures help support our message and connect with our listeners. Brewer uses very few of them in this interview. We would encourage her to use more purposeful gestures when speaking. This will read as more inspired.


Great leaders and speakers start with Speak by Design. Learn the techniques and build the skills with us. Speak by Design University is the only leadership communication program in the world that gives you access to self-paced learning, group coaching and training and, most importantly, private one-on-one coaching. Learn more and register.

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